REALLY Killing Weeds With Vinegar


For more details on this process, please visit the blog post below.
Lately, I've been seeing Pinterest boards and blogs with tutorials on how to make a vinegar weed killer. Friends, I'm here to tell you that their information is faulty and their vinegar weed killer will not work.
Most of the blogs that show vinegar weed killer recipes, show household vinegar with 5% acidity.
This.Will.NOT.Work. I repeat, This.Will.NOT.Work.
You need a vinegar that has AT LEAST 10% acidity PLUS a horticultural citrus oil. There is some controversy within the organic gardening community regarding vinegar strength. Very respected gardeners say that 10% acidity mixed with citrus oil will kill weeds.
For at least 10 years I have been using a 20% vinegar for my weed control. I have not tried 10% vinegar ~ but I trust the gardeners who say it will work. Many of them are diluting their 20% vinegar by cutting it in half and adding water. Doing this will give you two gallons of 10% vinegar.
WARNING: This 10% – 20% vinegar is potent. You need to wear goggles, rubber gloves, long sleeves, and shoes when working with 20% vinegar. It will burn your skin if any splashes. I have experienced this first hand ~ it can be very painful.
While the vinegar alone will work well at getting rid of weeds, it's the orange oil that nails the coffin shut on weeds. However, none of this will kill weeds if it isn't properly applied. That is the real secret to killing weeds and killing them for good.
If you want to kill weeds naturally, then here's what you do:The correct ratio for weed killing is: 1 gallon of 10-20% vinegar to 1 C. of orange (or citrus) oil. Mix well. (see my Warning above) Then, add to either a spray bottle like this one. I highly recommend rubber gloves when applying with this type of bottle ~ it does tend to drip.
This ONLY WORKS when applied at full strength, in sunlight, during the heat of the day.
That means, if it rained yesterday, then don't apply it. If rain is in the forecast within 24 hours, don't apply it.
Wait until the soil is dried out a bit, the sun is bright, and it's the middle of the day. It must be at least 70-degrees for maximum efficacy. The weed will think you are giving it some good food. Down the hatch, little weed.
Keep in mind that this brew does not discriminate. Be careful where you spray. It will kill your flowers and plants just as effectively. Obviously, avoid application on windy days.
Household vinegar will NOT kill weeds.  Read how to REALLY kill weeds with vinegar.
Household vinegar will NOT kill weeds. Read how to REALLY kill weeds with vinegar.
You need at least a 10-20% vinegar plus horticultural orange oil (or other citrus oil)
You need at least a 10-20% vinegar plus horticultural orange oil (or other citrus oil)
You need to apply it with a spray bottle when the sun is bright, the ground is dry, and the temperature is above 70-degrees.
You need to apply it with a spray bottle when the sun is bright, the ground is dry, and the temperature is above 70-degrees.
This type of sprayer will tackle larger jobs.
This type of sprayer will tackle larger jobs.
There are a few companies that have pre-mixed the strong vinegar solution with a citrus oil.
There are a few companies that have pre-mixed the strong vinegar solution with a citrus oil.
The Seasoned Homemaker

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

4 questions
  • Emma
    on Feb 13, 2016

    is thi s is safe for san agustin grass?

    • Bea4745400
      on Mar 26, 2016

      St Augustine is a plant. This weed killer kills all plants.

    • Mae
      on May 4, 2016

      This kills everything weeds and grass. Use only where weeds are like drive way, cement cracks etc.

  • Emma
    on Feb 13, 2016

    is this recipe is safe for grass?

    • Diane Mustari
      on Mar 21, 2016

      No it will kill grass

    • Fresh Eggs Daily
      on Jul 31, 2016

      Vinegar will will pretty much anything that is green and grows.

    • Borgka
      on Aug 27, 2016

      20% vinegar is 👎dangerous to the novice user. Stick with 10% and you'll be pleased with the result. IMO @ $10 a quart for pure orange oil is a waste of money. Add a little dish soap to play the part of a surfactant and try it in a place you won't have a fit if the over spray drifts over to your prized $1,000,000 roses JK. See how quickly it works and here's a little something the high dollar nasty caustic chemicals that seep into your ground water and may or may not cause odd illnesses and if I have captured your attention by now I have made my point. The 'Big Chemical ' companies do not know what the long term affects are or will be... Ever heard of a chemical your friendly government used in SE Asia called Agent Orange? We went through about 50-100 pallets a week & here is the news story they never intended anyone to know... They shipped without any labels. Read the horror stories. Sorry I digress My formula is used as little or few chemicals as possible to do the job. If it is natural and God made, it will work and it will save a life here and there also. Don't blame the vinegar, point your finger at the applicator subscribing to "If a little is good, a lot must be better" TTFN

  • Debra
    on Apr 12, 2016

    I didn't know there was such a thing as 'pickling vinegar.' I've never seen such a thing in any store. Where do you buy it?

    • Dawn
      on May 4, 2016

      grocery store by canning supplies

    • Sue T
      on Jun 10, 2016

      Also called apple cider vinegar. (Or at least that is what I use to make my sweet pickles...)

    • Shelley Carefoot
      on Jun 21, 2016

      Higher acid level than regular table vinegar.

  • Susan ple
    on Jun 25, 2016

    Is the 20% vinegar mixed with orange oil safe to use around shrubs, bushes, and trees? Is it safe for outdoor animals to walk on. Or would it best for all, other than the weeds, to use 10% vinegar mixed with orange oil?

    • Fresh Eggs Daily
      on Jul 31, 2016

      This is what I use on weeds. She's right the 20% is the way to go. It will kill weeds, also grass and flowers, pretty much anything that grows. It's safe for pets and kids once it dries.

    • Tammy Smith
      on Aug 10, 2018

      But I want my grass and flowers just not the weeds

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2 of 378 comments
  • Bill
    on Sep 29, 2016

    I use 1 gal. of vinegar, 2 cups of epsom salt and 1/2 cup dawn dish washing detergent. For the dawn I use the original blue colored. One thing for sure you CAN'T BELIEVE SOME of the things SEASONED HOMEMAKERS put on here. They are NOT old enough to be seasoned. I'm 71 and I learned by repeated experiences.

  • T. Martinelli
    on May 29, 2018

    Household vinegar killed the weeds an tree stumps I used it on for years

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