Does This Natural Weed Killer Work?

7 Materials
1 Hour

Use 30% vinegar and salt to mix up a natural weed killer.

Be sure to watch our latest follow up video to this project. In the new video we share how this method worked long term and answer many of the questions that have been submitted over the last year. Just click that blue link to be taken to that current video.

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Steph's backyard is basically nothing but pea gravel and pavers, with absolutely no grass. It was this way when she moved in. Because it is so shady back there, grass is really not an option. What does grow back there are weeds and lots of them!

It's been a particularly healthy growing season for weeds this summer. It would be impossible to pull all of them so we started to look for a chemical way to kill them.

We wanted to steer clear of treatments such as Round-Up, due to the potential danger to Mac, Steph's dog, should she eat one of the poisoned weeds. We investigated natural methods and came across a method using vinegar.

Caution: To be clear, we do not know if this method is safe for animals. We do know from research that using the vinegar and salt formula will leave the dirt on which it is used sterile. That is, nothing is going to grow there in the future. So, for example, you wouldn't use it to clear out weeds in a garden and then go back and plant vegetables and expect them to grow.

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Hi Reader! Please take a few minutes to watch the video. It will answer a lot of questions you may have.

Here's a small section of the backyard. Those are just a few of the weeds that have grown up into the pea gravel in Steph's backyard.

We are using a weed killer formula that uses vinegar. For our first try we are using household white vinegar that is 5% acidic. (The bottle on the left.)

The formula is one gallon of vinegar, one cup of table salt, and about a tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid. 

We put this into a battery powered garden sprayer although you can use a hand pump one. Whatever you use, it is important to throughly clean it out once you are finished.

Be sure to work on a very sunny day with no chance of rain. We noticed some of the weeds started to wilt within an hour of application.

This is after spraying with the household vinegar formula. It did a good job on young, non-vine or creeping weeds. What is still green are the vines and creepers. It also did not work on grasses at all.

We then mixed up a batch of the weed killer using the 30% vinegar. The formula is one gallon of vinegar, one cup of table salt, and about a tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid.

We could not find the vinegar locally so we ordered from Amazon. Since we first posted this years ago, we have noticed that you can buy the 30% for readily in stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

Since it was stronger, we put it into a spray bottle so we could have better control of the overspray. It is important to keep this OFF the plants you want to keep.

TIP: wear a mask, preferably a respiratory type one as well as eye protection as this stuff is strong! I also wore gloves.

For your convenience, there are links to the products we use in our projects from Amazon as well as The Home Depot, Wall Control. (Mother Daughter Projects is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and links to Amazon.)

This is the same spot as in the picture before. As you can see, the 30% took care of everything. We will monitor this to see if anything will grow here again.

Here is the after of the driveway where it meets the road.

We sprayed this patch of grass with the 30% vinegar formula and within an hour, it was starting to brown.

This is the same grass after using the DIY weed killer.

Once everything was wilted and brown, we pulled up all the dead weeds leaving the rocks visible again.

This method worked well in Steph's backyard. Since she doesn't want anything to grown in the rocks, it was perfect for her backyard. From what I've read, this vinegar/salt formula can damage the soil it touches so keep that in mind when deciding if this method is right for your yard.

Do you have questions? If you didn't watch the video click the highlighted link. Take a look and you may find your answer to a question you might have.

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3 of 57 questions
  • Donna Glenn Donna Glenn on Mar 24, 2022

    How long before the weeds returned?

    Does the solution reach the roots?

  • MillieS MillieS on Mar 24, 2022

    will try it, need to kill grass roots between brick walkway Don't want them to come back. Question: the 30% vinegar it says to dilute it, do you or use it straight?

  • Linda Linda on Mar 24, 2022

    Did you also add the dawn & salt to the shine vinegar or use it alone?

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2 of 196 comments
  • L.p.marla L.p.marla on Mar 25, 2023

    It does work. It didn't sterilize my ground. With in 2 months had to redo the mixture. But it's less harmful than roundup.

  • Mps100928560 Mps100928560 on Mar 21, 2024

    When you say use "30%" I'm not sure what is meant by this. There is no percentage listed on New Zealand containers of vinegar except to say "contains 100% vinegar". I'm constantly pulling out weeds and I do try to pull them before they go to seed, but it's amazing where weed seeds come from "blowing in the wind" they are.