You’re overrun with weeds. There popping up through your sidewalk, your paver stones, in the cracks in your driveway, and your yard. But you’re scared of the bad press around some of the chemical based weed kills. Want to make a weed killer at home using vinegar?

In this article, I’ll give you the steps to make a DIY weed killer with vinegar, and also explain the things to watch out for, how safe it is, and which weeds it kills. I even offer up other environmentally-friendly ways to eliminate weeds, so you never have to use harmful chemical weed killers again!

Why DIY Weed Killer is Better Than Other Store Bought Weed Killers

Chemicals and Safety

Commercial weed killing products use highly-concentrated chemicals that attack the seeds, foliage, and roots of plants. While you may think this is great because it will kill the weeks. But the chemicals are actually unsafe to inhale or touch and also leach into the soil, harming nearby plants and the environment.

Homemade weed killers use natural ingredients like vinegar that pose no danger to humans, pets, or the environment. This is why many choose to go the natural route. This is especially true if you are spraying the weed killer in places that children or pets may walk or crawl.


You can recycle a bottle to hold your DIY weed killer, and then reuse the container again and again. Store-bought weed control products come in one-time-use packaging that adds to landfill waste. Many gardeners who focus on being friendly to the environment like the fact that you’re able to reduce a little waste in the process.

Time and Money

The time, and gas expense, of driving to the home improvement store to purchase weed killer adds up. Making weed killing products at home saves time and lets you mix up a batch quickly when you see weeds appear. The ingredients of the DIY weed killer are common items that cost a fraction of the chemical versions.

Recipe for DIY Weed Killer with Vinegar

You can use straight vinegar in a pinch, but I find using this DIY recipe works best to kill weeds.

  • 1/2 gallon of white vinegar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup castile soap

How to Prepare the Weed Killer

Mix the ingredients in a bottle and spray onto the stems and leaves of weeds. We recommend using a spray bottle like this one. But you can reuse any spray bottle you have on hand.

The vinegar sold at most stores has an acid level of 5 percent. Vinegar with a 9-percent or higher acetic level will kill weeds quicker.

Lemon juice raises the acidity of the weed killer and helps eat away the waxy coating on weed foliage, so the plant dies faster. Castile soap breaks up plant oils and helps the vinegar mixture grip onto the foliage.

The best time to spray weeds is on hot, sunny days, which amplifies the drying effect of the DIY weed killer.


Wear protective eyewear and gloves to keep the liquid away from eyes and skin since it can irritate some people.

Don’t spray the weed killer on windy days, since it will dry up the leaves of any plant it touches, even your favorite flowers and shrubs.

Is DIY vinegar weed killer toxic?

A vinegar with a high acid level can be unsafe if ingested, even though the liquid is considered non-toxic.

In terms of soil toxicity, excessive use can cause a rise in the pH level.

Azaleas, evergreens, and other acid-loving plants appreciate the extra acid a DIY vinegar weed killer adds to the soil, while plants that require neutral soil pH may suffer.

Types of Weeds this Weed Killer Will Kill

Vinegar is very effective on weeds such as:

  • Horsetail
  • Canada thistle
  • Young seedlings of any plant or grass

If you have patience, you can kill off tougher weeds by dousing new growth as soon as it sprouts. Continually destroying the foliage weakens the roots and the plant will eventually die.

How to remove the weeds after using the spray or weed killer

After the vinegar weed killing solution dries up the plant, you may wish to remove the dead foliage, so your home’s landscape looks nice.

I find the quickest way to remove dead foliage is to rub my shoe over the area until it crumbles away or cut the dead foliage with pruning shears. You’ll quickly be able to remove a ton of weeds and load up your garden dump cart to haul it all away.

Other options for killing or removing weeds

Other natural DIY weed killers are:

Pouring boiling water over weeds will show results in just hours, but it won’t kill the root of mature weeds, so expect to see regrowth within a week.

Mist weeds with water, then sprinkle baking soda directly on the foliage and around the stems of invasive weeds and watch the plant die off within a few days.

Go old-school and dig weeds out by hand to eliminate the use of any product that could impact soil pH.


Using vinegar for a DIY weed killer is budget-friendly, good for the environment, and saves you the time and hassle of shopping for weed killing products.

When you want to keep weeds at bay, following the steps in this article provides a safe, quick solution so your home will always look beautiful!