Inside: Vinegar Weed Killer
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.
What makes me Mrs.-Know-It-All-About-Natural-Weed-Killers? I don’t mention this much, but I am a Master Gardener and even when it was considered unscientific by the gardening set, I was using natural and organic methods in my garden. I’ve sat through numerous seminars by leading organic gardeners in Texas. They will back me up on this one I assure you.
All that aside, I have tried and occasionally failed numerous concoctions and methods to get rid of weeds. My knowledge comes from years of trial and error (more like trowel and error) in the garden.
Why, You Ask?
Household vinegar will not kill weeds, even if you add Dawn dish soap. It will cause the weeds to shrivel some, but that’s about it. Noxious weeds need something stronger.
There is good news. A stronger solution of vinegar mixed with orange oil will kill weeds and kill them for good. But, it has to be done correctly or the weeds will come back.
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. Several respected gardeners say that 10% acidity mixed with citrus oil will kill weeds. (*affiliate links)
For over 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, and 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.
Kill Weeds Once and for All
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 cup of orange (or citrus) oil. Mix well. (see my Warning above) Then, add to either a spray bottle like this one.* I highly recommend heavy duty rubber gloves* when applying with this type of bottle ~ it does tend to drip. (*affiliate links)
If you have a lot of weeds, this type of sprayer* will cover more area. Again, wear rubber gloves when applying. I would use this if I want to go after a lot of the weeds at once. I’d have it all ready and then wait for the right time day to kill weeds. (*affiliate)
For Best Results
The 20% vinegar costs around $20 which means you want to apply this correctly. Now here is THE KEY to effective weed killing.
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, grass, and plants just as effectively. Obviously, avoid application on windy days.
Another effective way to apply is with a paintbrush.
Also, keep pets away for a few hours. The product will dissipate quickly, but small pets could still feel the effects if they come in contact too soon.
It is also very important to wash out whatever spray bottle you use or the vinegar will corrode the working parts. Empty any unused vinegar/orange oil mixture back into a suitable container. Be sure the container is non-corrosive and heavy duty. Remember, you will be storing a very strong vinegar. Empty paint cans and milk jugs are not suitable. It must be a heavy grade plastic bottle, similar to the type that the vinegar comes in.
Where to get 20% vinegar and orange oil. I am able to purchase mine at Lowe’s. My organic garden center also carries these products. They are also available on Amazon. If you know of another place where these products can be purchased, please share, especially international readers.
Gardening naturally is so much more rewarding. Wouldn’t you agree?