How to Use Salt and Vinegar to Kill Weeds?

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Another household item we can repurpose in our gardens is vinegar. Used in combination with salt, you can achieve a good weed killing effect in a natural, eco-friendly and pet-friendly way.

The problem with most commercial weed killers is not that they don’t eradicate weeds, but that they’re otherwise harmful to pollinators, helpful microorganisms in soil, and pets.

In short, they’re not environmentally friendly.

Vinegar, on the other hand, may need more time to achieve the weed-killing effect of a commercial weed killer, but it’s organic and safe.

In today’s article, I’m going to teach you how to prepare your own salt and vinegar solution to eradicate weeds and recommend other organic weed killers you may use as well.

DIY Weed Killer from Salt and Vinegar

For this recipe, I recommend using the all-purpose 5% acetic acid. For stronger solutions, you can use the 10 or 20% concentration, but the 5% solution works best for this recipe.

Use 1 gallon of white vinegar mixed with 1 cup of salt. On its own this solution won’t stick properly to the surface of the weeds, so also mix 1 tablespoon of dishwasher soap into the solution.

Stir the solution to dissolve the salt in the vinegar, then use a funnel to pour the mixture into a spray bottle.

Environmental factors also contribute to the efficiency of this mixture. So, there’s a way you should and shouldn’t use this mixture.

How to Use This Organic Weed Killer?

Ideally, you should spray the mixture on your weeds on a dry, sunny and warm day.

Coat the weeds with the solution thoroughly, so that all the weeds all soaked into the vinegar solution.

A potential disadvantage of this weed killer is that it’s technically an all-plant killer. It doesn’t select between weeds and other plants, so use it punctually in spots you want to treat against weeds.

Spray weeds near sidewalks, pathways, gravel drives, etc. directly on the weeds, and just the weeds. Don’t spray it everywhere indiscriminately, because it will kill off plants indiscriminately.

Vinegar has no residual action and weeds can come back a while after treating, so you will need to reapply it when that happens.

How Long it Takes to Kill Weed with This Method?

It will take a few days for weeds to completely wither and die. Usually, you will notice an effect within the first 24-48 hours of application.

It may take a bit more time, usually around 3 days or longer, until weeds are effectively killed off.

Avoid pouring the mixture directly onto the soil if you still want to use that soil to grow something else in it.

Even commercial weed killers can take a few days and up to 10 days to show results, however, these usually have residual effects too, so you won’t see your weeds growing back as fast or at all after use.

Does Vinegar and Salt Kill Grass Roots?

Killing grass roots with vinegar and salt mixture won’t be efficient against grass roots. The mixture only kills above ground growth, leaving root systems unaffected.

This is why perennial weeds and grass will come back after a while, and you’ll need to reapply the mixture time and time again to reach desired results.

Pulling weeds and grass out by their roots will remove the entire root system, and they won’t come back. Of course, this is a time-consuming method, not to mention difficult at times.

Pickling vinegar (20% acetic acid), however, can have a stronger effect in this mixture and kill even the roots of grass or weeds, but it’s also more harmful to microorganisms in the soil and you can potentially burn yourself with it.

If you still want to use an organic weed killer, yet you want the host of benefits of using a weed killer, without the downsides, I recommend that you consider commercially available organic weed killers.

Check out my recommendations below.

3 Good Organic Weed Killer Solutions

The weed killer solutions below are available commercially and contain a combination of vinegar with other natural ingredients meant to act fast and efficiently against weeds.

These solutions are natural, non-toxic and environmentally friendly. They’re also ready-to-use and fast acting, with results showing within the first 24 to 48 hours.

ECO Garden PRO

This is a vinegar-based organic weed killer that has been designed with all-round safety in mind. It’s safe for kids, pets, livestock, bees and fish, but not for weeds.

Eco Garden Pro is ready-to-use and works both in residential and agricultural settings. It can be used to kill off clover, moss, grass, and poison ivy as well as many other weeds that ruin the aesthetics of your driveway or walkway.

Besides vinegar, this formulation also contains organic rock salts, biodegradable plant activators, and fermentation derived co-factors. It’s glyphosate-free and delivers immediate results.

Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer

Another glyphosate-free weed killer with good effects on common weeds and grass is the Green Gobbler solution. It’s also vinegar-based, containing 20% acetic acid.

The product comes with a spray head, allowing you to use the solution straight out of the bottle. You can use Green Gobbler on the following types of weeds: crabgrass, dandelions, clover weeds, white clover, moss, and more.

Spray along driveways, walkways, parking lots, pavers and sidewalks. Besides residential applications, you can use it on farmland and barns for weed control in agricultural settings.

Bear in mind that vinegar-based solutions are non-selective herbicides, so make sure to spray it only in areas you want to kill off weeds. Avoid using it on desired plants or grass you want to keep.

For best results, use it on a sunny, dry day. Don’t use it after or before rainfall. Weeds must not be wet before applying the solution. Also, make sure to completely saturate the weeds with the solution.

Pulverize PWG-UT-128 Weed & Grass Ready to Use Weed Killer

Another organic weed killer you can try is the PWG-UT-128. Use it pulverized on weeds, grass, moss, or algae. The product claims to start acting as soon as 20 minutes after application.

As the other organic weed killers I mentioned so far, this too is a non-selective herbicide that will kill off all and any weed that you pulverize with it.

Therefore, you must use it as spot treatment and not indiscriminately. PWG-UT-128 can be used on concrete or pavement without leaving any stains.

The herbicide controls a large selection of annual weeds and can suppress the growth of certain bi-annuals and perennials. You can even use it at a pre-treatment in areas you want to plant grass or flowers.

Don’t wait for weeds to grow too large. The solution works best on weeds that are young and less than 5 inches in size. For sustained effects, reapply every 2-3 weeks.

Wrapping Up

Widespread use of harmful herbicides in agriculture, farmlands and residential settings has caused many problems to the flora and fauna in these areas. Pollinators, fish and other wildlife are often impacted.

So, it’s natural that more and more people are seeking out environmentally friendly solutions. Salt and vinegar is an often used alternative to these strong and harmful herbicides.

Whether you use a DIY vinegar solution or any of the organic herbicides I recommended, you’ll be doing the environment a favor, all the while freeing your garden of unwanted weeds.

Updated: October 16, 2020

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