How long does vinegar take to kill weeds?


Vinegar it's good on chips and mixed with salt it can elevate a packet of crisps to god tier! Did you know this humble household staple can also be used as an effective and cheap weed killer?

Yep, you heard that right vinegar kills some weeds, spray it on and the acetic acid inside will burn away the weeds - you don't need special vinegar.

Caveat: vinegar won't kill all kinds of weeds but it will damage most of them, they may regrow.

 TOP TIP: Find out how to use vinegar as weed killer, here 

How does vinegar work as a weed killer?

Acetic acid is the active ingredient in vinegar that allows it to kill weeds. Not all vinegars are the same though, regular household vinegars typically contain 5% acetic acid.

To use vinegar as a weed killer you simply spray it all over the weeds & wait. The acid content will burn away the visible part of the weeds.

Some enterprising firms have started selling "special horticultural vinegar" - there is nothing special about it, it's just acetic acid, just another chemical used to kill weeds.

How long does it take to kill weeds?

Typically you will start to see results within 24 hours.

First the weeds will wilt, then turn yellow and eventually shrivel up and die.

You should apply the vinegar to weeds on a warm day for the best results.

One of the reasons vinegar is a popular homemade weed killer is because it works FAST!

How much vinegar does it take to kill weeds?

It depends on how many weeds you have. Coat the whole weed in neat vinegar, nothing more nothing less : if you have a small amount of weeds you won't need much.

Give it a try on a small area and see the results for yourself before proceeding to a larger area.

Will vinegar kill my grass?

Yes. Vinegar is a non-selective, strong herbicide - it's not good for plants or soil health.

You should avoid using vinegar to kill lawn weeds, it will kill your grass and it may increase the acidity in your soil leaving your lawn vulnerable to pests and disease (like moss).

Does vinegar kill weeds permanently?

It may kill some smaller weeds permanently but in general vinegar just burns away the visible part of the weed, after applying you may notice that the weeds simply regrow after a few weeks.

The problem with vinegar is that it is a contact based herbicide meaning it will only kill the parts it touches. Often this means the roots remain intact allowing the weed to regrow.

Is vinegar better than RoundUp?

No. Roundup is specifically designed to kill weeds roots and all.

I know many of you will have an aversion to using any kind of commercial weed killers and that is fine, there have been numerous reports on the safety of Roundup.

We can't comment on the safety of Roundup vs Vinegar but as far as efficacy goes there is only one winner : RoundUp beats Vinegar every single time and it may even be safer.

Advantages of using vinegar.

  • AVAILABILITY: You likely have a bottle of vinegar in your home. It could be white vinegar, malted vinegar, apple cider or red wine vinegar. To some degree they will all work.
  • IT'S FAST: The acetic acid inside vinegar works fast! Typically you will see results within 24 hours whereas most commercial strong weed killers take 2-3 weeks.
  • IT'S CHEAP: You can easily pick up a bottle of vinegar for £1. It may not go far but if you don't have a lot of weeds you'll struggle to find a weed killer for cheaper.
  • IT WORKS: It really does work against most small, shallow rooted weeds.

When you shouldn't use vinegar.

  • IT KILLS GRASS: You have to be super careful where you spray vinegar, it will damage plants, grasses and soil - please don't use it in your lawn to kill weeds.
  • IT'S NOT EFFECTIVE: It does work to some degree but vinegar in no way compares to a strong weed killer, vinegar won't kill Ivy or Brambles & quite a lot of weeds will simply regrow.
  • CAN BE EXPENSIVE: If you have lot's of weeds or opt for "special garden vinegar" you could find yourself paying more for a less effective solution when compared to RoundUp
  • MAY HARM SOIL HEALTH: Vinegar can be harmful to your soil health, especially when applied in large quantities, this can prevent you from planting in that area for a long time.

About the author 


Hey there, I am founder and editor in chief here at Good Grow. I guess I've always known I was going to be a gardener. I'm on a mission to share my UK based weed control & lawn care tips with you all. If you have any queries please post in the comments below.

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