Make Your Own Weed Killer With Vinegar and Dish Soap

Rather than spending money on chemical treatments to kill weeds, mix up a natural DIY weed killer with ingredients you already have in your pantry.

I hate weeds. Don’t you? If you walk down the gardening aisle at your local nursery or big box store, you will see all sorts of weed killers to choose from. But, what if you could kill weeds using natural ingredients without having to run to buy one of one of those expensive weed killers. Did you know that you probably have a perfectly good weed killer in your cupboard? It’s vinegar! Yes, it’s true…vinegar does kill weeds, especially when used along with dish soap.

Dish soap, vinegar and a spray bottle are all you need for making your own weed killer. The acetic acid in vinegar “sucks out the water” from the weed, which dries it up. The dish soap helps to break down the outer coat of the plant (cuticle), which helps that vinegar to work best. Here’s how to identify weeds in your garden.

Below is an example from my own landscape to show how it worked.

Just 24 hours later….

I must admit, that I am really impressed with the results. Here is the formula for making your own vinegar/soap weed killer:

DIY Weed Killer Recipe

  • 1-gallon vinegar (with 5% acetic acid)
  • 1 oz. dish soap
  • Plastic spray bottle.

Directions: Mix the vinegar and soap together and pour into a spray bottle and spray onto weeds.

Application Tips

Before you apply this weed killer in your garden, here are some guidelines:

  • Vinegar/soap weed killer is non-selective, which means that it will also damage/kill your desirable plants. So be careful when applying to weeds.
  • Apply on a sunny day with no wind. The sun helps the vinegar to dry out the weed. You also want to wait for a windless day so that your spray won’t inadvertently spray onto other plants.
  • Your vinegar weed killer may or may not kill the root of the weed. You may need to reapply it if green growth shows up afterward or pour a little of the weed killer over the root zone to thoroughly kill large weeds.
  • Vinegar/soap weed killer will not kill all types of weeds. Experiment in your own garden to see which types of weeds it works on.

So, next time you need to kill weeds, simply open your cupboard and make your own weed killer with vinegar and soap. It’s natural, effective and cheap! Check out more ways to win the war on weeds.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.