Skip to content

Vinegar against weeds: Why the otherwise useful household remedy in the garden rather causes harm than help

Are you once again plagued by the many weeds in the garden and you are looking for an environmentally friendly option that will save you from plucking? In this case, many opt for various home remedies with which you can make a weed killer yourself. And if you search the net for a few ideas, sooner or later you will come across the suggestion to use vinegar for this purpose. You too? Then you may have also read on one or another site that this is harmful and even forbidden. Today, we would like to explain in more detail and list why this is actually not a good idea and whether vinegar is prohibited against weeds.

Is vinegar against weeds forbidden?

Vinegar against weeds - why the weed killer is harmful

Is it allowed to spray vinegar against weeds? In principle, there is no law that prohibits its use in the garden. Still, you should be aware that this is not officially an approved weed killer, which should matter if you value proper plant protection. This was not always the case. In the past, the product was allowed to be used in agriculture or in the garden and was still considered a suitable herbicide. Only on paved areas was the application prohibited. Why, we explain below.

So if you use vinegar against weeds, a fine is not a consequence, but you can cause damage with it. You are still in violation of the Plant Protection Act if you use agents that are not approved. However, there are vinegar-based hebicides on the market. Their use is permitted because the mixing ratio has been tested and approved.

Why you may not use acetic acid to permanently remove weeds between paving stones.

Vinegar water harms the soil in the garden

The exception is when you use it on surfaces that are sealed, because in this case you can also expect to be fined. The reason for this is that the herbicide is then washed away when it rains and gets into the groundwater, changing it. This, of course, affects other plants as well. It can also be washed into the sewer system and then enters the sewage treatment plants. Instead, you can resort to these remedies.

Why the home remedy against weeds is not suitable.

Does vinegar help against weeds? We admit that this natural remedy is quite effective, and even against a variety of weeds (the younger the better), but rather in combination with sun. As a herbicide alone, acetic acid is useless in the shade, for example, because only exposure to the sun allows it to dry and act well. And if it is theoretically suitable, why is it not recommended? We have summarized the reasons once for you:

Vinegar against weeds also dries up useful plants

  • When you use acetic acid against weeds, the plants are deprived of water, which causes them to dry up. Destroying weeds with vinegar is not done immediately, but after several applications, after which the dead plants only need to be scraped off and disposed of. However, in this way you destroy not only the unwanted plants, but also surrounding ones that are useful. After all, acetic acid does not “know” what is a weed and what is not.

Harm living things in the soil

Is vinegar against weeds prohibited by law

  • It is still an acid, albeit a relatively weak one. Thus, the agent has the power to also kill or harm valuable microorganisms in the soil, as well as other living things.

Vinegar against weeds affects the pH value

  • When you spray vinegar against weeds, the acid it contains remains in the soil. As a result, its pH is affected – the soil becomes acidic over time. This, in turn, also affects the growth of all the plants in the area, which previously thrived, among other things, because of the ideal soil conditions for them.

Does not have a long-term effect

Use acetic acid only in the sun for success


  • In most cases, only the above-ground parts of the plant are damaged, not the roots. This means that the remedy has only a temporary effect, because soon the plant will sprout again. Thus, you have to repeat the process again and again, which of course means that the pH value also remains changed and the soil can not recover.

Under what conditions you can still use the remedy?

Use herbicide correctly - dilute table vinegar or vinegar essence

If you take it with a grain of salt, you can still use the home remedy. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Never use the remedy pure. Whether it is vinegar or essence, dilute it with water: table vinegar in the ratio of 1:3 and essence in the ratio of 1:15.
  • Instead of spraying, apply the homemade herbicide in a more area-concentrated manner to damage only the unwanted plants.
  • If weed plants and crops are close together, do not apply at all.
  • The combination of vinegar water and salt is even more harmful to the environment and is not recommended at all if you want to remove weeds.
  • To be particularly precise (for example, to destroy unwanted plantlets in joints), use a brush and apply the vinegar against weeds on each leaf separately. This way, you also don’t risk acetic acid washing away from the stones the next time it rains and getting into the groundwater or sewer system.
  • Natural stone should not come into contact with the acid at all when you kill weeds, as it can ruin the material.

Vinegar against weeds under what conditions can be used