Make Your Own Weed Killer With Vinegar and Dish Soap

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

Everyone hates weeds. 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 eliminate weeds using natural ingredients without buying 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 coupled with dish soap.

What You’ll Need to Create Your Weed Killer

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

DIY Weed Killer Recipe:

  • One gallon vinegar (with five percent acetic acid);
  • One oz. dish soap;
  • Plastic spray bottle.


  • Mix the vinegar and soap together;
  • Pour into a spray bottle and spray directly onto weeds.

Weed Killer Application Tips

Before you apply this weed killer in your garden, observe these 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. Waiting for a windless day also means your spray won’t inadvertently land on other plants.
  • Your vinegar weed killer 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 garden to see which types of weeds it works on.

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

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Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and Certified Arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. Growing up in Southern California, it wasn't until she married and moved to Arizona that she began to try her hand at gardening. She received her degree in Urban Horticulture and went to work managing landscapes for golf courses and later working as a landscape designer. Noelle now helps people create the gardens of their dreams through helpful advice, focusing on using beautiful, low-maintenance plants. Freelance writing and speaking to groups about gardening for birds and butterflies keep her busy as well. Noelle occasionally serves as a bird rehabilitator in her community and says her feeder is always full. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her “playing” outside – growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.