Killing plants with vinegar


Garden Uses For Vinegar – Tips For Using Vinegar In Gardens

Many of us have heard about the benefits of using vinegar in gardens, mainly as an herbicide. But how effective is vinegar and what else can it be used for? Let’s find out more about how to use vinegar in the garden.

Using Vinegar in Gardens

It has been said that one of the benefits of vinegar in the garden is as a fertilizing agent. Nope. Acetic acid only contains carbon hydrogen and oxygen — stuff the plant can get from the air.

Vinegar has been recommended for use to up the pH levels in your soil. Apparently not so. The affects are temporary and require large amounts of vinegar in the garden before anything noteworthy occurs.

The last, but most commonly suggested use for vinegar in the garden is as an herbicide. Household white vinegar, at its 5 percent acetic acid level, does indeed burn the tops of the weed. It does not, however, have any effect on the roots of the weed and will toast the foliage of any other plants it comes in contact with.

Vinegar as Herbicide

Woo hoo! Vinegar as herbicide: a safe, easily found (often in the kitchen cabinet) and inexpensive product to use in the control of weeds. Tell me all about it! Okay, I will. The use of vinegar in the garden to retard weed growth has long been recommended by your neighbor, your neighbor’s grandmother and your own mother, but does it work?


contains acetic acid (about 5 percent), which as the nomenclature suggests, burns upon contact. Actually, for any of you who have inhaled a whiff of vinegar, it also affects the mucus membranes and causes a swift reaction. Due to its burning effects, using vinegar in the garden has been touted as a cure all for a number of garden afflictions, most notably weed control.

The acetic acid of vinegar dissolves the cell membranes resulting in desiccation of tissues and death of the plant. While this sounds like a splendid outcome for the plague of weeds invading your yard, I suspect you wouldn’t be quite as thrilled if vinegar as herbicide were to damage your perennials or garden veggies.

A higher acetic acid (20 percent) product can be purchased, but this has the same potentially damaging results as utilizing vinegar as herbicide. At these higher concentrations of acetic acid, some weed control has been shown to be established (80 to 100 percent of smaller weeds), but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, be aware of its caustic effects on your nasal passages, eyes and skin, not to mention garden plants and take the appropriate precautions.

Despite the longstanding proponents for using vinegar in gardens, little beneficial information has been proven. It seems that research conducted by the USDA with solutions containing 5 percent vinegar has not been shown to be a reliable weed control. Higher concentrations of this acid (10 to 20 percent) found in retail products may retard the growth of some annual weeds and will indeed kill the foliage of perennial weeds such as Canada thistle, but without killing the roots; thereby, resulting in regeneration.

In summary, vinegar used as herbicide may be slightly effective on small annual weeds during the lawn’s dormancy and prior to garden planting, but as a long-term weed control, it’s probably better to stick with the old standby — hand pulling or digging.

Additional Garden Uses for Vinegar

Don’t be alarmed if the benefits of vinegar aren’t what you thought they would be. There are other garden uses for vinegar that can be just as good, if not better. Using vinegar in gardens goes far beyond weed control. Here are more options for how to use vinegar in the garden:

  • Freshen up cut flowers. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar for each quart of water.
  • Deter ants by spraying vinegar around door and window frames, and along other known ant trails.
  • Eliminate calcium buildup on brick or on limestone with half vinegar and half water. Spray on and then just let it set.
  • Clean rust from garden tools and spigots by soaking in undiluted vinegar overnight.
  • And finally, don’t forget the animals. For instance, you can remove skunk odor from a dog by rubbing down the fur with full strength vinegar and then rinse clean. Keep cats away from garden or play areas (especially sandboxes). Just sprinkle vinegar in these areas. Cats hate the smell.

Extension in your Community

A big thank you to all who attended Spring Alive! The winter storm was unfortunate but I had a great time connecting with Master Gardeners and lecturing about “good bugs”. I always enjoy attending Master Gardener events such as Spring Alive because it is a local beacon of factual, scientifically based information. Neighbors are talking to neighbors, and better techniques of growing start spreading like wildfire. It is the main reason I am part of University of Minnesota Extension, and hope it is for you too if you are a Master Gardener.

On that note, I think many Master Gardeners and extension educators often find themselves trying to stomp out quite a bit of wildfires as well. Misinformation, pseudoscience, and gardening myths are everywhere, and are as stubborn as a thistle. One of those thistles caught me by surprise, inspiring me to do this article—that a concoction of household vinegar and Epsom salts can be effective in killing weeds.

Which to tackle first? Let us start with Epsom salts. This chemical is comprised only of magnesium and sulfate, and historically spread as a fertilizer, not a pesticide. It dissolves easily in water, and can be applied to certain deficient plants. Plants tolerate high amounts of sulfur and magnesium, and it is difficult to observe examples where these nutrients cause direct toxicity to a plant. Theoretically, you could apply so much Epsom salts that the amount of magnesium would interfere with the weed’s uptake of other essential nutrients such as calcium or potassium. This is not wise on several levels—first, because of how long magnesium can persist in the soil and second, the cost of doing so. In other words, keep the Epsom salts in the bathtub rather than use them as a pesticide.

OK, but what about vinegar? Unlike Epsom salts, horticultural vinegar has been used in organic agriculture as an herbicide for many years. It can kill weeds through simply destroying plant cells through the acetic acid in vinegar. Bear in mind this type of vinegar is not available at your local grocery store—horticultural vinegar can have up to 20% acetic acid, be hazardous to handle, and is labeled for agricultural use. Lower concentrations simply are not strong enough to effectively remove even small weeds.

Weather is also important with using horticultural vinegar. Rain can wash the product off fairly easily so reapplications may be necessary. A few companies may use something called a surfactant to help keep vinegar onto the plant leaf. A surfactant is a product added with a chemical (often pesticides) which acts similar to soap or oil. Surfactants help keep the active ingredient of the pesticide from washing or evaporating off, and thus increase its effectiveness. Surfactants are not foolproof, however.

Properly used, horticultural vinegar can act within 24 hours, with over 80% control on many common weeds. However, there are some big caveats associated with using this product. Unlike RoundUp (glyphosate), which moves within the whole plant, vinegar is a contact herbicide, which means it kills the area it touches. Anything less than 4 inches is a prime target for vinegar, and I can see it being useful if you are dealing with a bunch of pigweed germinating in one narrow area. Weed size is important because vinegar does not directly damage roots, and depending on the size of the weed, that root system can provide enough energy to keep the weed alive even after you scorch its growth aboveground—so if you are eyeing that 6 foot tall ragweed in your yard you can forget it.

Since horticultural vinegar is an acid, it can also scorch you. Read the chemical’s pesticide label (it is the law) and wear appropriate gear to minimize contact, especially with your eyes if the vinegar splashes. Also, keep this herbicide well away from any metal tools or drains to avoid any nasty chemical reactions. Do I need to say do not cook with it either? Please do not throw it in with your salad; this is a potentially dangerous chemical.

All in all, unless you are working on a certified organic farm, horticultural vinegar has a limited use in home gardens. If you have a large area with many weed seedlings, vinegar treatment may save you some time, but it will require possible reapplication due to wet weather. Tried and true techniques such as hand weeding, mulch, or cultivation may not be exotic, but they work. If you are dealing with a particularly nasty weed that resists these techniques, do not hesitate to call your local extension office where we would be happy to assist you.

Works Cited:

The idea sounds well-intentioned: Stop using weed killer and spray vinegar instead.

But as with many home-brewed garden remedies and even packaged organic ones, you still have to consider the potential downsides. Hint: There’s no scent of salad dressing in my garden (and no pesticides, either).

Vinegar’s active ingredient, acetic acid, can be produced naturally through bacterial fermentation, as in apple cider vinegar, or industrially, via chemical reactions from such source materials as methanol. But concentrations strong enough to be effective against anything but the youngest, most tender weeds, vinegar is no longer a food product but an herbicide called horticultural vinegar and not so friendly.

The Dangers of Using Vinegar in Your Garden

In concentrations this strong, vinegar becomes hazardous and can cause environmental damage. Vinegar is a contact or “burndown” herbicide, killing what it touches within hours or days. The worst part is that it may looks like it’s working, but weeds will then resprout from the roots, particularly perennial species.

That partial success worries Jeff Gillman, author of The Truth About Organic Gardening, because it often incites a gardener to continue using vinegar, even if it’s not the best for his or her garden. The gardener — seeing results but not entirely satisfied — often trades up to higher concentrations, replacing household vinegar (5% acetic acid) with a horticultural product (typically 20%).

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Despite the signal word danger on most such labels, gardeners may instead just see vinegar and be careless. Sobering details: In concentrations over 11%, acetic acid can burn skin and cause eye damage, and concentrations of 20% and above are corrosive to tin, aluminum, iron, and concrete and can even cause blindness. Such herbicides should be applied while wearing goggles and protective clothing.

And then, Gillman says, there is potential environmental damage — such as to the toad or salamander shading itself beneath those weeds. “If you’re talking about just-sprouted seedlings, and you go after them right away with household vinegar, fine,” says Gillman. Otherwise, it’s better to reach for a hand cultivator than a spray bottle.

How to Manage Weeds Without Vinegar

Nicola Tree/getty

Wary of horticultural vinegar? Rightly so. Preventive mulches, well-timed cultivation, and Jeff Gillman’s and my favorite remedy — hand-weeding — are indisputably effective and safe.

Margaret Roach runs the popular website and podcast.

Keep Fruit Flies Away

Protect your fruits and fruit trees by making a fruit fly deterrent or rather attractant that they get stuck in. To make: use 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp of molasses. Mix it all together. Using empty and clean tin cans, make a wire or sturdy string hanger and hang in your fruit trees. This will attract the flies and they will get stuck. A similar concoction can be made to trap fruit flies in the house too!

Help Acid Loving Plants

By using vinegar in the water, you can increase the iron in the soil, which acid loving plants like! To do this for hard water areas, add 1 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of tap water for watering your acid loving plants.

Keep Ants Away

Spray your ant infested areas and ant hills with undiluted vinegar and this will solve your ant problem! You may need to reapply a few times for a few days.

Deter Rabbits, Racoons and Cats

These animals hate the smell of vinegar and it will keep them out of your garden naturally and safely. It is best to soak something in full strength vinegar for an hour or so and then place around your garden. Corn cobs, cotton balls, rags, etc.

Rust Eliminator

If you have any rusty garden tools, yard tools or yard pieces, you can remove the rust by either soaking or spraying undiluted vinegar and rinse/wipe clean.

Kill Mold in Containers

It is important to start with clean pots or seedling starter containers so that you can reduce your chances of mold or fungus on your plants. Vinegar and water together can act as a natural mold killer in your containers before replanting.

Reduce Brown Spots in Your Yard

This one sounds weird and it will only work if you have a dog. Everytime you fill your dog’s water bowl, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the bowl. It is harmless for the dog, but as your dog pees in your yard, it will cure the brown spots….. now if only you can train him/her to pee in the right places! 🙂

Kill Grass and Weeds in Unwanted Areas

Spraying or pouring straight vinegar on your weeds or grass that has overgrown onto driveways or cement will kill them and stop them from growing for a time. Also, adding salt to the mixture may be a little more effective in this process. You also may need to do this a few times, but it is safer and a natural alternative.

Keep Your Garden Flowers Longer

If you want to enjoy fruits of your labors indoors with your cut flowers, you can make them last a little longer by making your own feed for your flowers. Just add 2 tablespoons vinegar and 2 tablespoons sugar in a 1-quart vase of water to your flowers. Trim the stems of the flowers and change this solution about every 5 days or as needed.

Potted Plant Fertilizer

Fertilizer your potted plants and purify the water by adding 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 1 gallon of water before you water your potted plants.

Feed Plants

Give your plants extra nutrients with a solution of vinegar, sugar and water. First, mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar for every 8 ounces of water. Then feed your plants as needed!

Clean Garden Tools

Easily clean your garden tools naturally with a bucket of vinegar and water. Just pour a few ounces of vinegar in a gallon of water and soak and rinse your tools before putting away or storing! You can also mix 3 ounces of vinegar in 32 oz bottle and spray it on to clean! This will also naturally kill fungus that may develop on your tools from the soil.

Kill Slugs

Just use undiluted vinegar sprayed directly on to kill slugs and snails that eat your lettuce and veggies.

Plant Fungicide

Similar to the damping off issue on your seedlings, you can take a mixture of 2 tablespoons of vinegar and brewed chamomile tea to spray on your plants outdoors to kill fungus and mold that may have grown.

Pecking Chickens

If you have backyard chickens, they can get to a point where they start pecking at each other. You can help solve this problem naturally! How? Just add a tablespoon of cider vinegar to their drinking water and they will stop pecking at each other! It is a safe and natural solution!

Also, see our 23 Ways to Use Vinegar Outdoors HERE for even more ideas for more than just the garden!

Epsom salt is another amazing natural gardening product. Read up on the 17 Incredible Reasons to use Epsom Salts in your garden!

What ideas do you have?

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Vinegar Uses and Misuses

Vinegar herbicides should be sprayed with backpack or pump up sprayers – not with hose end sprayers. Spray grasses and weeds in pavement cracks and gravel, around trees and other woody plants.

Vinegar is a fantastic product and has become an important staple for organic gardening and living. It is also now easier to find in garden centers, hardware stores and farm stores. The personal health and food versions are available in drug stores and grocery stores. Vinegar comes in several strengths and formulations and all forms have important uses if the right vinegar is chosen for the specific use.
Vinegar was discovered by accident about 10,000 years ago when wine was accidentally allowed to ferment too long and turned sour. It can be made from many products, including beer, apples, berries, beets, corn, fruits, grains, honey, malt, maple syrup, melons, molasses, potatoes, rice, sorghum and other foods containing sugar. Natural sugars in these food products are fermented into alcohol, which is then fermented into vinegar.

Organic apple cider vinegar that’s used on food and taken internally.
Fruit vinegar is made from the fermentation of a variety of fruits. Apples are most commonly used, but grapes, peaches and other fruits also work. The product label will identify the starting ingredients, such as “apple cider vinegar” or “wine vinegar”. Malt vinegar is made from the fermentation of barley malt or other cereal grains. Sugar vinegar is made from sugar, syrup or molasses. White, spirit or distilled vinegar is made by fermenting distilled alcohol. Distilled white vinegar is made from 190 proof alcohol that is fermented by adding sugar and living bacterial. Natural vinegar contains at least fifty trace minerals. Vinegar that is made from the petroleum derivative, 99% acetic acid, is not acceptable in an organic program.

10% white vinegar used to make my herbicide mix. 20% vinegar product that is labeled for organic weed control.

The strongest vinegar available in retail stores is 30%, but it is far too strong and should never be used. 20% or 200 grain is also available, but I consider it stronger than necessary in most cases. Some of the strong products are actually petroleum- based as mentioned. 20% strength vinegar is corrosive enough to eat metal and very harsh on the skin and eyes and dangerous to breathe. Fermented 20% is sometimes used for making commercial sweet pickles where stronger acids are needed to override the sugar. Real vinegar, made from grain alcohol, in 10% or 100 grain concentration is the proper vinegar to use for killing weeds. It can be sprayed straight with no water dilution; however, 20% vinegar is the one primarily found in garden centers and hardware stores in the U.S. For a more powerful product, add 1-2 oz. of orange oil and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap per gallon of vinegar. Vinegar is a non-selective herbicide and especially effective on weeds in cracks and in gravel areas. It will kill broadleaf plants and grasses. If the mix is used, keep it shaken during the spraying. The 5% vinegars are for use on food and for helping plants. Use 1 oz. of 5% vinegar per gallon of water when watering potting plants indoors or out. Apple cider vinegar is best because it has more trace minerals and greater fertilizer value. It can also be used at 1 oz. per gallon of water in foliar sprays or in your own Garrett Juice mix. The best apple cider vinegars are those that are organic and contain the “mother” which is the solid looking material in the liquid. Oh yes, I also take at least a tablespoonful myself twice a day. A few drops in your pet’s water or food daily is also a good idea. Here’s more details on the various uses.

Weed Control
Killing weeds can be done with vinegar has a few options. The homemade mix that I often use is 1 gallon of 8-10% white vinegar with an ounce of orange oil added. Some gardeners like to use 20% vinegar and more like 2 ounces of orange oil along with a tablespoon of liquid soap. Avoid the petroleum-based products but 20% vinegar products that are made by fermenting grain alcohol are perfectly acceptable but may be stronger than you need. The one exception is a 20% vinegar product that is labeled properly for organic weed control. It is available in garden centers and farm stores under at least three different brand names. When proper labels are more important than saving money with home brews it’s a good way to go. Remember that vinegar herbicide of any kind is non-selective and needs to be carefully spot sprayed carefully on weeds to avoid damaging good plants. There’s one exception to that. When the summer turfgrasses go completely dormant in winter, the entire lawn can be spray with vinegar herbicides and/or other organic herbicides such as fatty acid and hydrogen peroxide products. They will kill the young winter weed seedlings without hurting the turfgrasses. Vinegar sprays work wonderfully when used to kill weeds in the cracks in sidewalks and driveways. They also works well to spray weeds in gravel walks and driveways. It works best when sprayed full strength during the heat of the day and in full sunlight.
The strongest vinegar available in retail stores is 30% but it is far too strong and I do not recommend it. At this strength it is corrosive enough to eat metal and must be handled carefully in plastic containers.
Horticultural Sprays
Apple cider vinegar is also quite helpful as a key ingredient in organic foliar sprays and soil drenches. Being organic is not critical for this use. Whether the liquid tool you are using is seaweed, liquid fish, the entire Garrett Juice formula or any other mixture, vinegar not only provides bio-available trace minerals but also helps the synergy of the mix and makes the individual ingredients more effective. My favorite mixture is easy to make at home and you’ll find it highly beneficial to all plants including interior plants like orchids. It is 1 cup of compost tea or liquid humate and 1 ounce each of liquid seaweed, molasses, apple cider vinegar and liquid fish. This mixture, by the way, is Garrett Juice.
Water Treatment
If your water is alkaline, add 1 tablespoon of 50-grain (5 percent) apple cider vinegar to each gallon of water to improve the quality of the water for potted plants
and beds. This doesn’t have to be done with every watering, though it wouldn’t hurt. This technique is especially helpful when trying to grow acid-loving plants such as gardenias, azaleas and dogwoods. A tablespoon of vinegar per gallon added to the sprayer when foliar feeding lawns, shrubs, flowers, and trees is also highly beneficial, especially where soil or water is alkaline. Vinegar can also be applied with the watering can.
Human Health General Tonic
In addition to the horticulture and agriculture uses, vinegar provides important health benefits for animals and people. Taken internally, apple cider vinegar is credited with maintaining the acid/alkaline balance of the digestive tract. I take a large spoonful straight, mixed within water or in a wheatgrass drink usually in the morning but others prefer it in the evening as part of a nighttime tonic. For internal use, organic apple cider vinegar (5% concentration) should be used. I also use the same product full strength as a rinse after showering. Your skin feels great and it seems to help relieve skin blemishes, rashes and the like. The main substance in vinegar, acetic acid, can kill bacteria and/or prevent them from multiplying and reaching harmful levels. It has a history of use as a disinfectant and natural preservative.
Vinegar apparently provides at least some cures for allergies (including pet, food and environmental), sinus infections, acne, high cholesterol, flu, chronic fatigue, Candida, acid reflux, sore throats, dermatitis, arthritis, gout – and the list goes on. Apple cider vinegar also helps breaks down fat and is widely used to lose weight. It also brings a healthy, rosy glow to the complexion and can cure rough scaly skin. It can help cure a sore throat. Use 3 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar, 3 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. of honey and 16 oz. water and sip. Adding juice from chopped ginger can be used for more power.
Apple cider vinegar can also help with hair conditioning, skin care, dental care and as a cleaning agent. Studies suggest that vinegar can increase feelings of fullness and
help people eat fewer calories, which can lead to weight loss. Mixing with natural honey improves the taste. Both apple cider vinegar and honey have a low pH, but both turn alkaline when consumed helping balance your body’s pH. There are studies showing that vinegar helps reduce blood pressure in rats. Unfortunately, what works in animals but doesn’t always work in humans.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Animals
Apple cider vinegar is also wonderful for animals, including dogs, cats and horses. It can help with arthritis, lessen allergies, reduce flea problems, repel flies, give a beautiful shine to coats and help provide correct pH balance. You can give apple cider vinegar to any animal by simply adding it to drinking water or to the food – which works better for our dogs.
If your dog has itchy skin, the beginnings of a hot spot, incessantly washes its feet, has smelly ears, or is picky about his food, an application of apple cider vinegar can help. Use it in the food at 1 tablespoon, two times a day for a 50 lb. dog. For itchy skin or the beginning hot spots, put apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle, part the hair and spray on. Any skin eruption will dry up quickly and shaving the dog won’t be necessary. If the skin is already broken, dilute apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water and spray on.
After grooming sessions, use a few drops in dogs’ ears to avoid ear infections. Fleas, flies, ticks, bacteria, external parasites, mange, ring worm and other diseases are unlikely to bother a dog treated with vinegar. Should you ever experience any of these with your dog, bathe with a nice gentle herbal shampoo – one that you would use on your own hair – rinse thoroughly with vinegar, and then sponge on apple cider vinegar diluted with equal amounts of warm water. Allow your dog to drip dry. It is not necessary to use harsh chemicals for minor flea infestations. All fleas drown in soapy water and the apple cider vinegar works as a preventative. When you take your dog away from home, spray your dog before you leave home and when you get back. For raw spots caused by excessive licking, put a few drops in water and sponge the affected areas.
Vinegar Checklist

  • 20-30% vinegar products – don’t use unless they are fermented from grain alcohol and not petroleum based. Even then, be careful handling.
  • 8-15% white pickling vinegars – (10% is most common) – use in my organic herbicide formula.
  • Real vinegars only – use those made from fermentation of natural materials.
  • Synthetic vinegars – don’t use products made from glacial acetic acid – these are petroleum based.
  • Apple cider vinegars (5%) – use in Garrett Juice formula, in the watering can and in your food.

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Vinegar as an Insect Garden Spray

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Organic gardening has many benefits. At the top of that list is avoiding the chemicals present in pesticides, which are regularly used in non-organic gardening. Not being able to use pesticides on a garden, however, can present a challenge to organic gardeners when trying to keep away garden-loving insects. A few common household substances can be used for organic pest control, including vinegar.

Vinegar Solution

While both white and apple cider vinegars are effective at eliminating garden pests, white vinegar is generally cheaper than apple cider vinegar, so it’s your best option if you want to save some money. To create a vinegar spray that works on garden insects, combine three parts water with one part vinegar in a spray bottle and add a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent. Swirl in the spray bottle to mix the contents thoroughly before use on the garden.


A vinegar spray can ward off several different species of insect. Slugs, moths and ants are just a few of the vinegar-phobic pests in your garden. Once your vinegar solution is mixed up, spray only the leaves of your garden plants about once each week. You can also create an invisible wall for those insects that crawl into the garden by spraying around the garden’s perimeter.


When used in slightly higher concentrations, vinegar can also serve as an effective weed killer in your garden. Mix a 50-50 vinegar-to-water solution in a spray bottle and spray directly on weeds growing nearby. Vinegar is also a deterrent to grass growth and can kill grass anywhere that you need to eliminate, such as grass growing up through cracks in your walkway.

Danger of Using Vinegar in the Garden

Vinegar is the most potent when used on weeds and grass, but it’s acidic enough to harm some of the other plants in your garden as well. Avoid spraying vinegar directly on your vegetables or flowers. As long as you are using the more diluted solution, the mist from the vinegar shouldn’t harm your garden’s plants, but, if the solution isn’t working to get rid of insects, don’t increase the amount of vinegar you use.

Horticultural Vinegar

Vinegar is so effective at eliminating garden pests that vinegar-based sprays are now being manufactured exclusively for use in yards and gardens. These sprays are very strong, up to 1,000 times the strength of household vinegar, and kill everything, both insects and plants. They should be used only on extremely infested gardens that are already a lost cause.

Vinegar Uses and Vinegar Tips: Gardening with Vinegar

Vinegar Uses and Vinegar Tips: Gardening with Vinegar
Author: Kathryn Bax – Website Owner and Developer of Country Living and Farm Lifestyles

Vinegar has many uses and benefits and best of all, it is safe to use, doesn’t harm the environment, is freely available and it is cheap! It really is, therefore your eco-friendly organic pesticide, organic insecticide, and organic herbicide.

Here you will learn about the uses of vinegar and how you can garden with vinegar and pick up a few vinegar tips along the way. Along with getting rid of garden pests, it has so many other uses as well. It can also be used full-strength or diluted depending on the job at hand. It can also be used quite readily in the kitchen, bathroom and other areas of the house, but today, we are going to just concentrate on the outside areas. One word of warning, however, remember that when it is all said and done, you are working with acid, so make sure you protect your eyes. So what exactly can vinegar do for you?

Vinegar Uses: Keep Cats at Bay

First of all, for those of you who are plagued by pests and little critters in the garden, fret no more. Gardening with vinegar will keep cats at bay if you spray in areas you want to deter them, particularly that sand-pit you may have in the garden for the children but those cats will insist on using as their own private toilet! Heavily spray full-strength vinegar around the edges of the sandpit and remember to re-apply after it rains.

Vinegar Uses: Problems with Rabbits?

Are those rabbits eating your vegetables, particularly your beans and peas? Soak corncobs in full strength vinegar for a couple of hours until they are thoroughly soaked. You may even soak them overnight if you wish. Then place the cobs strategically around your veggie patch. They will keep rabbits away for as long as you re-soak your corncobs every two weeks.

Vinegar Uses: Problems with Ants?

Do you have an ant problem? Here’s another great vinegar tip. As an organic insecticide, you can apply full-strength vinegar to the ants and they will not come anywhere near the stuff. This is very useful if you find a trail of them making a way into your house. Just spray the thresholds and reapply every couple of days to ensure that they stay away.

Vinegar Uses: Problems with Snails and Slugs?

Gardening with vinegar is an answer to your problems with slugs and snails and vinegar here is your organic pesticide. Slugs are real pests, because they eat both vegetables, especially lettuces and plants, especially hostas. In this case, vinegar acts as a poison to the slugs because, if you spray slugs with it directly, they will die. You can treat snails in exactly the same way. However, because vinegar is also a herbicide, be careful where you spray your vinegar. Salvias for example will die, if they are sprayed as a casualty.

Vinegar Uses: Problems with Fruit Flies?

Are your fruit trees being invaded by fruit flies? Try this fruit fly bait, which is deadly and effective. Take 1 cup of water, a half a cup of cider vinegar, a quarter of a cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of molasses. Mix it all together. Take old tin cans without their lids and make two holes in opposite ends for wire handles. Attach the handles and add an inch of the mixture to each can. Hang 2 – 3 tins in each tree. Check on the traps on a regular basis to refill and clean when necessary.

Vinegar Uses: Vinegar as an Organic Fungicide

Ever thought of vinegar being an organic fungicide? After you have been digging in the garden with your gardening tools, soak them in a bucket of half-strength vinegar. This will act as a fungicide and kill off anything that may be lurking unsuspectingly so that there is no possibility of cross-contamination when you use them next.

Gardening with Vinegar will also help ailing plants. Are your garden plants struggling and your roses suffering from black spot or other fungal diseases? Take 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and mix it with 4 litres of compost tea. Now spray your garden plants with this mixture and see the difference. For roses, the method is slightly different. Take 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar, and mix it with 4 litres of water to control those fungal diseases. Of course, don’t forget the compost tea either on your roses to get the best results. For powdery mildew take 2-3 tablespoons of cider vinegar and mix with 4 litres of water and spray your plants. This will help control the problem.

Vinegar Uses: Vinegar for Acid Loving Plants

What about your acid-living plants like azaleas, gardenias and rhododendrons? Are they flowering as well as they could be? If not increase the soil’s acidity with this little vinegar tip. In hard water areas, add 1 cup of vinegar to 4 litres of tap water. It will also release iron into the soil for the plants to use. And if you have too much lime in your garden, add vinegar to neutralize it.

Vinegar Uses: Vinegar as an Organic Herbicide

In gardening with vinegar you can use it as an organic herbicide. Do you have weeds coming up in between your paving slabs on our driveway or pathway that you cannot remove by hand? Don’t use a herbicide that is know to damage the environment. Use eco-friendly vinegar as an alternative instead. Take 1 litre of boiled water, 2 tablespoons of salt and 5 tablespoons of vinegar. Mix altogether, and whilst still hot, pour onto the offending plants.

Vinegar Uses: Vinegar for Seed Germination

Did you know that you can improve your germination success rate of seeds by using vinegar? This is especially useful for those seeds that are more difficult to germinate such as asparagus and okra, morning glories and moonflowers. Rub the seeds gently first between two pieces of coarse sandpaper. Then soak the seeds overnight in 500 ml of warm water, 125 ml of vinegar and a squirt of washing-up liquid. Plant the next day as normal. You can use the same method, but without the sandpaper for nasturtiums, parsley, beetroot, and parsnips.

Vinegar Uses: Vinegar and Chickens

Will gardening with vinegar help you with squabbling chickens? You bet! Here is another vinegar tip, this time using cider vinegar. Add a tablespoon of cider vinegar to their drinking water, and they will stop pecking each other!

If you are impressed with the many uses of vinegar, you should be, because it is a very useful, and cheap liquid that is accessible to everyone. You may also be amazed when you hear that vinegar has some incredible health benefits as well. If you are interested in your health, and would like to learn more about the health properties of vegetables, vinegar and aloe vera, then for more details.

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© Copyright 2008-2019 by Kathryn Bax

Apple Cider Vinegar – Household & Pest Control Benefits

Apple cider vinegar is something that you can get at the grocery store for a couple dollars per gallon bottle. It’s a cheap product but the health and household benefits are priceless. This article covers the health and household benefits associated with apple cider vinegar, which have stood the test of time.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Pest Control

Apple cider vinegar can be used to repel and eliminate common pests. It works at eliminating pests that are indoors as well as outdoors. A lot of people use apple cider vinegar as a way to eliminate fruit flies from the house, which is done using a fruit fly vinegar trap.

This is very easy to make because all you need is a cup or bowl, apple cider vinegar, and some dish soap. Some people put plastic wrap over the top of the bowl or cup and poke small holes into it. You don’t actually have to use the plastic wrap unless you want to or feel like it will be beneficial in the location of the bowls.

Add apple cider vinegar to a bowl, using as little or much as you want, and then add about two drops of dish soap. Set the bowl where the fruit flies are likely coming from for the best results. This could be in areas such as near the kitchen sink, by the trash can, or by the bowl of fruit.

Within hours you will have a ton of fruit flies floating in the water. The good news is that the longer you leave it out the more fruit flies you’ll collect. You can dump the water and replace the trap as needed and set as many of them around the house as you need to get the job done.

Apple cider vinegar is also great at repelling ants and it’s very easy to make an ant repellent with this vinegar. You just want to grab a spray bottle and mix one part apple cider vinegar to one part water. Just take the spray and spray it along the areas where you notice the ant trails. Typically, these trails are near windows, doors, or around the baseboards. Spraying along the ant trail will prevent more ants from coming into your home.

You also can spray the apple cider vinegar mixture right onto the ants to kill them, which works best if you have a large number of ants at once you need to get rid of. Spray counters, cabinets and anywhere else you think the ants are traveling.

If you have a problem with aphids, then you might want to try apple cider vinegar to help get rid of these crop-killing bugs. Take a bottle and combine 1-ounce of apple cider vinegar with 3-ounces of water and mix it together. You can spray this on your plants to keep the aphids off of them, although some plants don’t like the acidic nature of apple cider vinegar. It could end up hurting your plants if you spray too much or spray too often.

If aphids are killing off everything in your garden, then it’s at least worth a try to use the apple cider vinegar. You should spray only a small amount the first few times you use it on or near your plants so that you can gauge the reaction of those plants. If nothing seems wrong with your plants and they appear healthy, continue using small amounts of apple cider vinegar as needed to keep the aphids away.

Using the Vinegar for House Cleaning

Using apple cider vinegar as a house cleaner works pretty well and will clean a variety of items within your household. It will work in the kitchen and bathroom, but also works well in your laundry. You can get a spray bottle and mix apple cider vinegar and water in equal parts to create a cleaner that’s all-purpose. Use this to spray down your counter, sink, microwave, cutting boards, and anything else in your kitchen. It will leave your windows streak-free as well if you use the mixture on the windows around your house.

In the bathroom you can use apple cider vinegar basically everywhere, but the concentration depends on what you’re cleaning. For counters, sinks, cabinets, and similar items you want to use a spray mixture of apple cider vinegar and water in equal parts. The apple cider vinegar can also get soap scum out of your shower or tub, but you don’t want to dilute it with water for this purpose. It can get rid of any mineral deposits you see and the best part is that it doesn’t need to be wiped off after being applied.

In the laundry room, you can use apple cider vinegar on the washing machine itself or use to help clean your clothes. Just add one cup to your laundry and you’ll notice the washing machine smells better and your clothes also smell better and get much cleaner. If you have clothes that have been sitting in storage for a long time, this is a great way to get the lingering smell out without harming the clothing itself.

It also works well as a monthly treatment option to keep your washing machine smelling like new and not like mildew or mold. The smell might seem strong to you at first, but it quickly goes away and turns into a sweeter and milder smell.

Applying Vinegar to Kill Garden Weeds

If weeds in your garden are a huge problem, then just use a simple apple cider vinegar recipe to cure that issue. Take two cups of apple cider vinegar and mix it with one-half cup of Epsom salt. Put this mixture into a spray bottle and then shake it all up to ensure the ingredients are mixed together. Spray on the weeds moderately and within just 24 hours they should begin to die off. Spray on the weeds a while before it rains because if you do it right before it rains, the vinegar will just wash away and it won’t work at really soaking into the weeds.

It’s important that you don’t spray too much because the apple cider vinegar can kill plants. There are several plants that hate the acidity found in apple cider vinegar and they will begin to wilt if sprayed too much with this vinegar. If you notice that the vinegar is harming your plants, you should either stop using it altogether or cut back on the amount you are using. Some people prefer to just use the apple cider vinegar in the driveway to kill the weeds in between the cracks, since most people don’t have any plants in this area.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss

Apple cider vinegar itself may help increase the feeling of fullness, but it won’t work on its own for losing weight. It can help lower blood sugar levels and also insulin levels, which are important for feeling full and not overeating.

Apple cider vinegar is useful as a weight loss aid because it gives you the ability to take in fewer calories each day since you’ll feel fuller overall. It makes more sense that if you feel fuller then you won’t be taking in as many calories or snacking as much during the day.

Using apple cider vinegar also isn’t going to help you lose a ton of weight either, so keep your expectations fairly low. You may lose another pound or two but it’s not going to be a quick 10-pound drop. It’s more about your overall lifestyle and diet than just one product such as apple cider vinegar. The good news is that it can help people in certain situations lose some weight around their belly and feel fuller for longer.

Helping Patients with Diabetes

Apple cider vinegar is actually really good for people who have Type 2 diabetes and it can help control blood sugar and insulin levels. The apple cider vinegar can help significantly lower the blood sugar when eating a meal high in carbs. Studies have shown that if you take two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before you go to bed, your fasting blood sugar can be reduced by four percent.

A study also showed that consuming 50 grams of white bread and taking apple cider vinegar can reduce the blood sugar by 34 percent. Apple cider vinegar works because it helps increase insulin responses, which will lower the blood sugar levels after eating. If you are on medications to help control your Type 2 diabetes, you should talk to your doctor before beginning a regime with apple cider vinegar.

While the apple cider vinegar isn’t a cure-all and won’t replace diabetes medications, it can help keep your blood sugar levels more controlled. You may also notice that your A1C levels are getting better too, which is important for maintaining your health. It’s important to prevent the diabetes from affecting other internal organs so the better your A1C levels are over time, the better it is for your body.

Sam Choan is the Founder of Organic Lesson. He started this site to share tips on using natural remedies at home when such options are available.

Vinegar has myriads of uses in the kitchen, but it can also do miracles in the garden! Look at these 18 amazing vinegar uses to know more.

The vinegar is a natural product and is useful for both the home and garden.

1. Clean Clay Pots

Clay pots help keep the soil cool inside the pot in the summer, prevents water from being trapped and their warm reddish color provide attractive look too. However, as they age, they absorb calcium, minerals, and salts from water and fertilizers all making them look ugly. If you want to bring them to their original glory– Use vinegar. Here is how to clean them with vinegar.

2. Remove weeds on walls and walkway

Using vinegar is a great way to eliminate weeds that pop up on the walls of your garden or from the crevices of the walkway. To kill them, simply spray the place with pure white vinegar.

3. Get rid of ants

Vinegar is very effective in getting rid of ants. To repel ants, mix equal amounts of water and vinegar (either white or apple cider) and spray the solution on the ant hills in your garden. In the home, look out for ant’s entry paths, counter tops, sink, and windows. The strong scent of vinegar will make the ants avoid the places sprayed with vinegar.

4. Keep away animals from the garden

Many animals, including common garden destroyers like rodents, moles, cats, dogs, rabbits, and deer loathe the strong scent of vinegar. You can keep out these unwanted visitors from the garden by soaking several old clothes in white vinegar and placing them on stakes around your garden where they usually come most.

Resoak the clothes about every 6-7 days regularly for better results.

5. Extend the life of cut flowers

You can use vinegar to extend the life of cut flowers: Add two tablespoons of vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar per liter of water.

6. Kill Weeds

If you want to get rid of those pesky plants in your garden that come out again & again: Use vinegar. Vinegar is a weed killer and can be used for effective weed control. Spraying it kills weeds within 2-3 days after application. Here is how to kill weeds using vinegar.

7. Vinegar garden insect spray

Vinegar is an effective solution for eliminating garden insects. To create a vinegar spray that works on garden insects, combine three parts water with one part vinegar in a spray bottle and add a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent. Shake the spray bottle to mix the contents thoroughly before use in the garden. Here is more on it.

8. Deter fruit flies

Save your fruit crops from the fruit flies, make a bait using vinegar. For this, you’ll need a cup of water, half a cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp of molasses. Mix it all and put that solution in an empty container or tin can and hang it on affected fruit tree you’ll see how it will attract and trap them. The similar solution can be used for houseflies too.

Also Read: Apple Cider Vinegar Uses in Garden

9. Make acid-loving plants happy

Keep the acid-loving plants such as rhododendrons, gardenias, or azaleas happy with vinegar. Although its effect is temporary, you can give a quick acid boost to plants with vinegar. Mix cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water and water you acid loving plants with this solution.

10. Clean rust from garden tools

Vinegar can be used to make the garden tools rust free. Just spray or soak the tools in undiluted vinegar and leave them for a few minutes and then rinse and clean the tool.

You can also clean the birdbaths and birdhouses in your garden from vinegar!

11. Save plants from fungus

You can protect the plants suffering from fungus and mold; the vinegar fungicide recipe is simple and easy– Add 2 tsp of vinegar in brewed chamomile tea and spray this on the affected plants in your garden. It’s safe and organic!

12. Kill slugs and snails

Of many uses of vinegar, this one is getting popular among gardeners. You can kill snails and slugs with the help of vinegar. eHow has an informative article on this.

Also Read: Ways to Kill Slugs

13. Facilitate germination

The outer shell of the seeds is made of up a hard membrane that in some seeds disrupt the germination process such as in okra and nasturtiums. To facilitate germination soak the seeds overnight in water and vinegar solution. Don’t pour too much vinegar as adding just a few drops of white vinegar will do the trick. Not only will the seeds germinate quickly, but the probability of germination will also increase.

14. Outdoor furniture cleaning

Outdoor furniture is more susceptible to degradation, damage, and buildup compared to indoor furniture. After all, it’s exposed to all the diverse nature’s elements such as rain, frost, sun, dust, and whatnot! You can save your time and effort that scrubbing will take by wiping the furniture with a cloth soaked in vinegar to clean it. Vinegar is an effective cleanser that gets rids of the buildup and germs at the same time.

15. Cleaning birdbaths

Not keeping the birdbaths clean can turn your act of kindness into a disaster. The water can get contaminated by bacterias and severely affect the health of the bird. Weekly scrubbing with white vinegar keeps the birdbath in optimum condition and good as new. Also, it keeps the germs, unwanted odors, and algae growth and bay.

16. Removing water lines

Formation of water lines on old vases is a common occurrence which diminishes the beauty of the otherwise beautiful vase. It can be a glass vase or a vintage glass container that’s not cleaned in a long time, and thus mineral deposits form white lines or film. To remedy this, take a half tablespoon of salt and make its paste by adding an equal quantity of white vinegar in it. Rub this paste gently on the vase and leave it undisturbed for around 10 minutes. Wipe it clean with a paper towel, sponge, or bottle brush. It’s that simple!

17. Getting rid of berry stains

Harvesting berries take a toll on the hands as they get stained. If you got a berry stain on your hands, you already know how hard it can become to clean up that stain. Most of us wash hands again and again and try to scrub it off using a harsh chemical soap, which is the worst thing you can do for the skin. Instead, use distilled white vinegar to wash hands as that’ll get rid of the berry stains quickly and gently without making the skin dry, dull, and bruised.

18. Detering snakes

Just hearing the term snake gives chills to many of us, so don’t even ask about seeing an actual one. But as your garden thrives and grows, so does the chances of snake finding the shelter in there. As you already know that white vinegar has a pungent odor, and due to this odor, snakes are repelled by it. The best way to apply is to spray a white vinegar solution on the perimeter of your garden and especially any entrances snake can find into your property.

Surprising Uses of Vinegar: Detoxify Your Garden and Your Home

Are you concerned by how many chemicals you’re exposed to every day in your food, your environment, and cleaning supplies?

Maybe you’ve made a commitment to getting rid of pesticides and chemicals in your life – at least the ones you can control. Or maybe you’re not sure where to start. You know it would be better for the environment not to use bleach, but you’re not sure if anything else will get the job done.

In that case, let me tell you about the amazing uses of vinegar for your home and garden.

Amazing Uses of Vinegar for Your Home and Garden

You can use pure white vinegar to kill weeds and tufts of grass that grow in the cracks of your garden walls or walk ways. Simply spray them directly and they will dry up and die in 2-3 days. No need to use toxic herbicides.

Beware, though. Vinegar can kill your grass too and, if too much is applied, can make the soil infertile if you put too much in it, so be careful not to spray on your lawn unless you want to replant the grass.

Repel Ants

Ants hate vinegar! It’s a very effective way to keep them away. Mix equal amounts of water and vinegar and spray the solution on any ant hills you find in your garden. You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

Inside, spray counter-tops, sink, and windows with this mixture. The strong scent – which dissipates in a few minutes for human noses and repels ants by making them avoid those places. Even better, vinegar disinfects surfaces as well as bleach, but is non-toxic. So you can clean the kitchen while you’re repelling ants. I call that a win!

Clean Clay Pots

Many gardeners love clay pots. Their natural properties keep soil cool in summer, allow plants to breathe and look attractive in all kinds of settings. As clay pots age, they absorb calcium and other minerals from water and become discolored.

After you’ve scrubbed off any loose dirt in a bucket of water, soak your clay pot in this mixture: 1 cup 5% acidity white vinegar per 4 cups water. The less vinegar, the longer you’ll have to soak it. It should fizz and bubble – that’s how you know it’s eating away the minerals!

Soak again in plain water to get rid of the vinegar or send it through the dishwasher. It should be good as new. You can use straight vinegar on tough spots: just spray and scrub until the white streak is gone.

Repel Garden Pests

Guess what rodents, moles, cats, dogs, rabbits, and deer all have in common? Well, besides wanting to destroy your garden? They all hate the strong smell of vinegar.

Soak a few rags in white vinegar and place them on stakes around where you’re noticing the vandalism. Keep re-soaking every week for maximum repellent action.

Getting rid of snails and slugs with vinegar is just slightly more involved. Because these plant-eating creatures like to move around at night when it’s cool, you have to be sneaky to catch them.

Prop a board with a stick in your yard to create a shelter from the sun and wait until they congregate there in the daytime. Spray directly with vinegar and it will dissolve them. Watch out, though, vinegar can also kill your grass so you might want to try it on your driveway.

You can repel insects that are eating your plants with a more diluted form of vinegar that won’t hurt the leaves. Use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle and add 1 teaspoon of dish detergent. Spray on the leaves of your bug-eaten plants. Just be careful not to up the quantity of the vinegar if it’s not working or it’ll kill the plant.

Fruit and House Fly Traps

In late summer, flies can drive you insane! Make this bait to use indoors or outdoors: 1 cup water, half a cup of apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon molasses. Mix it all together and put in an empty container and hang from a tree or by a window indoors. Watch the flies get attracted and trapped by this clever device – no chemicals needed!

Save Plants from Fungus

If you have plants suffering from fungus and mold, you can protect them with a simple vinegar fungicide. Brew some chamomile tea and add two teaspoons of vinegar. Spray this solution on moldy plants – it’s totally safe for the plants!

Feed Your Acid Loving Plants

If you have rhododendrons, azaleas or gardenias you know they love acidic conditions. You can spray them with a quick pick-me-up: 1 cup of white vinegar in a gallon of water and watch them wake up.

Extend the Life of Cut Flowers

Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar per liter of water for any cut flowers you want to keep fresh for as long as possible.


Of course, the non-toxic cleaning properties of vinegar make it perfect for cleaning many surfaces – including your skin and hair. It can dissipate the stink from anything without leaving a lasting stink itself. Here’s a list of ideas:

  • Clean the rust from your garden tools with straight vinegar.
  • Clean birdbaths and birdhouses with a 25% vinegar 75% water solution.
  • Disinfect cutting boards or dishes after washing if you have no dishwasher.
  • Disinfect your toilet bowl and bathroom surfaces.
  • Clean floors and windows with diluted vinegar.
  • Rid carpets of pet stains.
  • Spot treat clothing stains for 5 minutes before throwing in the wash.
  • Use as a degreaser for kitchen surfaces.
  • Polish brass, bronze and chrome – gets rid of soap scum.
  • Rid your hands of that dry feeling after working in the dirt – it neutralizes the lime from soil.
  • Can be used as a natural deodorant and hair rinse to keep hair soft and shiny – it also helps treat dandruff, candida, and bacterial scalp problems.
  • Use to disinfect and freshen cloth diapers – and also sprayed on baby bottoms to prevent rashes and bacterial infections.
  • Works as a fabric softener – no need to use dryer sheets.
  • Works as a facial astringent.
  • Spray on smelly feet.
  • Spray diluted solution on your legs or face after shaving to prevent irritation caused by bacteria.
  • Vinegar works as a great after-sun spray to treat sunburns.

Take Away

These are just some of the great uses for vinegar in your garden and home. If you want to get rid of toxic chemicals in your home or just want to save money, vinegar is one of the best, cheapest, and most versatile products you can have at home.

Your Turn

What is your favorite way to use vinegar in your garden or home?

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