Community Education on Environment and Development

Acetic Acid (Horticultural Vinegar) as a Herbicide

Substance Description

Acetic acid, a naturally occurring compound in most living organisms, readily breaks down into carbon dioxide and water. Common household vinegar is approximately 5% acetic acid and 95% water. Some commercially available pesticide products have up to 25% acetic acid.

How It Works

Acetic acid needs to contact plant leaves to be effective. It is the acidity of the solution that damages and dries out leaves, acting as a herbicide.

Where to Use

Driveways, railroad rights-of way, golf courses, open space, other non-cropland areas, and industrial sites.

Target Weeds

Annual and perennial broadleaf weeds and grasses, such as crabgrass and plantain, ground ivy, etc.


Application Methods

For best control of annuals, spray the product on weeds early in the growing season when there are few leaves. The product must contact the leaves to be effective. Use protective equipment (eyewear, gloves, full clothing, etc.) to guard against eye and skin irritation from the acid. It appears that multiple applications (3 for example at 1-week intervals) are more effective than one.

Source of Information and Disclaimer

The information above was compiled from a variety of sources and is provided for general reference only. Detailed studies have been conducted by various institutes and may be found online with the search terms "acetic acid weed control." The CEED Centre makes no claims with regard to the efficacy or risks associated with the substance referenced above.






Home :: About Us :: North Fraser FreeNet :: Campaign for Pesticide Reduction