Unwanted weeds and grasses tend to pop up with unexpected suddenness and vigour. Before long, thick grass and weeds can cover an entire lawn, and homeowners may decide to kill the existing weeds and grass and start a new lawn from the soil up. Other homeowners may want to kill the weeds and grass on a property to prepare the soil for other plants types, such as a garden or field. While chemical solutions are available, weeds and grass can also be killed with common vinegar.
Pour undiluted white or cider vinegar into a spray bottle or hand sprayer, depending on the size of the area you are clearing. Pour a small amount of vinegar into a standard 1 qt. spray bottle for spot-spraying small amounts of weeds, which only take 1 to 4 pumps of spray each to cover. Add 1 gallon to a hand sprayer to approximately cover a small yard.
Spray the vinegar onto unwanted weeds and grass. Coat the leaves of the weeds and the blades of grass entirely. Continue until all the undesired foliage is covered in vinegar.
Watch for any returning plant growth. Vinegar kills leaves of the plant, which collects energy, but does nothing to the roots, which stores energy. Apply vinegar to any sprouting grass or weeds until the energy in the roots is depleted and the plants stop returning.
The exact amount of vinegar to use depends on the height, foliage and thickness of the weeds and grass. Thick grass or tall, leafy weeds require more vinegar to coat the entire surface. Pouring boiling water over weeds and grass also kills them, but is more difficult to control and holds a high risk of injury during application. Older, hardier weeds or weeds with waxy or hairy coverings may prove problematic. If these weeds fail to respond to vinegar spraying, cut them off at the root and pour boiling water on the exposed cutting. Spray vinegar onto any new growth.
Avoid spraying vinegar near flowers, vegetables or other plants you want to keep, as the vinegar will kill those plants as well. Cover the desired plants with a tarp or bag if you must spray near them. Wash and rinse a hand sprayer before and after adding vinegar to it. Avoid pouring vinegar directly into the ground from the bottle, which could quickly cause the soil to turn acidic.