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A while back, i was looking for a herbicide to kill those pesky weeds in the interlock and driveway cracks. Boiling water did a good job, but for anything more than a couple small patches, i proved too time consuming. And dangerous, carting boiling water around. Most herbicides are bad for the environment, and usually persons too. I saw at a hardware store one day a large bottle of one for paths. It was about 30$, cheaper than others like Round-up (which is selective and not effective on growing varieties of weeds, and also possibly carcinogenic). What was in the kill-all bottle? Acetic acid. Otherwise known as vinegar. You can pick up the same stuff for less than 4$ for 4L at the grocery.

However, simply spraying this on will not quite lead to the desired effect. The problem is that it doesn’t really stick or get absorbed. A friend told me that it needs a surfactant in order to be effective, but since it isn’t food, there is no regulation requiring the disclosure of additional ingredients on the label.

Some searching online also suggested adding salt to increase the effectiveness. Here’s the current mix i use:

  • 4L pickling vinegar (7% acetic acid)
  • 250 mL fine table salt
  • 15 mL dish soap

Pour all into a large spray bottle, close it, and shake well to mix.

Make sure you buy sprayer labeled “bleach”. Others will break down in the acidic environment.

The mixture is non-selective, but has no residual action. Which means it is good for the environment. But needs to be reapplied as new weeds come out. It will kill any plants covers, and stray sprays may damage foliage unintentionally. It is best to use this in paths and driveways away from the plants you want to grow. It may have unintended side-effects, like the desire to eat fish and chips.

Posted in Garden, Make.

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