Killing Stinging Nettles With Vinegar – How To Do It Safely!

The gardening world has been slowly moving back to its organic, no-chemical roots. Using natural fertilizers and plant care solutions is becoming more and more popular. Killing weeds in our gardens is one of the top complaints most gardeners have, and the move to more eco-friendly weed-killing solutions can be nothing but a good thing. One particularly persistent weed that can be the bane of every gardener’s existence is the stinging nettle.

So can you kill stinging nettles with vinegar? You can kill stinging nettles with vinegar. Vinegar has long been a fantastic and organic compound used to kill garden weeds like the stinging nettle. The acetic acid found in vinegar is where its weed-killing power lies. Although it can kill other plants and flowers if not used with care and caution.

It’s important to be aware that the vinegar you use in your kitchen has a very low acetic acid percentage.

Meaning, you will need to purchase horticultural products for the purposes of weed-killing if you want a swift remedy to your weed problem.

This would undoubtedly be the one to buy from Amazon.

However, if you are happy to wait a little longer and put in a little more work, culinary vinegar can work very well. 

If you are ready to use vinegar as an organic and chemical-free solution to keep your garden weeds at bay, read on to find out how to make your vinegar-based weed killer and do it safely.

How To Make Vinegar Based Stinging Nettle Killer

If you are here, we know you are probably looking to become more eco-friendly in your gardening practices and possibly even a little more wallet-friendly.

For this, we are going to stick to easily accessible vinegar that you would find in your kitchen cupboard. 

This is because the joy of eco-friendly and natural gardening solutions is that they are accessible.

Many store-bought weed killers and horticultural vinegar are out of budget for many.

All of the ingredients in our vinegar-based stinging nettle weed killer are easily found in your local store for mere cents.

A vinegar-based stinging nettle killer is very simple to make and consists of only three ingredients.

What You Will Need

  • 1 Gallon White Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Table Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Liquid Dish Soap
  • Large Bucket
  • Funnel
  • Spray Bottle
  • Long Handled Spoon
  • Plastic Container With Lid (optional)

How To Make Your Vinegar Weed Killer

  1. Pour 1 gallon of white vinegar into a large bucket.
  2. Add 1 cup of table salt and stir with a long-handled spoon until all the salt has dissolved.
  3. Next, stir in 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap, ensuring it is mixed thoroughly.
  4. Using a funnel, decant the solution into a spray bottle.
  5. Any leftover solution can be stored in the spray bottle or a sealable container. Just make sure it’s stored in a cool, dark place and labeled properly.

Will Vinegar Kill Your Plants?

Vinegar will kill your plants if you are not careful. Vinegar, like many other weed killers we use, is non-selective. This means that it will and can kill any plant matter it comes into contact with, as it cannot tell the difference between what we perceive to be a weed and a desirable plant.

Vinegar contains a compound called acetic acid that dissolves the cell membranes of plants. This results in the desiccation of the plants’ tissues and will ultimately kill them.

If you decide to use a vinegar solution as a weed killer for your garden, we highly suggest you don’t use it on weeds found in your lawn.

If you do, you will end up with unsightly withered brown patches.

If you are using a vinegar-based weed killer, it’s best to use it in areas such as walkways and patios where weeds tend to be isolated and are set away from garden plants you want to thrive. 

For weeds that are surrounded by annual or perennial plants that you really don’t want to kill, we suggest good old-fashioned digging and pulling as your de-weeding method of choice. 

Sometimes, the more physical deseeding options are still the best.

How To Safely Use Vinegar To Kill Stinging Nettles Only

The best thing about using homemade vinegar solutions to kill weeds like stinging nettles is that they are relatively non-toxic to humans if you are using the type of vinegar you find in your kitchen cupboards.

For example, A curious toddler who gets some on their skin with have no adverse effects, and if they push that curiosity even further and try to ingest some.

Well, the worst that will happen is that they will be left with a rather awful taste in their mouth and possibly a little tummy ache if they ingest a good amount of it. 

Although a vinegar-based weed killer is generally non-toxic to both humans and many pets, it’s still a solution you want to keep away from curious little people, and there are a few things you need to keep in mind if you want to use this vinegar-based solution safely. 

Spray Only

It is strongly advised to only spray stinging nettles with your vinegar solution directly.

This will minimize the vinegar solution landing or absorbing into other plants or flowers you want to keep and retain.

Avoid Soil Contact

The salt in most vinegar-based weed killers is not great for our soil, and a build-up of salt in your soil will render it useless for any plant growth.

It will also take an incredibly long time for the salt levels to reduce and soil quality to improve to a level where plants will happily thrive again.

So it’s important when using this weed killer to ensure you are spraying the weed directly on its leaves and stem and avoiding the soil beneath it as much as possible.

Use On Non-Windy And Sunny, Dry Days

The drift of this weed killer can reach more than your intended weeds, so it’s important to use it on days where the wind is as minimal as possible.

This will ensure that the product you are spraying is landing directly on the weeds and not being blown into nearby beds and landscapes. 

For this weed killer to be effective, you need to apply it when you have a few warm, dry days forecast.

This will give the solution the chance to work on killing the weeds without the risk of it being washed away before it has done its job properly. 

Wear Gloves

Although a one-off exposure to this weed killer won’t be detrimental to your health, long-term skin exposure can cause irritation and, in some cases, allergic reactions.

Just like when you are handling other garden items like compost, fertilizer, etc., wearing gloves can help maintain minimal exposure over the long term.

Store In A Cool, Dry Place

Any unused vinegar-based weed killer should be stored in a tightly sealed container, kept in a cool, dry, and dark place.

Make sure any container storing weed killer is appropriately labeled and kept out of reach of children or pets.

How Long Does Vinegar Take To Kill Stinging Nettles?

It’s hard to specify how quickly a vinegar-based weed killer will kill your stinging nettles, but many users have seen effective results in as little as 24 hours.

However, stinging nettles are a perennial weed and may require a few applications.

Vinegar-based weed killers will have swifter results on annual weeds as they are generally not as stubborn as perennials.

With a little persistence, you can kill stinging nettles with vinegar.

If you are one of the lucky ones, all it will take is one single application on a dry, sunny day to see that persistent nettle patch begin to wither.


With our desire to become more eco-friendly when it comes to our gardening exploits, it’s no wonder that the use of vinegar in the garden has become more and more popular once again.

A natural and more planet-friendly option to help your garden look beautiful while you watch the size of your wallet. 

Although your garden may smell like Italian dressing for a couple of days after application, whoever says this is a bad thing is completely wrong – Italian dressing is elite! – the power of vinegar as a natural weed killer can’t be denied. 

How effective is vinegar at protecting your garden? Find out in my following guides: