If you are like me, when you walk around the hardware store and see all the options for weed killers, you wonder if using these will do something to your kids.
That’s why I started spending time looking up natural alternatives to traditional weed killers.
In my research, I found there are many reasons to use vinegar as your weed killer instead of traditional weed killers. These reasons include that vinegar doesn’t include glyphosate like regular weed killers, kids are less likely to get sick from vinegar, it is a safe option to have around the house, it doesn’t seep into the soil like regular weed killers, and vinegar can sometimes kill the weeds faster than weed killer.
What is vinegar
Vinegar is made up of acetic acid and water.
The percentages of each depend on what type of vinegar you get.
According to FantasticServicesGroup.com.au:
Regular, white vinegar consists of about 5% acetic acid and 95% water. On the other hand, cleaning vinegar has an acidity of 6%. That 1% more acidity makes it 20% stronger than white vinegar.
Do not confuse cleaning vinegar with industrial vinegar. This product is mainly used to kill off weeds and contains up to 20% acetic acid. When it comes to cleaning, it’s usually used by professionals as it is really strong and requires protective gear.https://fantasticservicesgroup.com.au/blog/cleaning-vinegar-vs-normal-vinegar-whats-the-difference/
So the white vinegar you will get at the store only has a 5% of its solution as vinegar, compared to the 95% water.
On the other hand, cleaning vinegar has 6% acetic acid, which apparently makes it 20% stronger than white vinegar.
Additionally, you can purchase industrial strength or horticultural vinegar at up 45% (see link here).
Horticultural vinegar should only be used with eye protection and gloves, to ensure that you do not get burned handling it.
All of these options can be good for getting rid of weeds, but the higher percentage of vinegar is going to be more effective on the more stubborn weeds.
Vinegar doesn’t include glyphosate like regular weed killers
Glyphosate is a chemical compound that is used in weed killers.
A brief history of Glyphosate is explained by LiveScience.com
Henri Martin, a Swiss chemist, was the first to synthesize glyphosate while trying to develop new pharmaceuticals in 1950, according to a review in the journal Pest Management Science. But the chemical didn’t have much use in the pharmaceutical world.
Twenty years later, John E Franz, a chemist at the agrochemical company Monsanto, independently synthesized glyphosate after his colleagues found that chemicals similar to glyphosate were slightly harmful to plants. Franz found that glyphosate was a highly efficient plant-killer. Monsanto promptly patented the chemical and began selling its glyphosate herbicide under the trade name Roundup in 1974.
Roundup took off in popularity when Monsanto began to sell “Roundup-ready” crops in 1996. These plants, which included soybeans and corn, are genetically modified to survive being sprayed with Roundup. Between 1995 and 2014, global glyphosate use grew 12-fold, according to the 2016 study published in Environmental Sciences Europe.https://www.livescience.com/glyphosate-round-up.html
People are concerned with what glyphosate might be doing to us and to our plants.
Glyphosate is known as an effective “non-selective herbicide”, which means that it will kill any plants that it comes in contact with.
Vinegar is the same as well, but vinegar won’t typically get into the roots and soil of the plants like glyphosate will.
Also, people are growing increasingly concerned about how this herbicide is affecting humans and animals.
Again, according to LiveScience.com:
Glyphosate is sold for its unmatched ability to harm plants, but researchers have found that the powerful herbicide harms animals, too.
For example, a 2018 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the chemical could alter the microbe communities in some bees’ guts, making the bees more susceptible to infection. And a 2018 study published in the journal PLOS ONE showed that honeybees exposed to glyphosate had smaller and more developmentally delayed larvae. Other studies have shown that glyphosate exposure can disrupt bees’ sleep and navigation.https://www.livescience.com/glyphosate-round-up.html
If glyphosate could affect bees in this way, we can’t be 100% sure how they are going to affect us humans.
Vinegar, on the other hand, is a product we feel so safe about that we keep it in our pantry with all of our other food.
Vinegar is healthier for pets
Vinegar is mostly used as something to give a little more taste to your food or as a powerful (albeit strong-smelling) cleaner for around the house.
We’ve gotten out some of the deepest smells in our house using the combination of vinegar and essential oils.
But it is also very safe for any pets you may have.
And this includes using them as a weed killer outside.
So don’t be afraid of using vinegar as your weed killer if you have pets around the house and yard.
The pets might not like the smell of the vinegar, but it won’t do anything to hurt them.
Kids are less likely to get sick from vinegar
As mentioned previously, vinegar is something that is safe enough to have around the house and we even use it in some of our meals.
Weedkiller, on the other hand, is not something you are going to put in an area where your kids have easy access to it.
In addition to that, our kids are typically closer to the weed killer outside than us adults are.
Kids usually spend more time closer to the ground than we do.
They love to roll around on the grass or crawl along the grass during playtime with friends or by themselves.
There could also be a toy the kids play with that was on the grass during the time it was being sprayed, thus have the weed killer on itself.
And as much as we don’t like it when kids put toys in their mouths, it is almost impossible to stop them if they really want to do it.
All of these actions can dislodge weed killers from the grass or the toys.
Thus getting the weed killer into our kid’s body.
According to IAmGreenWise.com
Pesticides increase the risk of childhood cancers, such as leukemia and neuroblastoma (the most common brain cancer). The latest research shows that environmental chemicals contribute to the rise in childhood disorders such as autism and ADHD. A recent study shows that kids with ADHD have more pesticide metabolites in their urine.https://www.iamgreenwise.com/toxic-to-children/
So vinegar seems like a more safe option to have for our children.
It doesn’t seep into the soil like regular weed killers
Vinegar is highly biodegradable, meaning that it will eventually go away.
In case it rains immediately after you spray the vinegar, you will need to re-apply the vinegar because the vinegar will get washed away.
Also, weed killers are going to kill anything it comes in contact with.
And this includes things like fungi, which are actually really important to the soil.
The growth of the fungi allows for nutrients to go back into the soil, so the soil can continue to grow the grass.
But weed killers are going to kill the fungi, so those nutrients aren’t being brought back.
Vinegar won’t kill the fungi, so they will continue to grow and bring the needed nutrients back into the soil.
Vinegar can sometimes kill the weeds faster than weed killer
Vinegar can sometimes kill weeds within 24 hours of being applied.
There are some exceptions to this rule, as mentioned earlier if it rains immediately after applying the vinegar.
Most weed killers are going to kill your weeds within 5 to 7 days of application, with 2 weeks there being a guarantee that the weeds won’t come back that season.
The only downside here with using vinegar is you may have to apply it multiple times during the year to keep the weeds at bay.
But isn’t it worth doing it a few times if you aren’t getting glyphosate into your soil and keeping your kids safe from harmful chemicals?
Vinegar is a household product that we keep around the house for cleaning or for our meals.
This in and of itself tells us that it is something safe to use.
And this goes for treating the weeds we find outside.
Using vinegar has shown to be a lot safer than weed killers for our pets and our kids.
We may find we are applying the vinegar multiple times a year to keep the weeds away, but it is definitely worth it to keep everyone safer.