Vinegar is biodegradable.

How to Kill Bushes With Salt and Vinegar

by Sarah Mason

Removing unwanted bushes can be hassle, especially if you are short on time and energy. While pulling the pesky plants up yourself or hiring a professional is always an option, a more efficient, cost-effective method can be used: a salt and vinegar solution. Salt and vinegar can be combined to create a quick and easy plant killer, which will effectively dehydrate and destroy any undesired bushes in your yard.

Mix 1 pound of salt with 1 gallon of 5 percent acetic acid white vinegar. Vinegar naturally consists of approximately 95 percent water and 5 percent acetic acid, which is an acid found in all living organisms. Acetic acid is effective as an herbicide, since the acidity damages and dries out leaves.

Stir until the salt dissolves.

Mix 1 teaspoon of liquid soap into the solution. The soap will act as a surfactant, which lowers the surface tension of a liquid, thereby increasing the contact between the solution and the bush's leaves.

Pour the solution into a spray bottle for easy application and wide coverage.

Spray the foliage of the undesired bushes thoroughly until they are soaked. Vinegar is fast-acting; the acetic acid will quickly damage and dry out leaves. In addition, salt will decrease the available water and cause the bushes stress.

Repeat the process once per day for three days, or until you see the leaves begin to brown.

Items you will need

  • White vinegar
  • 1 pound salt
  • Liquid spray bottle
  • Gloves


  • Wear protective gloves when handling the salt and vinegar solution.
  • For best results, use heated vinegar once a day for three days. The vinegar can be heated in your microwave at 10-second intervals until warm.


  • Keep solution away from eyes and face; it can cause burning and irritation.
  • Do not use on concrete; the solution will corrode the area.
  • Keep away from desired vegetation to avoid accidental plant death.

About the Author

Based in Fort Worth, Sarah Mason has been writing articles since 2009 on topics including nutrition, fitness, women's health and gardening. Her work has appeared in "Flourish" and "Her Campus." Mason holds a Bachelors of Arts in economics from the University of Florida.

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images