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Vinegar for Poison Ivy

Vinegar for Poison Ivy

The land around our home is overrun with poison ivy. It is everywhere; a vine has even wrapped abundantly around the tree that holds the end of the clothesline so we can’t fix the rope pulley that is broken there. After a few years of passively accepting that I can’t hang clothes on the line, or that various family members get terrible rashes every summer, I’ve decided to do something about the scourge.

I won’t ever use herbicides out of concern for health and the environment, so I’ve been trying out various “down home” remedies. This one really works.

Before I tell you about what I’ve found that works, let me tell you of another alternative solution to herbides: Goats! For some reason, Spanish and Angora goat breeds absolutely love poison ivy. Make sure you get those particular breeds; most others don’t like poison ivy for their main meal. I would love to have goats, but my family won’t let me… !

Here is the homemade poison ivy vegetation killer spray that I’ve found is safe and effective:

Poison Ivy Vegetation Killer

  • 1 cup salt
  • 8 drops liquid detergent
  • 1 gallon vinegar

Combine the salt and vinegar in a pan and heat to dissolve the salt. Cool the vinegar, add the detergent, and pour some of the liquid into a large spray bottle. Spray the vegetation. (You can also just pour the mixture onto the weeds.) Refill the spray bottle as necessary. Note that this formula will kill all the vegetation, so make sure that you are only spraying the plants you want to kill. If you need to use a lot of this spray, avoid spraying it near wells, as the salt can leach into your water supply.

Read more: Nature, Natural Pest Control

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


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8:45AM PDT on Aug 16, 2014


12:33PM PDT on Jul 28, 2014

I just "brewed" my first batch and since I was cleaning my cats' water fountain as well I thought, hmmm - will this take off lime scale? And wow! It does! I hadn't added the dish soap at that stage, I just dipped a scourer-sponge in the hot vinegar salt mix and scrubbed away the scum.

6:10PM PDT on Jun 13, 2014

Using Epsom Salts (2 cups) is better environmentally that table salt. I use that with the same results.

3:01PM PDT on May 1, 2014

I've seen no ill effect on trees; in addition to spraying the leaves, if I can locate the root vine, I cut it and concentrate the vinegar mixture on that.

10:34AM PDT on May 1, 2014

will this mix hurt the trees? most poison ivy grows around trees.

4:17AM PDT on Jun 15, 2013

Cannot wait to try this. Read the same formula for killing thistles. It was recommended to cut the plant and then pour the solution onto the stump. The writer reported the stump dying that same day. Think it would be the same for PI. The problem is that the plant sends runners under ground and it may take some vigilance to get it all.

7:31AM PDT on May 24, 2013

Vinegar salt mix works great. Wait for a hot humid day and it works even faster. Doesn't work so well after a lot of rain, a few hot days in a row and they will soak it right up. Great stuff. By the way, the bleach/peroxide commenter....mixed together that chemical reaction makes NaCl and H2O...salt water. Vinegar salt works better. Thanks.

9:49PM PDT on May 12, 2013

Oh Godddd it burns! I thought this was a cure for poison ivy ... so I used it on my skin ... between my legs. Now my crotch is on fire. Awwww. Why? Why?

1:15PM PDT on Apr 14, 2013


12:15AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

Thanks for the info.

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