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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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1:35PM PDT on Apr 21, 2015

Wait a minute, this is a green living article, correct? Thank you for the one who already pointed out the use of table salt but how about the laundry detergent? I did a science experiment in collage and it was laundry detergent that harmed the drinking water. So I dont think this recipe is very environmentally safe. Just using 20% vinager with 80% water in a spray bottle will start to kill off the poison ivy within 24 hours.

9:16PM PDT on Mar 30, 2015

Thanks for this tip.

9:50AM PDT on Mar 21, 2015


9:49AM PDT on Mar 21, 2015


4:18AM PDT on Mar 21, 2015

No chemicals for the sake of safety for both ourselves and our environment

5:40PM PDT on Mar 15, 2015

Pretty amazing to see a 1999 how to article pop up in 2015! I missed it somehow, but see that no comments were made until 2007. Thanks for the recipe.

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.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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