Q: I found concentrated acetic acid for sale online. Can I use this to make my own acetic acid weed killer like I see at nurseries?
A: Pesticides expert Paul Guillibeau says that a homeowner can make anything they want (that’s not illegal for some other reason) and apply it to their own property. However, they would be responsible and liable if the potion hurts someone else or their property.
Paul notes that even if you knew how, making dynamite and using it to blow fleas off your dog near a neighbor’s garage would be a mistake.
Remember, just because the label on an acetic acid herbicide you buy specifies a certain percentage of active ingredient, there are other inert ingredients that may help the main chemical be more effective. My advice? Don’t do it.
Although acetic acid weed killers are sometimes advertised as “organic” because vinegar is a diluted mixture of naturally produced acetic acid, concentrated acetic acid is produced in a chemical factory. It is not organic.
Guillebeau further warns that you cannot legally sell anything as a pesticide until you go through all of the EPA and FDA hoops. Perhaps you could give it away, but the associated liability would be scary.
Before you try this, remember
1) You are taking on liability that should be the responsibility of a pesticide company.
2) You have no way of knowing what the inert ingredients are that are added to the active ingredients in the pesticide product. The inerts may play a critical role in efficacy, preventing phytotoxicity, etc.
3) You would not know what protective clothing to wear.
4) You would not know how to apply the product. The rates, methods, etc. on the pesticide label may be influenced by the inerts added to the product.