Acetic acid, CH3COOH, also known as ethanoic acid, and commonly referred to as white vinegar is an organic acid, with a pungent smell. It is a weak acid, in that it is only partially dissociated in an aqueous solution. Acetic acid 20% provides 80 to 100 percent weed control on annual weeds and some perennial weeds. This strength contributes to control crabgrass and broadleaf plantain.
At 20% strength there is virtually no re-growth for up to 13 weeks. All acetic acid treatments of 20% (or higher) quickly caused a dramatic discoloration and browning of foliage on all plant species tested. In a few hours, the foliage will became blackened and water-soaked. After 24 hours, control in all plots with an acetic acid product was 99.9%. Acetic acid 20% is also used for pH adjustments, descaling and counterirritant.