What is White Vinegar? (with pictures) (2023)

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What is White Vinegar? (with pictures) (1)

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen Last Modified Date: November 20, 2022

White vinegar, sometimes also called “distilled vinegar,” is a mildly acidic clear liquid used in cooking and cleaning that is usually made through the fermentation of grain alcohol. When grain alcohols are exposed to the air and allowed to oxidize, they produce acetic acid, which manufacturers then down to between a 5 and 8 percent solution with water. White vinegar is one of the simplest vinegars available and, aside from the bitter or sourness usually associated with acetic acid, has no real flavor or taste of its own.

It is commonly used in cooking as a complement to sweet flavors in sauces, salad dressings, and marinades, and its acid content also makes it a good preservative: cooks often use it to pickle vegetables or meat. The vinegar’s mellow, nearly tasteless nature usually works to enhance food’s natural flavors rather than overshadow them. Its acidic nature also makes it invaluable around the house. People use it to clean windows, to remove calcium deposits, or as part of a home remedy for clogged drains, among many other things.

Core Ingredients

A bottle of white vinegar beside a bottle of red vinegar.

There are a couple of different ways to make white vinegar, but grain alcohol is almost always the starting point. Wheat is a popular choice, as is corn; a lot depends on where manufacturers are, and what sort of grain is readily available at a good price. The key is to find something that is clear and basically flavorless and odorless.

(Video) 10 Awesome Vinegar Life Hacks you should know.

When alcohol is exposed to oxygen, a chemical reaction happens that essentially turns the alcohol molecules into acetic acid. Many people are familiar with this reaction if they’ve ever left a bottle of wine open for too long; after a few days or weeks, it often has a sour or bitter flavor. Without even knowing it, they’ve created a rudimentary wine vinegar.

White vinegar can be used to pickle cucumbers.

So-called “white” versions of vinegar are much simpler than those made from wine or other alcohols and are typically much more uniform, as well. They are also more versatile, easier to manufacture in bulk, and usually quite inexpensive. Many companies make white or distilled vinegar from grain that is left over from other food processing tasks, particularly wheat flour manufacturing and animal feed production. In most cases, all that is required in addition to grain is water and some sort of yeast to catalyze the fermentation into alcohol.

Distillation Process

White rice vinegars are generally the sweetest and mildest.

Grain alcohol will turn into vinegar simply by being exposed to oxygen, but this can be a time consuming and somewhat unpredictable process. It also runs the risk of introducing contaminants like dust or other air particles that can disrupt the flavor of the final product, and as a result modern manufacturers more often use controlled distillation. Distillation involves heating the liquid, then subjecting it to various pressures and air qualities in order to separate out the water and alcohol, and in order to make the acetic acid conversion more streamlined.

White wine vinegar can be used to create salad dressings.

The chemical reaction that happens once the oxygen is introduced typically consumes all of the alcohol that hasn’t evaporated off, so the resulting vinegar is almost always completely alcohol-free. Manufacturers who plan to sell their vinegar commercially usually test the finished products and often run them through additional filtration to ensure that all particulates have been removed.

Culinary Uses

White vinegar can be used as an all-natural household cleaning product.

White vinegar has many uses in food preparation. It is one of the key ingredients in basic pickling, for instance, and many cooks prize its bitter, somewhat sour taste as way to add dimension to salad dressings, sauces, and marinades without being overpowering. Some cooks use a splash of vinegar the way others use salt, basically as a way to add a quick “zip” to dishes and perk up flavor. White vinegar often works well for this purpose since it doesn’t really have a pronounced taste of its own the way many wine and cider vinegars do. People often add small amounts to foods to balance different tastes and accentuate subtle flavors, particularly those of milder fruits, vegetables, and cheeses.

Uses Around the House

Many people also keep a bottle of distilled vinegar with their cleaning supplies, and in some places the product is more popular as a cleanser than as an ingredient. Its acid level will kill germs and disinfect most surfaces, and it will neutralize and eliminate most odors.

People commonly mix it with water and use it to clean glass, tile, and ceramic surfaces, for instance, and it can keep kitchen counters, sinks, and disposals looking and smelling fresh. It can reduce lime and calcium build-up in appliances like coffeemakers and teakettles, and adding a splash to laundry can help brighten fabric colors. Those with pets often use diluted vinegar to remove stains from pet messes, and something about its smell can often actually deter cats from urinating. People looking for an eco-friendly and chemical-free solution to clogged drains often mix a bit of distilled vinegar with baking soda which, together with warm water, can dislodge a number of different drain obstructions (and often leaves pipes cleaner than before, too).

Similar Varieties and Substitutions

White vinegar is one of the simplest and most readily available types of vinegar, but it is rarely the only option. Vinegars made from wine, from different fermented fruits, and other grains like rice are also common, and many of these may look white or clear in color. In most cases distilled vinegar can be swapped or substituted with nearly any other variety, but cooks and cleaners need to be ready for a difference in flavor and smell.

A recipe that calls for distilled vinegar might be enhanced using a cider or wine-based alternative, but depending on the other ingredients, the flavor profile might turn out somewhat oddly. Similarly, cleaning windows or removing stains with rice vinegar will often work in a pinch, but it may leave a pronounced smell behind. Cost is also something many people think about. Plain distilled vinegar is often the least expensive choice, which can make it easier to essentially pour generous splashes down the drain.

(Video) 6 Cool Uses for Vinegar

What is White Vinegar? (with pictures) (8)
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent DelightedCookingcontributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests includemedicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currentlyworking on her first novel.

What is White Vinegar? (with pictures) (9)
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent DelightedCookingcontributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests includemedicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currentlyworking on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

jerickbagger

It is made from sun ripened grain and distilled water.

anon293026

Why is white vinegar used in tomato ketchup?

anon160738

I have been using distilled white vinegar 5 percent made from grains (check the ingredients on the label) for over almost year now. It can be purchased at your local Walmart for about $3.00 a gallon. It is not petroleum based and is not the same as white wine vinegar. Please do not drink this straight as it is very acidic and will burn your throat.

(Video) VINEGAR PREGNANCY TEST : IS IT ACCURATE ?

It can be used for cooking, cleaning, laundry, once a week hair conditioner, and it has cured two eye infections, one sinus infection, and a sore throat from December 2010 to February 2011. (Honest!) It can also be used for pickling, but the taste will be different.

Cleaning with it, using it as a meat tenderizer, and using it as a fabric softener should all be full strength. For all other uses please make sure you dilute.

There are some great websites out there for specifics recipes and uses of distilled white vinegar. You just need to search a little.

I have saved a lot of money using this product and for those who are eco friendly, this product is one of the best out there.

P.S. The smell takes getting used to, but when it dries, the smell disappears. Missa from Worcester, MA

anon157356

why and how does vinegar help in cleaning dishes?

anon157182

Why and how does acid help clean not only the house, but stains off of your containers as well?

anon110629

Is there a difference between cleaning vinegar and white cooking vinegar? While I assume I can use white cooking vinegar for cleaning, am I able to using cleaning vinegar for cooking?

anon83661

does the white vinegar help reduce cholesterol?

anon35314

Can I substitute white vinegar with wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar??

anon34995

Can white vinegar be used in place of cider vinegar for pickling beets?

anon32502

Is white vinegar the same as white wine vinegar?

Is white vinegar or white wine vinegar made from alcohol? Or what are they made from?

anon31690

Can white vinegar be used to "melt away" (exaggeration) body fat? Basically, could someone drink straight white vinegar on top of exercise, healthy metabolism and good eating habits to help shave off desired body fat?

anon12178

do you know any names that i should look for that are not petroleum made.....

anon5491

I read that white vinegar may be made from petroleum-derived alcohols (though I am not sure what this means). What I understand, though, is that it is best to purchase white distilled vinegar with a label that says, "Made from Grains". That way, you aren't eating petroleum-product in your salad dressings and marinades!

RR, Tallahassee, FL

(Video) What Apple Cider Vinegar Really Does To Your Body

anon4505

Why is White Vinegar stronger than other vinegars?

Post your comments

    FAQs

    What are the white vinegar? ›

    White vinegar is a solution typically consisting of 4–7% acetic acid and 93–96% water, though types with higher acetic acid content are available for agricultural or cleaning purposes. It's most commonly made via the fermentation of grain alcohol.

    Are there 2 types of white vinegar? ›

    Both of these types of vinegar have "white" in their name, but their flavor is very different. Distilled white vinegar is very strong and can easily overpower foods if you use too much. White wine vinegar is milder than distilled vinegar and has more culinary uses because of its complex flavor.

    Is apple cider vinegar and white vinegar the same? ›

    Acid concentrations: Apple cider vinegar contains about five to six percent acetic acid, while white vinegar contains five to ten percent. This higher acid concentration makes most white vinegars more acidic than their apple-based counterpart.

    What is the difference between vinegar and white vinegar? ›

    The most obvious difference between the two is their color. White vinegar, also sometimes called distilled or spirit vinegar, is clear and apple cider vinegar is brown. Standard white vinegar contains 4 percent to 7 percent acetic acid and 93 percent to 96 percent water.

    Is there another name for white vinegar? ›

    White vinegar, also known as distilled vinegar or spirit vinegar, is made by fermenting grain alcohol (ethanol) which then turns into acetic acid.

    What is the common name of white vinegar? ›

    This is variously known as distilled spirit, "virgin" vinegar, or white vinegar, and is used in cooking, baking, meat preservation, and pickling, as well as for medicinal, laboratory, and cleaning purposes.

    Which vinegar is best for cleaning? ›

    White distilled vinegar is the best vinegar for cleaning because it doesn't contain a coloring agent. Therefore, it won't stain surfaces. Staining can happen when cleaning with a darker-colored vinegar.

    Can you eat white vinegar? ›

    Vinegar can be made from any alcohol — wine, cider, beer — but it's grain alcohol that gives distilled white vinegar its neutral profile. This vinegar tastes more assertive than most, but it contains roughly 5% acetic acid (about the same amount as other vinegars you use for cooking), making it perfectly safe to eat.

    What is white vinegar for cleaning? ›

    White vinegar is a magical cleaning agent, praised for its ability to dissolve mineral deposit, bacteria, dirt, grease, and grime. From descaling kettles to removing limescale, it's a natural disinfectant that is brilliant for cleaning the kitchen.

    Can I use white vinegar on my face? ›

    Pigmentation: Use white vinegar as face toner and helps to maintain an even tone for face. Just mix it with water and apply it on face before going to bed to get an even, clean, and clear complexion.

    Can I use white vinegar on my hair? ›

    In most hair recipes that calls for ACV you can replace it with distilled white vinegar, as it will work just fine. The pH level is slightly more acidic than apple cider vinegar so you may need to dilute it with more water. This rinse will help to smooth the hair's cuticle for enhanced shine.

    Is white vinegar good for weight loss? ›

    There's no evidence to support that using white vinegar for weight loss is more effective than diet and exercise alone.

    Why do people use white vinegar? ›

    Aside from its culinary and medicinal uses, vinegar is also a natural and inexpensive cleaner. White vinegar, in particular, is an extraordinarily versatile and effective non-toxic cleaning agent. Its acidity (from acetic acid) makes it effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs.

    Is white vinegar household vinegar? ›

    Whether it's called white distilled vinegar, spirit vinegar or household vinegar, white vinegar is made industrially from the alcoholic fermentation and acetification of beetroot or maize. It is colourless, non-toxic and can be used instead of any detergent or degreaser.

    Is white vinegar 100% vinegar? ›

    White vinegar is comprised of acetic acid (about 5-10%) and water (about 90-95%), which yields a vinegar with an incredibly clean, crisp, strong taste.

    What is closest to white vinegar? ›

    White vinegar substitute: If you need a different vinegar to substitute for white vinegar, use apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar. You could also swap in lemon or lime juice, depending on your recipe. When you're canning or pickling, there are no comparable substitutes.

    Can I use white vinegar to clean everything? ›

    The plastic and glass surfaces on most small kitchen appliances, such as blenders, coffee makers, and toasters, are safe to clean with vinegar, but you want to avoid any rubber parts or metal that vinegar can corrode. This includes stainless steel.

    Which vinegar is best for killing mold? ›

    To clean mold, use regular white distilled vinegar, typically sold with 5% acidity. You can also use “cleaning vinegar” with 6% acidity. Both are effective at killing mold.

    What brands are white vinegar? ›

    Top 7 Best White Vinegar Compared
    • #1 Green Gobbler Pure Vinegar.
    • #2 Daily Chef Distilled White Vinegar.
    • #3 OrganicMatters Industrial Vinegar Concentrate.
    • #4 Mother Earth Organic White Vinegar.
    • #5 Fratelli Carli White Balsamic Vinegar.
    • #6 Martin Pouret Orleans White Wine Vinegar.
    • #7 Ottogi White Vinegar.
    27 Jun 2022

    What happens when you put vinegar in your toilet? ›

    Vinegar is a great toilet cleaning solution. Not only is it free of chemicals and naturally antibacterial, it's also an acid, so it will remove minor lime and calcium deposits. All you need to do is pour a couple cups of vinegar in your tank and let it sit for an hour or so, then scrub and flush to rinse.

    How do I clean my toilet with white vinegar? ›

    To clean your toilet with vinegar, pour a cup of vinegar in the toilet bowl and let sit overnight. The next morning, sprinkle a little baking soda into the bowl, scrub, and then flush clean.

    How do I clean my bathroom with vinegar? ›

    Tile surfaces: To clean tile bathroom surfaces with vinegar, mix 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar with a gallon of warm water. Mop bathroom floors or scrub countertops with the solution and allow to air dry.

    Is vinegar good for your stomach? ›

    Vinegar has been taken as a home remedy to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. If GERD is caused by a stomach condition of too low acid, a theory is that taking vinegar may increase stomach acid and improve digestion.

    Is white vinegar good for high blood pressure? ›

    Vinegar and garlic, while healthy foods, do not help control your blood pressure. During ancient times, both vinegar and garlic acquired reputations as curatives, able to allow people to live longer, healthier lives. These reputations have continued to modern times.

    Is drinking white vinegar healthy? ›

    Cholesterol-Lowering and Anti-Obesity Effects

    Vinegar has been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Consuming a tablespoon of white vinegar with a meal also can create a sense of fullness that could cause you to eat less, thereby reducing your risk of becoming overweight or obese.

    Does vinegar damage toilet bowls? ›

    Vinegar is safe and milder than caustic cleaners designed for the toilet, and those commercial cleaning agents can eat away the good bacteria in your septic system. To safely and inexpensively clean your toilet bowls, pour a generous glug of vinegar, followed by a heavy sprinkling of baking soda, into the bowl.

    What is the disadvantage of vinegar in cleaning? ›

    Vinegar doesn't sanitize or disinfect

    When you're cleaning to eliminate the germs that cause colds, flus & viruses, you'll want to shelve your vinegar mix. The reason is that vinegar is not an EPA registered disinfectant or sanitizer, which means you can't count on vinegar to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses.

    What should you not mix with vinegar? ›

    The Three Things You Should Never Mix with Vinegar
    1. Hydrogen peroxide + vinegar. You may assume that combining these two ingredients in the same bottle will boost their cleaning power, but it's more likely to increase your risk of going to the emergency room. ...
    2. Bleach + vinegar. ...
    3. Baking soda + vinegar.
    8 Feb 2019

    Is white vinegar good for wrinkles? ›

    White vinegar is the perfect, cheap, gentle, and chemical-free alternative to remove wrinkles from your clothes. Mix a solution of 1-part vinegar to 3-parts water and fill a spray bottle with it. Then, mist your garment and let it dry out.

    Is white vinegar good for soaking feet? ›

    Vinegar, while typically used as a cooking ingredient, is very useful in remedying dry and cracked heels. One part of white vinegar, when mixed with two parts of warm water, can be used as a soak for the feet. A pumice stone can be used to scrub the dead skin after soaking for 20-25 minutes.

    Can white vinegar remove pimples? ›

    "However, vinegar does not have any proven effectiveness against Propionibacterium acnes, the most common bacteria contributing to breakouts," Hu explains. Also it could strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to overproduction of sebum or more oiliness in the long run.

    Does vinegar help thinning hair? ›

    “No matter what you do with it, ACV will not cure or treat hair loss. The reason it is often linked with hair care is because it is an ancient remedy for making hair shine and treating dandruff that is said to have been favoured by the Romans.

    Does vinegar help with hair growth? ›

    Adding apple cider vinegar to your hair care routine "will help keep your scalp healthy by warding off bacteria and keeping a balanced pH level," said Dr. Jaliman, adding that "this will stimulate hair growth. ACV gently exfoliates the scalp which in turn will promote hair growth and healthier hair."

    Does white vinegar change hair color? ›

    Vinegar has a low pH level and may remove light or semi-permanent colors. It should not be used to remove red hair dye as it can leave you with badly colored hair.

    What drink burns belly fat overnight? ›

    What Drink Burns Fat Overnight? Drinking turmeric milk, chamomile tea, cinnamon tea, green tea, protein shake, green veg smoothies, and fiber-rich juice helps you burn significant fat overnight.

    How much weight can you lose drinking vinegar? ›

    The most widely quoted study of humans is a 2009 trial of 175 people who consumed a drink containing 0, 1, or 2 tablespoons of vinegar each day. After three months, those who consumed vinegar had modest weight loss (2 to 4 pounds) and lower triglyceride levels than those who drank no vinegar.

    How do you wash towels with vinegar? ›

    Wash towels in hot water and one cup vinegar. Don't add any detergent. Wash the towels a second time (without drying them) in hot water and one cup baking soda. Dry your towels but avoid fabric softener, which builds up on towels and reduces softness.

    Can you put white vinegar in your bath water? ›

    However, if it is better health you seek with your nighttime bath habit, you may want to add a little vinegar to the water too. According to research, this common kitchen staple provides a number of benefits.

    Is white vinegar good for fungal infection? ›

    Vinegar on fungus

    Aside from its antibacterial properties, vinegar has been effective in treating fungal infections.

    What can you use pure white vinegar for? ›

    9 surprising uses for white vinegar
    • USE AS A RINSE-AID. ...
    • GET GLASS GLEAMING. ...
    • BRIGHTEN SMALL APPLIANCES. ...
    • CLEAN UP THE KITCHEN. ...
    • KEEP LAUNDRY SOFT. ...
    • REMOVE FABRIC STAINS. ...
    • FRESHEN UP AFTER PETS. ...
    • TACKLE DULL TAPS AND SHOWER HEADS.
    30 Oct 2015

    Which vinegar is strongest? ›

    Spirit vinegar: The strongest of all vinegars, this is used almost exclusively for pickling. It differs from distilled vinegar in that it contains a small quantity of alcohol.

    Is Datu Puti a white vinegar? ›

    Best known for coining the term Mukhasim, Datu Puti Vinegar is the undisputed leading vinegar brand that provides a strong nuot-asim taste, ideal for creation, preparation, and consumption of every dish.

    How many types of white vinegar are there? ›

    In conclusion, white vinegar, distilled vinegar and white distilled vinegar are three names that refer to a form of vinegar that comes from a grain-alcohol mixture and contains around 5-10% of acetic acid. Therefore, there is no difference between white vinegar and distilled vinegar.

    Is rice vinegar white vinegar? ›

    Rice vinegar and white vinegar are both acidic, but there are two key differences between the preparation and flavor. White vinegar is made by fermenting grain alcohol, while rice vinegar is made from fermented rice. Rice vinegar is less tangy and acidic than white vinegar, with a subtle sweetness.

    What is the white vinegar in the Philippines? ›

    Cane vinegar is the most commonly used vinegar in the Philippines and the most widely available abroad. There are two kinds available: white cane vinegar (or sukang maasim, which means “sour vinegar”) and sukang Iloco.

    Which brand of white vinegar is best? ›

    Top 7 Best White Vinegar Compared
    • #1 Green Gobbler Pure Vinegar.
    • #2 Daily Chef Distilled White Vinegar.
    • #3 OrganicMatters Industrial Vinegar Concentrate.
    • #4 Mother Earth Organic White Vinegar.
    • #5 Fratelli Carli White Balsamic Vinegar.
    • #6 Martin Pouret Orleans White Wine Vinegar.
    • #7 Ottogi White Vinegar.
    27 Jun 2022

    Is Silver Swan sukang Puti a white vinegar? ›

    "Sukang Puti" means White Vinegar in Filipino. This vinegar, maintaining its white color, is made from cane sugar and has 4.5% acidity.

    What vinegar is closest to white vinegar? ›

    White vinegar substitute: If you need a different vinegar to substitute for white vinegar, use apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar. You could also swap in lemon or lime juice, depending on your recipe. When you're canning or pickling, there are no comparable substitutes.

    Which white vinegar is best for cooking? ›

    Distilled white vinegar is the most commonly used type of vinegar, and it's also the one with the most versatile uses. It's made by fermenting distilled alcohol and has a harsh, acidic flavor. You can use it for cooking, cleaning, and as a natural remedy.

    What use does white vinegar have around the home? ›

    9 surprising uses for white vinegar
    • USE AS A RINSE-AID. ...
    • GET GLASS GLEAMING. ...
    • BRIGHTEN SMALL APPLIANCES. ...
    • CLEAN UP THE KITCHEN. ...
    • KEEP LAUNDRY SOFT. ...
    • REMOVE FABRIC STAINS. ...
    • FRESHEN UP AFTER PETS. ...
    • TACKLE DULL TAPS AND SHOWER HEADS.
    30 Oct 2015

    What can you not clean with vinegar? ›

    • Clothes Iron. Never add vinegar to the tank; it could permanently damage the inside of the appliance. ...
    • Countertops. If you want to keep your stone countertops looking beautiful, don't reach for vinegar. ...
    • Dishwashers. ...
    • Electronic Screens. ...
    • Flooring. ...
    • Knives. ...
    • Ranges. ...
    • Small Appliances.
    2 Dec 2020

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