Vinegar Acidities – Levels and Usage

Reginald SmithAll About Vinegar, Recipes & Tips, Uncategorized, Vinegars93 Comments

We have talked about acidity a bit on this blog, from how to measure acidity and how it is different from pH to comparing the acidity of Coca-Cola and vinegar. Vinegar obviously comes in different acidities though. Which one do you  need? How do they help? Below is a quick and informative guide to vinegar acidities and their usages.

Acidity  is defined as grams of acetic acid per 100 mL water

<4% acidity This is not legal vinegar to be bought and sold, though what you use at home is your business. Never buy any vinegar (defined as vinegar) less than 4% acidity. Only vinegar in fermentation should be this weak. Kombucha and other fermented foods don’t apply since they are not vinegar and are not defined the same way.

4% acidity This is the minimum legal acidity level for vinegar in almost all countries. Most bargain and discount vinegar brands now are 4%. They don’t advertise this in large print so check the label. Only use for basic cooking and salad dressings. Do not use for canning. Vinegar this weak is less effective at cleaning as well.

5% acidity The standard acidity range for most vinegars. Good for use in canning if you are using good canning practices. Also can be used for any variety of cooking and most types of cleaning. Too weak to use for weed killer except in large amounts.

6-7% acidity Most wine and balsamic vinegars fall in this range. Balsamic vinegar of Modena is at least 6%. Can be used in any way from cooking to canning. Likely too expensive for cleaning. This is the typical upper range for food vinegar.

10% This is a high strength vinegar. Be careful consuming it as it is very acidic and can cause burns. Also wear gloves (latex or nitrile, not cloth) when handling since it can irritate your skin (especially cuts) and cause eye burning. This is the typical acidity of vinegar made in factories. It is superior at cleaning and is the lowest acidity for effective weed control though it will require more amounts than equivalent chemicals. Some Eastern European or Scandinavian countries sell this for cleaning or fish pickling.

For all vinegars over 10%, the instructions below are recommendations. You must read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for high strength vinegars before using.

15% The mid-level of high strength vinegar. Only used in cooking in amounts of 1/3 typical vinegar and usually used for cleaning and weed killing. Gloves and eye protection should be used when handling. Rinse of any skin contact immediately.


20-25% This is rarely sold to the public except as weed killer. It is made by centrifugation of lower acidity frozen vinegar crystals since vinegar bacteria can’t make vinegar this strong. Germany’s Surig sells Essigessenz which is 25% acidity and can be used for cooking in only very small amounts. Gloves and eye protection are required in even small amounts. Gloves should be latex or nitrile and eye protection should be chemistry lab type goggles, not plastic impact safety glasses. An apron and arm covering as well as a respirator should be used for handling large amounts. Only open or pour these vinegars in areas with good ventilation. Rinse any skin contact immediately and do not touch eyes or nose without thoroughly washing up. If using as weed killer, do not spray into the wind and do not spray anything metal you don’t want possibly corroding.

Surig Essig Essenz 25% vinegar. Image courtesy of Surig.

30% This is the upper limit industrial vinegar sold. Also made by centrifugation it has almost no other use for the general public except as weed killer. If using this as weed killer, ABSOLUTELY use hand and eye protection (chemistry goggles, not loose plastic safety glasses). No substitutes for latex or nitrile. Nylon can be corroded. Depending on your sensitivity, even a small spray mist can cause lung irritation so use at least a face mask if not a small respirator. Only spray or use this outside with plenty of fresh air. DO NOT spray into the wind, preferably use when there is no wind present. Do not spray metals or limestone as they will rust and corrode rather quickly.

If handling in larger quantities where there can be spills, a full protection suit (e.g. Tychem QC) like below and a respirator are required.

Tychem QC disposable coveralls.


93 Comments on “Vinegar Acidities – Levels and Usage”

  1. I am doing a science fair and need to know the pH level of rice vinegar what i am getting is 4.3%. can you help

    1. 4.3% sounds a lot like the acidity (is that what you got off the bottle?) No rice vinegar at legal 4%+ acidity will have a pH that high, more likely it is closer to 3. I can’t tell you what the pH of rice vinegar is since it varies by brand and type. Order a cheap pH meter off Amazon or at a local homebrew store along with pH 4 calibration solution and measure the pH directly. You can also use strips though they are less precise.

    1. Maybe…I need more information. What type of mold and do you just want to kill mold or deactivate spores as well?

    1. Some varieties may be available on Amazon but most popular there is typically the very high strength 30%. You can dilute 30% vinegar with 1 parts 30% vinegar and 2 parts water to get 10% but you need to be careful handling. If you live in an area that has ethnic German, Polish, or Russian markets they often import 10% vinegar which is popular for cooking and canning.

      From personal experience, use a spray bottle to mist weeds, don’t squeeze the 10% vinegar directly from the original bottle since the kill zone can be wide and vinegar kills non-selectively.

    1. No unfortunately those mixed together give 7% acidity. You need to dilute a higher acidity vinegar (20% or 30%) to get 14% acidity.

  2. I have an old recipe for a current or blackberry cordial that calls for weak vinegar. Would that be 4 or 5 percent or diluted even farther. The recipe says to soak the berries in the weak vinegar for 24 hours then drain, juice and add sugar. If that helps to determine what “weak” vinegar means.

    1. It really is unclear what “weak vinegar” means. I would guess 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Or if you are aiming for Kombucha style acidity dilute 5% vinegar with 4 parts of water to 1 part of vinegar.

    1. You have two options: first is to add more alcohol (coconut wine). The second is to seal it off to air to stop fermentation. It is declining due to a process called overoxidation where the vinegar bacteria begin metabolizing acetic acid to water and carbon dioxide once the alcohol runs out.

  3. I’m currently using a PH meter to measure acidity- I don’t have a Titration setup. How can I figure out percentage of acidity based off of the PH reading? My various projects have had large varying readings yet smell and taste like vinegar. Please help. Thank you!

    1. Hi Christopher, the quick answer is there is no reliable method to go from pH to acidity across all vinegars. You can perhaps manage it for white distilled vinegar but any else such as fruit, wine, cider, etc. has chemical peculiarities that skew the result. If you don’t have a titration setup many wine labs like Eastern Wine Labs or Cornell will test it for about $15.

      In broad terms, I have never had a “done” vinegar above pH 3.5 but this is not an exact statement either. Some like apple cider vinegar can have 5% acidity at 3.5 while some need to be below 3 for a similar acidity.

    1. The only way to be sure is to test it with a pH meter but the theoretical pH value for 4% white distilled vinegar is 2.47 or about 2.5.

  4. I’ve been using 24% vinegar that I buy in Sweden. I’ve been using it by diluting to a lower percentage for such things as pickling herring, which calls for 12% vinegar. Is European acidic percentage calculated differently than domestic vinegar? Everything I see in the stores in Sweden is 24%. This site puts that in weed killer range.

    1. If the term “acidity” and a percentage are used, it is calculated the same globally. EU acidity and US acidity are the same. If it uses the term ‘grain’ you have to be careful since this is interpreted different ways in different countries.

  5. There’s also glacial acetic acid (100%), which is used in laboratories (use proper gloves, clothing, eye, face protection).
    I’m sure it would kill weeds.

    1. Sure, but given its ability to cause harm to the user and kill all plants, good and bad, it is overkill. I would recommend nothing stronger than the 30% vinegar commonly available on Amazon.

  6. Hello
    I am doing a chemistry experiment in school where I am determining the difference between the supposed concentration of ethanoic acid stated by the bottle and the experimental value that I will obtain. However, the bottle doesn’t state what the concentration is measured in it just say 12%, is that millilitres or grams? and is it per the whole bottle which is 1L or per 100ml? I am trying to compare to the experimental value which is in moles per cubic decimeter. Thank you.

    1. Is it food vinegar or laboratory grade acetic acid? If it is food vinegar, it is almost certainly 12% meaning 12 grams per 100 mL H20. If laboratory acetic acid it is probably 12% acetic acid by volume.

  7. There are two brands which you can get from some foreign food shops here in the UK which are very high acidity. There is the Surig Essig Essenz (as you already mentioned on this post) from Germany with 25% Acidity and there is the Perstorp Attika (another one that seems to be similar) from Sweden with 24% Acidity in it. Both say that they can be used for Pickling and Dressings and Cooking and i am very surprised that there are no major safety warnings for using them. Can i ask has anything been done to them to make them safer then most other Vinegars you would buy with 24%/25% Acidity? Or are these the same as any other Vinegars with 24%/25% Acidity? Could you use these Vinegars for your Pickling and Dresings and Cooking and any various other food purposes without diluting them first? Or would it be dangerous to consume these Vinegars without diluting them first? Many thanks.

    1. Thanks for your comment. These are the same as any other 24% and 25% vinegars and I would recommend safety using latex gloves at least and even eye protection since splashes will be painful or even damaging. You need to dilute these in cooking. If a recipe calls for 25% vinegar, use the amount in the recipe. If a recipe calls for normal vinegar, use only 1/5 the amount recommended for these high strength vinegars.

      They are good weed killers though undiluted but again have personal protection equipment on. If using outside a face mask may even help in case the wind blows the fumes back in your face.

  8. Many thanks for the reply. I was confused as i thought that such strong vinegars would have much more safety warnings on them. I have never used such vinegars so i am not too familiar with them. I notice you have said if a recipe calls for the 25% vinegar than to use the ordinary amount. So i presume that you are saying that there are some recipes that actually don’t require you to dilute the 25% vinegar first? What sort of recipes would this be? How would this be safe to consume? Would this be certain recipes that involve cooking the vinegar which perhaps would make it safer to consume? I am just interested about this. Thanks again for your reply and excellent website.

    1. If vinegar and water are both added to the recipe, then use 25% less water and the effect will be the same. If only vinegar is being added you can’t replicate the effect of 7% vinegar by adding more 5% unfortunately. You need to find a higher acidity (like Essig Essenz on Amazon) and dilute it down.

  9. If you have made red wine vinegar at home, can you use bicard to reduce the level of acidity rather than simply diluting with water?


    1. I wouldn’t recommend adding bicard (do you mean sodium bicarbonate?) It will combine with acetic acid to make the salt sodium acetate and make the vinegar salty. Dilution with water is definitely better and you get more vinegar as well.

  10. Hi Reginald, thank you very much for all the work you put into this site and your vinegar.

    What are the hazards of <4% vinegar? I have a 2.5% honey vinegar. The wine I made was likely too weak, or I over-diluted it. If that is the case, am I correct to believe that the vinegar is stuck and re-introducing the mother will not raise the acidity further?

    I understand how <4% can be dangerous in regards to canning/preserving, but is it potentially harmful for regular on-the-salad consumption?

    1. Hi, there are no serious chemical hazards of vinegar that weak though you still wouldn’t want it in your eyes. As far as use as a condiment, it should be fine. That acidity level (if you are sure that 2.5% is accurate) is high enough to prevent bacterial growth (except vinegar bacteria) and shouldn’t cause a problem in consumption. If it ever gets cloudy or smells bad though (see overoxidation in this article), toss it.

  11. Hi Reginald,

    First, Thank You SO MUCH! You are an incredible resource when it comes to vinegar! Second, my question… which is more of a dilemma to begin with.
    I live in a rather small town, and since this covid madness began, the residents here have all started a garden or constructed greenhouses (which is what we did). And of course, since everyone now has a garden, everyone is now canning. It is impossible to find ANY proper canning supplies, including 5% acidic vinegar.
    Naturally, I have the 4% (I wondered why it was still on the shelves! LOL). Finally my actual question: Is there ANYTHING that I can do to the 4% to make it 5%? Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated.

    Thank You in Advance!
    Have a Fantastic Rest of Your Day,
    Laura ♪

    1. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to make 4% vinegar to 5%. I am surprised vinegar is in such short supply but I can email you and find out details.

  12. Can i ask what is the highest acidity of vinegar that can safely be consumed without diluting it? So for example pouring it over your chips and fries as a condiment or using it to dress your salads or marinating meats or pickling vegetables or whatever etc etc etc? I have used 4%/5%/6%/7% and obviously they are all fine (and i enjoy strong vinegar flavours) but i am just curious what is the highest acidity that is safe to consume and use for food as it is without diluting it at all?

    1. Personally, 7% is the top level I would recommend consuming but going by the material safety data sheets that are common in the industry, 10% acidity is usually the upper limit of what anyone should consider consuming. However, this can still irritate or burn your throat.

  13. I just had two questions please.

    How do i dilute a 24% Acidity vinegar to 5% Acidity?

    How do i dilute a 25% Acidity vinegar to 5% Acidity?

    Thank you for any help with this.

    1. For 25% acidity to 5% acidity combine 4 parts water and 1 part 25% acidity vinegar
      For 24% acidity to 5% acidity combine 19 parts water and 5 parts 24% acidity vinegar

  14. Do you know if any Rice Vinegar exists that is 5% Acidity? Every brand i can find is only 4% Acidity? Is there any reason why Rice Vinegar always has a much lower acidity than other types of Vinegar do? Is it stronger than other Vinegar types which could be why?

    1. All brands of rice vinegar I know of are around 4.2% acidity or so. There is no required reason why it is at this strength since it is typically manufactured at a higher acidity but for the primary uses of rice vinegar (i.e. sushi and some cooking) 4.2% acidity is the assumed ratio in most recipes and the standard acidity in its largest market, East Asia, so the market just keeps it there.

  15. In what proportion should I mix 5% vinegar with 25% to raise the 5% to 6%? I have plenty of both but the usual pickling 6% is sold out.

    Brain fog is preventing me from arriving at the answer.

  16. The fog cleared
    6 units at 5% = 5.7 water + 0.3 acid
    0.3 units at 25% = 0.23 water + 0.07 acid
    Total: 6.3 units = 5.93 water + 0.37 acid = 5.95%


  17. I just had a question i was wondering if you would know the answer to. Could i ask do you know why is Sherry Vinegar almost always 8% Acidity? I have checked six different brands and they are all 8% Acidity? I am interested if there is any particular reason for this at all? I am not really an expert on this but i am just wondering if there is anything to do with the production process that requires Sherry Vinegar to have this higher acidity level or if not then why is it so popular for Sherry Vinegar makers to make it to 8% Acidity? Thank you for any information.

    1. Hi, the regulations for Sherry Vinegar in Spain require a minimum of 7% acidity, 8% minimum for “Gran Reserva”. The exception is Pedro Ximenez or Moscatel which can be a minimum of 6%. I honestly don’t know the reason why these levels were chosen but EU regulations allow wine vinegar to be up to 10% acidity.

  18. Hi.

    I have a bamboo flute which has a black fungus/mold in it.

    I heard white vinegar is a safe non toxic way to remove it.
    I tried a 5 percent solution coated the inside of it with it, left it dry naturally then tried removing it with a cloth.

    Tried about 2/3 times.

    It did not remove it at all.

    Is there any point trying a stronger concentration, will it work?

    It’s made out of bamboo, inside it is a wooden cork plugging one side for tuning purposes.

    And up to what percent could I try before it damages the flute/cork?

    I want to kill the mold and remove all traces of it completely

    If not, do you know any other safe non-toxic ways to remove it.


    1. I am not a mold expert but I would not recommend white vinegar to remove mold. I would suggest dilute chlorine bleach (5.25% concentration) diluted at a ratio of 1 Tbsp of 5.25% sodium hypochlorite bleach to 1 gallon of water.

  19. Hey,
    I’m doing an evaluation based on an acid base titration I did in school. We used it to determine the concentration of a sample of vinegar (ethanoic acid) and I wanted to know why it is important that all vinegar that is leaving the factory has a concentration within a predetermined range (food sources, damage to teeth, etc…) I cannot find anything that describes this, and I found your blog the most useful for previous work. If you could explain, I would be so happy! Thanks!

    1. Hi Hannah, in almost every country the minimum required vinegar acidity is 4% (4g acetic acid per 100 mL of water). This is in order to make sure the acidity is strong enough to prevent microbial growth and to be used for applications like sauces, etc. For canning, a minimum of 5% acidity is recommended. The high end of vinegar acidity is not usually defined but you rarely see food vinegar above 7%. It is not so much teeth but burning of the esophagus or in contact with eyes or skin that limits the upper range of acidity.

  20. If i mix together 1L of a 4% Acidity Vinegar and 1L of a 6% Acidity Vinegar than will i get 2L of a 5% Acidity Vinegar please? I am just trying to make sure i have worked this out correctly before mixing them?

  21. I was just wondering is there any danger in consuming 10% Acidity Vinegar undiluted? Can this actually do any harm to you either in the short term or long term? I ask as i have a good friend from Poland who loves Vinegar and he really likes the strong ones and always buy the strong 10% Acidity Vinegar from a Polish supermarket nearby. However he uses this 10% Acidity Vinegar just straight out of the bottle undiluted every day. He pours this on his French Fries and uses it as a Salad Dressing and for all types of food uses completely undiluted as he enjoys the strong Vinegar flavour. However from what i have read online you should only consume 5% Acidity Vinegar and most ones that people consume are 5% Acidity Vinegar so does consuming these 10% Acidity Vinegar undiluted like this actually harm your health? I have tried it and it has a much stronger Vinegar flavour obviously but i felt fine after consuming it and obviously my good friend does too as he has it all the time so just wondering would you say that 10% Acidity Vinegar is still a low enough acidity level to be perfectly safe to consume undiluted?

    1. In most countries, 10% acidity vinegar is considered the upper limit of food grade vinegar. Most safety data sheets for food grade vinegar cover 4% – 10%. Granted it can be much more caustic than regular vinegar and there is an added danger of it getting in his eyes and causing irritation and burning. If it was over 10% it is flagged as a hazard and I would say not to do it.

      At the end of the day, it is up to him though. I don’t know of any studies regarding that type of vinegar consumption. I would say limiting consumption at any one sitting is probably a good idea. Drinking large amounts, such as a partial bottle, in one sitting will definitely cause discomfort and even worse health hazards it corrodes stomach lining.

  22. Would 10% vinegar harm clothes if I used it to in the laundry or if i soaked clothes in it to get out odours and stains? Thanks

    1. 10% vinegar, undiluted is pretty corrosive. It probably would affect fabric less than zippers, buttons, etc. but I wouldn’t recommend soaking clothes in it for extended periods. In the wash, diluted by the water, is probably fine.

  23. Is there any way that you can increase the Acidity of a Vinegar at all? I know you can decrease the Acidity of a Vinegar by simply diluting it with Water but i am wondering if there is any way to increase it? In particular i am trying to increase the Acidity of a Rice Vinegar from 4.4% to 5.0% so that it is safe for pickling as i want the flavour of the Rice Vinegar in the pickled vegetables but can not find any Rice Vinegar with a higher Acidity level? Just wondering if you had any information if this is at all possible?

    1. The easiest way is to find a higher acidity vinegar to mix with the rice vinegar. Look on Amazon for “Essig Essenz”. It is a German white vinegar at 25% acidity. Combine this with rice vinegar at 1 part Essig Essenz and 49 parts rice vinegar and you will hit 5%.

  24. Hello Reginald 🙂

    You are such a font of knowledge! Thank you so much. I am wondering if you can tell me how many mg of acetic acid are in apple cider and balsamic vinegar. What is the formula for figuring out the amount of acetic acid in a vinegar in say a balsamic that is 7%?

    I have a friend who has a lymphatic disease and has noticed that vinegar really helps him. We are doing more research to see if there is a powdered version of vinegar he can take on his food that increases the amount acetic acid he can consume safely that will help his lymphatic system.

    1. Hi, the exact conversion is every percent of acetic acid gives you 1 gram of acetic acid per 100 mL of vinegar. So 7% vinegars is 7 g of acetic acid per 100 mL of vinegar.

  25. Do you know what the theoretical percentage of ethanoic acid in white rice vinegar is supposed to be I am getting an answer of around 4.3% is that logical?

    1. Rice vinegar ethanoic acid (acetic acid) concentration is typcially between 4.2-4.4% so that looks right.

        1. It could be if it is a higher acidity rice wine vinegar. That doesn’t mean it is wrong unless the bottle says differently. Any acidity above 4% is ok to use and above 5% is fine for canning.

  26. Hello. Great science based response to all questions!

    I am frugal and see no reason why I can’t make a good substitute for expensive rice vinegar using apple cider vinegar. I’ve read to add 4 teaspoons sugar to one cup of apple cider vinegar. However, to reduce the acidity, how much water would I add to one cup apple cider vinegar to reduce acidity from 5% to around 4.2 % Thanks

  27. How can i test the acidity of a vinegar to find out what the acidity level is? Is there any way to do this? Like are there any machines or test kits or anything that you can buy to use at home? Or is it only big factories that will have the ability to test the acidity? If you know of anything i can buy to test and find out the acidity of a vinegar that would be great to know?

    1. Hi, you can test acidity with titration using sodium hydroxide. The best way is to use wine kits like the one here. Dilute your vinegar with 1 part vinegar and 9 parts water, measure acidity with this kit, and then multiply the result by 10.

  28. Hi. I have worked in labs of varying specialities all my working life. Dr M’s mention of glacial acetic acid (100%) needs a bit of extra safety stuff added though he has covered the basics. As he says, nitrile gloves and laboratory goggles are a must. If you value your clothing, cover that too, best with a 100% synthetic fabric (polyester) preferably water resistant. As Rod Stewart once said – An Old Raincoat Never Lets You Down. But read on if you are even thinking about diluting the stuff…

    Most importantly, it is nearly as dangerous as concentrated sulphuric acid. It must be diluted very carefully. ALWAYS add acid to water a little at a time. Keep a close eye on the temperature of the mixture and mix it thoroughly as you go. If the vessel you are mixing it in ever gets too hot to touch STOP and let it cool before continuing. Careless addition of more acid could result in explosive boiling and severe personal injury. Also glacial acetic acid will burn the skin nearly as effectively as conc sulphuric.

    YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED !!! But where would the man in the street get it ? Hopefully no reputable chemical supplier would sell it to anyone outside a lab environment.

  29. Dear Reginald,

    I have had a bottle of 100% glacial acetic acid for 18 years and need to make some 10-15% vinegar for cleaning off mould from some furniture left in a garage. Does the acetic acid break down in the same way as NaClO3 or is it still effective to use for this purpose? I have some NaClO3 too – not quite as old but it is probably no longer effective.

    For your information my research indicates that vinegar is more effective at killing/removing mould than NaClO3 but less likely to damage the surface being treated. Subsequent prevention can be with Tea Tree oil 1: 50 in water sprayed on and left for an hour before wiping clean. Alternatively, NaHCO3 15-30ml per litre sprayed on and left to dry naturally – depending on which you have in your cupboard.

    As with all things like this test first on a small inconspicuous area before proceeding.

    P.S. Best web site design and content I have seen for ages.

    1. Hi, be very careful diluting glacial acetic acid. It burns and can take your site or cause lung damage so use eye and breathing protection.

      As far as less likely to damage the surface. If the surface is wood, maybe, but high strength vinegar can slowly eat through many things including tile or concrete if you leave it to pool too long. I would make sure you only spray it or dilute and wipe up and quantities that could be standing.

      Acetic acid doesn’t break down unless in presence of a base. It will usually just evaporate or react with compounds in the surface to form salts.

  30. Hi Reginald, I recently pickled some turnips, it called for 1 cup 5% vinegar to 3 parts water, I used a 10% acetic acid vinegar. Should I throw them out? I didn’t realize at the time there were different strengths of vinegar and that it could be potentially harmful to ones health. It’s called Double Strength Cleaning Vinegar and I found it in a gallon jug at Walmart in the condiments isle. It doesn’t say anything about not being fit for consumption, but it also has pictures of how to clean household appliances, it doesn’t have any food information on it. Thanks

    1. Hi 10% vinegar is fine to consume (diluted down to at least 7%, don’t drink it straight). As long as it is called ‘vinegar’ and not ‘acetic acid’ on the label it is food grade. Just make sure there are no other chemical additives besides vinegar on the label.

      What you can do is add double the water (3 more parts water) and that should restore the ratio of the recipe.

  31. Hi Reginald.

    This is a wonderfully informative blog. I never knew that using vinegar was so involved. I typically purchase my vinegar through a local club store and it’s 5%.

    I have a septic system and am trying to figure out ways to clean and wash clothes, especially whites, safely. What can I use in the toilet or sink that won’t corrode the finish, and what can I use in the laundry safely?


    1. Hi Rebecca, vinegar can be a good cleaner but first I will give you a warning: never ever mix vinegar with chlorine bleach or anything that has had chlorine bleach poured in it. It will create chlorine gas that will irritate your eyes and lungs at best or be fatal if high concentrations are mixed in a non-ventilated area. I use diluted chlorine bleach to sanitize the tanks in my plant and even after washing them clean multiple times with water, I have a chlorine gas rated ventilator and goggles I use afterwards to prevent any possible exposure.

      Now that is done, vinegar is good at cleaning anything ceramic and it will not corrode or damage it. Be more careful with pipes though, especially if you are on septic. Vinegar corrodes iron, copper, etc. so if it gets a high enough concentration in the tank, it will disinfect but also cause tank leaks over time.

      Vinegar works good on clothes and carpets, especially wine stains, and can be used as a general kitchen cleaner.

      Just remember, never mix it with anything else and you should be fine.

  32. Hi Reginald, Are you able to answer my question on the water I would use to add to a higher grain vinegar to bring it to a 50 grain.

    Does the water need to be filtered or distilled? Or can regular potable tap water be used. If so do you know what I would want removed from the water for minerals to make it food safe and to give accurate results (pH, Titration)? Should the water be a certain temperature?

    Thank you

    1. Hi, potable water can be used and there is no reason to use distilled water unless you are doing something lab related.

  33. Sorry for the long-winded question coming your way. I hand-wash my dishes and it seems that no matter what I do, they end up with greasy residue. A few years back I read that this can happen because of hard water (we have a well) and that if I added distilled vinegar to my dishwater, it would deal with the problem. I began with 5% vinegar and saw no change. I moved up to 6%, then cranked up my water heater to the point where I must wear rubber gloves in order not to burn myself, and finally began using only Dawn Ultra. No appreciable difference. In desperation, I bought a gallon of 30% vinegar but am now wary of using it. Based on what I’ve read, its only appropriate household use is killing mold. Furthermore, some say that vinegar and dish detergent cancel each other out. And I don’t want to suit up every time I wash dishes as if I were visiting Chernobyl. Any thoughts? Should I just double-bag this toxic vinegar and stash it away in case I ever have a legitimate use for it?

    1. Sorry for the delay. Yes, please do not use 30% vinegar anywhere near your hands and face. It is not worth hurting yourself. Try using higher ratios of 5% vinegar to water instead of using a high strength vinegar. Put the 30% vinegar away double bagged where kids and pets can’t reach it.

  34. I have some rice vinegar that says it has 4.3% acidity, and I need to clean some old keys. I’m not sure what metals they are as they’ve been collected over the past few decades. I’m worried the vinegar will corrode the metal, or just not do anything to clean the rust off. Thoughts?

    1. You can use the vinegar to clean the keys but I would not soak them more than an hour and you should then scrub off any rust and rinse them clean under the water. Making sure residue is rinsed off will prevent corrosion. Some metals, like with copper, will potentially discolor. Also if cleaning use 5% distilled white if you have it as it is stronger and may be more effective.

  35. Hello.

    Does 25% vinegar sold in a plastic bottle cause the plastic to break down and leach particles into the contents of the bottle, so as to render the vinegar unsafe for human consumption?

    1. 1) I would not consume the vinegar unless you have reliably diluted it to 5% acidity or less. Absolutely do not consume 25% vinegar straight.

      2) I can’t comment on the chemical leaching with high strength vinegar. What kind of plastic is the vinegar in? If HDPE there is minimal risk of leachate.

  36. Hello! I’m excited to have stumbled on this page. My question is about using 9% vinegar for pickling (cucumbers). Is it safe for human consumption? It is mixed 1:1 with water.

    1. If you mix 9% vinegar 1:1 with water it will be 4.5% acidity and that is the acidity of most retail vinegars and is fine. I would not directly consume any vinegar above 7%.

  37. Need vinegar with 14% acidity for cleaning maintenance of tankless water heater per instructions with the unit. Have only been able to find 30% at local Lowe’s. Can the 30% be diluted to needed percentage of 14%?

    Thank you.

    1. Yes, it should be fine to use 15%. Combine one part water and one part 30% vinegar to get 15% vinegar.

  38. Reginald, I have not seen any other question regarding this use of vinegar, so here it is. I am a rock hound looking to dissolve limestone encasing hard rock. Soaking in 5% White Vinegar (2.5 ph +/-) does a fair job, but it is slow going. Will a higher concentration be significantly more effective? I have found 45, 75, even 99% commercially available. I realize that these should be treated as hazardous materials with all appropriate safety equipment and conditions. Also, what would be the ph levels of these higher concentrations? And, very importantly, could these dissolve or scar hard rock (agate, quartz, etc.)?

    1. Hi, I personally would start at lower concentrations until you get one that works well. Start at 10% vinegar and then 15%. These can be handled well with regular eye protection and gloves. If you can’t find 10% you can dilute 30% vinegar (see safety info below) with 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water or make 15% vinegar with 1 part vinegar and 1 part water.

      Above 15%, if you are using large amounts I would recommend a P100 face respirator to protect your nose from the fumes as well as eye goggles (chemistry type not regular plastic shield type) and rubber gloves. At 30%+ if using large amounts you want some sort of full protection on your body to prevent skin contact and likely waterproof work boots.

  39. I’m trying to find a vinegar that would kill weeds. I’ve seen some super duper concentrates on Amazon at 45%. I have a rock yard and so I’m not so concerned about killing other grass, but my wife is concerned about the damage to the environment. Could this concentrate or others seep down into the water system and cause other problems not seen?

    1. You shouldn’t need any vinegar higher than 15% as a herbicide. If you do buy 45% vinegar, combine it with 2 parts water to get 15%. Be sure to wear goggles and gloves when mixing. That strength vinegar is very caustic! Also use goggles and gloves when spraying on the plants too.

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