What is the formula for vinegar?

In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “What is the formula for vinegar?”, discuss the history of vinegar, the benefits of this liquid, and share a recipe for homemade apple cider vinegar.

What is the formula for vinegar?

Vinegar is a naturally occurring liquid that includes several compounds, thus writing a simple formula for it is impractical. It contains roughly 5-20% acetic acid. 

As a result, there are two major chemical formulae in this substance. H2O is the molecular formula for water. Acetic acid has the structural formula CH3COOH. Vinegar is classified as a weak acid. Despite its extremely low pH, acetic acid does not entirely dissociate in water.

The molecule is produced as a metabolite by microbes, mostly bacteria, which use a carbon source in a fermentation process to produce it. Acetic acid has been known since the beginning of time. 


What is the history of vinegar?

In the third century before Christ, the Greek philosopher Theophrastos depicted vinegar as a material that reacted with metals to generate colors, which were frequently employed in paintings at the time.

It was created by distillation by the Persian alchemist Jabir Ibn Hayyan in the eighth century. Glacial (water-free) acetic acid was thought to have distinct qualities than vinegar at the time. However, Pierre Adet, a Frenchman, discovered that they were the same compounds.

Hermann Kolbe, a German scientist, performed the first synthesis of acetic acid from inorganic molecules in 1847. 

It may be produced on a large scale using the oxidation procedure of acetaldehyde, ethanol, butane, or butene. The most common method is the carbonylation of methanol with carbon monoxide.

It possesses physical-chemical properties such as a –17ºC melting point, a boiling point of 117ºC, and a colorless liquid with a purging and caustic odor. 

It is soluble in water and ethanol, as well as miscible in the majority of organic solvents. They modify the color of acid-base indicators and react with bases to generate organic salts, just as inorganic chemicals.

Acetic acid is used in the production of a variety of materials, including metallic acetates used in printing processes, cellulose acetate used in the production of textiles and photographic films, vinyl acetate used in polymerization processes to form vinyl chloride (PVC), and volatile organic esters, which are widely used as solvents for paints, resins, and lacquers.

Vinegar for human consumption must be produced by a fermentation process, especially from wine. Acetic fermented goods are those derived from other source materials. 

What are the physical and chemical properties of vinegar?

The chemical structure of the vinegar is CH3COOH, and its molecular weight is 60.05 g/mol. It is a solution of the second most basic carboxylic acid, having only two carbon atoms in its structure. 

Vinegar is a colorless liquid with a distinct vinegar-like odor and a sour flavor. It has a density of 1.05 g/mL and melting and boiling points of 16 and 118 degrees Celsius, respectively. It has high miscibility in water, methanol, and ethanol.

Vinegar is a weak organic acid, which implies that when a solution of this substance is created, it is not totally dissociated in water. The pH of the vinegar solution is not excessively low, oscillating between 5 and 10%.

The creation of hydrogen bonds between the oxygen atoms and the hydrogen atoms of the water results in its high miscibility in water.

How to produce apple cider vinegar at home?

Apple cider vinegar may be created at home using only apples and a small amount of water, making it as natural as possible.

It is advised to start with two large apples, which must be cleaned, skinned, and seeded before being cut into pieces. Then take the following steps:

To keep the apples from decaying, mix them with a little water in a blender. The amount of water needed varies depending on the amount of apple used, however, it is normally advised to add water until at least half of the apples are submerged. Blend until the apples are fully smashed in a blender;

Place in a glass bottle, cover, and keep at room temperature (ideally between 18 and 30ºC) for 4 to 6 weeks. It is critical to just fill half of the bottle so that fermentation may proceed smoothly.

After that, transfer to a large glass container without a lid, cover with a clean towel and leave in the sun for 3 days.

After being in the sun, the apple cider vinegar must be filtered and placed in a dark glass bottle, ready to be used.


In this brief article, we provided you with the answer to the question: “What is the formula for vinegar?”, discussed the history of vinegar, the benefits of this liquid, and shared a recipe for homemade apple cider vinegar.



“Ácido Acético Ou Etanóico – Vinagre – Química – InfoEscola.” Accessed January 31, 2022. https://www.infoescola.com/quimica/acido-acetico/.

Tua Saúde. “9 benefícios do vinagre de maçã e como consumir.” Accessed January 31, 2022. https://www.tuasaude.com/beneficios-do-vinagre-de-maca/.

“Vinegar Chemical Formula”. Acessado 14 de fevereiro de 2022. https://www.softschools.com/formulas/chemistry/vinegar_chemical_formula/576/.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.