What is the percentage of acetic acid in vinegar?

In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “What is the percentage of acetic acid in vinegar?”, and the types of vinegar. We will also share some of the benefits of vinegar consumption.

What is the percentage of acetic acid in vinegar?

The percentage of acetic acid in vinegar ranges from range of 4.0 to 29.0%

Vinegar refers to brewed vinegar that is produced by fermenting grains, fruits or alcoholic drinks or by mixing and ripening them with a grain saccharified solution or fruit juice or to synthetic vinegar that is manufactured by diluting glacial acetic acid or acetic acid with drinking water. 

The total acid content is quantified as the acetic acid content, which is, as said before, in the range of 4.0 to 29.0%. (1)

Where does vinegar acid come from? 

The acetic acid on vinegar is the product of the acetic fermentation of slightly alcoholic liquids (less than 10–12% by volume of ethyl alcohol); transformation of alcoholic liquids into vinegar is not really fermentation, but oxidation.

Ethanol is dehydrogenated to acetic acid and the reduced cosubstrates are oxidized via the respiratory chain. Similarly, but less abundantly and in an anaerobic atmosphere, acetic acid is formed by dismutation of 2 molecules of acetaldehyde (derived in their turn from alcohol by oxidation). (2)

Vinegar may also be produced by diluting glacial acetic acid or acetic acid with drinking water.(1)

What factors affect the acetic acid content in vinegar?

The organic acids (lactic, acetic and succinic) and volatile compounds (2-butanol, 2-propen-1-ol, 4-ethylguaiacol and eugenol) of vinegars are significantly influenced by the maturation of the vinegar. 

It was found that vinegars with higher levels of maturation have higher concentrations of these compounds. (1)

What is the acidity content between the types of vinegar?

There are a few types of vinegars, classified based on their raw materials and fermentation process, with different amounts of acetic acid content. 


Distilled White Vinegar

Sometimes referred to as spirit, distilled, or alcohol vinegar, is prepared by acetous fermentation of an alcoholic distillate obtained from the products of alcoholic fermentation of natural sugar solutions.

When diluted to 4–5% acidity is used for pickling. (1)

Wine Vinegar

Wine vinegar, which is obtained from acetous fermentation of wine, both white and red or rose´ wines can be used to produce white or red vinegar, respectively.

Its total acidity must not be less than 6 g of acetic acid per 100 ml and residual ethanol may be present in quantities not exceeding 1.5% v/v. (1)

Rice vinegar

Rice vinegar is prepared from rice, from sake (its fermentation product), or from the byproducts of sake manufacture.This vinegar has a high amino acid content. It is light in color and has a clean, delicate flavor. It typically has an acidity level of around 5% and a pH ranging from 3.6 to 4.0. (3)

Apple cider vinegar

Cider vinegar is prepared from apple wine that has undergone acetous fermentation and is widely used as a table vinegar. It is yellowish in color and may be darkened with caramel. It has acidity of approximately 5% and pH between 2.5 to 3.0. (4)

Malt vinegar

Malt vinegar is produced without intermediate distillation from the double fermentation (alcoholic and acetous) of malted barley with or without the addition of other cereals. Malt vinegar is straw-colored and must in any case contain 4% w/v of acetic acid. (1)

Balsamic vinegar

A particular type of highly prized vinegar has been produced for centuries in the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy. The raw material is grape must, preferably Trebbiano.

In traditional balsamic vinegar the total solids are very high (20–70%), acidity varies between 6 and 18% w/v acetic acid and there are large amounts of sugars, as well as numerous aromatic substances. (1)

What are the health effects of consumption of acetic acid in vinegar ? 

The acetic acid in vinegar has been associated with a wide range of reported health benefits. It is believed to contribute to improved digestive system function, stimulate appetite, possess antioxidant properties, aid in recovery from exhaustion, lower lipid levels, and regulate blood pressure.

Acetic acid can penetrate the cell membranes of microorganisms, leading to their demise and promoting bacterial cell death.

Incorporating dietary acetic acid from foods, even at a concentration as low as 0.3%, has shown promise in reducing serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Acetic acid has also been reported to enhance lipid homeostasis and aid in lowering cholesterol levels.(1)

Other FAQs about Vinegar that you may be interested in.

What does vinegar do to rust?

What is the difference between vinegar and cleaning vinegar?

What happens when vinegar and baking soda are mixed?

What happens when you mix vinegar and bleach?


In this brief article, we provided you with the answer to the question: “What is the percent of acetic acid in vinegar?”, and the types of vinegar. We also shared some of the benefits of vinegar consumption.


  1. Chin Wai Ho, et al, Varieties, production, composition and health benefits of vinegars: A review, Food Chemistry, 221, 2017
  2. M. Plessi, VINEGAR, Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition (Second Edition), Academic Press, 5996-6004, 2003.
  3. Lee S-W, Kwon J-H, Yoon S-R, Woo S-M, Jang S-Y, Yeo S-H, et al. Quality Characteristics of Brown Rice Vinegar by Different Yeasts and Fermentation Condition. Journal of the Korean Society of Food Science and Nutrition. 39, 1366–72 2010.
  4. Adriana Dabija et. al. Study concerning the quality of apple vinegar obtained through classical method. Journal of Agroalimentary Processes and Technologies  20(4), 2014.

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