Are Acetic Acid and Vinegar the Same Thing?

Acetic Acid & Vinegar

Acetic Acid & Vinegar

Acetic Acid is an organic compound that is an acidic, colorless liquid with the chemical formula CH3COOH. It is also the second simplest carboxylic acid (behind formic acid). It can also be referred to as Ethanoic Acid, Methanecarboxylic Acid, E 260, or Vinegar Acid. In fact, Acetic Acid derives from the Latin word “Acetum” or Vinegar. Acetic Acid is what gives Vinegar it’s distinctive odor. Vinegar contains at least 4% Acetic Acid by volume, which makes Acetic Acid the main component of Vinegar.

Acetic Acid 56%

A common dilution percentage of Acetic Acid, is 56% and is available in both Technical Grade and Food Grade. The technical grade Acetic Acid 56% typically functions as an acidulant by lowering the pH. It is used in many industrial cleaners, adhesives/sealants, photography, hard surface care, a natural bug repellant, and a natural way to control weeds. The Food Grade Acetic Acid 56% can also be used as an acidulant to lower pH as well as a food additive, food preservative, and pickling agent.

Glacial Acetic Acid

Glacial Acetic Acid (99%) is the name for the water-free, or anhydrous, acetic acid. The name comes from the ice-like crystals that form when the product is slightly below room temperature (61.9° F). The great thing about Glacial Acetic Acid, is you have the option to dilute it to whatever percentages you want. The downside is, because of it freezing at a high temperature, you almost always have to have this product hooked up to a drum heater or in a heated storage tank to make it easy to work with.

Vinegar 30% 

Vinegar must contain at least 4% Acetic Acid by volume. Typically, your common vinegars found in stores are around 5-8% Acetic Acid. Vinegar is most known for it’s use in food, like in pickling liquids, salad dressings, sauces, and marinades. Because of Vinegar’s acidic nature, it will last indefinitely without the use of refrigeration. Higher concentrations of Vinegar, like Vinegar 30%, are commonly used for things like cleaning and weed control.

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