Properties of Vinegar

Properties of vinegar…Vinegar is mainly a dilute aqueous solution of acetic acid and this is reflected in its physical and chemical properties. It’s the product of two biochemical processes. These processes are alcoholic fermentation and acid fermentation. Alcoholic fermentation converts natural sugar to alcohol. Acid fermentation converts alcohol to acid via microorganisms, which are present in the air, we breathe, called acetobacter. The acid part of vinegar is what gives it its sour taste and its antiseptic (germ killing) properties as well as its cleaning properties.

Vinegar isn’t simply a dilute solution of acetic acid. Depending on the fruit or other organic starting produce and the amount of processing, it can contain varying amounts of minerals, enzymes, vitamins, fiber and other organic compounds. But these are just minor components of the vinegar, even though they are all major contributors to its flavor, color, aroma and overall nutritional benefits.

The bulk of the chemical and physical properties of vinegar come from its two major components, which are acetic acid and water.

  • The chemical formula of vinegar
  • The density of vinegar
  • The boiling point of vinegar
  • The freezing point of vinegar
  • The pH of vinegar
  • The Material Safety Data Sheet of vinegar

Chemical Properties of Vinegar

The chemical formula is the chemical formula of acetic acid because it’s a dilute solution of acetic acid. One molecule of acetic acid contains two carbon, four hydrogens, and two oxygen atoms. The molecular structure is written as CH3COOH. Vinegar is used by chemistry students of all ages in experiments with baking soda.

Acetic Acid Formula


Density is mass per unit volume of a solution. It’s used in many mathematical calculations utilized in analysis and can be measured by a hydrometer. The hydrometer measures relative density or specific gravity. Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of any substance to the density of some other substance used as standard, water being the standard for liquids and solids, and hydrogen or air being the standard for gases. The typical commercial vinegar that has a 5 percent acetic acid content has a density of about 1.01 grams per milliliter.

Boiling Point

The boiling point of vinegar also depends on the acetic acid content. The typical commercial distilled white vinegar, which contains 5 percent acetic acid and of course 95 percent water boils at about 100.6 degrees Celcius or 213 degrees Fahrenheit.

Freezing Point of Vinegar

Just as with the density and boiling point, the freezing point of vinegar will depend on the acetic acid content. The typical 5 percent of commercial vinegar has a freezing point of about – 2 degrees Celcius or 28 degrees Fahrenheit.


The term pH means “potential hydrogen” and refers to the number of hydrogen ions present in solution. Mathematically, pH is equal to the negative logarithm, using base 10, of the hydrogen ion concentration in mole per liter. If the pH of a solution decreases by 1 pH unit, then its hydrogen ion concentration increases by 10 times. Pure water has a neutral pH of 7. Neutral means that anything less than 7 is acidic and anything greater than 7 is basic or alkaline.

The pH of vinegar is dependent on the amount of acid present in the vinegar. Most commercial vinegar is a 5 percent solution and therefore, will have a pH of 2.4.

pH of Common Liquids

Liquid pH
Blood 7.400
Sea Water 7.360
Distilled Water 7.000
Milk 6.700
Normal Rain 5.700
Acid Rain 5.200
Tomato Juice 4.200
Mug Root Beer 4.038
Orange Juice 3.500
Sprite 3.298
7 Up 3.202
Grapefruit Juice 3.150
Apple Juice 3.100
Dr Pepper 2.899
Pepsi 2.530
Coke 2.525
Stomach Acid 2.500
Vinegar 2.400
RC Cola 2.387
Sulfuric Acid 000.3
Hydrochloric Acid 000.1


A Material Safety Data Sheet or MSDS is a sheet containing physical and chemical information on a particular substance. It measures the safety and impact on the environment of the substance as well as its risks. They’re mainly for workers and emergency personnel but they can be used by anyone. Each vinegar manufacturer will have its own MSDS for its own.