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Does Vinegar Ever Go Bad?

Various vinegars on the wooden table top.
focal point/Shutterstock.com

Vinegar is common kitchen staple, equally useful in making your own salad dressing and adding flavor to your cooking as it is at cleaning various parts of your home. There are a surprising number of different types out there too, from red vinegar to rice vinegar to apple cider vinegar and beyond.

Another common use for vinegar is pickling fruits, vegetables, and other food so they last much, much longer than they would otherwise. So you might be wondering if you can hang onto your bottle of vinegar until it’s used up or if it has an expiration date like any other food or condiment.

The good news, especially for those who don’t use vinegar every day, is that it’s nearly impossible for it to expire or go bad. Especially if it’s distilled white vinegar.

Maypink Clear Glass Bottles

Vinegar tastes especially good when stored in glass containers. Just sayin'.

According to the Vinegar Institute, vinegar has a basically indefinite shelf life. Vinegar is highly acidic, which means that is more or less keeps itself preserved for longer periods of time even if it’s not stored in the fridge. It’s the same reason why lemon juice is the key to keeping cut avocados fresh.

Even if you’ve noticed some sediment building up at the bottom of your vinegar bottle or jar, don’t worry. This is completely natural and isn’t an indication of the vinegar going bad. So don’t be afraid to spring for a extra large jar of vinegar– you’ll almost certainly use it up before it starts to sour.

Meghan Herlihy Meghan Herlihy
Meghan Herlihy is a full-time writer for LifeSavvy and How-To Geek and has written across a wide variety of topics, genres, and formats, including radio talk shows, local sports journalism, and creative original fiction. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Ithaca College and a master's in writing from Johns Hopkins University. When she's not writing, you're most likely to find her reading a book, petting every dog within eyesight, and indulging in her love of travel. Read Full Bio »
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