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Acetic Acid

Acetic acid, systematically named ethanoic acid, is a colourless liquid organic compound with the chemical formula CH₃COOH. When undiluted, it is sometimes called glacial acetic acid. Vinegar is no less than 4% acetic acid by volume, making acetic acid the main component of vinegar apart from water.


Acetic acid is a clear, colorless, organic liquid with a pungent odor similar to household vinegar. Acetic acid has a variety of uses, including as a raw material and solvent in the production of other chemical products, oil and gas production, and in food and pharmaceutical industries.

Uses & Benefits

One of the most common ways consumers may come into contact with acetic acid is in the form of household vinegar, which is naturally made from fermentable sources such as wine, potatoes, apples, grapes, berries and grains. Vinegar is a clear solution generally containing about 5 percent acetic acid and 95 percent water.  Vinegar is used as a food ingredient and can also be an ingredient in personal care products, household cleaners, pet shampoos and many other products for the home:


1. Food Preparation: Vinegar is a common food ingredient, often used as a brine in pickling liquids, vinaigrettes, marinades and other salad dressings.  Vinegar also can be used in food preparation to help control Salmonella contamination in meat and poultry products.

2. Cleaning: Vinegar can be used throughout the home as a window cleaner, to clean automatic coffee makers and dishes, as a rinsing agent for dishwashers, and to clean bathroom tile and grout. Vinegar can also be used to clean food-related tools and equipment because it generally does not leave behind a harmful residue and requires less rinsing.

3. Gardening: In concentrations of 10 to 20 percent, acetic acid can be used as a weed killer on gardens and lawns. When used as an herbicide, the acetic acid can kill weeds that have emerged from the soil, but does not affect the roots of the weed, so they can regrow.