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Vinegar Strength - What Effect Its Acidity Percentage Has On Its Cleaning Power

I received this question about vinegar strength recently on my Facebook fan page wall.


Can you tell me anything about Allen's Double Strength Vinegar?

Taylor's Answer:

Thanks for your question. You've asked me about a specific brand of vinegar, but I am going to expand my answer to tell you not really about this specific brand, but instead to explain what I think you're talking about.

As you know, along with using vinegar for food related purposes, there are many uses for vinegar for cleaning, laundry and stain removal.

High strength vinegar, such as the Allen's Double Strength Vinegar that you asked about, are being sold as vinegars that are specifically meant for cleaning your home, and not for use with your food.

The reason for this is that vinegar contains acetic acid. Typically, the amount of acetic acid present in distilled white vinegar (which is the type of vinegar most often used for cleaning) is around 4%, with some being as high as 7%, although that is more rare.

Basically, the high strength vinegar is double or so of the acetic acid, which is what makes vinegar work as a cleaner.

Although this sounds like it may be a good product to buy if you like to make your own homemade cleaning products, I wouldn't particularly recommend it.

My reasons include that regular vinegar is very cheap (such as the Walmart brand pictured above), and does a great job. Plus, most of the homemade cleaner recipes you find are based on the assumption that it is typical, regular strength vinegar. Using a stronger product may change the recipe, and not for the better.

Does anyone use a vinegar strength higher than normal when making their cleaning products? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about it, pros and cons, in the comments.

I've answered this question as part of the site for house cleaning help. Do you have a question of your own? If so, you can ask it there.

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5% vs 6% vinegar
by: gabby Jim

So, 1% doesn't seem like much of a difference, eh? Well, be that as it may, 5% culinary vinegar just doesn't seem to cut it when cleaning the pet's water dishes. However, this trick worked much better. I filled the dish with hot water from the tap (water heater is set to about 150 degrees at the tap). I actually let the water run for a while to ensure maximum temperature as well as to heat the (plastic) dish. Then poured in about 1/2 a bowl of 6% (Special CLEANING strength) vinegar and let soak for about 1/2 an hour. Of course, that dilutes the 6% but it is now HOT. (I tried 5% full strength - without diluting it - which means cold - not as good results!) I used a bottle brush to swirl the mix and scrub the bowl at the beginning and again about 15 minutes later, and, of course, at the end. Excellent results. (This is one of those water dishes with a bottle attached to keep the dish full - so, over time the lime deposits build up at the water line and especially were the bottle attaches.) I honestly don't know if heating the 5% in a pot first would make it as effective, but that would not be as convenient, and I'd be a bit concerned about damage to a metal pot. After all, vinegar is an acid, and metals don't take kindly to acids.

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Hi, I'm Taylor, a busy mom with 3 kids, so I have lots of hands on experience with house cleaning, laundry and my fair share of spots, spills and other messy catastrophes. Thanks for visiting my site.

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CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.