Vinegar at home: the best ways for preserving it for a long time without it expiring

by Mark Bennett

October 13, 2023


Vinegar at home: vinegar is a formidable ally for a thousand household chores, from cleaning surfaces to removing odors, to improving the laundry and more. What began as an ingredient for food use has now become an essential item in the range of commonly used home care products. Considering that it is also very cheap, vinegar's versatility is very well known.

But how should vinegar be stored? Or rather, how can we ensure that it does not deteriorate whist not being used? It's not just a matter of closing its packaging/lid properly, as there are some other precautions to take into account.

Does vinegar have an expiration date?


Like all the products we buy, even vinegar (be it white, red, or any other derivative) has an expiry date which tends to be far in the future. Generally, vinegar is considered safe to consume for up to two years from purchase.

In the case of vinegar, the expiry date indicates the maximum period within which the liquid will retain its characteristics. After this date, however, it will start to lose its "power". Vinegar should not be stored in the cold, so we do not need to put vinegar bottles in the fridge.

And there is more good news: distilled white vinegar remains viable for very long periods of time, unlike other vinegar varities. Some chages that occur in non-white, non-distilled vinegar over time are purely aesthetic (they become cloudier and/or change color), but can still be used (if stored properly).


What is the best way to store vinegar?


There are a few simple steps to follow and these apply to all types of vinegar, even balsamic vinegar:

  • Keep the vinegar, when not in use, in a dark, cool cabinet;
  • Do not leave the vinegar exposed to the sun's rays or near heat sources;
  • Store it inside glass, if possible. Plastic or other types of materials that are non-reactive will also work;
  • Make sure the lid/cap is always tightly closed. If damaged, change it with a pristine one to prevent oxidation;
  • Avoid any moisture coming into contact with vinegar. Moisture will alter its acidity levels.

What to do with vinegar that is expired?

Don't throw expired vinegar away: it can be useful for a thousand cleaning chores. Just be careful about causing discoloration and/or stains with darker colored vinegars. Or use expired vinegar in the garden (as a fertilizer), always diluting as necessary.

In short, expired or not, there will always be a use for vinegar!