White vinegar is an absolute powerhouse in the natural cleaning toolkit, and I use it in most of my homemade cleaning products. However, we don’t sell it here at Living Lightly Home, because white vinegar can be purchased cheaply from your local supermarket or food co-op, and it isn’t worth the extra shipping costs involved in sending it around the country.
Every now and then people raise concerns about cheap white vinegar, suggesting that it may be made from acetic acid derived from petrochemicals, rather than being naturally fermented.
The fact is, most supermarket (or food co-op) white vinegar IS naturally fermented. It is absolutely fine to use if:
- it is described as “vinegar” on the bottle; and
- it doesn’t have any additives (e.g. E260) listed as ingredients.
The Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) states that vinegar can only be described as “vinegar” if it “…consists of the sour liquid prepared by acetous fermentation, with or without alcoholic fermentation, of any suitable foodstuff, and including blends and mixtures of such liquids”.1
That is, if vinegar is not produced by fermentation of foodstuffs (usually sugar or grain), it needs to be described as “imitation vinegar”.
To avoid the plastic bottles from the supermarket, we re-fill our bottles with white vinegar at our local food co-op – again checking that it is vinegar only, with no additives.