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Apple Cider Vinegar vs. White Vinegar: What’s The Difference?

Apple Cider Vinegar vs. White Vinegar: What’s The Difference?

Acetic acid is a good addition to one’s diet. When it comes to selecting the source of this acid, often two kinds of vinegars come to mind – apple cider vinegar and white vinegar.

In many recipes and salads, apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are used interchangeably. But they are different in more than one way despite having acetic acid as a common component.

Apple cider vinegar is more tart than white vinegar and is created from apple juice, whereas white vinegar is created from corn, wheat, or similar products. They can be used interchangeably in most recipes, but they do taste different.

Let’s delve into them separately to further explore the differences between them:

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a favorite amongst the health conscious. However, many don’t know how it is derived and in what other ways it can be used.

Here is all you need to know about the magic potion that is apple cider vinegar.

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, is derived when apple juice is fermented. Since it has the fermented bacteria, apple cider has obvious taste of cooked fruit with the tanginess and sourness of vinegar.

Since it has a distinct taste, it can enhance the taste of anything that it is added to, including soups, chutneys, or even salads. It can also be used as a brine to pickle vegetables. However, because of its color, ACV yields darkened pickled ingredients.

How Is Apple Cider Vinegar Made?

The process of making apple cider vinegar is tedious. It begins with crushing the apples and extracting the juice.

This juice, along with yeast and sugar then goes through a two-step fermentation process. In the first step the juice is fermented into alcohol.

The second stage includes fermenting this alcohol further to form an acid. The bacteria added during the second step feeds on the sugars to yield apple cider vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar Used For?

Apple cider vinegar can be used in a variety of ways:

Dressing and Marinades

When added to dressings or marinades, ACV yields a sour and fruity taste. However, it also adds a distinct smell to anything that it is added to which is why many people don’t like apple cider vinegar dressings in salads or prefer to include it as a marinade ingredient.

Nutritional Value

Apart from the tangy taste that ACV gives, it also delivers a nutritional benefit. Many people add ACV to their diet to help with weight loss and improve heart health.

ACV diluted in water is a common morning time routine for many. However, because of the acetic acid in ACV, it is recommended not to brush right after consuming ACV as it may damage the tooth enamel.

Acidic Reflux

ACV has antimicrobial properties. Therefore, it is as great as diluted for treating acidic reflux. It can be taken before, or after meals.


White vinegar is often the choice when it comes to using vinegar to clean and disinfect. However, a lesser-known use of ACV is its cleaning properties. ACV combined with water in a ratio of 1:2 is a natural all-purpose cleaner.

However, the distinct smell of ACV might not make it the preferred choice for a cleaning agent.

Skin Toner

ACV diluted with water can be used on the skin to treat skin conditions like acne. Those with sensitive skin should use it even more dilated than the 2:1 water to ACV ratio.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a staple in kitchens all over the world. Here’s all you need to know about white vinegar:

What Is White Vinegar?

White vinegar is also known as “distilled white vinegar.” This is because the percentage of acetic acid in this vinegar varies between 5% to 10%.

The white vinegar used for commercial purposes like cleaning or in agriculture contains up to 20% of acetic acid and 80% water.

How Is White Vinegar Made?

White vinegar can be made from potatoes, molasses, wheat, and even corn. The starchy ingredient goes through a fermentation process to yield white vinegar.

Like apple cider vinegar, white vinegar also uses sugar and yeast to start the fermentation process.

What Is White Vinegar Used For?

White vinegar is not just used for cooking, but also for cleaning purposes because of its disinfecting properties. Here are all the ways white vinegar is used around the house or commercially:


White vinegar is often used in savory recipes to add a zing or an acidic component to them. However, it is also a great addition to baking and when it reacts with baking soda, it creates lighter and softer baked goods. Many bakers add this as a secret ingredient to their recipes to make their food airy and soft.

Cheese Making

Since white vinegar does not have a fruity taste or a strong smell like ACV, it is used to curdle milk when making cheese. The resulting cheese has a mild flavor and is soft and creamy.


White vinegar is a natural disinfectant and eliminates odors. When combined with baking soda, white vinegar can take off the toughest stains.

Apple cider vinegar with scouring pad.

Since it is acidic in nature, it is not recommended to use on granite or marble countertops as it can dim its shine.

You can also use white vinegar to clean stains from laundry.

Health Benefits

White vinegar, like ACV, also has numerous health benefits. When taken after a meal, white vinegar can help reduce insulin levels and blood sugar.

Consuming white vinegar also results in feeling full which aids in weight management. Other than that, despite being acidic in nature, it can be used as a topical treatment for burns, warts, and fungal infections.

You can also consume white vinegar to control your cholesterol. However, make sure you don’t have inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract because white vinegar might worsen it.

White vinegar is not of much help in indigestion or heartburn.


A common misconception is that white vinegar is only used in the kitchen or as a cleaning agent. 

White vinegar is offering tremendous benefits to farmers in the agriculture sector. 

It is dangerous for common ones, but plants like gardenias, hydrangeas, and the rhododendron thrive when an acidic component is added to the soil. 

Differences Apple Cider Vinegar And White Vinegar

Both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are common pantry ingredients. They are often used interchangeably for weight management and to add an acidic component to recipes.

There are some obvious differences amongst the two as well as some underlying ones. Here are some of the obvious points of difference:

Percentage Of Acetic Acid

For example, the percentage of acetic acid in both vinegars are different. White vinegar, regarded as the strongest of all others, has 5-10% acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar might have a sticky and strong smell, but it’s acetic acid ranges between 4% to 6%.


White vinegar has a clean, acidic smell. Apple cider, since it is derived from apples, has a strong and sticky smell.

This is the reason why white vinegar is preferred to curdle milk for making cheese and byproducts. It doesn’t leave an aftertaste to the resulting products.


White vinegar, just as the name suggests, is white or clear in color like water. Its consistency is also like that of water.

Apple cider vinegar is orangish in color and looks cloudy. The apple cider vinegar with the mother also has particles floating around inside it, which indicates that it is an organic apple cider vinegar.

Nutritional Benefit

Both vinegars have great nutritional benefits, but ACV is considered healthier since it is derived from fruit and not from a starchy ingredient.

ACV also includes the “mother” enzyme which has added nutritional benefits. It has a great number of probiotics, minerals, and vitamins.

Summing Up Apple Cider Vinegar vs. White Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar both offer tremendous benefits. However, the differences between then extend beyond the color and smell.

These vinegars differ in the acetic acid value. ACV is also a healthier choice since it is derived from fruit.

ACV is best for treating acidic reflux, while white vinegar is not suitable for digestive problems. So, if you ever have a digestive issue, ACV is your choice.

For cleaning, white vinegar is preferred because of its non-sticky smell and colorless appearance, although both have disinfectant properties.

Knowing the differences is useful for using each kind of vinegar to derive the most effective results for better and healthier everyday choices.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.