Can You Cook with Cleaning Vinegar? Yes, and Here’s How!

Have you ever heard of cleaning vinegar? It’s an incredibly versatile home cleaning product that could also be utilized for cooking! With its highly acidic nature, cleaning vinegar could be a mighty ingredient for marinades, salads, and more. However, some people remain unsure about how safe it is for cooking. We’re here to tell you that not only is it safe, but it’s also convenient and inexpensive. In this article, we’ll explore the different ways of cooking with cleaning vinegar, possible benefits, and precautions to keep in mind. So let’s get started!

What is Cleaning Vinegar, and Can You Use it for Cooking?

Cleaning vinegar is a type of vinegar that has higher acidity compared to regular table vinegar or apple cider vinegar. While regular vinegar has around 5% acidity, cleaning vinegar has around 6-8% acidity. This increased acidity makes it an excellent cleaning solution for surfaces with hard water stains or soap scum.

But can you cook with cleaning vinegar? Absolutely! Cleaning vinegar is just as safe to use as your regular table vinegar for cooking, and in some cases, it’s preferable due to its stronger flavor. Since it’s ideal for cleaning surfaces, it’s also useful for removing stains from your cookware or appliances, making it a great addition to any kitchen.

Ways to Cook with Cleaning Vinegar

1. Pickling Vegetables

If you’re a fan of pickled vegetables, then you’ll love using cleaning vinegar as the pickling solution. Due to its high acidic content, cleaning vinegar provides the sharp tangy flavor that is expected in pickled vegetables. Some vegetables that are ideal for pickling are cucumbers, peppers, carrots, and onions.

To pickle vegetables with cleaning vinegar, you’ll need to mix it with water, salt, and sugar to make the pickling brine. The exact measurements will depend on the recipe you’re following, but generally, a good ratio is three parts water to one part cleaning vinegar. Mix the ingredients in a pot and heat it up until the sugar and salt dissolve. Once the brine has cooled, pour it into a jar filled with your desired vegetables and let it sit in the fridge for a few days.

2. Marinades and Salad Dressings

Cleaning vinegar could work wonders as a marinade or salad dressing replacement for your meals. It’s especially suited to marinading meat, given that its acidity could break down protein fibers, leading to more tender meat.

Cleaning vinegar salad dressings offer a tangy and low-calorie alternative to traditional dressings. To create a simple vinaigrette, combine cleaning vinegar with olive oil, honey, mustard, and salt in a bowl or jar.

3. Baking

While vinegar may not be an obvious ingredient in baking, it could have many uses in this area. Cleaning vinegar could be a substitute for baking soda or baking powder, as its acidity could interact with baking soda to create carbon dioxide, leading to a similar rise in baked goods. It could also be used as an egg substitute for vegan baking recipes.

4. Other Cooking Uses

From potato chips to crispy fried chicken, cleaning vinegar could be used in various ways while cooking. Adding cleaning vinegar while cooking could be used to add some tang to the flavor of the dishes that you are making. Additionally, it could be used to bring an extra kick of flavor to some condiments.

Benefits of Cooking with Cleaning Vinegar

1. Adds a Tang to Your Food

Cooking with cleaning vinegar could add some tang to the taste of the dishes you’re preparing. Since it has a milder acidity level compared to other types of vinegar, it’s an excellent option to enhance the flavor without being overpowering.

2. Budget-Friendly

Cleaning vinegar is an inexpensive alternative to other types of vinegar for cooking. It’s affordable and readily available in most grocery stores.

3. Mild Antibacterial Properties

Due to its acidic nature, cleaning vinegar has mild antibacterial properties that could be useful in cleaning utensils and surfaces. Using it while cooking could add some extra protection against harmful bacteria.

Precautions to Keep in Mind When Cooking with Cleaning Vinegar

1. Prolonged Use Could Lead to Erosion

Due to the high acidity level of cleaning vinegar, extended use could lead to erosion in your teeth enamel or damage kitchen surfaces. Therefore, it’s essential to use it in moderation and avoid long-term exposure.

2. Could Have a Pungent Smell

The smell of cleaning vinegar could be quite strong, so it’s essential to ensure that it’s stored correctly, sealed in a jar or bottle, and away from other foods with delicate smells.

3. It’s not Recommended for Use with Cast Iron

While it’s suitable for cleaning, cooking with cleaning vinegar isn’t recommended when it comes to cast iron cookware. Cast iron is highly reactive to any acid, so cooking with cleaning vinegar could lead to the pan becoming rusty or discolored.

The Bottom Line

Cleaning vinegar is an excellent, budget-friendly ingredient that could be used to spice up meals and add extra tang. Cooking with cleaning vinegar is not only safe but also comes with some added benefits. However, it’s essential to observe precautions and use it in moderation to avoid erosion, among other problems.


  • Q: What makes cleaning vinegar different from regular vinegar?
  • A: Cleaning vinegar has a higher acidity level compared to regular vinegar, which makes it a more potent cleaning solution.

  • Q: How can I use cleaning vinegar while cooking?
  • A: Cleaning vinegar could be used in various cooking applications, such as pickling vegetables, marinades, salad dressings, baking, or adding flavor to different dishes.

  • Q: Is it safe to use cleaning vinegar for cooking?
  • A: Yes, it is. Cooking with cleaning vinegar is just as safe as cooking with other types of vinegar.

  • Q: Could cooking with cleaning vinegar be harmful?
  • A: Extended exposure could lead to erosion or damage to surfaces, so it’s essential to use it in moderation.


  • Cleaning Uses for Vinegar |
  • The Best Types of Vinegar for Cooking and Cleaning | The Spruce Eats
  • Is it Safe to Cook with Cleaning Vinegar | Kitchn

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