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What Is the Chemical Formula for Vinegar?


Answer: Vinegar contains the chemical known as acetic acid, and its chemical formula is properly written CH3COOH. Vinegar may also contain water and other non-reactive components that give it color or flavor. [Eastern Oregon University]

More Info: Acetic acid is an organic compound with two carbon atoms, four hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. The first CH3 is called a methyl group and is stable in structure with each hydrogen atom sharing a bond with the carbon atom. The second carbon is bonded to the carbon in the methyl group and then double bonded to an oxygen atom. The second carbon is also bonded to the remaining oxygen atom which is in turn bonded to the final hydrogen atom. In solution with water, the OH group releases the hydrogen atom causing the ionization of the molecules and forming a weak acid solution.

Vinegar is a useful household chemical as well as a food additive. Because it is a mild acid, it is often used in cleaning where it’s lack of toxicity does not adversely affect human health or the environment. Vinegar is traditionally made from fruits such as apples. Apple cider is fermented past the alcohol stage to form vinegar. Vinegar can be made at home with fresh apples. It takes up to six months for homemade vinegar to ferment to completion. Pure acetic acid with no water present will not conduct electricity. Adding water and ionizing the acid will provide the free electrons necessary to conduct electricity.



“Common and Trade Names of Chemicals.” California State University, Dominguez Hills. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2010.

“How should the reaction between vinegar and baking soda be classified?.” General Chemistry Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2010. <>.

“The Analysis of Vinegar.” Chemistry CSUS Stanislaus Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2010.

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