How Long Does Vinegar Last?

Note- This post may contain affiliate links, we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs.

Did you open a big bottle of vinegar to make a salad dressing and are now wondering what to do with the leftover? Does vinegar last for long? Let’s find out!


Vinegar has an indefinite shelf life. Its quality may degrade over time, but it will remain safe. 

Vinegar has self-preservation qualities because of its acidic nature. It does not need refrigeration. While some changes can be observed over time, it doesn’t go bad.

So if you’ve got half-open bottles of vinegar, this article will help you discover its shelf life, storage methods, and the changes you may observe over time.

How Long Does Vinegar Last?

Vinegar TypePantry
UnopenedBest-by + 5+ years
Opened2+ years

Vinegar has a long shelf life. An unopened bottle of white vinegar can last for 5 or more years. An opening of other types of vinegar can last for 2 or more years, but it may lose some of its taste and smell.

That said, the way vinegar looks in the bottle changes over time. Some of those changes might make you think that yours has gone bad. So, let’s find out more about these changes.

Does Vinegar Go Bad Easily? 


Vinegar doesn’t go bad in the sense that it won’t make you sick if you consume it past its expiration date. However, the quality of vinegar can deteriorate over time, especially if it’s stored improperly. 

Vinegar can develop a cloudy appearance, sediment, or an unpleasant odor. This can happen because the acetic acid in the vinegar reacts with oxygen and moisture in the air, which can cause the vinegar to lose some of its flavor and potency.

The shelf life of vinegar varies depending on its type and how it’s stored. For example, white vinegar can last indefinitely if stored properly in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, while apple cider vinegar has a shelf life of about two years.

How To Tell If Vinegar Has Gone Bad?

Vinegar can last for a long time if stored properly. But it can lose its quality over time. Here are some signs to look for to determine the quality of your vinegar.

  1. Appearance: If the vinegar has a cloudy appearance or sediment or debris settles at the bottom of the bottle, it indicates a change in its quality. 
  2. Smell: Vinegar naturally has an acidic smell, but if it smells rancid or too sour, it may have gone bad.
  3. Taste: If the vinegar tastes off or has a foul taste, it’s better to discard it. This may happen due to exposure to air. It would spoil the taste of your dish.
  4. Mold or Discoloration: If you see any mold growth on the vinegar’s surface or the liquid has changed color, your vinegar has spoiled. But this rarely happens.

How To Store Vinegar?


To ensure that vinegar lasts as long as possible and maintains its quality, it’s essential to store it properly. Here are some tips on how to store vinegar:

  1.  Vinegar should be stored in a cool and dry place. It should also be kept away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and humidity. The ideal temperature for storing vinegar is between 50-70°F (10-21°C).
  2. Vinegar is best stored in its original bottle. Original vinegar bottles are designed to protect them from light and air exposure. If you transfer the vinegar to a different container, make sure it is airtight and opaque.
  3. Vinegar should not be exposed to sudden or extreme temperature changes as this can affect its quality.
  4. Vinegar can absorb strong odors, so storing it away from foods with strong aromas, such as onions, garlic, or spices, is best.
  5. Always use clean utensils when handling vinegar to prevent contamination.

Can we use expired bottles of vinegar?

Every vinegar bottle comes with a best-by date which refers to the time frame the vinegar will maintain its optimal quality and flavor.

However, vinegar is an acidic solution that has a long shelf life. Therefore, it is generally safe to consume vinegar that has gone past its expiration date as long as the vinegar does not show any signs of spoilage.

That being said, the quality of the vinegar may have deteriorated over time, and it may not be as potent or flavorful as a freshly packed bottle of vinegar. 

If you’re unsure about the safety or quality of expired vinegar, it’s best to dispose of and use fresh vinegar for optimal flavor and quality.


Vinegar has a long shelf life. It doesn’t go bad easily. However, over time its quality deteriorates. Some signs that indicate a change in quality include discoloration, cloudiness, and change in taste or smell. 

So, if you find an old bottle of vinegar without any change in smell or taste, you can use it without any worry. If you have any other questions regarding vinegar, feel free to ask me in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does vinegar go bad?

Vinegar does not go bad easily. It has an indefinite shelf life. However, its quality may deteriorate over time.

How should we store vinegar?

Vinegar should be stored in a pantry, away from direct sunlight and heat.

How do you store vinegar after opening?

An opened vinegar bottle should be stored in a cool and dark place.

Can vinegar lose its acidity?

Vinegar does not lose its acidity. It will remain unchanged over an extended period. 

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *