What is Vinegar?
The dictionary defines vinegar as “sour wine” or “a sour liquid obtained by acetic fermentation of dilute alcoholic liquids and used as a condiment or preservative.”

How is Vinegar Made? 
Vinegar is made by two distinct biological processes, both the result of the action of harmless microorganisms (yeast and “Acetobacter”) that turn sugars (carbohydrates) into acetic acid. Many of our favorite foods involve some type of bacteria in their production – from cheese and yogurt to wine, pickles and chocolate. The first process is called alcoholic fermentation and occurs when yeasts change natural sugars to alcohol under controlled conditions. In the second process, a group of bacteria (called “Acetobacter”) converts the alcohol portion to acid. This is the acetic, or acid fermentation, that forms vinegar. Proper bacteria cultures are important; timing is important; and fermentation should be carefully controlled.

Although acetic acid is the primary constituent of vinegar aside from water, acetic acid is not vinegar. Vinegar contains many vitamins and other compounds not found in acetic acid such as riboflavin, Vitamin B-1 and mineral salts from the starting material that impart vinegar with its distinct flavor.

What is vinegar made from?
Vinegar is can be made from all kinds of things. Grains, (e.g. rice wheat, barley), grass (e.g. sugar cane), fruit (e.g. grapes, apples, pears), vegetables (e.g. carrots), wood etc.

What Are the Different Types of Vinegar? 
Since vinegar can be made from anything with sugar, there are probably too many different types to count made in countries throughout the world. Each country may use starting materials native to their area and tailored to the specific tastes of the region.
Typical retail varieties of vinegar include white distilled, cider, wine (white and red), rice, balsamic, malt and sugar cane. Other, more specialized types include banana, pineapple, raspberry, flavored and seasoned (e.g., garlic, tarragon).

How Long Does Vinegar Last?
The shelf life of vinegar is almost indefinite, according to The Vinegar Institute's research studies. The Vinegar Institute is an association of North American vinegar manufacturers. Because of vinegar's acid nature it is self-preserving and does not need refrigeration. White Vinegar will remain virtually unchanged over an extended period of time. Some changes can be observed in other types of vinegars, such as colour changes or the development of a haze or sediment. This is, however, only an aesthetic change. The product can still be used with confidence.

After a bottle of vinegar has been opened in your home for a long time you may notice 'mother' of vinegar floating on top of the liquid. It is a thick opaque substance that is actually cellulose - a natural carbohydrate that is the fiber in foods, similar to celery and lettuce. Mother is a naturally occurring process that is produced by the harmless vinegar bacteria. Manufacturers pasteurize vinegar before bottling to prevent the vinegar bacteria from forming mother while sitting on grocery store shelves. However, mother may appear in vinegar that has been opened for an extended period of time.

What are the Advantages of Using White Vinegar for Cleaning?

Consumers who used white vinegar in their home for cleaning in an in-home usage test in 2003 report the following advantages and benefits of white vinegar: 
- Surprisingly effective, when compared to other cleaners. 
- An 'all-in-one cleaner,' so there is no need to buy an arsenal of cleaners for different purposes
- Non-toxic, so there is no fear of breathing harmful chemicals while cleaning. 
- Gentle on hands, so there is no need to wear rubber gloves. 
- Cleans streak free, so there is no need to rinse after cleaning. 
- Safe around young children, so there is no fear of a child being poisoned. 
- Environmentally friendly, so there are no harmful chemicals going down the drain. 
- Economical, much less expensive than other cleaners.