White vs. Distilled Vinegar
Try to look for vinegar at a local market and you will be surprised by just how many kinds you find. There is a staggering 21 kinds of vinegar available commercially. This number does not include the countless homemade types. But out of this vast range, distilled vinegar and white vinegar prove to be 2 of the most widely used. Sure, they’re both acidic, but in what ways do they differ from one another?
Most people agree that the basic difference is the level of purity. Simply put, distilled vinegar has been purified more than white vinegar. Furthermore, there are some dissimilarities when it comes to chemical structure, production, and usage.
White vinegar is sometimes also referred to as spirit vinegar. Contrary to its name, white vinegar is actually clear. It is usually produced from sugar cane, the extract of which is put through acid fermentation. In the process, the liquid is oxidized, causing the chemicals in it to change and become more acidic. Another way of making white vinegar is to combine acetic acid with water. This variation is much sourer than the naturally fermented type; it has 5% to 20% acetic acid content and is considered stronger than any of the other types.
Distilled vinegar, also known as virgin vinegar, can be made from just about any vinegar – for instance: rice, malt, wine, fruit, balsamic, apple cider, kiwifruit, rice, coconut, palm, cane, raisin, date, beer, honey, kombucha, and much more. As its name suggests, this vinegar is distilled from ethanol. ‘Distilled’ plainly means that the liquid component is separated from the base mixture. This produces a colorless solution with 5-8% acetic acid in the water – relatively weaker than white or spirit vinegar.
Both white and distilled vinegar are used not only for cooking, but also for cleaning, baking, meat preservation, pickling, and sometimes even for laboratory and medicinal purposes.
Since white or spirit vinegar contains a higher percentage of acidic content, it is more ideal as a household cleaning agent. It provides an eco-friendly solution for eliminating dirt and foul odor on a wide range of materials such as fabric, metal, glass, fur, tiles, and many others. It can also be used as a urine-cleaner for pets, as well as a natural herbicide or weed killer. White vinegar does not contain ammonia; it cleanses thoroughly without leaving any strong or harmful smells.
Distilled vinegar, being the milder variation, is more suitable for cooking, flavoring, food preservation, or as a food additive. Additionally, it can be used as a household remedy. For instance, it is an effective way of curing or preventing athlete’s foot and warts. It is also very helpful in relieving sunburn and prevents the skin from peeling or blistering.
Both white and distilled vinegar are widely available. Some people produce their own vinegar by fermenting fruit juices, slightly akin to the production process of wine.
- White and distilled are types of vinegar. They differ fundamentally in their acetic acid content.
- White vinegar, also known as spirit vinegar, has 5-20% acetic acid. This is generally higher as compared to distilled vinegar’s 5-8%.
- White vinegar is made through the natural fermentation of sugar cane extract or by combining acetic acid with water. Distilled vinegar can be made from any type of vinegar by separating ethanol from the base mixture.
Both distilled and white vinegar can be used in cooking, cleaning, food preservation, and for medical and laboratory purposes. However, since white vinegar is stronger than its counterpart, it is more suitable for cleaning and disinfecting. Distilled vinegar, on the other hand, is better for cooking, flavoring, food preservation, and as a natural home remedy.