apple cider vinegar

Exploring Does Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad? Facts and Tips

Quick summary: Yes, apple cider vinegar can go bad over time despite its high acidity and self-preserving capabilities. Signs of spoilage include changes in appearance, such as haze or sediment formation, unusual smells, and alterations in taste.

Surely you have one ancient bottle of apple cider vinegar in your pantry that you are not certain about either when you bought it or when you opened it. The question is, can you use it without getting food poisoning? We bring you all the answers you need.    

Apple cider vinegar is undoubtedly something that is implied to have in the kitchen but rarely does anyone use it often. Here and there, you remember to spice up a salad with acetic acid. Still, if you have more modern culinary habits, you’d rather use lemon juice or some of the more delicate kinds of vinegar for that. One thing I know for sure, my mom can’t imagine living without apple cider vinegar. 

But do we know enough about ACV, as some call it for short? Except that we see it in pantries, rarely does anyone know how long this product actually lasts and how to store it properly. That’s why we bring you some obligatory knowledge that will help you in the kitchen.  

How Long Does Apple Cider Vinegar Last?

Vinegar is produced by fermenting apple juice. That’s why you get a very acidic product, and that acidity is what helps it last a long time and not be attacked by bacteria. This is also why you do not have to keep an open acetic acid in the refrigerator because it will not spoil so quickly. But let’s first see how long can it resist the aging process.   

Unopened Apple Cider Vinegar

Although the shelf life written on the label will also serve as an orientation, you can count on unopened bottle of vinegar to last approximately two years. If the deadline has recently expired, and it seems that the product is in order, you are free to use it anyway. 

Many will say that vinegar has natural antimicrobial properties and that it can actually last for many years. This is true, but the fact that a product is not dangerous to consume does not mean that it is tasty. Fermentation will continue to occur, and your vinegar may be simply over-acidic in time. So, expiration dates are not a rule written in stone.      

Opened Apple Cider Vinegar

Once you open the bottle, it is calculated that the product will be good for about a year. After that, you should replenish supplies even if you have not used up all the fluid. Many homemakers will leave the vinegar to stand longer than that, but it’s not advisable. It may not be a spoiled product, but it is definitely safer to buy fresh. When opening the bottle, you allow air to enter it each time, and an oxidation process occurs. It can spoil the taste of the product over time.    

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Go Bad? 

Yes, despite being a very acidic product, it can spoil over time. You will notice this by a few sure indicators that we bring to you below. If you see any of them, rather throw the product in the trash.  

Sign 1: It doesn’t look nice anymore 

Vinegar is used as a salad dressing, to create some excellent spices or even make some drinks. That is why it must have good taste but also appearance. Over time you may notice that the appearance is hazy or that sediment has formed at the bottom of the bottle. Then it is time to replace the stock. Natural sediment of unfiltered vinegar is present from the beginning, so you’ll know the difference.   

Sign 2: It smells funny 

The nose will serve as a good detector of correctness. If the smell is too strong for you, it could mean that the product is additionally acidic, and it will undoubtedly spoil the taste you want.  

Sign 3: The taste is changed   

As with odors, you will find by the taste that the product has additionally acquired acidity. If the taste is too strong, rather throw everything away and get a new bottle. Don’t ruin the whole dish because of it.   

Which is the Best Way to Store Apple Cider Vinegar? 

Although it is very resistant to spoilage and has self preserving capabilities due to fermentation process, there are still a few tips on how you can maintain product quality for a long time. Here’s what you need to do in order to have your vinegar stored properly.   

Tip 1: Keep products away from direct sunlight 

This is almost the golden rule for all products. Do not allow the sun’s rays to fall on the goods so as not to lose their appearance and taste. Any place in the pantry or the kitchen cabinets will be fine for long shelf life.    

Tip 2: Keep the bottle tightly closed  

Oxygen is not a good friend of vinegar. Try to keep it as little open as possible and close the bottle well after use. You want to prevent oxidation from happening and preserve its nice acidic nature.

Tip 3: Keep at a relaxed temperature 

There is no need to refrigerate apple cider vinegar after opening since it is highly acidic. It will not in the least enhance its permanence. But it is certainly advisable to keep it in a cooler place to preserve its characteristics.    


How do you know if apple cider vinegar has gone bad?

You can tell if apple cider vinegar has gone bad by looking for changes in color, the presence of sediment, or a sour, unpleasant odor. Though it has a long shelf life, any noticeable deviations from its usual characteristics might indicate spoilage.

Is apple cider vinegar okay to use after the expiration date?

Yes, apple cider vinegar is generally safe to use after the expiration date, as its high acidity acts as a natural preservative. However, its quality might diminish over time, so it’s advisable to check for any unusual changes before using it in recipes.

Does apple cider vinegar need to be refrigerated?

No, there’s no need to place the vinegar in the fridge, opened or not. Room temperature or a bit cooler place will be just fine. Read other storage tips from our list. 

Can I use apple cider vinegar every day?

Yes, you can use apple cider vinegar daily in moderation for various purposes, such as incorporating it into salad dressings or diluted in water. However, excessive consumption might have potential side effects, so it’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional before making it a daily habit.

How long does apple cider vinegar last after opening?

Apple cider vinegar can last indefinitely after opening, as its high acidity helps preserve it. However, its quality might gradually diminish over time, so it’s best to store it in a cool, dark place and check for any changes before use.


Apple cider vinegar is one of those foods that doesn’t seem to have an expiration date. High acidity of fermented apples provides good resistance to bacteria and is therefore slightly prone to spoilage. But specific changes in taste, smell, and appearance can undoubtedly occur over time. In that case, you should rather throw the product in the trash because it can spoil the taste of your food. 

Keep the vinegar in a cool and dark place and try to keep the bottle open for as short a time as possible. Also, avoid leaving it in the sun if you are on a picnic outside. Besides, there aren’t a lot of rules you have to follow.   

See more: Substitute for apple cider vinegar

*image by 9dreamstudio/depositphotos

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