White Vinegar vs Distilled Malt Vinegar

Is White Vinegar the Same as Distilled Malt Vinegar?

White vinegar and distilled malt vinegar are both members of the vinegar family. However, they are not strictly the same thing.

I’ll now go on to outline the significant differences between the two vinegars, so you’ll be a vinegar expert by the end!


Differences Between White Vinegar and Distilled Malt Vinegar

Manufacturing process

The most important difference between the two is that they are made in different ways.

White vinegar is created by fermenting an alcoholic liquid similar to grain-based vodka. Acetic acid bacteria break down the alcohol in the liquid and acetic acid is the byproduct of this process.

Distilled malt vinegar is created by fermenting a barley-based liquid much like beer. Acetic acid bacteria break down the alcohol in this beer like liquid to make acetic acid. The resulting raw brown malt vinegar is then distilled to remove the colour.


Acetic acid

The acetic acid level of white vinegar and distilled malt vinegar is similar. White vinegar’s acetic acid content is usually around 4-7%, while for distilled malt vinegar it is around 5-8%.



White vinegar is usually perceived as stronger, partly since it has a crisper, more acidic taste. However, the actually acid level can be very similar to that of distilled malt vinegar. Distilled malt vinegar has a subtler, sweeter flavour, meaning it’s often a better choice for cooking.


What Should You Use for Cleaning?

You can use either type of vinegar for cleaning, as they are both very good at cutting through grime. The main difference is in the manufacturing process rather than their effectiveness.

When you look at both products and use them for cleaning, you’ll barely be able to tell the difference, so it’s up to you which you choose! It might be a good idea to shop around and pick whichever you can get at the best price.