What should you know about the Shelf Life of Apple Cider Vinegar?

In recent times, apple cider vinegar, commonly referred to as ACV, has grown immensely popular among individuals. Almost every household has a bottle of ACV, which is used for different purposes ranging from health to skincare benefits. Crushed fermented apples, sugar, and yeast are combined to make apple cider vinegar. It can be consumed orally with food in the form of pickles, marinades, and salad dressings. 

ACV has also been used for many years as a home cure for a variety of ailments, including heartburn prevention and germ fighting. According to more recent studies, apple cider vinegar may really help lower blood sugar levels and promote weight loss, among other positive health effects. To receive its full benefits, it is important to know how long a bottle of ACV can be used. 

Types of apple cider vinegar

A procedure known as fermentation is used to create apple cider vinegar. There are two steps in the process. After crushing the apples, yeast is introduced to hasten the fermentation process, which turns the sugar into alcohol in a few weeks. The acetic acid that results from the breakdown of alcohol by natural microorganisms is what gives vinegar its tart flavour and aroma. 

The clear, pasteurised, and filtered variety of ACV is the most common in grocery stores. However, unfiltered, raw ACV with hazy sediment is also available. Known as "the mother," this material consists of yeast and bacteria that have settled. However, no specific health benefit for the mother has been demonstrated by research. Any health advantages associated with ACV are believed to be attributed, at least in part, to its acetic acid content.

6 Benefits of using apple cider vinegar

ACV is a great supplier of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Antioxidants can also be found in some varieties of vinegar. Antioxidants are retained in the ACV to a greater extent with darker versions. Darker vinegar also tends to be less refined than lighter varieties, and beneficial components influence the flavour and colour of the liquid. 

  1. Weight Loss: ACV helps with weight loss as the acetic acid helps reduce their appetite. Second, acetic acid may aid modestly increased metabolism, encouraging the body to burn fat for energy. 
  2. Germ reduction: ACV can not prevent wounds from becoming infected, despite some evidence that it (along with lemon juice) helps prevent bacteria like Salmonella from growing on salad greens.
  3. Reducing blood sugar: A small amount of apple cider vinegar, mostly one or two teaspoons diluted with water, consumed before eating has resulted in lower blood sugar levels in a few studies. The effect was modest, and further study is required to determine its precise mechanism of action. Although vinegar shouldn't take the place of diabetic drugs and a healthy lifestyle, it should be safe to include in your treatment regimen.
  4. Reducing cholesterol: Like blood sugar, consuming one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar has led to a reduction in the cholesterol level of individuals along with blood fat levels or triglycerides and enhanced their beneficial cholesterol. Similar results have been seen in other investigations.
  5. Good for hair: ACV can be used in hair masks and for hair rinsing to combat dandruff and its causes. This is, however a subjective statement and varies based on other scalp-related factors. ACV however, contains antimicrobial along with antifungal elements, which promotes healthy hair. 
  6. Eczema control: Some eczema sufferers use Apple cider vinegar to relieve their skin's symptoms. However, some studies found that it irritated some people's skin and had no effect at all. Find out from your dermatologist if you can try it.

Shelf life of apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic, making it safe to use for a very long period. However, it is recommended that you use it within two to three years of purchase because the taste and appearance can vary with time. Once opened, apple cider vinegar doesn't need to be refrigerated. 

Apple cider vinegar can change physically with time, even if it never truly goes bad. As it ages, apple cider vinegar, especially the unfiltered kind, may get cloudier and generate more sediment. This does not indicate that the vinegar has been ruined; instead, it occurs due to usage-related oxygen exposure. 

These modifications may make your apple cider vinegar taste more acidic. Apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic, which means that it is self-preserving and has an extended shelf life. Nevertheless, the label of a bottle you purchase from the store will still have an expiration date. This is because the FDA requires manufacturers to comply. 

What are the factors that can affect the shelf life of apple cider vinegar?

Although ACV usually does not go bad, a few factors may result in reduced shelf life. These are:

  • Temperature: Extremely warm temperatures make your ACV taste different. You will also see some changes in its appearance. 
  • Humidity: Keeping your apple cider vinegar in a damp area can reduce its shelf life. This is particularly true if the bottle is not sealed well. 
  • Exposure to Sunlight: Long-term exposure to sunlight can change the way your ACV looks and tastes. It also breaks down some healthy components of the ACV. 

How to store apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar doesn't need to be refrigerated because it is naturally quite acidic. Just keep it in a cool, dark spot out of direct sunlight. Another way to slow the ageing process is to ensure the top is tightened. The more oxygen it is exposed to, the more it will oxidise and change physically. 

How to know if the apple cider vinegar has gone bad?

If you are unsure whether or not to use that bottle of ACV kept for a long time, check for the following symptoms.

  • Check to see if there is any change in smell. If the smell is too pungent or strong, it is best not to use it. 
  • It is better not to use your ACV if it tastes highly acidic.
  • Although chances are null, you might see mould formation or discolouration on some rare occasions. It is best to discard that bottle. 


Still, if you're wondering if it is possible for apple cider vinegar to spoil, no, that is the response! In most cases, it keeps its integrity when stored typically. As was already indicated, ACV self-preserves naturally. It doesn't go off, according to this. However, other factors like exposure to light or air can somewhat alter its flavour, appearance, and characteristics.

An unopened bottle of ACV kept in a cold, dark place will last a long time. Due to contact with oxygen, it may change gradually once you open it. The safety and nutritional qualities of ACV are unaffected by oxygen or other environmental factors. They might, however, alter the flavour and texture.


Q1. Should I store ACV in the fridge?

No, ACV does not go bad if kept in a dark, cool place, such as a basement or pantry. It isn't necessary to refrigerate it.

Q2. Are apple cider and apple cider vinegar the same?

No. There is a difference between apple cider and apple cider vinegar. Crushed apples are used to make apple cider, and the fermentation process turns the sugars into acetic acid, which is then used to make apple cider vinegar.

Q3. Can I use an expired ACV?

Because of its acidic and antimicrobial qualities, ACV can be kept indefinitely. However, take a call if you observe any changes in appearance or taste.

Q4. If stored in a fridge, what can be the shelf life of ACV?

Apple cider vinegar keeps its quality for a long time when kept in the refrigerator. The cold temperature preserves its flavour and other qualities, giving it a longer shelf life.

Q5. How should I know if ACV has gone bad?

ACV rarely goes bad. However, if it tastes or smells different, or if you notice mould growth or a colour change, it's time to obtain a new bottle.


Zandu Ayurvedic Team

Zandu Ayurvedic Team has a panel of over 10 BAMS (Ayurvedacharya), boasting a collective experience of over 50 years. With a deep-rooted understanding of Ayurveda, they are committed to sharing their expertise & knowledge through our blogs.
We use all kinds of Ayurvedic references in our content. Please use the contact form for any editorial queries.

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