Does Vinegar Kill Virus?

by iupilon

Does vinegar kill flu-virus? There has been a literal mad scramble for disinfectants since COVID-19 started spreading across the world last December, so it’s reasonable for people to ask questions like “can vinegar kill coronavirus?” or “does vinegar kill germs?” People want to keep themselves safe from the virus, so they also think of things like “will vinegar kill coronavirus?” It would be an excellent method if you can use other things apart from 70% rubbing alcohol and bleach to disinfect surfaces.

Does Vinegar Kill Coronavirus?

Is vinegar a good option for disinfection?

In an issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology, a study observed that there was an A > 1-log reduction of E. coli bacteria in salad packs that were stored with 10%-15% vinegar. Further reductions in E. coli were also observed after five days of storage.

The data suggest that vinegar has significant antimicrobial action on food, which makes sense because vinegar is a well-known natural preservative in different cultures.

But can vinegar be used for wiping surfaces and keeping them bacteria-free and virus-free? In the journal Infection Control Hospital Epidemiology, researchers have discovered that commercial disinfectants and household remedies like vinegar and baking soda are all effective as disinfecting surfaces.

Vinegar exhibited <3 logs10 reduction when tested against S. aureus and E. coli, while baking soda application resulted in <3 logs10 in all pathogen tests. The rest of the commercial disinfectants like 70% alcohol (ethanol), Clorox, and Lysol Antibacterial Disinfectant, exhibited pathogenic reductions of 4 to >6 logs10.

This refers to the fact that if you are going to clean and disinfect surfaces using vinegar, you are not far behind people who use commercial bleach and disinfectants. In short, you are in good hands with using more natural disinfectant agents like vinegar.

Some people may not be able to use commercial disinfectants like bleach frequently because it can easily irritate the lining of the respiratory tract. This can lead to allergic reactions and even asthma. Agents like vinegar and baking soda can be used as fallback disinfectants if for any reason, you cannot use bleach or other commercial cleaners.  

What are the correct and best methods for disinfection?

The following are other methods of cleaning and disinfecting your home to keep it safe from coronavirus or COVID-19:

Soap and water

The World Health Organization has repeatedly recommended frequent hand-washing to keep people safe from COVID-19. But can we use soap and water alone for keeping surfaces clean? Actually, yes we can.

You see, soap and water not only washes away human pathogens like bacteria and viruses, but these also damage the outside coating of viruses. What’s inside the viruses is also damaged in the process, so the viruses can no longer replicate. Viruses fall apart when they come into contact with soap and water. So don’t undermine soap and water – if you don’t have anything else, these will still do the job.


Sodium hypochlorite is the ingredient responsible for killing bacteria, viruses, and virtually every other microorganism on the planet, currently. The only downside with pure bleach is that it stinks, and it can cause skin damage and an irritation bonanza when you are exposed to it repeatedly.

Your respiratory system, eyes, and even your skin can take a hit if you don’t know how to use bleach properly. The CDC in the United States recommends the ratio of 1/3 cup of bleach for every one gallon of cool tap water. Reduced, this ratio is about four teaspoons of pure bleach for every quart of cool tap water. Do not combine bleach with anything else but water.

You must not combine bleach with other household cleaners, even if it is just detergent, because some detergents and cleaners may have other active ingredients that may interact negatively with bleach.

Take note that bleach is one of the harshest cleaners around, and we do not recommend using it for painted surfaces as the bleach can easily wear away the paint over time. Since we are in this COVID-19 pandemic for the long haul (according to experts), it would be a good idea to train yourself how to use bleach properly, so your household is not only clean but presentable.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide must not be diluted if you wish to use it for disinfection and sanitizing your hands or physical surfaces. Hydrogen peroxide, when mixed with water, decomposes into oxygen and water, so it is not going to be effective if you dilute it at all. Hydrogen peroxide is also slightly less effective than bleach, but it will get the job done, guaranteed. In the scale of effectiveness in cleaning and disinfecting, bleach occupies the top spot, while hydrogen peroxide and povidone-iodine (10%) occupy the second rung directly beneath bleach.

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is excellent for cleaning your hands, and yes, you may use it on physical surfaces if there isn’t bleach available. The current standard for eliminating COVID-19 is 70% rubbing alcohol, and no lower. Take note that there is alcohol rated at 90%, but these are not safe for the hands. Surgical spirits are made of alcohol as well, so you can use that if you don’t have bleach or soap.

Can you use alcohol drinks like vodka and gin for cleaning surfaces? No, you can’t. According to experts, spirits like vodka and gin are only 40% alcohol (despite having the 80 proof mark), and they aren’t strong enough to kill bacteria and viruses. There have been reports of people using different kinds of alcohol to disinfect their hands and other surfaces. Still, these are all pointless instances because drinking alcohol simply is not effective against human pathogens.


Whatever you are using to clean and disinfect surfaces, keep in mind that you need to soak the surfaces for a short while to make sure that the viruses and bacteria are wiped out. The minimum soaking time is one minute, but the longer you can keep the disinfectant solution on the surface, the better.

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