I’ve had a revelation. I’ve been continuously brewing and drinking kombucha since I sang it’s praises 10 months ago as a bubbly refreshment, but now I’ve discovered I can make vinegar from my kombucha and use it in the same ways that I use apple cider vinegar (ACV) and white vinegar. For someone that relies on ACV and white vinegar for cleaning, cooking and personal grooming that’s super exciting! It’s completely waste free, easy to make from something I already make, and cheap (the cost of a cup of sugar and some tea leaves). I may never buy vinegar again! That thought leaves me with a gratifying sense of self-sufficiency. I’m also relieved because I’ve tried and failed several times to make vinegar from scrap apples and left over wine.
How to make kombucha vinegar
All you need to do to make kombucha vinegar is allow a batch of kombucha to ferment for a long time, at least 30-60 days in a small batch. Cooler areas may take longer. You will know it is ready when the Kombucha tastes very sour – like vinegar. My face breaks out into a sweat when I taste it. What actually happens is that the yeast in the fermentation process produces alcohol, then bacteria consume the alcohol and convert it to acetic acid. It’s the acid that helps rinse away gunk and it is a mild disinfectant.
There’s a number of things that can influence the final acetic acid concentration of kombucha vinegar including the time of ferment, amount of sugar, and amount of culture used, but a typical Kombucha vinegar is estimated to contain around 2% acetic acid concentration. When you buy ACV or white vinegar they are around 5% acetic acid, so whilst Kombucha vinegar is less acidic it’s still very useful. I just wouldn’t use it for pickling foods because you rely on the higher acid level to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Uses for kombucha vinegar
Once kombucha has been turned to vinegar it can be used for just about anything you’d use ACV or white vinegar for, including:
Add 1 -2 cups of kombucha vinegar to a bath of water and let the acid revive your skin.
Kombucha is gentler on the hair than vinegar but just as effective at removing gunk and residues. You could use it straight on the hair, dilute it, or add herbs for aroma. If adding herbs you can add straight to the kombucha vinegar and strain out after 1-2 weeks, or steep them in hot water for 20 mins, strain and add the liquid to the Kombucha vinegar, a good option if you like to use it diluted.
I don’t even know what facial toners do because I don’t use them but I thought I would give this a try. It left my skin feeling a bit tighter and smoother. Apparently the weak acid is meant to act as a mild, natural acid peel which exfoliates but it’s gentle enough to be used daily. I read it can also rebalance the skin’s natural pH, preventing an imbalance of bacteria that can lead to acne. I could imagine kombucha causing irritation for some people so perhaps do a test patch first. Apply with a reusable face wipe.
If ACV can be used as a natural deodorant, I’m sure kombucha vinegar can be used too. I’ll let you know how it compares to my homemade deodorant and salt stone after a period of time.
All Purpose Cleaner
After hot soapy water, white vinegar has been my choice of all-purpose cleaner for years and years but I can only get it in small plastic bottles so I’ve started using kombucha vinegar in full strength on all my surfaces including the shower and bath to reduce soap scum. It even worked great on my stove top and I put it in my dishwasher rinse aid compartment (I’m doing a lot of experimenting with the dishwasher). I’ve added a few drops of tea tree oil for antimicrobial properties and a pleasant scent. Half a cup of kombucha vinegar can be used in the wash to brighten colours and soften clothes (I’ve never bothered to do this myself), or to clean drains in combination with baking soda. I’m just going to use kombucha vinegar for any cleaning job that comes up requiring vinegar.
Sometimes we use kombucha vinegar for salad dressings, again, it can be infused with any number of herbs, garlic or savoury spices for flavours. Add the herbs, wait two weeks, strain and use.
Some other uses I’ve read about for kombucha vinegar include marinading tough cuts of meat, adding to a bone broth, using as a garden fertiliser, and for mixing into the chickens water for health benefits.
I’d love to know if you are just as excited about kombucha vinegar as I am and if you have any other suggestions for using it.