I’ve had a revelation. I’ve discovered I can make vinegar from my kombucha, which can replace 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:
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. For a while now, I have been using 1 – 2 tablespoons with a few drops of lavender essential oil in one cup of water to condition my hair after washing with bi-carb soda.
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.
Some people use ACV as a natural deodorant, so I tried using my kombucha vinegar as my deodorant. It didn’t seem to help me at all but everyone is different so it might be worth trying out if other natural deodorants aren’t working for you.
Add 1 -2 cups of kombucha vinegar to a bath of water and let the acid revive your skin.
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.
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.
My kombucha “mother” (if that is what you call) it died. Do you know where I can get another?, Susan (Kongwak)
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Hi Susan, The Leongatha Health Food store gives them out for free. Just let them know ahead of time that you would like one and they will let you know when to collect it. Tammy
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Buy kombucha at store add some sugar and let it sit it will make a scoby
Well you can buy them online, or you can make a new one. I made mine, and there are plenty of tutorials on how to make them!
Now I have to try this! I have never had much luck making vinegar and haven’t tried kombucha so another new thing. Love it!
I will try and get a SCOBY to you if you like.
LOL, now that I have googled what a SCOBY is, that would be sensational! I’m sure we could co-ordinate something that is suitable for an exchange such as Wgl Farmers Market, S&S etc. Want some dried sourdough starter with instructions?
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Oo, yes please :). I’ll contact you through Facebook or email to let you know my movements next week and we’ll see what we can organise.
Hi there, I see you mentioned pickling at the top of you post. Have you ever tried making fermented vegetables? I find it is a really great alternative to pickling, as one does not need to add vinegar, and it then carries probiotic benefits similar to kombucha. Also really easy to do whenever you have some excess veg.
Thanks for the great post – I think I am going to follow your example and stop buying vinegar! : )
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Thanks for the suggestion Daniela. I only make sauerkraut so far but am definitely interested in learning more about fermenting vegetables. 👍🏻
Oh, goodness…you should never ever ever have kombucha liquid touching plastics or metal! These materials will quickly leech into your brew! Seriously, this is kombucha 101
Hi Cheryl, thanks for contributing to the conversation. I’ve seen conflicting info about using plastic. It seems food grade plastic is fine to use when brewing (not that I use anything but glass for that) so I would assume that using a plastic spray bottle when cleaning for a couple of hours wouldn’t be an issue. I’d love to know your information sources if it can help us all make the best decision. Also, kombucha is weaker than white vinegar and ACV and they are almost always sold in plastic bottles now. Is there a reason why this is different?
As it happens, the spray bottle broke a while ago and so I have just been pouring the vinegar from the glass bottles I store it in, when I need to use it.
Hi there. Your post mentions that you only need sugar and loose tea leaves to make vinegar but then says you need kombucha. Is kombucha made from tea leaves and sugar?
Yes, kombucha is fermented sugary tea. 🙂 you save a bit of each batch and some SCOBY to kick start the next batch with the right bacteria and yeast.
Can Kombucha Vinegar be stored in the Pantry like Braggs ACV or does it have to be refrigerated? And what’s the shelf life?
Yep it can be stored on the shelf but it will continue to ferment which means it might grow another SCOBY and get more vinegary. Refridgeration slows the fermentation. I always leave mine on the shelf.
Will homemade Kumbucha vinegar also kill ants ? White vinegar does kill ants. I don’t want to attract ants Though. Thx
I love Kumbucha
I have never tried it for ants 🐜 or thought about it before. I think it’s worth a try.
Hi Tammy, I am new to making Kombucha. I would like to try making vinegar. Is it the batch containing the scoby that you keep for 30- 60 days to make vinegar?
Yes, it’s basically kombucha that’s been neglected it forgotten about. 😁 The longer you brew the kombucha the more vinegar-ish it becomes.
When I make kombucha vinegar, i filter then boil it to kill the bacteria so I can store it indefinitely without the hassles of scoby or gas. ( and you don’t want scoby growing in your drains!!)
I still keep a bottle of white vinegar (hoping to learn to make it myself sometime) for some things. And verjuice does a much better job of tenderising meat. But booch is fine for cleaning a saucepan etc. Best batch of kombucha vinegar i’ve made was from rhubarb cooking water (no tea) – delicious with mustard and oil as a dressing! And more acidic too.
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