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Ask Buck

Will Vinegar Purify Water?

I've heard that bleach and iodine tablets are only good for water purification for six months. What about white vinegar? Will it purify water?

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Question:

I’ve heard that bleach and iodine tablets are only good for water purification for six months. What about white vinegar? Will it purify water? And does it have an expiration date?

Submitted by – Kit, Cheshire, CT

Answer:

You’re probably correct about bleach being good for about six months.

The makers of Potable Aqua (iodine tablets) say the tablets are good for one year after being opened and three years if the bottle remains sealed. I’m not sure about vinegar.

The EPA does not list vinegar as an acceptable water treatment. I suspect it might disinfect water, but the amount of vinegar needed would probably make the water undrinkable. —BUCK