Canning 101: White Vinegar in the Canning Pot Prevents Mineral and Metallic Deposits

white vinegar

I was reading through the comments on the FreshTECH Electric Canner a moment ago and saw several people mentioning their frustration with their current canners because they left spots and rough deposits on the jars. Happily, there is a way to prevent this without investing in a new canner. Pour about 1/2 cup white vinegar into your canning pot when you first set it up.

Whether the residue on the jars is minerals from hard water or particulate matter from your canning rack, adding vinegar to the water will help keep it off the jars and prevent build-up on the inside of your canner. Make it part of your canning routine this summer!

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29 Responses to Canning 101: White Vinegar in the Canning Pot Prevents Mineral and Metallic Deposits

  1. 1
    Sam says:

    Great tip, thank you! We live in a hard water area and this can be so frustrating after all that hard work.

  2. 2
    Pat in WNY says:

    Echoing the first comment – thank you for posting this!

  3. 3
    Libby says:

    I’d wouldn’t recommend doing this with the standard canning rack that comes with most graniteware canners. I tried this and it corroded my canning rack, then I had rusty jars. It works great with stainless racks or silicone trivets.

    • 3.1
      Marisa says:

      Libby, unfortunately those standard racks will corrode over time even with just water. The vinegar should keep it in better shape.

    • 3.2
      Pamela says:

      My experience has been the same as Marisa’s. I’ve been using white vinegar in the water for many years. When I forget to do it, I’m always sorry.

  4. 4
    JessicaT says:

    Wonderful tip, thank you. We have to keep vinegar and borax around because of the hard water here.

  5. 5
    ColleenB. says:

    Adding the vinegar I had learned from my mother. Living on the farm we had hard water so when it was canning season mom made sure that there was always a great supply of vinegar sitting on the shelf in the basement as that is where all the canning took place.

  6. 6
    Sue F says:

    Another bonus of the vinegar is that it prevents the aluminum canner from turning black, as sometimes happens with certain water conditions. I keep a small bottle of vinegar right in the Presto canner so I don’t forget to add a capful when I can.

  7. 7
    Elizabeth says:

    I use white vinegar to descale so many things but I never would have thought to use it for this! Thanks for the tip.

  8. 8
    Kari says:

    Great tip, thanks!

  9. 9
    PattyAD says:

    Thanks for this! I always get a chalky, white residue, which I know doesn’t hurt the jars, but they’re not that pretty, either. Hopefully, this will help.

  10. 10
    Handful says:

    I have forgotten to add it to mine a few times – what a difference it makes! Momma taught me that trick.

  11. 11
    Handful says:

    Great tip – Momma taught me that. Living in the country it is especially important.

  12. 12
    Trissi V. says:

    Question: I have never used vinegar in my water for the water bath before…does the finished product have any residual vinegar taste to it by adding this to the canner when you are getting started, since the jars are completely submerged? It would be nice not to have the mineral deposits all over all of my jars after I am done.

    • 12.1
      Marisa says:

      The vinegar in the canning pot water does not get into the jars at all, so it won’t impact the flavor at all. When you close a jar for canning, the ring should be tightened enough so that the air can escape but water cannot get in.

  13. 13
    Faith says:

    I started doing this years ago, I don’t even remember how I figured it out, but I felt pretty brilliant after I did! I’ve never had a residual vinegar taste at all.

  14. 14
    Emily says:

    When I’m done canning, I carefully pour the hot vinegar-water over the weeds growing through the cracks in my sidewalk. Kills ’em all!

  15. 15

    That is one of the hardest things for me to remember to do. When we lived in the city (a year ago) I never needed to add vinegar. Here in the country with well water I really need to do it. I need to just store my bottle of vinegar in my canning pots.

  16. 16
    Gen says:

    Great tip, thanks for the reminder! I always add vinegar to the water for water bath and pressure canning. A little vinegar in the canner makes a big difference in ease of cleaning, when you’re cleaning jars after they’ve cooled so you can put them in the pantry.

  17. 17
    Leslie says:

    Everyone seems excited about this, so maybe this is a silly question. Is it possible that the vinegar can corrode the seals at all?

  18. 18
    Rose says:

    Good to know it can go in with the canning bath water. I’ve always been hesitant to add it to the water, and I HATE that this aluminum canner and rack make a white film on my jars. I’ve been just using only water, then once the jars have sat overnight and I’m getting ready to store them (take off rings, label, etc.), I wipe them down with a wet rag dipped in a water and white vinegar to give them a quick cleaning. But now I might start just putting the water in the canner to save that extra step!

  19. 19
    Opal says:

    i keep my jars in the hot canning bath water until ready to fill . should I rinse my jars again after removing from the canning bath vinegar before filling. Thanks

    • 19.1
      Marisa says:

      There’s no need to rinse the jars. The amount of vinegar is marginal and any that does remain on the jars evaporates as the jars sit out prior to filling.

  20. 20
    Diane says:

    I have not had problems with deposits or etching on my jars, but my granite-ware canning kettle has a heavy film in it. I’ve always looked at this as a cosmetic problem and not worried about it. Is there any functional reason to add vinegar if the person canning doesn’t mind a hazy interior kettle surface?

  21. 21
    Amie says:

    I have never added vinegar to my water bath. I don’t see anyone mentioning how much vinegar to use. How much vinegar you use exactly in your water bath?

  22. 22
    barb says:

    I do this all the time on my canner because I have hard water I put one or 2 tablespoons in when I 1st set it up for canning it keeps the mineral deposits off the jars and lids its works awesome!

  23. 23
    David Lomax says:

    I am a water treatment engineer.
    Unless you live in areas of the country (like the Pacific Northwest ) where the tap water is very pure, or you do your canning with distilled or RO water, your tap water has minerals dissolved in it, usually in the form of carbonates & bicarbonates. Heating the water causes bicarbonates to give up their hydrogen and become carbonates. This raises the pH of the water and causes calcium & magnesium carbonate scale to form, coating surfaces with a white film.
    Adding the vinegar (acetic acid) lowers the pH and prevents the scale from forming. Adding too much could drive the pH way down & cause corrosion of the metal pot & canning bands. Vinegar is pretty safe as it’s a fairly weak acid.
    Also, if you are canning for a long period, be aware that only pure water evaporates in steam. All the minerals stay behind, getting more & more concentrated until it starts making scale despite the acid addition. Dip out a quart or so of ‘old’ water after each batch and replace it with fresh.
    This is exactly the same thing that happens in heating & power generating boilers, requiring chemical addition to prevent scale & corrosion, and ‘blowdown’ to let out highly concentrated water.

  24. 24
    Bill Havens says:

    I just completed my first attempt at canning. I did five pints of blackberries jam and 5 pints of raspberry jam. As 64 years of age, being a wanna be chef and cook I was quite proud of myself until my jars cooled off and I saw all the white residue inside my camera and all over my jars and lids. This post was quite helpful as I made the inquiry online I was amazed that I hadn’t read it before as I did quite a bit of study before I attempted my first camping adventure. I will use vinegar in the future to my canNing pot. I am surprised that I did not see this instruction during my research. PS I am a believer….. The Jam is fantastic!

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