What does vinegar do to clay?

Vinegar, a mild acid, can have various effects on clay, making it a useful tool in ceramics for altering surface qualities and achieving specific artistic outcomes.

1. Etching

Vinegar can be used to etch the surface of clay, creating a slightly rough texture that enhances glaze adhesion. This can result in more vibrant and stable glaze colors.

2. Cleaning

Vinegar can be used to clean and remove unwanted substances from clay surfaces, such as residue or contaminants that may affect glaze application.

3. Neutralizing Alkalis

Vinegar can help neutralize alkalis present on the clay’s surface, which can be beneficial when preparing clay for glazing.

4. Adjusting pH

Vinegar can be used to adjust the pH of clay slips or glazes, affecting their properties and behavior during firing.


Vinegar is a versatile substance that can be used strategically in ceramics to achieve specific results on clay surfaces and improve the overall quality of finished pieces.

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