Acetic acid (an active ingredient in vinegar) can effectively kill highly drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) according to a study published in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology in February 2014.
Generally, Mycobacteria are known to cause tuberculosis and leprosy. On other hand, non-TB mycobacteria are resistant to commonly used disinfectants.
In the study, scientists found that exposure to a 6 percent solution of acetic acid for 30 minutes effectively killed tuberculosis bacteria. Those TB strains which are resistant to most of the antibiotics were reduced from 100 million to undetectable levels.
They also tested how effective acetic acid was against M abscessus (one of the most resistant and pathogenic of the non-TB mycobacteria). They found that M abscessus required exposure to a stronger 10 percent acetic acid solution for 30 minutes to be effectively eliminated.
Chlorine bleach is often used to disinfect the TB cultures and clinical samples but this bleach is toxic and corrosive. Other effective commercial disinfectants are too expensive for resource-poor countries where the majority of TB occurs.
Thus, scientists finally concluded that Acetic acid can be used as an inexpensive and non-toxic disinfects against drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) bacteria.