Aspirin is a medication that is given to relieve pain and also inflammation. There are many who suffer from fever too that can be relieved with the use of aspirin. The use of aspirin is highly regulated because of certain complications that can occur in a person who consumes this drug. The common side effects are that it can cause you to have bleeding in the stomach. In spite of this and other side effects, the drug is used in many parts of the world regularly. Almost all those who have had aspirin stored in their houses will know that after a few weeks, aspirin starts to smell like vinegar. This makes people to wonder why does old aspirin smell like vinegar.
The main reason for the smell is that the composition of the drug is such that once the drug has been stored for some time, the drug starts to degenerate causing the smell. Aspirin actually is a compound that is chemically called as acetyl salicylic acid. The most important fact about this chemical is that if it is stored for some time, it usually starts degenerating into the components from which it is made. The components are acetic acid and salicylic acid. For this reaction to occur and for the drug aspirin to become these acids, there are no other chemicals needed.
This is the main reason for the drug breaking down into the components without any other change in the storage method. The fact is that vinegar which is usually made from fermented fruit juice also contains acetic acid which is the main reason for the smell of vinegar. As the aspirin breaks down into acetic acid and salicylic acid, the acetic acid in it causes the smell to be like that of vinegar.
The aspirin starts to smell like vinegar in quick time when it breaks down into acetic acid. The common causes of the drug breaking down quickly are when it is stored in a place that is not cool and dry. Other than this, when the drug is not stored in a container that is open or not closed tightly, then again it can break down very quickly. Strong light or direct sunlight can also cause the drug to break down. All these should be avoided to make sure that the drug does not break down. These methods prevent the aspirin to break into acetic acid and smell like vinegar.