Management of intestinal microbiota of monogastric animals has increased in importance since the ban of growth promoting antibiotics in many countries. Organic acids have been used as alternatives to antibiotics by many feed manufacturers. Regardless of the wide usage, the effect, dose response and mode of action of acids on intestinal microbes is poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the effects of dietary supplementation of three commonly used products, namely formic acid (FA) (90%), dl-methionine (DLM) (99%) and liquid methionine hydroxy analogue-free acid (88%), on ileal microbiota of pigs. Laboratory simulation system, mimicking swine ileum, was used to study the products at various concentrations and combinations. Furthermore, selected combinations were tested in a piglet trial to confirm the findings made in in vitro studies. FA turned out to have a dual effect on ileal microbiota. At concentrations below 0.5%, it significantly stimulated bacteria, but at higher inclusion rates it was highly inhibitory. This finding, which was consistent in in vitro and in vivo studies, implies that reducing the dose of FA does not lead to a diluted inhibitory effect, but in fact, an opposite, stimulatory effect on intestinal microbiota. It is highly important that feed compounders acknowledge this finding. Unlike FA, the inhibitory effect of methionine hydroxy analogue on ileal bacteria was linearly dose dependent and significant at inclusion levels above 0.2%, in vitro. Partial replacement of methionine hydroxy analogue by FA, or FA by methionine hydroxy analogue, led to an unpredictable outcome due to the dual effects of FA; e.g., a minor inclusion of added FA changed the inhibitory effect of methionine hydroxy analogue into microbial stimulation by FA. Inhibition of ileal microbiota by methionine hydroxy analogue was detected only in in vitro studies, suggesting that intact methionine hydroxy analogue may not have reached the ileum, in live animals. Therefore, if the target is to ensure the inhibitory effect of FA, the FA level in feed should be kept above 0.6%, and not reduced, if methionine hydroxy analogue is used as a methionine source instead of DLM. DLM was totally inert with regard to bacterial growth and metabolism, both in vitro and in vivo. The results of these studies reveal the importance of knowing how each acid product works. Inconsistent results in animal trials may have been partly due to quadratic dose–response effects of products, and unpredictable product combination effects.