We’re all about a great multitasker (cough, coconut oil, cough), and apple cider vinegar is no exception. This salad dressing staple has been linked to a healthier complexion, can help keep your home squeaky clean, and could help with an upset stomach and bloating to list a few uses.
Here’s what it isn’t: a magical shortcut to dropping those unwanted five pounds. In certain circles it’s been touted as a weight loss aid—though that’s still debated in the medical community. While some research suggests it may help tip the scale in your favor by lowering your blood sugar, health experts advise against using it as a weight-loss tool. And a word of warning: drinking apple cider vinegar (especially straight) comes with its share of health risks, like throat irritation and supplement and drug interaction.
That said, there are healthy ways to incorporate ACV into your daily life, and there are plenty of benefits to be gained from getting on the cider bandwagon! This vinegar is chock-full of good-for-you-nutrients like iron, calcium, and potassium that may help keep the germs in our bodies under control. It can also add flavor to your dishes and freshness to all corners of your house.
Check out the 26 ways below to use apple cider vinegar.
1. Mix up a non-toxic, all-purpose cleaner.
Step aside, cleaning sprays, solutions, and wipes. There’s a new disinfectant in town. Actually, we kid, seeing as apple cider vinegar isn’t new at all. That said, if you haven’t tried using this common kitchen ingredient to help keep your home sparkling and clean, you’re missing out on a non-toxic, odor-absorbing, antibacterial alternative to harsh chemicals. Just mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part water, filter that into a spray bottle, and get to work.
2. Stamp out the stink in any room.
Stinky rooms don’t stand a chance against apple cider vinegar, which can take on all manner of smells from smoky cooking to funky bathrooms. To knock out smoky smells in particular, pour the apple cider vinegar into a shallow bowl and place it where the odor is strongest. Leave it out for as long as it takes for the smell to vanish.
3. Make your garden grow—without a single weed.
If your green thumb is lacking a little luster, you may want to enlist the aid of apple cider vinegar. It can be used as fertilizer (particularly on plants that love acids, like blueberry bushes and azaleas) and also as a weed killer. Pour it directly on weed-infested areas to stop the garden gremlins in their damaging tracks, and mix 10 ounces of apple cider vinegar (with a five percent acidity) with 10 gallons of water to fertilize soil. Pesticides need not apply.
4. Keep pets flea-free.
When you need to keep fleas away from your furry friends, turn to apple cider vinegar for the solution. Dilute it with water (one part of each) and rub the mixture into their fur and work it into their skin to repel those pesky pests. (Do be sure to check with your vet to make sure it’s safe for your pal.)
5. Do away with dandruff.
Stop being so flaky, already! With apple cider vinegar, it’s possible. Rinsing your strands with the stuff can actually nix dandruff by changing the pH of your scalp (which halts yeast growth, one of the main dandruff culprits). Plus, it gets rid of greasiness, itchiness, and irritation. Try combining a tablespoon or two in a glass of water and rinsing your hair with the mixture while you’re in the shower. To really target dandruff, combine a quarter-cup apple cider vinegar with a quarter-cup water, pour it into a spray bottle, apply the mixture to your scalp, and leave it on for up to an hour before rinsing.
6. Improve your complexion.
Fact: Perfect skin is always in. But that can be a bummer if you’re fighting acne. Take heart, there are plenty of weapons in your battle for clear pores. Though there’s doubt as to whether ACV is a dependable acne-fighter, it may at least kill the bacteria on the surface of your skin. Use it as an astringent (just dilute it and apply it to your face), or use it as a spot treatment to target blemishes. Holistic health experts also suggest taking it orally as well as adding it to an Epsom salt bath to help draw toxins and impurities out of your skin.
7. Swap out your deodorant.
Just as it can freshen up your bathroom, apple cider vinegar can also help keep B.O. at bay. Simply swipe some of it in your underarm area to fight odor-causing bacteria. And don’t worry: The vinegar smell evaporates, so you won’t go around smelling like a salad.
8. Get rid of warts.
Though we wish they were exclusive to wicked witches, warts can happen to anyone. When they rear their ugly heads, try using apple cider vinegar to kick this curse. Your plan of action: Douse a cotton ball in the vinegar and secure it to the affected area overnight.
9. Relieve burnt skin.
Between the stinging, peeling, and red-hot skin, there are few things worse than a really bad sunburn. Apple cider vinegar, to the rescue! Add about a cup of the good stuff to your bath water to help soothe the burn.
10. Fade ugly bruises.
Whether their arrival is a mystery (as in, where the heck did that come from?) or really strongly announced (ouch—that’ll leave a mark!), bruises hit us hard, and once they do, they linger. The solution? Fade the purplish-bluish hues by smoothing on some apple cider vinegar—its anti-inflammatory properties help minimize the painful-looking tint.
11. Whiten your teeth.
In case your pearly whites need a little brightening boost, turn to apple cider vinegar for the sparkling solution. As it turns out, working it into your teeth and then rinsing may lead to a whiter grin. You can also try using it as a mouthwash—dentists suggest combining two parts water to one part ACV and swishing it around for about a minute.
12. Banish bad breath.
Easily one of the most embarrassing commonplace hygiene issues, dragon breath can be slayed with apple cider vinegar. How? It’s thought to kill the bacteria that cause odor—just gargle with it or sip a teaspoon to reap the fresh-breath benefits.
13. Deodorize your feet.
Just as it can help battle body odor, apple cider vinegar can also keep stinky feet under control, and it’s all thanks to its ability to balance the pH of your skin. By doing so, it works against the bacteria that are responsible for that less-than-pleasant foot odor. Splash some ACV onto a paper towel or baby wipes and wipe those toes down.
14. Treat your skin after shaving.
Give your shaved skin a little TLC with ACV. Diluted with water (you’ll want to do one part apple cider vinegar and one part water), this solution can help soothe your skin. And remember: the smell of this natural aftershave will dissipate with a little time!
15. Mix up condiments (vinaigrettes, sauces, and marinades).
Probably most of us first meet apple cider vinegar in its condiment form. And with good reason: It’s an excellent ingredient to liven up vinaigrettes, sauces, and marinades. It pairs perfectly with apricots, can flavor kale chips, and more!
16. Make your own tasty juice.
While drinking apple cider vinegar in general is linked to a slew of health benefits, you can also create your own concoctions to sip on. After all, why swallow it solo when you can pair it with much more palatable ingredients, like grape juice, honey, or grapefruit juice?
17. Add a punch of flavor to soups.
Why should salads get all the love? Apple cider vinegar can also add just the right punch of flavor to soups. Try adding it in a veggie soup, like this root vegetable one.
18. Boost your baking game.
Yes, way! We wouldn’t have guessed that apple cider vinegar would be a welcome addition to baked goods, but, as it turns out, vinegar in general can help give batters a little lift. And because its mild flavor is undetectable (and may even enhance the flavor of other ingredients) in sweets, it’s an especially good option for those homemade treats.
19. Soothe an upset stomach.
When your stomach is feeling less than stellar (i.e. you’re constipated, have food poisoning, are bloated, etc.), drinking an apple cider vinegar and water mixture may help set it straight, thanks to the antibacterial and antiviral properties found in ACV.
20. Help relieve muscle soreness.
Every workout warrior needs some seriously relief from achy muscles. Some suggest that acetic acid, a component in apple cider vinegar, can soothe sore muscles when applied topically. While science doesn’t necessarily back this up, we’d say it’s definitely worth using this over regular lotion (or Tiger Balm!)when our muscles are screaming for a rubdown.
21. Stop the itch, stat.
Whether your scratching is due to a bug bite, poison ivy, or even jellyfish stings, apple cider vinegar can help with these painful and uncomfortable side effects. Just apply the solution directly to your itchy area, and let ACV take you to an “Ahhh” moment of relief.
22. Help prevent diabetes.
As of 2012, 29.1 million Americans had diabetes. Considering the gravity of those numbers, every little bit of prevention helps, and ingesting apple cider vinegar might be another small step to keep from joining that statistic. Research suggests sipping ACV helps improve insulin sensitivity (particularly in those who are insulin-resistant), which, in turn, may delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.
23. Soothe a sore throat.
Throat killing you—or giving signs that it will within a few days? Don’t worry, you’ve got an all-natural germ-fighter in your corner: apple cider vinegar. Mix a quarter cup of ACV with the same amount of warm water and get your gargle on. Doing so creates an acidic environment that may stop the icky cold-causing germs from thriving in your throat. Another mixture to try: warm water, ACV, cayenne pepper, and honey. Drink that one up!
24. Clear your sinuses.
There are few things more infuriating (and exhausting) than a stuffed-up nose. Clear your sinuses—and get ready to breathe easier—by sipping on a home remedy of water and ACV. Just as it helps fight sore throat-causing germs, it may also stop bacteria from growing in your sinuses. Plus, its potassium content could help thin all that lovely mucus that’s made itself at home in your nose.
25. Detox, detox, detox.
While we’re wary of detox diets (we prefer these real foods that have the same effect), adding in a splash or two of apple cider vinegar to your meals may improve lymph circulation (which can help build immunity and fight disease).
26. Feel more energized.
Ditch those bottled energy drinks! (You know they’re really not good for you.) If you’re hitting a slump, try mixing up a natural booster—one that includes apple cider vinegar, which contains potassium and enzymes. Those health boosters may help rocket you into a higher gear. Try simply mixing it together with water (2 teaspoons ACV per 2 cups of water), and add some honey if you want a little hint of sweetness.