28 Surprising Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar


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Photography by Aya Brackett

Apple cider vinegar is a kitchen staple that has several impressive health benefits.

It also has a ton of different beauty, household, and cooking uses. These include cleaning, washing hair, preserving food, and improving skin function.

You can also use apple cider vinegar in all sorts of recipes, including salad dressings, soups, sauces, hot drinks, and more.

Here are 28 ways to use apple cider vinegar.

1. To lower blood sugar

Apple cider vinegar is claimed to help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.

Some studies have shown that consuming vinegar after a high carb meal can improve insulin sensitivity by as much as 34% and reduce blood sugar levels significantly (1Trusted Source2Trusted Source3Trusted Source4Trusted Source5Trusted Source6Trusted Source7Trusted Source8Trusted Source9Trusted Source).

However, if you’re taking medication to treat diabetes, you should check with a healthcare professional before taking apple cider vinegar.

2. To help you feel full

Apple cider vinegar is sometimes recommended as a weight loss aid. This is because it may help you feel full.

Some short-term studies have shown that consuming apple cider vinegar may help you eat fewer calories, lose weight, and reduce belly fat, if that’s your goal (10Trusted Source11Trusted Source).

However, its long-term effects on weight loss are unknown and likely to be small unless a person also makes other dietary and lifestyle changes (2Trusted Source).

3. To preserve food

Just like other types of vinegar, apple cider vinegar is an effective preservative. In fact, people have used vinegar as a pickling agent to preserve foods for thousands of years.

It works by making the food more acidic, which deactivates its enzymes and kills any bacteria that may cause spoilage.

You can find many recipes online for how to preserve or pickle food using apple cider vinegar.

4. As a deodorizer

Apple cider vinegar is known to have antibacterial properties. Because of this, it’s often claimed that apple cider vinegar can eliminate bad smells.

There isn’t any research to back up these claims, but you can try it out by mixing 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part water to make a deodorizing spray.

This makes a natural alternative to odor neutralizers.

You can also mix the apple cider vinegar with water and Epsom salts to make a foot soak, like this one. This may help get rid of unwanted foot odor by killing off odor-causing bacteria.

5. To make a salad vinaigrette

One easy way to use apple cider vinegar is to make a simple salad dressing, like this one.

Homemade salad dressings can be much less processed than store-bought ones, and they’re often tastier, too.

6. To make an all-purpose cleaner

Apple cider vinegar is often a popular choice for a natural alternative to commercial cleaning agents. This is because of its antibacterial properties.

Mix 1 cup of water with half a cup of apple cider vinegar, and you’ll have a natural all-purpose cleaner.

However, it’s worth noting that although vinegars, including apple cider vinegar, can kill some bacteria, they aren’t as effective at killing harmful bacteria as commercial cleaning agents (12Trusted Source).

7. To soothe a sore throat

Gargling with apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for sore throats.

It’s anecdotally thought that its antibacterial properties could help kill off the bacteria that could be causing the sore throat. However, there is no evidence to support its use in this way.

If you try this at home, make sure you mix the vinegar with water before gargling.

This is because apple cider vinegar is very acidic and has been known to cause throat burns when consumed undiluted (13Trusted Source14Trusted Source).

8. As a facial toner

Anecdotally, apple cider vinegar is claimed to help remedy skin conditions and provide graceful aging support.

As such, many people like to use apple cider vinegar to make a skin tonic.

The general recipe is 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water. You can then apply this to your skin using a cotton pad. However, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to make a more diluted solution by adding more water.

There’s an insufficient amount of research supporting the safety of using apple cider vinegar for this purpose.

9. To trap fruit flies

Fruit flies can be pests, and it’s really easy to use apple cider vinegar to make a cheap fruit fly trap.

Simply pour some apple cider vinegar into a cup, add a few drops of dish soap (so that any trapped flies sink), and you’re good to go.

10. To boil better eggs

Adding vinegar to the water you use to boil or poach eggs can help you produce consistently good eggs. This is because the protein in egg whites firms up more quickly when exposed to a more acidic liquid (15).

When you’re poaching eggs, you want the egg whites to firm up as quickly as possible so the eggs keep their shape.

Using vinegar when boiling eggs can also speed up the coagulation, or clotting, of the egg whites. This can be useful if the shell cracks while the egg is being boiled.

11. As a marinade

Another way to use apple cider vinegar when cooking is to make a marinade.

In fact, apple cider vinegar is a popular ingredient in many steak marinades. This is because it gives meat a nice sweet-and-sour flavor.

Combine it with wine, garlic, soy sauce, onion, and cayenne pepper to give your steak a delicious flavor.

12. To wash fruits and vegetables

Pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables can be a concern for many people.

That’s why some people like to wash their fruits and vegetables in apple cider vinegar. The hope is that it’ll remove more of the chemical residues than water alone.

Although it’s not entirely clear whether it will remove more pesticides than simply washing with water, it may help kill any dangerous bacteria on food.

For example, washing foods in vinegar has been shown to remove dangerous bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella (16Trusted Source17Trusted Source18Trusted Source).

13. To clean dentures

You can also use apple cider vinegar to clean dentures.

Although there’s no consensus on the best method to clean them, it’s thought that the residues left by apple cider vinegar could be less harmful to the skin in your mouth than other cleaning agents (19Trusted Source20Trusted Source).

14. In the bath

For the same reasons people like using apple cider vinegar as a homemade facial toner, they also like using it in the bath.

If you want to try it, add 1–2 cups of apple cider vinegar to your bath water and enjoy a soak in your tub. Be sure to dilute the vinegar adequately. A larger proportion of vinegar might irritate your skin.

15. As a hair rinse

An apple cider vinegar hair rinse is said to remove product buildup, detangle, and add shine to your hair.

Try mixing 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part water and pour the mixture over your hair. Leave it in for a few minutes before washing it out.

If you have sensitive skin, try doing this with a weaker dilution first, since the vinegar is quite acidic.

16. As a dandruff treatment

Massaging diluted apple cider vinegar into your scalp may help get rid of dandruff.

It’s unclear how effective this is, but the theory is that the acid in the vinegar could help stop the growth of the fungus Malassezia, which may contribute to dandruff.

17. In a sauce

Apple cider vinegar can be a great ingredient for a tangy sauce for your food. Try adding it to tomato-based sauces to give them a fuller flavor.

18. In soup

Adding vinegar to soup can help bring its flavors to life.

If your favorite homemade soup tastes a little bland, try adding a little vinegar to it at the end. Add it gradually and taste as you go until you reach a flavor your enjoy.

19. As a weed killer

Another great use for apple cider vinegar is as a homemade weed killer.

Spray undiluted vinegar on unwanted weeds in your garden to get rid of them. You can also try mixing it with soap and lemon juice to see if that makes it more effective.

20. In homemade cakes and candies

Apple cider vinegar is a popular flavor and texture enhancer in baking, especially when making vegan treats that can’t include eggs.

It can also add extra flavor to homemade candy and caramels, like in this recipe.

21. In a hot drink

For an alternative to hot chocolate or warm tea, mix 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon honey and 2 tablespoons lemon juice into 12 oz (355 ml) hot water.

22. As a mouthwash

Apple cider vinegar is often said to be a useful alternative to commercial mouthwashes. Its antibacterial properties may help with bad breath, although there aren’t any studies examining how effective it is.

If you try apple cider vinegar as a mouthwash, make sure you dilute it well with water (the usual amount is 1 tablespoon for every cup, or 240 ml, of water), since the acidity of the vinegar could damage your teeth (21Trusted Source).

23. To clean your tooth brush

To have really clean teeth, it’s worth considering how clean your toothbrush is.

Given that apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties, you can use it as a homemade cleaner for your toothbrush.

To make your own toothbrush cleaner, combine half a cup (120 ml) water with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons baking soda. Mix well, then leave the head of your toothbrush in the mixture for 30 minutes.

Make sure you rinse your brush well with water before you use it. Otherwise, the acidity of undiluted vinegar could damage your teeth.

24. To treat acne

Dabbing small amounts of diluted apple cider vinegar onto pimples is anecdotally claimed to be a good way to get rid of them.

However, undiluted apple cider vinegar is strongly acidic and putting it directly onto your skin can cause burns (22Trusted Source23).

25. To get rid of warts

As with acne, apple cider vinegar is claimed to be a natural agent for getting rid of warts. It’s likely effective for removing warts from skin, due to its acidic nature.

However, be aware that this method is very painful, and some people who’ve tried it have required a local anesthetic (24Trusted Source25Trusted Source).

26. As a natural deodorant

Wiping your underarms with diluted apple cider vinegar is said to be a homemade alternative to commercially produced deodorants.

That said, although it’s popular in some circles, it’s not clear how effective this is.

27. As a dish detergent

Rinsing your dishes in apple cider vinegar could help kill off any unwanted bacteria and keep them clean.

Some people add it to their dishwater, while others put it in their dishwasher.

28. To get rid of fleas

Apple cider vinegar may help prevent your pet from getting fleas.

It’s thought that spraying a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part apple cider vinegar onto your pet will create an environment that fleas won’t want to hang around in.

Apple cider vinegar is an extremely versatile household item that has a ton of different uses. It can be a cheap and easy way to tackle many problems around your home.

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