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8 Surprisingly Effective Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar

We cannot yet declare apple cider vinegar to be a miracle cure. However, according to WebMD.com, Apple cider vinegar has a long history as a home remedy used to treat everything from a sore throat to varicose veins.

Vinegar has been used as a remedy since the days of Hippocrates. The ancient Greek doctor treated wounds with it. In recent years, people have explored apple cider vinegar as a way to lose weight, improve heart health, and even treat dandruff.

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The right choice

When choosing apple cider vinegar, make sure you get one that includes the “mother.” The mother of vinegar is used to accelerate the fermentation process and ensure an effective product. Bragg’s is considered by many to be the gold standard for high-quality vinegar that is packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Be sure to shake it well before use.

Pro tipA close up of food, with Vinegar and Apple

If you’re a Costco member, the Kirkland brand apple cider vinegar includes the mother and is an excellent and cheaper alternative.

I find this in a 3-pack at Costco, for about the same price as a single bottle of Bragg’s the same size, elsewhere.

Here are a few of the ways that ACV may work well for you to treat everyday issues in the same way that it works for so many of my readers and others who’ve reported their results.

Send dandruff packing

Forget all the pricey salon sprays that promise to destroy the fungus that grows on your scalp. Apple cider vinegar’s acidity changes the pH of your scalp and also has antibacterial properties. Make your own dandruff treatment at home that will banish dandruff by mixing equal parts ACV and water in a spray bottle.

To use: Shampoo with your cheap shampoo of choice, rinse, and towel dry. Then spray this ACV dilution onto your hair, work it through to the scalp and let it sit for 15 minutes. Rinse. Do this twice a week and in no time you’ll send away embarrassing dandruff forever. For routine maintenance, use ACV as a conditioner, which follows.

Healthy, shiny hair

Mixing 4 parts water to 1 part ACV results in a very effective hair conditioner that will leave your hair soft and shiny. Shampoo, rinse and then pour about 1 cup of this mixture over your hair and rinse it out. Prepare to be amazed.

Sore throat soother

At the first sign of a sore throat, pull out three pantry ingredients to make a powerful elixir that will help soothe the discomfort and also break up mucous and sinus congestion: Mix one teaspoon ACV, 1/4  teaspoon cayenne pepper and three teaspoons honey in a glass of warm water.

Apple cider vinegar and honey are known to have antibacterial properties, and the capsaicin in the cayenne helps alleviate pain. Sip this concoction gradually one to three times a day. Note: This is not a substitute for physician-prescribed medication.

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No more stinky feet

Persistent stinky foot odor is not necessarily a hygiene problem but rather a persistent problem caused by a fungus that may have managed to live unnoticed on the bottom of feet, under toenails or even between toes. A daily shower is not likely to alleviate the problem, but this will:

Soak your feet in a container of hot water to which you have added 4 cups ACV and 1 1/2 cups baking soda. Mix well and soak your feet in it for or at least 10 minutes. Towel dry then enjoy your clean, soft feet that should also smell clean and fresh. Any lingering smell of vinegar will quickly dissipate on its own.

Alleviate heartburn

It seems counterintuitive to combat stomach acid with acidic vinegar but stay with me here. One tablespoon of enzyme-rich ACV in a cup of water or tea taken right before a meal, for many, alleviates the symptoms of heartburn. If you hate the taste, adding a tablespoon of honey will help this medicine go down.

Skincare astringent

Apple cider vinegar will do wonders for your skin—even alleviate acne—for pennies, not dollars. If you have sensitive skin, dilute apple cider vinegar with water. However, for other skin types, ACV is most effectively used straight up.

Use it as an all-natural astringent like this: Mix up a dilution of 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water. Spray this on your clean face or apply with a washcloth or cotton balls. Do not rinse.

The resulting protective acidic layer will make your skin feel smoother, absorb excess oil, and help to reduce fine lines. This works by restoring the proper pH levels to your skin, and the beta-carotene in the apple cider vinegar helps to ward off future skin damage.

Quickly heal sunburn

Acidic apple cider vinegar on a sunburn? You bet, and you’ll be amazed at the result. Here’s the routine: Following an unfortunate sunburn, draw a bath, adding one or two tablespoons ACV to the tub. After soaking for 10 minutes, the ACV will have helped restore your skin’s pH levels and your skin will feel cool and super soothed.

Whitening mouthwash

To make an effective whitening mouthwash, mix one teaspoon ACV with a cup of water. Swish this around your mouth and either spit it out or go ahead and swallow. It’s good for you.


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14 replies
  1. Gerri says:

    Hello! I sent my husband to buy a gal. of white vinegar for my washing machine rinse cycle, however he came home with 2 gal. apple cider vinegar (no mother in those jugs!). Would it work in the washer or would the brownish tint linger on whites? Thank you!

  2. Heather says:

    I use ACV to fight irritated throats and to fight allergies, so taste is important to me. Bragg’s is great and available at WM. Trader Joe’s ACV is also good, and Sprouts’ brand. The Costco one is nasty tasting! (Always dilute with water if swallowing ACV.)

    • Heather says:

      Measure 1-2 teaspoons of ACV in a glass and dilute with enough water so you can tolerate swallowing it, perhaps up to 1 cup. One can also gargle with it that way.

  3. Linda D Radosevich says:

    I’ve used nearly all your suggestions for ACV, Mary, and swear by it’s effectiveness. For sunburn, I pat it on ‘straight’ with a cotton ball. Not only does it leave hair shiny, it cuts the shampoo…maybe that’s why it leaves your hair shiny! A cough remedy from my grandmother was a teaspoonful of sugar, with enough vinegar to moisten it.

  4. Barbara J Pirie says:

    Hi Mary! Love your website! My Mom came from Australia in 1937 and visited her cousin in Barre, VT His name was Dr. DeForest C Jarvis, born in 1881. And that is where my Mom met my Dad. Dr. Jarvis wrote a book called Folk Medicine that was on the best seller list (Non Fiction) in 1960. It is all about Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey! I found it in my book case, I forgot all about it. What an interesting book and is still read today. Check it out.

  5. Cathy down on the farm... says:

    Awesome tips as usual, Mary. Just be careful to rinse your mouth well with water after using as I believe it can deteriorate your teeth enamel if you are not careful.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Good reminder, Cathy. The aftertaste of ACV isn’t something I do not want to linger on, so rinsing is pretty automatic!

    • Lisa Arreola says:

      Lida, scroll all the way to the bottom of the article, and you will see the part that says, “Whitening Mouthwash.” It’s right below “Quickly Heal Sunburn.”


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