Even if you're not on the forefront of the healthy living lines, we're betting you've heard about the miracle worker that is apple cider vinegar (also known as ACV, for short). Sure, health gurus tout the fruity, fermented tonic for its natural healing and body-balancing properties, but even if you don't believe the holistic hype, ACV has been a popular pantry staple for ages as an ingredient in salad dressings, as a substitute in baking, and even as a facial toner, prior to the launch of today's expansive list of beauty brands. Unless you're allergic, there's no reason to resist substituting ACV for many of the expensive, chemical-filled products you have in your home now.
While you may be well aware that it's a jack-of-all-trades (thanks to the inundation of Internet headlines), we're going to bet you'll find some lesser-known ways to use this wunderkind vinegar on our list. From soothing stings and sunburns to disinfecting just about anything, read on to check out the seven new ways you'll be using apple cider vinegar.
Be it the lingering stench from sautéing fish inside a small apartment or the overwhelming odor of sweaty feet, apple cider vinegar is a great go-to when it comes to eliminating unwanted scents. The odor-absorbing properties take away the overpowering smell of just about anything, and it's easy to accomplish. It can be as simple as sticking a bowl of ACV near the stove (or wherever the scent is most potent) until the stench goes away, or combining a half cup of ACV with a cup of water to wipe down a smelly microwave or fridge. Detox a rancid dishwasher by running it with the same ACV/water solution. The acids in apple cider vinegar also work to balance the pH level of your skin and fight bacteria that propels the not-so-pleasant smell from your feet and armpits. Soak cotton wipes with equal parts ACV and water for use on the body. Masking smells with chemically laden scented sprays only makes your air quality worse; instead, turn to ACV as a new natural odor-eater.
You may have heard rumblings of coconut oil and activated charcoal as natural alternatives for whitening pastes and gels, but apple cider vinegar is even easier to use (forget choking on chunks of oil or turning your mouth pitch black) to get a bright white smile. Make your own whitening rinse by diluting a teaspoon of AVC with water; swish it around to remove stubborn stains and restore your teeth to white. Give your teeth a regular rinse of water to finish and wash away any leftover acidity. Disclaimer: Use ACV with caution, as the acid in the vinegar can break down tooth enamel if used too frequently.
Apple cider vinegar contains potassium, which helps naturally decrease mucous production and relieve sinus pressure. It can also aid in killing the bacteria that causes sinus blockages and infections. ACV is also known to cleanse the lymph nodes and boost the overall lymphatic system, helping you fight off allergies altogether. Mixing a teaspoon or two with warm water may also help relieve a sore throat as it works to alleviate overall sinus and allergy symptoms.
Fear not about fleas invading your home via your furry friend. Spritzing your pet's coat with a mixture of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water will keep them flea-free. Not only will it repel fleas, but it can help kill off an infestation if your pet is already carrying the critters. Always check with your vet to be sure ACV is safe for your specific pet.
From pesky bug bites to a piping-hot sunburn, apple cider vinegar can instantly relieve the sting. Just dab ACV directly onto a burn, jellyfish sting, or mosquito bite—you name it—and let the cooling effect ease your pain. To soothe sunburns specifically, add about a cup or two to your bath water and soak for relief. The ACV will restore your skin's pH balance and help heal the burn as much as it will alleviate the pain. It works just as well as more common products, and doesn't require you to coat your skin with chemicals.
Make your own all-purpose cleaner by mixing one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water to clean, disinfect, and give almost anything in your home (even glass and mirrors) an instant shine. As mentioned above, ACV also fights off odors (which comes in handy when cleaning the bathroom) and is a great nontoxic alternative for disinfecting your kitchen countertops and appliances without polluting your eating space or air quality.
Along with eliminating the aforementioned body odors, the naturally occurring enzymes in apple cider vinegar work to balance candida production, which can cause yeast infections. The enzyme-rich liquid can also help stave off sugar cravings, which may be another cause of unbalance down there as well. Make yourself an at-home elixir by mixing two teaspoons of ACV into a glass of water and ingesting in the morning or after your first meal, which will also help with digestion. And, of course, always consult your physician before adding any supplement to your diet.
Convinced of its magical powers yet? Pick up one of our recommended ACV picks below, and let us know which tip you'll be trying!
Will you turn to apple cider vinegar for any of the surprising uses listed above? Let us know in the comments below.