In this article:
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has recently been given a special status in the health and wellness industry, but its use reportedly dates back to as far as 3,000 BC for various conditions.
As the name suggests, apple cider vinegar is made from apples in a two-step process. Whole apples are first broken down to prepare apple juice. To this juice, a mix of yeast and bacteria is added to start the fermentation process, which converts the sugar to acetic acid. (1) Its rich polyphenol profile and presence of healthy bacteria can exert beneficial effects on health.
Several studies undertaken to identify the health benefits of apple cider vinegar have found it to be effective in managing diabetes; lowering body fat, which can ultimately reduce the risk of heart disease; and lowering inflammation in the body, which can prevent the risk of developing cancer. (2)
But do you know of the other uses of ACV? This article will discuss some nonfood ways you can use ACV in your home.
Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar
Here are some unheard but handful uses of apple cider vinegar you might not know.
1. To preserve food or prepare pickles
Pickling is the process of preserving fresh produce to be safely consumed at a later time. This is done by adding cleaned and cut vegetables to a solution of vinegar or salt water to prevent the growth of microorganisms. These vegetables last for at least 2 years without the need for refrigeration. (3)
Using ACV to preserve vegetables is a great way to extend the vinegar’s benefits to the preserved vegetables.
How to make pickles:
- Clean and cut vegetables such as cucumber, beets, carrots, radishes, or chili into bite-size pieces.
- Place them in a clean and sterile jar.
- Add ACV (1 cup ACV diluted to 2 cups of water) and 1 tablespoon of sugar, and seal the jar.
- The mix will begin to ferment in a day or 2. Keep checking the vegetables for signs of spoilage. You will know it’s ready when the vegetables turn pale.
2. To treat insect bites
Insect bites often lead to inflammation and swelling in the area of the bite. This happens as the body’s immune system kicks in and sends inflammatory substances to fight potential disease-causing microorganisms.
Since ACV exhibits strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, it can be used to reduce the swelling caused by insect bites while also preventing infections. (4) This is especially useful for children as ingestion of ACV won’t be harmful, unlike topical medicated creams.
3. To relieve sore throat
Though sore throats usually resolve on their own, they can cause extreme discomfort and difficulty eating and drinking. For this reason, you may want to employ methods that will hasten your recovery from a sore throat.
ACV has shown strong antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria that cause sore throat. (5) Gargling with diluted ACV can therefore be an effective remedy for an acute throat.
How to make an ACV gargle:
- Add 1 tablespoon of ACV to a glass of lukewarm water.
- Take a mouthful of this mix and swish it around your mouth and throat for a few seconds.
- Spit it out.
- Repeat this treatment twice a day to maximize results.
4. To effectively trap flies
Fruit flies are a nuisance in any household. They usually surround ripe fruits and multiply manifold overnight. ACV is an effective way to trap these fruit flies and keep them away.
A study conducted in Mexico found that adding fresh fruit juice to ACV acted like an effective fly trap. This removed free fruit flies from the home. (6)
How to make an ACV fly trap:
- Add 2 tablespoons of fresh fruit juice (such as pineapple or berry), 2 tablespoons of ACV, and 1 tablespoon of dish soap to a tall jar.
- Make a cone with a sheet of paper and place it in the mouth of the jar.
- Leave overnight close to where the fruit flies are.
5. To wash fruits and veggies
Appropriate washing of fruits and vegetables helps remove dirt, potential parasites, and microorganisms that may cause diseases. Recently, many fruit and veggie soaks have become available that make the removal of external microorganisms and pests easy, but you can also use vinegar for the same effect.
The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has been found to remove 80% of parasites from fruits and vegetables, thus preventing their ingestion and sickness from their consumption. (7)
In another study, soaking veggies in a vinegar solution was effective in removing salmonella. This effect can be attributed to ACV’s antimicrobial properties. (8)
How to prepare an ACV fruit and veggie wash:
- Dilute 1 part vinegar in 2 parts tap water
- Wash the fruit or veggie in the solution well and let it soak for 30 minutes.
- Rinse well and dry before use or consumption.
6. To clean dentures
Candida albicans is a fungus that causes candidosis (or candidiasis), which is a fungal infection of the oral cavity. Unmanaged and untreated infection can cause gum disease and weakening of teeth. (9)
People who wear dentures are at an increased risk of fungal infections. Therefore, maintaining a cleaning routine for them is important.
Studies have found that ACV was effective in reducing the activity of candida without affecting the material or color of dentures. (10)
7. To use as a hair tonic
ACV also finds its use in hair care. Its antifungal and antibacterial properties allow it to be an effective remedy against dandruff. It is also useful in removing residue from the hair (leftover from cosmetic products) while softening and adding shine to the hair. (11)
Lab studies have also found ACV along with garlic oil to increase the activity of minoxidil, which is a remedy for alopecia. (11)
How to make an ACV hair rinse:
- Mix 1 part ACV to 3 parts tap water.
- Use this mixture as a last rinse after hair washing is done.
- Let it dry in your hair.
- Repeat after every hair wash.
8. To use as a natural deodorant
Body odor is primarily caused by bacteria that live in body sweat. One effective way to treat bad body odor is by treating the cause at its source.
ACV is an effective remedy that kills the bacteria that cause bad odor. (12) Simply dilute 1 part ACV to 2 parts water and wipe areas prone to sweating.
Precautions to Consider When Using Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is primarily an acid, and using it undiluted on the skin may cause burns and skin irritation.
Always dilute ACV (1 part ACV to 2 parts water) before applying it on the skin, ingesting (such as for treating insect bites), and using it as a gargle or mouth rinse.
Can ACV Help Get Rid of Acne?
There is no research available that ACV can treat acne. In fact, it is not recommended to use ACV on the face due to its high acid content.
Apple cider vinegar has a variety of health benefits. Due to its high polyphenol content and rich microorganism profile, it can offer various health benefits such as reducing blood sugar in diabetes and protecting against heart diseases and cancer.
ACV can also be used for a variety of household purposes such as washing fruits and veggies, treating insect bites, cleaning dentures to prevent fungal infections, hastening the healing from a sore throat, and even making hair healthy and shiny.
Make sure you dilute the ACV well before using it on your skin or for gargles.