An Apple A Day: 10 Surprising Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

We’d like to thank the first person who decided that there must be some usefulness to a ‘bad’ batch of apple cider instead of just tossing it out, whoever they may have been. As it turns out, there are dozens and dozens of valuable uses for apple cider vinegar around the house, in your personal hygiene routine and as a dietary supplement. Here’s how to get shiny hair, kill weeds, soothe sore throats and whiten your teeth with this all-natural, widely available product.

Fruit Fly Trap

It turns out, the old saying that you can’t catch flies with vinegar simply isn’t true. Pour an inch or two of apple cider vinegar into a narrow-necked bottle to attract fruit flies when you’re dealing with an infestation. Even without stopping up the bottle, most of the flies will drown themselves, but you can also tape the mouth of the bottle and poke a hole just large enough for the flies to get inside. 

Weed Killer

To make your own DIY non-toxic weed killer spray, mix one gallon of apple cider vinegar with half a cup of table salt and a tablespoon of liquid Dawn dish soap. The acetic acid draws moisture out of the plant to kill it fast, especially in direct sunlight. It’s non-selective, so it’ll kill any plants it comes into contact with – spray carefully. (Photo by R. Nial Bradshaw/Flickr Creative Commons)

Natural Energy Boost

Add a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water for an all-natural energy jolt in place of or in between cups of coffee. Add honey, ginger and/or fresh fruit to make it more palatable if you don’t find the taste pleasant. 

Dandruff Treatment

Apple cider vinegar tackles dandruff by killing the yeast-like fungus that causes it in the first place. It’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, and not as harsh as most commercial treatments. You can massage equal parts water and vinegar into the scalp once a week for mild cases, or use it full-strength more often if your dandruff is severe.

Sugar Metabolism

Studies have found that adding apple cider vinegar to your diet may improve your blood sugar, decreasing both fasting and post-prandial (after-meal) glucose levels. Acetic acid inhibits the activity of carbohydrate-digesting enzymes, helping certain sugars and starches pass through the intestines without being digested. This can also have an impact on weight regulation. Try to get at least 2 tablespoons per day either in water or by adding it to your food. 

Hair Shine Treatment

Get that hair commercial shine on your own tresses simply by rinsing with a water and apple cider vinegar solution, which works by closing the cuticle so each individual strand has a smoother texture. Mix a half cup to a cup of vinegar with 16 ounces of water (less if your hair is dry, more if it’s oily) and pour or mist it onto your hair after shampooing. Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse. The vinegar smell dissipates once you hair is dry (photo by Marissa Elkind/Flickr Creative Commons)

Sinus Congestion

Feeling a little clogged up in your sinuses? Apple cider vinegar can help ease inflammation and kill bacteria, and the high acidity breaks up mucus to clear your airways. Drink two teaspoons of it in a cup of warm water twice a day, adding honey if you like. You can also simmer equal parts ACV and water on the stove, turn off the heat, close your eyes and inhale the steam for a few minutes.

Anti-Itch Treatment

Mosquitos, rashes and other sources of irritating itching can be quelled with a little bit of full-strength ACV. It’s also a great treatment for athlete’s foot thanks to its fungus-fighting abilities.

Eliminate Bad Breath and Whiten Teeth

Apple cider vinegar is thought to kill the bacteria responsible for bad breath and whiten your teeth while it’s at it, so using it as a mouthwash is a no-brainer. Combine two parts of water to one part of apple cider vinegar and swish it around for a minute or so, or gargle with it at full strength. (Photo by Rupert Taylor-Price/Flickr Creative Commons)

Sore Throat Soother

Mix a quarter of a cup of apple cider vinegar with a quarter cup of warm water and gargle as deep within your throat as you can manage to kill the bacteria responsible for many infections. Add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and a tablespoon of raw honey for even more germ-fighting power. 

Top photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr Creative Commons

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