Surprising Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has a loyal fan base that rivals that of any celebrity. There's a long string of books written by doctors, nutritionists, and enthusiastic devotees that celebrate its alleged health benefits, culinary, and household uses.

Apple cider vinegar is basically apple juice that has been fermented twice. First, yeast is added to apple juice, which changes the juice into alcohol. Then, bacteria are added to the alcohol, turning it into acetic acid (via WebMD). While apple cider vinegar can be bought as a pasteurized product, most people prefer it unpasteurized and containing the "mother" — the cloudy, stringy substance that settles at the bottom of the bottle that's also rich in beneficial bacteria and probiotics — when using it with health goals in mind.

The claims made purporting ACV's potential health benefits and uses range from science-backed, to intriguing, to wildly speculative. There is a body of research showing that ACV can actually help with weight loss, lowering cholesterol, and lowering blood sugar levels. It could therefore be especially helpful for people with type 2 diabetes. However, the studies conducted on this were small, and health experts warn against relying on ACV alone to manage these conditions. "Apple cider vinegar might lower your glucose a little, but not enough," dietitian Beth Czerwony told the Cleveland Clinic. "To prevent or manage diabetes, follow a healthy diet and exercise plan."

ACV makes an effective household cleaner

Some people have successfully used ACV to help a myriad of other health issues as well. While these don't have scientific backing, they are generally considered harmless and may be worth a try. Apple cider vinegar may be effective against sore throats (when diluted and gargled), as an acne spot treatment, as a dandruff treatment, for getting rid of fleas, and even for eliminating warts (via Healthline). In most cases, the vinegar needs to be diluted with water and then sprayed or dabbed on the affected area.

Beyond health concerns, ACV is also an effective household cleaner and beauty aid. It can be used to clean pots and pans, as a drain cleaner (along with baking soda), and even as a jewelry cleaner (via Mama Natural). It also makes an effective clarifying rinse for hair, and can be used as a skin toner.

Whether you're an ACV enthusiast or not, there are dozens of good reasons to keep a bottle handy. If nothing else, it makes a fabulous and healthy vinaigrette for your salad.