We bet you didn’t know there were this many creative uses for apple cider vinegar — we sure didn’t! After reading this, we’re planning on keeping a big bottle in the kitchen, and every bathroom in the house. One to try: Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Raw and Unfiltered (Buy at Walmart, $5.67)
Soothe a sore throat.
If a fall cold has left your throat feeling dry and scratchy, rather than reaching for medicine to treat it, get quick relief with this natural home remedy: Mix a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar with a quarter cup of water and gargle for 15 seconds. Repeat each hour as needed. The vinegar’s acetic acid will easily kill off the unwanted bacteria that’s causing the discomfort in your throat. Aah, that’s much better!
Stop a bruise from forming.
Ouch! You accidentally bumped into your desk and already have a sore spot on your thigh. To avoid a bruise, soak a bit of gauze in apple cider vinegar and use a bandage or medical tape to secure it to the area. Leave in place for one hour. When applied topically, ACV improves circulation to the skin’s surface and prevents blood from pooling.
Tenderize tough meat.
Guarantee a tender and flavorful dinner roast with the help of apple cider vinegar. To do: Blend two cups of ACV, a half cup of vegetable oil, two tablespoons of soy sauce, one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, one teaspoon of sea salt, and one to two tablespoons of fresh chopped garlic. Marinate the meat in the liquid for three hours before cooking. Vinegar will break down the meat’s tough fibers for a tender, tasty meal!
Add shine to a dog’s coat.
While cuddling with Buster, you notice his fur is looking a bit dull and lackluster. The solution: Add a quarter teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to his water bowl daily, gradually building up to one teaspoon of vinegar for every 15 pounds of his body weight. (The slow increase helps him get used to the taste.) Vinegar’s potassium and B vitamins will help nourish and strengthen hair follicles, resulting in a healthy shine for his coat.
Wash away pesky flakes.
One of our favorite uses for apple cider vinegar is to improve the health of our hair — including as a cure for stubborn dandruff. If you find your scalp has developed a flake problem, try this: Pour equal parts apple cider vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Spritz on hair and scalp, then shampoo and rinse after 15 minutes. The vinegar’s antimicrobial properties will kill the dandruff-causing bacteria. Problem solved!
Effortlessly trim stubborn fat.
An easy way to shed pounds: Stir a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into an eight ounce glass of water and drink before meals. Studies have shown that ACV provides a dose of malic and tartaric acids, natural compounds that work as digestive aids to whisk away excess fluids to beat bloat fast.
Freshen up feet in a flash.
After a day of hiking in the woods, your feet are smelling a bit funky. To banish the unpleasant odors, simply soak your tootsies in a mix of one-third cup of apple cider vinegar and a half cup of warm water for 30 minutes. Use the soak daily as desired. The acids in ACV will deodorize feet, leaving them smelling fresh in no time.
Quickly revive yellowing plants.
No matter what potting soil you use for your houseplants, yellow spots keep popping up on their leaves. A likely culprit: high pH levels in the soil caused by hard water. To help fix the problem, simply hydrate your plants with a mixture of two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to one quart of water. Repeat once weekly for three weeks. Apple cider vinegar’s acidity will help restore the pH level of the soil, plus nourish the plants with minerals to restore them to good, green health.
Get pans sparkling sans scrubbing.
Your tuna casserole is always a hit, but trying to remove the cheese-crusted gunk from the dish later that night is not much fun. What can help: Fill the pan with warm sudsy water and add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Let soak for 30 minutes before rinsing with water. Vinegar’s acids will dissolve the stuck-on food — no scrubbing required!
Guarantee super-soft towels.
The secret to ultra-soft linens: apple cider vinegar! To do: Wash clothes as usual, adding a half cup of the vinegar to the rinse cycle. (Add a quarter cup to the bleach compartment for high-efficiency washers.) The acetic acid in the vinegar will break down detergent buildup and relax clothing fibers, softening laundry without irritating the skin like chemical-laden softeners can.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.