Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits & Uses 
By Donna Freedman & Alyssa Jung

Posted February 2, 2016; Update September 4, 2023. Disclaimer

You have a kitchen miracle healer and disinfectant and probably don't even know it.   White Vinegar can be helpful as a disinfectant while apple cider vinegar can help heal your body.  Both can, in their special ways, help you keep your body healthy and keep your environment safe.  Best of all, both are inexpensive and safe to use. 

This article summarizes both of these properties for your convenience.  The first part deals with the health benefits of apple cider vinegar by Alyssa Jung in Reader's Digest.  The second part by Dinna Freedman summarizes the how white vinegar may be used to cleanse and sanitize your house, auto, pet and more.

While the uses for white vinegar are plentiful, apple cider vinegar probably has even more applications. Its wide-ranging benefits include everything from curing hiccups to alleviating cold symptoms, and some people have turned to apple cider vinegar to help with health concerns including diabetes, cancer, heart problems, high cholesterol, and weight issues. Read on for more reasons to keep apple cider vinegar handy in your pantry.

Part 1:  Healing the body

Apple cider vinegar helps tummy troubles.

Apple cider vinegar helps tummy troubles.

Sip some apple cider vinegar mixed with water. If a bacterial infection is at the root of your diarrhea, apple cider vinegar could help contain the problem,thanks to its antibiotic properties. What's more, some folk remedy experts contend that apple cider vinegar contains pectin, which can help soothe intestinal spasms. Try mixing one or two tablespoons into water, or clear juice like apple juice.

Apple cider vinegar cures hiccups.

Apple cider vinegar cures hiccups.

Take a teaspoonful of apple cider vinegar; its sour taste could stop a hiccup in its tracks. One teen took the hiccup remedy further and created a lollipop that includes apple cider vinegar, which she says "cancels out the message to hiccup" by over stimulating the nerves in the throat responsible for the spasms.

Apple cider vinegar soothes a sore throat.

Apple cider vinegar soothes a sore throat.

As soon as you feel the prickle of a sore throat, employ germ-busting apple cider vinegar to help head off the infection at the pass. Turns out, most germs can't survive in the acidic environment vinegar creates. Just mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup warm water and gargle every hour or so.

Apple cider vinegar could lower cholesterol.

Apple cider vinegar could lower cholesterol.

More research is needed to definitively link apple cider vinegar and its capability to lower cholesterol in humans, but one 2006 study found that the acetic acid in the vinegar lowered bad cholesterol in rats. Also, a Japanese study found that half an ounce of apple cider vinegar a day lowered cholesterol in people who participated in the panel.

Apple cider vinegar prevents indigestion.

Apple cider vinegar prevents indigestion.

Sip before eating, especially if you know you're going to indulge in foods that will make you sorry later. Try this folk remedy: add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water and drink it 30 minutes before you dine.

Apple cider vinegar clears a stuffy nose.

Apple cider vinegar clears a stuffy nose.

Next time you're stuffed up, grab the apple cider vinegar. It contains potassium, which thins mucus; and the acetic acid in it prevents bacteria growth, which could contribute to nasal congestion. Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink to help sinus drainage.

Apple cider vinegar aids in weight loss.

Apple cider vinegar aids in weight loss.

Apple cider vinegar can help you lose weight. Here's why: The acetic acid suppresses your appetite, increases your metabolism, and reduces water retention. Scientists also theorize that apple cider vinegar interferes with the body's digestion of starch, which means fewer calories enter the bloodstream.

Apple cider vinegar gets rid of dandruff.

Apple cider vinegar gets rid of dandruff.

On his website, Dr. Mehmet Oz recommends apple cider vinegar as a dandruff treatment. The acidity of apple cider vinegar changes the pH of your scalp, making it harder for yeast to grow. Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water in a spray bottle, and spritz on your scalp. Wrap your head in a towel and let sit for 15 minutes to an hour, then wash your hair as usual. Do this twice a week for best results.

Apple cider vinegar clears acne.

Apple cider vinegar clears acne.

Apple cider vinegar makes a great natural toner that can leave skin looking healthier. Its antibacterial properties help keep acne under control, and the malic and lactic acids found in apple cider vinegar soften and exfoliate skin, reduce red spots, and balance the pH of your skin.

Apple cider vinegar boosts energy.

Apple cider vinegar boosts energy.

Exercise and sometimes extreme stress cause lactic acid to build up in the body, causing fatigue. Interestingly, the amino acids contained in apple cider vinegar act as an antidote. What's more, apple cider vinegar contains potassium and enzymes that may relieve that tired feeling. Next time you're beat, add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to a glass of chilled vegetable drink or to a glass of water.

Apple cider vinegar cuts down on nighttime leg cramps.

Apple cider vinegar cuts down on nighttime leg cramps.

Leg cramps can often be a sign that you're low in potassium. Since apple cider vinegar is high in it, one home remedy suggests mixing 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon honey to a glass of warm water and drink to relieve nighttime leg cramps. Of course, by the time you walk to the kitchen to put the drink together, your cramp is likely to be history—but maybe that's the point.

Apple cider vinegar banishes bad breath.

12-acv bad-breath

If proper brushing and mouthwash doesn't do the trick, try the home remedy of using apple cider vinegar to control bad breath. Gargle with it, or drink a teaspoon (diluted with water if you prefer) to kill odor-causing bacteria.

Apple cider vinegar whitens teeth.

Apple cider vinegar whitens teeth.

Gargle with apple cider vinegar in the morning. The vinegar helps remove stains, whiten teeth, and kill bacteria in your mouth and gums. Brush as usual after you gargle. You can also brush your teeth with baking soda once a week to help remove stains and whiten your teeth; use it just as you would toothpaste. You can also use salt as an alternative toothpaste. If your gums start to feel raw, switch to brushing with salt every other day.

Apple cider vinegar fades bruises.

Apple cider vinegar fades bruises

Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties; dabbing or laying an apple cider vinegar compress on a bruise can help fade the discoloration.

Apple cider vinegar helps control blood sugar.

Apple cider vinegar helps control blood sugar.

A few swigs of apple cider vinegar could help keep your blood sugar levels balanced, according to several studies that have shown a link between the two. One study of people with type 2 diabetes who weren't taking insulin found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed resulted in lower glucose levels by morning. Another study at the Arizona State University found that insulin resistant people who drank a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water before eating a high carbohydrate meal had lower blood sugar afterward. Scientists think the antiglycemic effect of the acid is the key.

Apple cider may act as a deoderant

18 acv body odor

Sounds counterintuitive, but users swear that the smell goes away quickly — and that the vinegar keeps odor-producing bacteria from growing. Either white or cider vinegar can be used, but try it on a small area first to see if irritation develops. 

Apple cider sooths itchy skin

17 acv itchy skin

Apply apple cider onto the itchy skin area. Attacked by a bee or wasp? Dab on vinegar.

Part 2:  A cleaner environment

Cleaner home

1. Floor cleaning Mop with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. Although the smell will dissipate, you can add a drop or two of essential oil to the water.

2. All-purpose cleaner A 50/50 mix of vinegar and water works on counters, stovetops, bathroom fixtures and tile, even the range hood. If the grease is really stubborn, use vinegar straight from the bottle.

3. Keep drains open Tap half a cup of baking soda down the drain, then pour in half a cup of vinegar. Enjoy the fizzing and bubbling for a few minutes. Follow with a teakettle’s worth of boiling water, then let hot water run from the tap for a while. Do this once a month or so.

4. De-gunk shower heads Mineral buildup impeding the shower spray? Fill a small, sturdy plastic bag with vinegar and rubber-band it to the shower head for a couple of hours.

5. Soap scum buster Spray a 50/50 mix of vinegar and Dawn dish detergent on the tub, wait a couple of minutes and wipe. Rinse thoroughly.

6. Streak-free shine Mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle to clean mirrors and windows. Save money on paper towels by wiping with sheets of newspaper.

7. Clean the toilet Add two cups of vinegar to the toilet bowl and let it soak overnight. That should keep away water rings.

8. Clean sinks and bathtubs Scrub with full-strength vinegar, then rinse well. If hard-water stains have developed in the tub, pour in three cups of vinegar and fill the rest of the way with hot water. In four hours, drain the tub and scrub off the rings; rinse well.

9. Clean shower-door tracks Carefully fill the tracks with vinegar and let stand for a few hours, then scrub with an old toothbrush.

10. Clean the shower curtain Mildew developing along the hem of your plastic curtain? Launder it along with a few towels using half a cup of your usual detergent and half a cup of baking soda, then add one cup of vinegar to the first rinse. Take out the curtain before the spin cycle starts (it’ll be drippy) and hang to dry.

11. Shine fixtures Use vinegar on a soft cloth (a piece of worn-out sheet or an old T-shirt works well) to remove soap scum.

12. Banish crayon Have the kids’ coloring projects gone off the pages and onto the floor? Vinegar should take care of it. This also works on ink.

Aid for appliances

13. A cleaner brew Run a cup of vinegar and a cup of water through your coffeemaker every couple of weeks, then run a full pot of water through to rinse well. (My partner does this. It stinks briefly, but it works.)

14. Lime away If your teakettle has lime or mineral deposits, boil three cups of vinegar and let stand overnight. Rinse well.

15. Dishwasher cleanse Once a month, run a cup of vinegar through your (empty) dishwasher.

16. Cleaning the cleaner Run two cups of vinegar through your washing machine once a month — full cycle, no clothing and no soap.

17. Microwave miracle Is the appliance’s inside dotted with bits of food and smelling like really old Hot Pockets? Put some vinegar and water into a mug or bowl and boil it for a while. Carefully remove the container (it’s hot, remember?) and use a wet cloth to remove the now-softened food bits.

18. Refresh the can opener Is the electric can opener’s wheel blade dark and disgusting? Put a vinegar-saturated toothbrush up against it, turn on the appliance and let the wheel clean itself.

19. Scrub the fridge Use a 50/50 vinegar and water mix to wipe down the inside of your refrigerator. Don’t forget the interiors of the bins.

Clothing and accessories

20. Fabric softener hack Add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to soften clothing, kill bacteria and reduce static.

21. Replace color bleach Adding half a cup of vinegar to the wash cycle will brighten your clothing’s colors.

22. Gum-b-gone Kid get bubble gum on his shirt? Saturate the mistake with warm vinegar.

23. De-salt your shoes Has de-icer gotten onto shoes or boots? Rub with a 50/50 water and vinegar solution; use an old toothbrush for suede footwear.

24. De-stain shirts Sweat tracks on your shirts? Rub vinegar on them, then launder as usual.

25. De-stain other stuff Spot-treat stains on cotton items with vinegar just before laundering. Among other things, this will work on beer, juice, tea, coffee, soft drinks, ketchup, blood — parents and frat boys take note — vomit. Treat and launder as quickly as possible. If it’s a really gruesome stain, soak overnight in a three-to-one mix of vinegar and water.

26. Socks appeal If your sports socks have turned dingy, soak them overnight in a solution of one cup vinegar boiled with six cups of water and then launder as usual. 27. Remove yellowing If white garments or other items have yellowed, mix one part vinegar to 12 parts water and soak the cloth overnight, then wash.

28. Get rid of “thrift shop smell” Sometimes stuff from the secondhand store or rummage sale has an odd smell. Launder with a cup of vinegar in the wash (not rinse) cycle.

29. Stop the bleed Soak brightly colored clothing in undiluted vinegar for about 15 minutes, then launder as usual. This should keep them from dyeing everything else.

30. Spot-treat suede Got a grease spot on a suede garment? Use a 50/50 water and vinegar solution and an old toothbrush. If that doesn’t work, try undiluted vinegar.

Household hints

31. Coffee scrub If your favorite coffee or tea mug has dark stains, scour with a one-to-one mix of vinegar and salt. Rinse well in warm water.

32. Stop mold Spray undiluted vinegar onto areas that develop mold or mildew. You can add a bit of essential oil to the spray bottle, but remember that the vinegar smell will go away.

33. Clean filters Soak humidifier or air conditioner filters in a 50/50 solution, then rinse and squeeze dry.

34. Sanitize cutting boards After washing, spray with undiluted white vinegar to further disinfect the surface. Bonus: It’ll neutralize the odor of that fish you just cut up.

35. Go grill crazy Are charcoal and food juice gumming up your grill? Spray thoroughly with undiluted vinegar, wait a couple of minutes and scrub with a wire brush or some crumpled-up aluminum foil.

36. Clean the iron Spray starch can build up on the faceplate of your iron, so wipe it with vinegar every so often. If you’ve got hard water, clean the iron’s innards every now and then: Fill the water reservoir with vinegar, stand it upright and turn on the “steam” setting. After 10 minutes, empty and rinse well.

37. Cleanse copper If your copper-bottomed cookware is discolored, apply a paste of equal parts salt, flour and vinegar. Let stand for no more than 30 minutes, then rinse very, very well. 

Yard and garden

38. Bug killer Cider vinegar stinks to us but attracts insects. Create a funnel trap by rolling a sheet of notebook paper into a funnel and placing it into a jar with cider vinegar at the bottom. This works in the kitchen for fruit flies and on the deck when entertaining outdoors.

39. Ant killer That vinegar-and-dish-soap cleaner also vanquishes uninvited guests that march into your home. This mixture is a lot less worrisome than spraying a pesticide ant killer around the area where your kids and pets play, and around the areas where you prepare food. Some folks swear by vinegar sprayed or poured on anthills.

40. Feeder cleaner A good wash with a gentle dish soap, followed by a spray with a 50/50 vinegar solution, means clean dishes (and less chance of bacterial issues) for hummingbirds and other feathered friends.

41. Flowerpot freshener White stains on terra-cotta pots won’t come off with soap and water? Wipe down with undiluted vinegar and let dry. After that, rub with baby oil (another product with loads of uses).

42. Mower helper Once you’ve finished the lawn, wipe the blades down with vinegar — not just to clean off grass bits, but also any insects that might have hitched a ride while you rolled the mower back to the garage.

43. Critter repellent Some say that deer, raccoons, rabbits, dogs and cats don’t like the smell of vinegar. Try hanging up vinegar-soaked rags near your garden (re-wetting them once a week) and spraying your garbage cans with the stuff. It may not work in every case, but it’s worth a try.

44. Make paint stick If you’re painting concrete or galvanized metal, pretreat the area by sponging on vinegar and allowing to dry. The paint will last longer.

45. Clean paintbrushes Is your synthetic-bristle brush completely paint-stiffened? Soak in undiluted vinegar until things are moving again, then wash with soap and hot water.

46. Soil tester Pour half a cup of white vinegar over a handful of garden soil in a container. Fizzy/bubbly means alkaline. Science!

Caring for your car

47. Wiper magic Rub windshield wiper blades a couple of times with undiluted vinegar.

48. Clearer windows Wipe windows and the windshield with a three-to-one mixture of vinegar and water. This makes it harder for frost to form. Reapply when it stops working.

49. Revive the rug After vacuuming your vehicle, sponge carpeting with a 50/50 vinegar-water mixture. Blot after a couple of minutes.

De-stinking stuff

50. Rescue your lunchbox Wipe out the inside any odors.

51. Eliminate kitchen odors Having a fish fry or a cabbage boil? Leave a small dish of vinegar nearby to neutralize olfactory havoc. If it’s too late to prevent the smell, put half a cup of vinegar and one cup of water into a small pot and boil until it’s almost gone.

52. Wipe out sponge smells Kitchen and bathroom sponges can develop some pretty gnarly smells. Soak them overnight in a 50/50 vinegar and water bath.

53. Deodorize the remodel Since vinegar neutralizes strong scents, keep shallow dishes of the stuff in rooms that you’re painting.

Pet help

54. Remove urine stains Wash the carpet with mild soap and water, rinse and blot as dry as possible. Saturate the area with a one-to-three mix of vinegar and water and allow to stand for 10 minutes, then blot.

55. Think inside the box After emptying and washing the cat box, add half an inch or so of vinegar. After 20 minutes, rinse well and dry before adding fresh litter.

56. Shine the aquarium Vinegar and a nylon scrubber can remove mineral deposits from the glass.

57. Kill pet pests Spray pets with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution (cover their eyes!) to discourage fleas and ticks. This may be easier said than done, especially with cats.

58. Save the upholstery Deter cats from attacking couches and chairs by spraying on a little full-strength white vinegar.

59. De-skunk the dog Should Fido have a run-in with Pepe Le Pew, spray him with a two-to-one mix of water and vinegar, rubbing the liquid in well. Wait five minutes, then rinse well. And no, he won’t like it much. Miscellaneous magic

60. Keep eggs intact Add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to the cooking water so the shells won’t crack.

Miscellaneous magic

61. Coax out condiments Add a small amount of vinegar to the last of the salad dressing, then shake. If the mustard bottle is mostly empty, add some vinegar and shake well; this makes a zesty addition to cooked greens, soups and stews.

62. Wash vegetables Want to remove residue from fruits and veggies? Mix two tablespoons of vinegar in one pint of water.

63. See more clearly Dampen a lint-free cloth (not a paper towel, which can scratch plastic lenses) with vinegar and wipe off smudges and oil.

64. Clean DVDs Skipping or freezing issues? Dampen a microfiber or flannel cloth with vinegar and wipe the disc from the center straight to the edge. Once all the surface has been cleaned, use a second soft cloth to wipe dry.

65. Clean scissors Wipe gummy blades with undiluted vinegar.

66. Adhesive remover Kids put stickers on the windows again? Remove them and their residue by wiping with vinegar. This works on bumper stickers and other decals as well.

67. Strip wallpaper Soak the paper you want to remove with a 50/50 vinegar and water mix. Wait a few minutes, then attack with a scraper.

68. Bust rust Drizzle vinegar over rusted/corroded nuts, screws or hinges to make them easier to remove. Soak rusted hand tools in vinegar for a couple of days, or until the rust goes away.

69. Build a volcano Because science fair. Vinegar + baking soda = delighted children. This stuff never gets old.


Freedman Donna, "The Case for Vinegar: 83 Amazing and Environmentally Friendly Uses," MSN online, MoneyTalksNews, 12/14/2015.   Freedman: Vinegar uses 2015

Jung Alyssa, "13+ Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar," Reader's Digest  Jung: Health benefits of apple cider vinegar