The Pantry Item That Can Do A Lot More Than You Think

unnamed-2Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
We’re all about a great multitasker (cough, coconut oil, cough), and apple cider vinegar is no exception. This salad dressing staple has been linked to a healthier complexion, can help keep your home squeaky clean, and could help with an upset stomach and bloating to list a few uses.
Here’s what it isn’t: a magical shortcut to dropping those unwanted five pounds. In certain circles, it’s been touted as a weight loss aid — though that’s still debated in the medical community. While some research suggests it may help tip the scale in your favor by lowering your blood sugar, health experts advise against using it as a weight-loss tool. And, a word of warning: Drinking apple cider vinegar (especially straight) comes with its share of health risks, like throat irritation and supplement and drug interaction.
That said, there are healthy ways to incorporate ACV into your daily life, and there are plenty of benefits to be gained from getting on the cider bandwagon! This vinegar is chock-full of good-for-you-nutrients like iron, calcium, and potassium that may help keep the germs in our bodies under control. It can also add flavor to your dishes and freshness to all corners of your house.
unnamed-4Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Home & Lifestyle
Mix Up A Non-Toxic, All-Purpose Cleaner
Step aside, cleaning sprays, solutions, and wipes. There’s a new disinfectant in town. Actually, we kid, seeing as apple cider vinegar isn’t new at all. That said, if you haven’t tried using this common kitchen ingredient to help keep your home sparkling and clean, you’re missing out on a non-toxic, odor-absorbing, antibacterial alternative to harsh chemicals. Just mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part water, filter that into a spray bottle, and get to work.
Stamp Out The Stink In Any Room
Stinky rooms don’t stand a chance against apple cider vinegar, which can take on all manner of smells from smoky cooking to funky bathrooms. To knock out smoky smells in particular, pour the apple cider vinegar into a shallow bowl and place it where the odor is strongest. Leave it out for as long as it takes for the smell to vanish.
Make Your Garden Grow — Without A Single Weed
If your green thumb is lacking a little luster, you may want to enlist the aid of apple cider vinegar. It can be used as fertilizer (particularly on plants that love acids, like blueberry bushes and azaleas) and also as a weed killer. Pour it directly on weed-infested areas to stop the garden gremlins in their damaging tracks, and mix 10 ounces of apple cider vinegar (with a five percent acidity) with 10 gallons of water to fertilize soil. Pesticides need not apply.
Keep Pets Flea-Free
When you need to keep fleas away from your furry friends, turn to apple cider vinegar for the solution. Dilute it with water (one part of each) and rub the mixture into their fur and work it into their skin to repel those pesky pests. (Do be sure to check with your vet to make sure it’s safe for your pal.)
unnamed-3Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Beauty & Grooming
Swap Out Your Deodorant
Just as it can freshen up your bathroom, apple cider vinegar can also help keep B.O. at bay. Simply swipe some of it in your underarm area to fight odor-causing bacteria. And don’t worry: The vinegar smell evaporates, so you won’t go around smelling like a salad.
Get Rid Of Warts
Though we wish they were exclusive to wicked witches, warts can happen to anyone. When they rear their ugly heads, try using apple cider vinegar to kick this curse. Your plan of action: Douse a cotton ball in the vinegar and secure it to the affected area overnight.
Relieve Burnt Skin
Between the stinging, peeling, and red-hot skin, there are few things worse than a really bad sunburn. Apple cider vinegar, to the rescue! Add about a cup of the good stuff to your bath water to help soothe the burn.
Fade Ugly Bruises
Whether their arrival is a mystery (as in, where the heck did that come from?) or really strongly announced (ouch — that’ll leave a mark!), bruises hit us hard, and once they do, they linger. The solution? Fade the purplish-bluish hues by smoothing on some apple cider vinegar — its anti-inflammatory properties help minimize the painful-looking tint.
Whiten Your Teeth
In case your pearly whites need a little brightening boost, turn to apple cider vinegar for the sparkling solution. As it turns out, working it into your teeth and then rinsing may lead to a whiter grin. You can also try using it as a mouthwash — dentists suggest combining two parts water to one part ACVand swishing it around for about a minute.
Banish Bad Breath
Easily one of the most embarrassing commonplace hygiene issues, dragon breath can be slayed with apple cider vinegar. How? It’s thought to kill the bacteria that cause odor — just gargle with it or sip a teaspoon to reap the fresh-breath benefits.
Deodorize Your Feet
Just as it can help battle body odor, apple cider vinegar can also keep stinky feet under control, and it’s all thanks to its ability to balance the pH of your skin. By doing so, it works against the bacteria that are responsible for that less-than-pleasant foot odor. Splash some ACV onto a paper towel or baby wipes and wipe those toes down.
Treat Your Skin After Shaving
Give your shaved skin a little TLC with ACV. Diluted with water (you’ll want to do one part apple cider vinegar and one part water), this solution can help soothe your skin. And remember: the smell of this natural aftershave will dissipate with a little time!
unnamed-1Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Food & Drink
Mix Up Condiments (Vinaigrettes, Sauces, & Marinades)
Probably most of us first meet apple cider vinegar in its condiment form. And, with good reason: It’s an excellent ingredient to liven up vinaigrettes, sauces, and marinades. It pairs perfectly with apricots, can flavor kale chips, and more!
Make Your Own Tasty Juice
While drinking apple cider vinegar in general is linked to a slew of health benefits, you can also create your own concoctions to sip on. After all, why swallow it solo when you can pair it with much more palatable ingredients, like grape juice, honey, or grapefruit juice?

More from Living


R29 Original Series