14 Brilliant Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

We've all got a bottle of apple cider vinegar in our pantry, and it certainly comes in handy when making salad dressings, marinades and more. It also has incredible health benefits, like lowering blood sugar and helping women lose weight. What's more, there are a number of ways you can use apple cider vinegar around the house and in your beauty routine to save you time and money. Read on for 14 clever uses for apple cider vinegar.

Related: How to Store Apple Cider Vinegar So It Stays Fresh for Years — Food Pro’s Easy Trick

1. Soothe a sore throat

If illness 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 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup of water and gargle for 15 seconds. Repeat each hour as needed. The vinegar’s acetic acid will kill off any illness-causing bacteria that may be lurking in your throat. Aah, that’s much better!

Related: The Right Lozenge Can Help End Everything From Chronic Coughs to Dry Mouth — Top Doc Advises How To Choose

2. Uses for apple cider vinegar: 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, apple cider vinegar improves circulation to the skin’s surface and prevents blood from pooling.

3. Tenderize tough meat

Uses for apple cider vinegar: Woman Marinating Meat with Herbs and Seasonings

Guarantee a tender and flavorful dinner roast with the help of apple cider vinegar. To do: Blend 2 cups of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped garlic. Marinate the meat in the liquid for three hours before cooking. The vinegar will break down the meat’s tough fibers for a tender, tasty meal. Once you've seasoned and cooked your meat to perfection, click through for tips on how to cut flank steak.

4. Uses for apple cider vinegar: add shine to your pup's coat

While cuddling with Buster, you notice his fur looks dull and lackluster. The solution: Add 1/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to his water bowl daily, gradually building up to 1 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.

"Apple cider vinegar is known for its richness in potassium and B vitamins. These are pretty stellar nutrients that can contribute to nourishing hair follicles," explains veterinarian Sara Ochoa, DVM, founder of How To Pets. "This can translate into a healthier and shinier coat for your dog."

Ochoa warns though, "Opt for raw, unfiltered and organic apple cider vinegar. It contains beneficial enzymes and bacteria that contribute to its health benefits. Avoid using processed or distilled vinegar, as they lack these essential components."

Related: Out of Dog Shampoo? A Vet Explains Why You Should Never Use People Shampoo

5. Wash away dandruff

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 will kill the dandruff-causing bacteria. Problem solved!

Related: Dandruff vs Dry Scalp: Find Out Which One is Making You Itch — And How To Cure It

6. Uses for apple cider vinegar: freshen up feet in a flash

After a day of shopping at the mall, your feet are smelling a bit funky. To banish the unpleasant odors, simply soak your feet in a mix of 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup of warm water for 30 minutes. Use the soak daily as desired. The acids in apple cider vinegar will deodorize feet, leaving them smelling fresh in no time. After your soak, consider giving your feet some more TLC and click through for the benefits of foot massage.

7. Get dishes sparkling without 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 dish with warm, sudsy water and add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Let it soak for 30 minutes before rinsing it with water. Vinegar’s acids will dissolve the stuck-on food — no scrubbing required!

8. Uses for apple cider vinegar: revive yellowing plants

Uses for apple cider vinegar: Beautiful senior woman watering plants at home

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 fix the problem, simply water your plants with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 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.

Related: Plant Pros: 7 Genius Ways to Water Plants While You’re Away + One Hack Never To Try

9. Guarantee super-soft towels

The secret to ultra-soft linens: apple cider vinegar! To do: Wash clothes as usual, adding 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. (Add 1/4 cup to the fabric softener 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.

"It is a far more affordable, natural and effective alternative to fabric softener," says Noell Jett, mom of 5, author of Create Your Dream Home on a Budget and the force behind @jettsetfarmhouse. "It is better for your clothes long-term and will not build up on them like fabric softeners do. This makes apple cider vinegar especially useful for towels, as it leaves them fluffy and absorbent."

10. Uses for apple cider vinegar: clear clogged drains

After long days of cooking, the sink drain can start to back up. The easy way to keep it clear of clogs without toxic chemicals: Simply pour ½ cup of baking soda down the pipes, then follow it with ½ cup of apple cider vinegar. The combination creates a chemical reaction that will break up the clog and neutralize odors so you can cook without worry.

11. Remove rust spots with ease

While hanging a photo, you notice a few spots of rust on your hammer. Apple cider vinegar to the rescue! Just soak the metal in enough apple cider vinegar to cover the affected areas. The vinegar’s acid will break down the iron oxide to dissolve the rust.

12. Uses for apple cider vinegar: clean an iron effortlessly

Uses for apple cider vinegar: Female hand holds the iron with steam on a blue background

If built-up gunk in your iron’s steam holes prevents it from effectively removing wrinkles, try this: Fill the water tank with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar. Set the iron upright and turn it on the steam for five minutes. The vinegar will dissolve the residue by clearing the air ducts.

"Apple cider vinegar is the perfect product to remove minerals and other deposits from your tap water that have built up in your iron," says Jett. " I would also recommend running your iron over an old towel or rag once it’s done steaming to ensure all the residue is removed before ironing your nice clothing so you don’t end up with gunk transferring onto them."

Related: Hate Ironing? This Simple Hack Will Get Your Clothes Wrinkle-Free Without the Hassle

13. Uses for apple cider vinegar: nix the smell of burnt food

Oops! Your brownies cooked a little too long in the oven, and the aroma of burnt food is now lingering in the kitchen. The fix: Boil a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 Tbs of apple cider vinegar on the stove for a few minutes. Vinegar absorbs any odors, so your kitchen will be back to smelling fresh in no time.

Related: The Savvy Salt Trick That Cleans Burnt-On Food From a Wok (Or Frying Pan!) in Seconds

14. Keep fruit flies away

Although you love to offer a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter, it doesn’t take long before fruit flies flock to the spot. To eliminate them, place an empty wine bottle near the fruit-filled halfway with apple cider and 5 drops of dish soap. The apple cider vinegar will draw in the flies, but the sticky layer of soap will trap them in the liquid.

For more clever life hacks, keep reading!

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