10 Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar Around the House
When a substance is marketed as a magical cure-all, it raises eyebrows. But every so often, as was the case with coconut oil and Justin Timberlake's comeback, you should believe the hype. And that bottle of apple cider vinegar sitting at the back of the kitchen cupboard is ready to take on the skeptics.
If you're curious about the benefits of apple cider vinegar, it's important that you get the good stuff. Does your vinegar have a mother? If not, you probably won't be reaping the most benefits. In unfiltered vinegar, you can see a cloudy blob in the bottle. This blob, known as "the mother," contains probiotics and other helpful bacteria. A mother is the best indicator that a bottle of vinegar might help with what ails you, whether it's indigestion or a bland salad.
So how can you use this magical acidic substance?
1. For heartburn relief
The use of vinegar in medicine dates back to Hippocrates, and apple cider vinegar has been said to help relieve stiff joints and stomach pain. It's also touted as a natural remedy for acid reflux.
This may sound counterintuitive—after all, how could stomach acid be tempered by consuming more acid? Some doctors believe that acid reflux is caused by having too little stomach acid, making it hard to break down food. Apple-cider-vinegar proponents believe it mimics the role of stomach acid in digestion, thus leading to less heartburn when ingested. While there are no conclusive studies to back this up, many long-time heartburn sufferers swear it.
But don't just chug it! Dilute it with water first, mixing about a tablespoon of vinegar into a full glass.
2. As an instant cure for hiccups
Apple cider vinegar has been so heralded as a hiccup cure that a few enterprising teenagers used it to create special hiccup-curing lollypops (known as Hiccupops). According to the Hiccupops website, the apple cider vinegar triggers a special set of nerves that control the hiccup reflex-arc, sending a message from the brain to the diaphram to stop the hiccup spasms. Not a candy fan? The next time you have the hiccups, try taking a straight teaspoon and see if it works.
3. As a skincare aid
Smelly feet, bug bites, acne, dandruff, sunburn ... these are just a few of the skin problems that may respond to unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It's also rumored to be a terrific facial toner. Again, it's crucial to dilute the vinegar before using it. If you're trying to fight acne or just wash your face, create a 50% water, 50% vinegar solution and see how your skin responds. You can increase or decrease the concentration of vinegar depending on your skin's reaction.
4. To whiten your smile
One of the most surprising apple cider vinegar uses? If you rub it on teeth, it can help remove discoloration for a whiter smile. But try this hack in moderation: too-frequent use can damage tooth enamel. Also, remember to rinse your mouth out with water afterwards.
5. For shiny, healthy hair
Apple cider vinegar's acidic nature can clean your head of product buildup, and possibly detangle some knots. Make a half-and-half mix of vinegar and water, pour or spray it onto your scalp in the shower, and let it sit for a bit before rinsing. We tried this out when we gave up shampoo for a month!
6. In a tasty salad dressing
Vinegar-based dressings might not be earth-shattering, but they're staples for a reason. Any combination of oil and vinegar creates what's called a vinaigrette. Some are simple dashes of oil and vinegar, whereas others—like this one from a former White House chef—incorporate herbs and spices for a more nuanced taste. The standard ratio of oil to vinegar in a vinaigrette is about 3 to 1, but if you like that tangy taste, feel free to put in a bit more vinegar than a recipe suggests.
7. To add kick to a cocktail
If you've already got a bottle of apple cider vinegar in the cupboard, it might be time to add one to the bar as well. Shrubs, or vinegar-based beverages, date back to the 18th century, pack plenty of tart flavor, and can make for excellent mixers. In addition to tasting great, they also act as palate-cleansers. Kelley Slagle, a beverage expert and shrub advocate, once called vinegar "the Zamboni for the tongue."
8. In place of a flea collar
A 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water can benefit dogs, too. Put the solution in a spray bottle and use it to relieve itchy spots, or wet a cotton ball with it to clean out gunky ears. When sprayed on a dog's coat, it can also repel ticks and fleas.
9. To make your home sparkle
Mixed with water, apple cider vinegar works as a cleaning agent for bathrooms, windows, counters, and wood floors. Consider adding it to your spring-cleaning routine as a classic counterpoint to these newfangled gadgets.
10. To ward off fruit flies
If you let some fruit get past its prime in your kitchen, apple cider vinegar can corral the resulting flies in a homemade trap. Pour some vinegar into a cup or bowl, then finish it off with a few drops of dish soap, which breaks the surface tension of the vinegar so that the flies will sink. Heating up the vinegar beforehand will cause it to give off more of its signature scent, and attract flies quicker.
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