What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar with mother is a fermented juice made from crushed apples. Apple cider vinegar is a popular ingredient in many detoxifying and cleansing recipes because it contains so many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some nutrients in apple cider vinegar include acetic and folic acids, and minerals, such as potassium, iron and magnesium. Apple cider vinegar also contains polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants.
Apple cider vinegar is a classic home remedy. There are many home remedies and historical apple cider vinegar uses, ranging from soothing a throat to supporting skin and hair health. Additionally, apple cider vinegar has been highlighted in studies that show it may have benefits for weight management with diet and exercise, blood sugar health that is in the normal range and heart health.1
The benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV) are definitely no secret. Use of this popular kitchen staple dates to ancient times, and it may have been used by Hippocrates himself.1 While times (and apple cider vinegar uses) have changed a lot since then, ACV is still a versatile, well-known ingredient kept in many homes.
There are tons of ways to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your daily routine, as you’ll see below. One of the most popular ways to add this amazing, whole-body health tonic to your diet is by making drinks with apple cider vinegar. For example, check out this easy recipe for a detox drink using Swanson’s Apple Cider Vinegar, or look below for the perfect drink recipe for new users of apple cider vinegar.
Before we get into ACV recipes, it’s important to discuss when to drink apple cider vinegar. The best way to maximize the health benefits of apple cider vinegar is to drink it on an empty stomach. Dilute it with a bit of water and drink it about 20 minutes before you eat your regular meal, otherwise the foods you eat can actually make the apple cider vinegar less potent. Also, apple cider vinegar can help when you know you’re going to be eating foods that usually don’t agree with you. Tip: mix apple cider vinegar with honey to soothe your stomach.
Here are some creative ways to add the benefits of apple cider vinegar to your life. Be sure to let us know in the comments if you have any other creative uses!
Top 15 Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar
While the uses for white vinegar are vast and well known, apple cider vinegar may actually be the more versatile and more beneficial of the two. And no, white vinegar and apple cider vinegar are not the same things, so read your labels carefully.
We get asked all the time, “what is apple cider vinegar good for?” The answer, as you’ll see, depends on how you want to use it, where you want to use and for what reason you may need to use it. From the kitchen to the bathroom to your medicine cabinet, apple cider vinegar can be used in often surprising ways. Let’s take a look.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing: Use apple cider vinegar in homemade salad dressings instead of balsamic vinegar. (See below for an awesome apple cider vinegar salad dressing recipe!)
- Apple Cider Vinegar Smoothie: Add to 2 tablespoons to your morning smoothie for an extra energy kick, but be careful — it has a pretty strong taste, so just add a little at a time.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 to 4 parts water and use as a facial toner.2 Apply to skin with a cotton pad, let it sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse. Repeat three times a day.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Digestive Tonic: Mix 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon each of fresh ginger, water and fresh lemon juice. Add 8 ounces of sparkling water, then add raw honey to taste. Pour over ice and enjoy! (Ginger is also well-known for its stomach-soothing properties. Learn more about ginger uses and benefits).
- All-Purpose Cleaner with Apple Cider Vinegar: Mix apple cider vinegar in equal parts with water, then add a few drops of essential oil, like lemon oil, for an all-purpose cleaner.2
- Boost Bone Broth: Boost your homemade bone broth by adding 2 tablespoons after you’re done cooking the bone broth.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Bath: Add 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 cups Epsom salts and a few drops of lavender essential oil to bathwater for a relaxing and detoxifying bath.2
- Apple Cider Vinegar Body Scrub: A 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of honey for a whole-body scrub.
- Trap Fruit Flies: Pour a thin layer of apple cider vinegar into a cup and add a drop of dish soap. Set it out on the counter and the fruit flies will fly in and get stuck.3
- Remove Cat Urine: If your cat has an accident, add apple cider vinegar to your laundry when you wash the item to help remove the smell.
- Banish Bad Breath: Mix 1/2 tablespoon with 1 cup of water and gargle 10 seconds, spit and repeat to banish bad breath.4
- Post-Workout Recovery: Fight lactic acid buildup by adding 1 tablespoon to your bottle of water after a workout.4
- Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Treatment: Briefly soak your hair with 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar after shampooing then rinse for shiny, detangled hair.4
- Whiten Teeth: Apple cider vinegar can help spruce up your pearly-whites by using it as a gargle after brushing to help remove stains.4
- Apple Cider Vinegar Throat Soother: Combine in equal parts with water to make a throat-soothing gargle that you can use hourly.4
15 More Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar
When we asked our Facebook fans how they like to use apple cider vinegar, we got a lot of great suggestions! A lot of you drink apple cider vinegar in the morning with a glass of water to give your morning a quick boost. A lot of suggestions also came in about how to use apple cider vinegar for common household needs, including as part of your beauty regimen. It’s clear that our fans simply love all the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. Highlights of the top uses include:
- Apple Cider Vinegar as a Dairy Free Buttermilk Substitute:Use apple cider vinegar to make a quick buttermilk substitute by adding 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of milk and letting the mixture sit until it thickens. Or, make a homemade buttermilk substitute by using apple cider vinegar to sour rice milk, following the same 1 tablespoon to 1 cup ratio. Use it to make yummy recipes like cornbread or biscuits. – Amy O.H.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Liver Detox Tonic: Mix with pure, sparkling water (about 8 ounces) for a DIY liver tonic. “It’s very refreshing and good for the liver.” – Louise F
- Apple Cider Vinegar Metabolism Boost: Enhance fat burn during workouts by adding 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to your water bottle.4
- Remove Hair Product Buildup: Apply apple cider vinegar (about 1 to 3 tablespoons) to your scalp in the shower to clean and remove buildup. – Alysha C.
- Healthy Apple Cider Vinegar Marinade: Use it to marinate steaks for about 30 minutes before grilling to enhance flavor. – Rick B.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Health Tonic: Mix with distilled water, raw honey and cayenne pepper for a general health tonic. – Robin B.
- Jazz Up Tomato Juice: Add some zing by putting a shot (about 1 tablespoon) in your morning tomato juice. “This makes my home-made tomato juice really tangy every morning! YUM” – Kay B
- Cucumber Salad: Make a zippy cucumber salad with apple cider vinegar, chopped onions and mayo. – Audra P. (We like to use 2 cups sliced cucumbers, 2 tablespoons chopped onions, ½ cup mayo, and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, plus salt and pepper.)
- DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo: Create your own shampoo by adding 1 tablespoon to a cup of chamomile tea. – Jamie L.
- Smoothie-Booster: Add a shot to your green superfood smoothie for a nutritious recovery drink. “I use it in my smoothies…”. – Jo Ann G.
- Fluffy Rice: Get fluffier rice by adding a splash (about 1 teaspoon) to rice water while cooking. “I LOVE this stuff!! I put a capful into my raw rice before cooking and it’s nice and fluffy. No vinegar taste!!” – Jody W.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Fruit & Veggie Scrub: Use it to clean fruits and vegetables before eating. – Mandy E.
- Detangle Children’s Hair: Gently detangle children’s long locks by adding a splash during final rinse.
- Remove Rust/Mineral Stains: Place a cloth soaked in apple cider vinegar over rust or mineral stains and let it sit overnight to help remove stains.
- Regular Vinegar Replacement: Replace regular vinegar with apple cider vinegar in all your recipes! – Patricia F
The Best Apple Cider Vinegar to Buy
The question of “what’s the best” always comes up no matter what the topic of the day may be. What’s the best apple cider vinegar for weight loss support? Which apple cider vinegar is best for hair and skin? What’s the best tasting apple cider vinegar that’s good for smoothies and detox drinks?
On the flip side, some people wonder “can apple cider vinegar be bad for me?” The caution comes with the acidic nature of ACV. If you’re bold enough to drink it straight, it’s still a good idea to dilute it a bit to keep your stomach happy.
We recommend buying an organic apple cider vinegar that is raw, unprocessed, unfiltered, unpasteurized and contains the mother. Here are our top two recommended apple cider vinegar products.
These products are nearly identical and get our seal of approval for meeting our quality criteria listed above. Here is a quick comparison chart for these two apple cider vinegar products.
What is the Mother in Apple Cider Vinegar?
The apple cider vinegar mother is a natural complex of friendly bacteria, proteins, enzymes and fiber. Apple cider vinegar with mother gives the vinegar a cloudy appearance, but that’s good – filtered, refined versions of apple cider vinegar that don’t contain the mother are not as beneficial.
Our 5 Favorite ACV Uses
Watch this short video that shows you five of our favorite ACV recipe uses:
- Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner
- Apple Cider Vinegar All-Purpose Cleaner
- Apple Cider Vinegar & Honey Vinaigrette
- Apple Cider Vinegar Throat Soother
- Apple Cider Vinegar Mocktail
Apple Cider Vinegar Uses Infographic
Apple Cider Vinegar Recipes
Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar and Swanson’s Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother offer a wide range of health benefits, but there are only a select few who can handle drinking these apple cider vinegars straight. As an acidic product with no sweeteners, it can be very hard for anyone’s palate to handle. But there are recipes that can either mask the flavor or work with the flavor to make a drink that is more appealing to the taste buds. The problem is that no two palates are the same, so it’s difficult to say with certainty which apple cider vinegar recipe will taste the best to you.
Some people like to mix apple cider vinegar with other acidic juices like orange juice or flavors that are similarly acidic, while others just drink a shot of the apple cider vinegar and follow it with something else to mask the taste, like bread. It often takes some trial and error to see what works best for your palate, but here is an apple cider vinegar drink recipe you can start with.
Apple Cider Vinegar Mocktail Recipe – Detox Drink Recipe
2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 8 ounces of water.
2 teaspoons organic honey
1 to 3 leaves of your favorite herb (like basil or mint
4 of your favorite berries like blueberries, strawberries or blackberries.
Mix together and drink, or add the mocktail to your favorite smoothie recipe. You can also add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your favorite fruit and vegetable juices or smoothie recipes.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR & HONEY VINAIGRETTE – SALAD DRESSING RECIPE
Try this awesome recipe for Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey Vinaigrette.5 Any combination of these ingredients would make a great salad, so feel free to adjust the recipe to your taste! It’s perfect for lunch or dinner for two!
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups spinach
1 apple, chopped
2 tablespoons walnuts
2 tablespoons raisins
1 to 2 ounces of your favorite cheese, diced
Combine apple cider vinegar, water, honey, salt and pepper in a blender. Drizzle olive oil into blender until combined. Combine dressing & toppings in a bowl; serve.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR FACIAL TONER
Try this easy facial toner.
1 part apple cider vinegar
4 parts water
Mix together in a bowl and apply to skin with a cotton ball or washcloth. Rinse off with warm water after 10 minutes.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR THROAT SOOTHER
1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup warm water
Mix together in a glass and use as a gargle once per hour or as needed for throat comfort.
Apple Cider Vinegar All-Purpose Cleaner
1 part water
1 part apple cider vinegar
3 drops of your favorite essential oil (like lavender, tea tree or lemon)
Add the mix to a spray bottle and keep on hand for an all-purpose cleaner. Be sure to test surfaces by applying a small amount first before spraying and wiping clean.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of apple cider vinegar uses. For more about apple cider vinegar, read Fun Facts About Apple Cider Vinegar. And if you really don’t like the taste of apple cider vinegar, try Swanson Health’s High Potency Apple Cider Vinegar Supplements.
For more information on ways to cleanse and detox with apple cider vinegar, read The Best Ways to Cleanse and Detox.
Sign up for Swanson Health emails to be the first to know about new articles and special promotions.
About Lindsey Toth, MS, RD
Registered Dietitian, Swanson Health Products
Lindsey is a nationally recognized registered dietitian and nutritionist with a soft spot for pie. She empowers people to take charge of their health by finding the balance between the pleasure and nourishment in food.
Her philosophy is that you should take care of your body because it’s the only permanent home you have. It’s what inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition and, ultimately, led her to Swanson Health Products.
1 Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1785201/ (Accessed 01/22/2018)
2 10 Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar. Healy Eats Real. https://healyeatsreal.com/apple-cider-vinegar/ (Accessed 01/22/2018)
3 Capture Fruit Flies with a Cup and Apple Cider Vinegar. Lifehacker Labs. https://lifehacker.com/5635971/lifehacker-labs-capture-fruit-flies-with-a-cup-and-apple-cider-vinegar (Accessed 01/22/2018)
4 28 Surprising Ways You Can Benefit from Apple Cider Vinegar. One Good Thing. http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/09/28-health-and-beauty-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar.html (Accessed 01/22/2018)
5 Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey Vinaigrette Dressing. Genius Kitchen. http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/apple-cider-vinegar-and-honey-vinaigrette-dressing-396343 (Accessed 01/22/2018)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Updated 1/22/2018 for recipes, uses and sources. (Originally Published 4/24/2014 & First Revision 11/4/2016)