12 Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar In Your Daily Routine

The internet is filled with numerous ways to use household items, often differently than intended. One popular household staple used for everything from beauty to cleaning is apple cider vinegar. "[Apple cider vinegar] is made by crushing apples, then squeezing out the juice," trichologist Gretchen Friese tells Byrdie. "Bacteria and yeast are added to the liquid to start an alcoholic fermentation process, which converts the sugars from the juice to alcohol. Then in a second and final fermentation step, the alcohol is converted into vinegar."

As always, using a good-quality product is desirable, but for some things (such as cleaning), using the cheaper store-bought apple cider vinegar is totally fine. Registered dietician Danielle Omar tells Well + Good that picking unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is best. "This means it has the 'mother,' which is made up of good bacteria," she reveals, adding that filtering and pasteurizing the vinegar takes out the good bacteria or treats it with heat. Harry Rosenblum, the author of "Vinegar Revival," warns that some brands of apple cider vinegar have an "apple-flavored" label, meaning that no real apples were used to make it — it's just flavored vinegar (per Well + Good). We recommend you always go for the real thing. Once you've added apple cider vinegar to your pantry, go ahead and try out some fun ways to incorporate the perhaps most common salad dressing ingredient into different aspects of your everyday life!

Apple cider vinegar fights dandruff and keeps your scalp healthy

Apple cider vinegar is an excellent home remedy for an irritated and itchy scalp as well as dandruff. "The antibacterial and antifungal properties of apple cider vinegar help to keep the pH level of the scalp balanced," trichologist Gretchen Friese tells Byrdie. "Dandruff is a buildup on the scalp that happens when too much yeast is present on oily areas of the skin. Using a mix with apple cider vinegar can help avoid that buildup." Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King tells The Zoe Report that a "yeast named Malasezzia can contribute to seborrheic dermatitis (better known as dandruff), and therefore using an ingredient like apple cider vinegar with anti-yeast properties may be helpful."

Per Healthline, the best way to integrate apple cider vinegar into your hair routine is to mix up 2-4 tablespoons of the vinegar with 16 ounces of water. Once you're done with shampoo and conditioner, rinse your hair with the diluted apple cider vinegar. Make sure you massage it into your scalp and let it sit for a couple of minutes. After that, wash it out, and you're done. And no — your hair won't smell like apple cider vinegar once it's dry.

Apple cider vinegar exfoliates your skin

At-home remedies for skin are often a hit-and-miss, but according to experts, apple cider vinegar can be used to gently exfoliate it. "Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid, which is similar to alpha-hydroxy acid," dermatologist Michele Green tells Byrdie. "Malic acid works well on acne-prone skin as it gently exfoliates to unclog the pores and eliminate bacteria." In fact, natural-beauty expert, holistic chef, and member of The Vitamin Shoppe Wellness Council Sophia Roe reveals that "using apple cider vinegar as a quick toner is a great way to restore the skin's natural defenses, remove excess dirt, and help fight against acne" (via Byrdie).

However, as with any DIY beauty project, you should keep in mind that things can go wrong. With apple cider vinegar, it's always important not to go overboard, and always to dilute it. "The risks of using apple cider vinegar are mainly those related to using too high of a concentration, so it's possible to get a chemical burn [when it's used improperly]," double board-certified plastic surgeon Jaimie DeRosa tells Allure. If you're someone with sensitive skin, we suggest you do a test patch and wait 48 hours before you decide to tone your face with apple cider vinegar.

A shot of apple cider vinegar helps overall health

Chances are you've heard that drinking some apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach in the morning has numerous benefits — and we're here to tell you that that is true. "[Apple cider vinegar] has multiple health benefits, including controlling blood sugar levels and helping people with diabetes. It also helps in weight loss, keeps cholesterol and triglyceride levels under check, and improves cardiovascular health. In addition, it can treat a sore throat, reduce bloating and gut-related issues, and remove toxins from your body," Dr. Anjali Hooda tells Vogue. Raphael Kellman, M.D., reveals to Cosmopolitan that a lack of acid in the stomach "impairs the absorption of nutrients as well as B6, folate, calcium, and iron," meaning that drinking a bit of apple cider vinegar can actually help you absorb nutrients from food (or supplements) better. 

It's important to remember that you must dilute apple cider vinegar with water before drinking it, so the acidity doesn't bother your esophagus — 1 cup of water per tablespoon of apple cider vinegar will work. And if you don't like the taste of apple cider vinegar, you can also achieve a similar effect by taking a supplement. "Apple cider vinegar supplements contain a dehydrated form of vinegar," Dr. Eileen Canday reveals to Vogue. "If a person dislikes the strong taste or odor of liquid apple cider vinegar, they may prefer pills instead." Regardless of whether you prefer drinking it or swallowing a pill, adding apple cider vinegar to your morning routine will benefit your overall health. But as with most healthy changes, it will take a couple of weeks for you to notice the benefits!

Apple cider vinegar strengthens your hair and gives it shine

While the kitchen staple can do wonders for your scalp, apple cider vinegar is also great for your hair. "Apple cider vinegar coats the cuticle, leaving the hair soft and shiny," celebrity colorist Denis de Souza tells Byrdie. "It also helps to strengthen your hair by closing the cuticles and the hair shaft." Apart from shine, it's excellent for its purifying effect, as it will leave your hair squeaky clean. "Apple cider vinegar rinses are really truly about removing buildup of products, and they make the hair really clean," hair stylist Jo Blackwell-Preston reveals (via Byrdie).

Hairstylist and certified trichologist Gretchen Friese stresses that diluting the vinegar is a must (via Real Simple). "Experiment to find a dilution that works best," she says. "Dry hair needs less apple cider vinegar, and oily hair needs more. I recommend shampooing first and then saturating the hair with apple cider vinegar." Again, just like when applying it to your scalp, you need to let the diluted vinegar sit on your hair for a couple of minutes. After that, you rinse it out and continue your hair routine as usual. Friese notes that doing an apple cider vinegar hair rinse too often can make it brassy and damaged, which is why you should always pay attention to the state of your hair before you wash it.

An apple cider vinegar foot bath prevents bad odors and helps with infections

Our feet are often a part of our body that we neglect, especially in the colder months. Luckily, apple cider vinegar can help keep them healthy and odor free. "Apple cider vinegar has also been shown to have antiviral, anti-yeast, and antifungal benefits, all helpful in supporting your microbiome balance," functional medicine practitioner Will Cole tells MindBodyGreen.

Doing an apple cider vinegar foot bath every now and then is a great idea. The magic household staple will help with fungal infections as well as stinky feet. And since the vinegar is known for also gently exfoliating the skin, your feet will be much softer after you soak them. Incorporating an apple cider vinegar foot bath into your body skincare routine once a week is not only a great way to prevent foot problems — but it also allows you to take 15-20 minutes to meditate, read a book, or journal. The Foot & Ankle Center recommends adding one cup of vinegar to a bowl of warm water two or three times a week. Once you're done, don't forget to lather on some moisturizer to help nourish those freshly exfoliated feet!

Apple cider vinegar can prevent the growth of candida

Candida is a fungus usually found in small amounts in our bodies, but once its levels rise, it can cause an infection called candidiasis (via Healthline). Candida can be found on our skin, mouth, gut, and vagina. Even though at-home remedies aren't something we would recommend if you think you are suffering from candida overgrowth, apple cider vinegar can help keep candida in check — especially in your mouth and gut. "The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can help eliminate candida while also promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in its place," certified nutrition specialist Dr. Josh Axe tells Bustle. According to a study published in Scientific Reports in 2018, pure apple cider vinegar (or mildly diluted) can help prevent candida overgrowth (via National Library of Medicine).

However, even though it's safe to use apple cider vinegar as a candida remedy in your mouth or gut, we wouldn't recommend using it to target vaginal candida overgrowth. Since that area of your body tends to be very sensitive to a change in pH, seeing your gynecologist is always the number one recommendation if you believe you may have a yeast infection.

Apple cider vinegar fights hyperpigmentation

According to dermatologist Anita Sturnham, "hyperpigmentation is a common skin condition that can affect all skin types and all ages" (via Byrdie). If you're noticing patches on your skin that are darker, those are most likely hyperpigmentation. Sturnham adds that it can be "localized or diffuse, meaning it appears in small patches on the skin or as a larger area of altered pigmentation."

Apple cider vinegar can help with hyperpigmentation, which is why using it as a toner or spot treatment on those areas is a great natural remedy. Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid, which "is known for its ability to decrease the production of melanin," dermatologist Michele Green tells Byrdie. "Melanin is what gives the skin its pigmentation; therefore, malic acid is great at improving hyperpigmentation." Per Healthline, it's best to dilute the vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio and let it sit on the darker spots for a couple of minutes. As always, do a test patch first.

Apple cider vinegar prevents your hair color from fading

Those who dye their hair regularly know just how quickly the color can fade. Apple cider vinegar can help with that. "Most hair colors are alkaline, which opens up the hair cuticle, and applying an acidic solution may reseal the cuticle," trichologist Gretchen Friese tells Byrdie. By now, it's clear that apple cider vinegar can do wonders for your hair. "It helps seal the hair cuticles, maintains hair color, increase shine, reduce frizz, plus it can soften and strengthen the hair shaft, too," double board-certified plastic surgeon Jaimie DeRosa reveals to Allure.

However, be careful not to overdo it with the vinegar rinse to avoid brassiness and damage. Better Not Younger notes that while an apple cider vinegar rinse will eliminate any mineral deposits and product and oil buildup on your hair (all of which will make the hair color more vibrant), you should avoid doing it within 72 hours after you've dyed your hair.

Apple cider vinegar can be a spot treatment for pimples

Since apple cider vinegar works as a chemical exfoliant, it's not surprising that it is great for breakouts. "Apple cider vinegar is remarkable at fighting acne-causing bacteria and helps to reduce the appearance of both pimples and scars," the founder of Odacité, Valerie Grandury, tells Byrdie. If you plan to use it as a spot treatment, you can dilute the vinegar, but you can also choose to apply it undiluted. If you plan on using it as a toner on your whole face, diluting it is essential.

Holistic board-certified dermatologist Keira Barr explains to MindBodyGreen that apple cider vinegar contains "alpha-hydroxy acids like lactic, citric, and malic acids," which makes it perfect for those who tend to have clogged pores and a lot of sebum production. Because of its antibacterial properties, it can also help with preventing acne-causing bacteria from spreading around the area. Apart from targeting active breakouts, apple cider vinegar might also help to minimize acne scars.

Apple cider vinegar can help with psoriasis symptoms

If you suffer from psoriasis, apple cider vinegar can provide some relief. "Psoriasis is an inflammatory, autoimmune disease in which your own immune system attacks your body," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Orit Markowitz tells Byrdie. Psoriasis often appears as a skin condition as red and inflamed patches. This is because the immune system attacks the skin and damages its barrier. "Some people have flares constantly, while others may only see a flare once every few years," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dhaval G. Bhanusali adds (via Byrdie). "With good management, your flare-ups can go away and stay away," Dr. Markowitz states.

Healthline notes that apple cider vinegar can be used as an at-home remedy for psoriasis due to its antiseptic properties. Using diluted vinegar on the red and inflamed areas can help lessen the itching and help balance the skin's pH — something that is essential for healing its barrier. However, you should only do this if the psoriasis flare-up is minor; if you are dealing with a bigger or more persistent one, we recommend you visit your dermatologist for advice.

Apple cider vinegar can be used as a deodorant

Those trying to only use natural deodorants will be happy to hear that this household staple can help keep the odor away. "Apple cider vinegar is a great natural underarm deodorant," Georgianna Donadio, Ph.D., tells NBC News. Since it's antibacterial, the vinegar fights the odor-causing bacteria, which can help you smell fresh for longer.

Kaia Naturals explains that using apple cider vinegar on your armpits will not only keep the bad smell away, but it can also help lighten a dark armpit as well as detox it. To achieve this, apply some apple cider vinegar to a cotton pad and swipe it onto your freshly washed armpits. Doing this twice a day will help you remain odor-free, and it will gently exfoliate your armpits, preventing any dark spots. If you shave your armpits, be aware that apple cider vinegar will sting when applied to any small cuts, so we recommend waiting at least 12 hours after shaving before you use this method.

Apple cider vinegar is the best non-toxic home cleanser

Apple cider vinegar is a great ingredient for any DIY household cleanser. This is because not only does it have antibacterial and antifungal properties, but since it is highly acidic, it is also excellent for breaking down any buildup like soap, grime, or kitchen grease (per North Coast Organics). Mix 2 cups of water with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to create an all-purpose cleaner. One thing you need to keep in mind is that vinegar can ruin shiny top coats if it's too strong, which is why diluting it for cleaning is important.

Even though anyone can benefit from using apple cider vinegar in their home cleaning routine, it is particularly those with small children or pets that should substitute their harsh cleansers for something more natural. After all, if your baby crawls on the floor or your pet eats their chewing treat on it, you would want to ensure they aren't accidentally exposed to any harsh chemicals your store-bought cleaning supplies might contain.