Although some people think of apple cider vinegar as a mere condiment or tasty salad dressing ingredient, there are many surprising uses for it. Typically made from apple cider that has been fermented (converting the fruit sugar to alcohol and then to acetic acid), apple cider vinegar’s sour taste and acidity come from the acetic acid content.

Read on for some clever ways to use this popular, inexpensive home remedy, from easing a burn or bite to adding a glossy shine to your hair!

To Eliminate Foot Odor

To help keep smelly feet under control, try using apple cider vinegar, which proponents claim may help to balance skin’s pH and fight the bacteria that causes foot odor.

Mix three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in one cup of water. Wet some baby wipes, small towels, or used cotton rags using the solution and wipe feet down. You can make these wipes ahead and store them in an airtight container to use when needed.

Although the vinegar smell will be noticeable, it should dissipate when the vinegar solution has dried.

As a Hair Rinse for Shiny Hair

A neat trick to remove shampoo build-up and clarify dull hair is to mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water in a spray bottle.  Spritz it on hair after shampooing, let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse it thoroughly. Care should be taken when applying or rinsing the solution so that it doesn’t get in the eye area. Also, it shouldn’t be used on hair that has been colored. Try it two times a week (less if it’s drying).

To Ease a Sore Throat

Some people swear by this folk remedy to alleviate the pain of a sore throat. To make it, stir one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, one small pinch of cayenne pepper, and one teaspoon of honey in a cup of warm water. Stir well. Keep in mind that although some proponents claim that the capsaicin in hot peppers helps to alleviate the pain and the apple cider vinegar has germ-fighting properties, there hasn’t been any research on this mixture. Be careful not to overdo it (and only use diluted apple cider vinegar) to avoid aggravating the sore throat.

To Get Rid of Dandruff

To get rid of embarrassing white flakes, try mixing 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water in a spray bottle. Spritz the mixture onto the scalp and leave it for 15 minutes before rinsing. Try it up to three times a week.

While no studies have been done on this home remedy, some people find that it helps relieve the itchiness, irritation, and flakiness associated with dandruff. The acetic acid may alter the pH of the scalp, making it harder for yeast (one of the main contributors to dandruff) to grow.  It should not be done on colored hair.  Caution should be taken not to get the solution in the eyes. Use goggles or eye protection if needed.

To Soothe a Minor Sunburn

If you find yourself with an uncomfortable minor sunburn, try mixing two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a cup of cool (not cold) water in a spray bottle. Lightly spritz onto the affected areas, avoiding the face. To apply it to the face, lightly spritz a cotton pad and gently dab it onto the face, avoiding the entire eye area.

Apple cider vinegar shouldn’t be applied at full strength to the skin, as the acid may damage the area around the burn. For help in determining the severity of your sunburn, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional.

To Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Fruit flies can be annoying and a pain to get rid of. Attracted to fruits that are soft, ripe, and decaying, fruit flies tend to be found in bowls of ripe fruit and moist, damp places, such as garbage cans and sink drains.

Apple cider vinegar may help to get rid of them. They’re drawn to the smell of fermenting produce and apple cider vinegar is the product of fermented apple cider.

To make a trap, put a half cup of apple cider vinegar in a small dish or cup and add a couple of drops of dish soap. The apple cider vinegar attracts fruit flies and the dish soap breaks the surface tension of the liquid, helping to trap the flies. Just be sure to keep the solution out of the reach of children or pets.

As a Deodorant

To fight odor-causing bacteria in the armpits, try using this natural deodorant. Mix 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in one cup of water.  Dip some cotton pads, towelettes, or cotton rags in the mixture, squeeze out the excess liquid, and wipe down your armpits. The vinegar smell should dissipate as it dries. Make them ahead and store them in a sealed container. You can also put the mixture into a spray bottle and spritz a little onto a cotton rag before swiping it on your underarms.

To Stop the Itch of Bites and Stings

For itchy bug bites, poison ivy, or stings from a jellyfish, try apple cider vinegar. Combine 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 3/4 cup water. Apply it directly to the bite. Another remedy for itchy skin is to add one cup of apple cider vinegar to bathwater.

It’s important to note that certain bites, stings, or rashes require immediate medical treatment. Home remedies should not be used as a substitute for conventional care or first aid.

To Get Rid of Hiccups

For help easing bothersome hiccups, take one teaspoon of sugar and add several drops of apple cider vinegar to the sugar. Eat the spoonful of sugar. The graininess of the sugar and the sour taste of the vinegar may trigger a set of nerves in the throat and mouth area responsible for the hiccup reflex.

Be sure to consult your doctor if you experience recurring hiccups, which may be the sign of a condition (such as hiatal hernia). Self-treating or delaying standard care can have serious consequences.

As An All-Natural Room Freshener and Cleaner

To clean kitchen and bathroom countertops, microwaves, mirrors, glass, and other surfaces and remove odors, try an all-natural room spray. Fill a spray bottle with 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar and apply it to surfaces to be cleaned. Rinse well. While filtered apple cider vinegar can be used, white distilled vinegar is the more popular choice for home cleaning products and is less expensive.

Also try it on mineral deposits, scum, toilet bowls and sinks. Do not use it on marble, wood, certain types of grout, or other delicate surfaces.

To Shrink Warts

Some proponents claim that apple cider vinegar may help to shrink warts.  Typically, a 1/2 apple cider vinegar and 1/2 water solution is used. Wet a small piece of cotton from a cotton ball or pad with the solution, place it only on the wart area (petroleum jelly may be applied to protect the surrounding skin), and wrap it with a bandage. It is usually left on for 30 minutes to an hour and then the cotton and bandage are discarded. It may be repeated daily as it often requires consistent application every day. Apple cider vinegar should not be used on delicate skin or on warts near the eye area.

To Help With Blood Sugar Control

Although apple cider vinegar shouldn’t be used as a diabetes remedy treatment, some preliminary studies suggest it may help to slow gastric emptying and reduce blood sugar and insulin levels after meals. Another bonus: a regular sprinkle in salad dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes, and sauces can liven up the taste of food!

People with diabetic gastroparesis should not use apple cider vinegar, as it can further slow the gastric emptying that is part of their condition.