We’ve all heard the claims that ACV [apple cider vinegar] is a miracle product. It can supposedly do everything from solving world peace to cleaning your car to helping someone find a date. (Buyer beware!) Despite the hype there is actual evidence to suggest that ACV truly has many useful applications.

There are good reasons to try ACV. Apple Cider Vinegar is a product that’s inexpensive and easy to find. Most grocery stores carry it. An added benefit is that ACV is a natural product, not something filled with chemicals and developed in a lab. ACV is made from ripe apples and it undergoes fermentation. The active compound that holds all the health benefits is acetic acid. The raw, organic, unfiltered ACV is what you want. The “mother” is a cloudy mass in it which contains a lot of bacteria – but it’s good bacteria.

While it was once only touted by alternative medicine practitioners, so many people are using it now for a variety of reasons that a recent article in Newsweek touts the many benefits of ACV. It’s important to note that ACV should always be diluted. It’s greatly acidic, which can be a negative, especially on something like tooth enamel.

Clean your house with ACV

ACV can be useful in a number of household situations. For instance, try putting a fourth of a cup into a load of whites, along with baking soda, for getting them whiter. Scrubbing mold with ACV also has been shown to eliminate it. A mixture of water and ACV can be sprayed around problem areas to neutralize odors.

ACV for weight loss

Over the years a number of claims have been made about drinking ACV and losing weight but most were not backed up by reliable scientific studies. However, according to Prevention magazine, there is some evidence to suggest that ACV will boost weight loss. The key is to put one tablespoon in an eight-ounce glass of water and stir it in, then drink it right before eating your meal. Some studies have concluded that it can reduce the effects of eating starch. It also helps you feel full and so you eat less.

Blood sugar levels

A recent study published in the Diabetes Association Journal by Dr. Andrea M. White at Arizona State University shows that the fiber in ACV can help maintain good blood glucose levels. Two tablespoons a day can reduce fasting blood sugar levels and may improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics.

Insects hate it

Plagued by bug bites? Dab some ACV on the bite. It reduced itching. Ants a problem? They hate ACV. Just pour it on the surface and ants will scatter. Are gnats a problem in your kitchen? Gnats are attracted to it – pour a little ACV in a shallow dish and cover it with plastic wrap, then poke tiny holes in the plastic. Gnats will fly in, and not be able to fly out.

Bad hair days benefit from ACV

Our hair suffers if it’s washed in water that is too alkaline. According to Newsweek, “Dry, frizzy hair is often caused by alkaline, which can be counteracted by the acidic nature of vinegar, which also helps remove dandruff and product buildup. Add one cup of ACV to two cups of water, and apply to your hair after shampooing.”

ACV helps your skin

Skin issues are the plague of many of us, and ACV offers improvement for many of these. ACV can balance out alkaline levels. According to Organic Facts, “An apple cider vinegar rinse can help restore the glow of the skin, restricts the dilation of skin pores, keeps your skin from becoming too oily or too dry by balancing the production of sebum, and improves the circulation of nutrients.” Mix a tablespoon of ACV with two cups of water and wipe your face with a cotton ball dipped in the mixture. Feet can really benefit from a good soak in diluted ACV. It can kill fungi and bacteria, and improve the appearance of cracked heels. For sunburn, run a tepid bath and mix in one tablespoon of ACV, and soak in it for 20 minutes.

Pets and ACV

Pets can benefit too. To clean your dog and reduce skin irritations, mix one part baby shampoo, one part ACV, and one part water.

A diluted ACV and water solution can also be used for clearing out ear mites.

It adds flavor to recipes

Not only can you use ACV to clean, but you can also add it to recipes. Of course, it’s a salad dressing with mixed with herbs and vinegar. Did you know you can also make pickles with it? “Fresh carrots, cucumbers, and ginger should be placed jars and covered in boiled pickling liquid — a combination of vinegar, water, sugar and salt — and refrigerated, ” writes Newsweek, “This type of pickle doesn’t have the same deep flavor as fermented pickles, but they are delicious and crunchy nonetheless.”

As an arthritis reliever

Numerous sources cite anecdotal evidence that indicates using ACV daily helps reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis. Drink two teaspoons in eight ounces of water. Although there are many household uses and health benefits to using ACV, according to Organic Facts, consuming ACV needs to be done in moderation. The recommended amount is one tablespoon in eight ounces of water, three times a day. There can be side effects if more is consumed. Using it on teeth can affect the enamel. Ingesting too much of it can cause osteoporosis and potassium imbalance.