Thrive Tries It: We Tested 5 Apple Cider Vinegar Hacks So You Don’t Have to

Last Update: February 16, 2023

I’ve tried to love apple cider vinegar before.

Every time a nasty head cold would take root in my sinuses I’d consider taking a shot of the stuff, which is supposed to boost immunity, and sometimes ACV would make an appearance in my favorite vegan salad dressing. But mostly, my bottle of ACV sat nestled into a corner of my pantry, waiting patiently for me to finally come around to its miraculous effects.

After reading a lot of articles about the power of ACV and listening to my fellow Thrive editor Dana wax poetic about its effects on her hair, I decided to man up and start using the multipurpose marvel as a toner for my finicky skin a few months ago.

Spoiler: This is hands-down the most effective daily skin care product I’ve ever used. My skin was soft, shine-free, and clear after just one use. Which got me thinking … If ACV worked this well on my skin, what else could it do? So I put five popular ACV uses to the test. Here’s what happened.


Hair conditioner

I have a lot of hair that requires copious amounts of conditioner to stay frizz-free, so I prefer to go a few days between washes to keep it as healthy as possible and make my conditioner last longer (plus, I’m lazy soooo…). But these days I run pretty much every morning as part of my marathon training, so skipping a shower isn’t an option.

Inspired by Dana’s no-poo challenge, I adopted ACV as my newest shower companion. A small squirt of shampoo to start, followed by a combo of ¼ cup ACV, ¾ cup water, and a few drops of lavender essential oil drenched over the bottom half of my hair did the trick. My hair was shiny, felt clean, and even air-dried faster. The verdict? This one’s a keeper.

Kitchen degreaser

A lot of ghee, MCT oil, coconut oil, and grassfed butter comes through the kitchen at Casa Pellizzon. This yields healthy, flavorful meals and a lot of dirty pans. Some natural dish cleansers don’t do the best job removing oil—they leave behind a weird residue you only notice once the pan dries. Could ACV be the secret to degreasing pans for good?

I splashed about a tablespoon of ACV into the dish soap and shook the bottle until everything was combined. There was some difference in the soap’s scrubbing power, but I wasn’t satisfied. So I squirted the mixture directly into a dirty pot and then dumped about half a tablespoon of ACV in too. This combination did the trick—the pan dried oil- and spot-free!

Facial mask booster

I’ve been living a lie. For months, I’d been using the Aztec Secret Healing Mask, adding water to the powerful clay mixture. It came out great, albeit a little clumpy. So when I found that ACV, aka my new go-to toner, could be added to the existing MVP in my beauty regimen, I practically did a happy dance.

The difference was stunning. Not only did substituting ACV for water in the mask make blending the combo easier (no clumps!), it also seemed to help the mask penetrate my skin better. A big thumbs up on this one!

Foot deodorizer

So technically, ACV crusaders recommend using the potion as a deodorant. But I’ve tested plenty of natural deodorants, and I’d prefer to stick with the one I know works—after all, you can only blame B.O. on an “experiment for work” once. Instead, my boyfriend’s feet nominated themselves for the challenge. They smell awful. Always. We’ve doused them in essential oils, lotions, and sprays to no avail. Could ACV win the fight against foot stank?

Initially, a healthy spritz all over his feet cut the stinky shoe smell. But then his feet smelled like vinegar, which isn’t exactly delightful to catch a whiff of when you’re watching Netflix. Gradually the vinegar smell died, replaced by the usual stink. Obviously, everyone involved was devastated. However, ACV is anti-fungal, so my hypothesis is that with regular use my significant other’s foot issues will dissipate. The jury’s out on this one.

Metabolism revver

It’s not backed by much scientific evidence, but for many years bodybuilders have recommended taking a shot of apple cider vinegar in the morning to help burn fat and increase metabolic rate. What has been proven is that ACV improves insulin resistance when taken after a meal, lowering blood glucose and insulin levels and inhibiting the body from storing excess sugar as fat.

ACV also promotes healthy bacteria growth in the gut, and combined these factors could in fact encourage an increase in metabolic rate or weight loss. I took a shot of ACV every morning for a week, and by the end of the week two major things happened: One, I no longer felt nauseated after taking a shot of vinegar in the morning; and two, my appetite seemed to be more stable throughout the day, indicating that my blood sugar levels are more even. However, I can’t really say that I lost weight or saw a huge difference in my body, but maybe this one needs a longer experiment.

Ultimately, apple cider vinegar has proven its worth. Three (and a half) out of five isn’t too shabby, right? I’m still stocking up on the stuff so I never have to live without my favorite conditioner/face mask/kitchen degreaser!

Photo credit: Alicia Cho

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Michelle Pellizzon

Certified health coach and endorphin enthusiast, Michelle is an expert in healthy living and eating. When she's not writing you can find her running trails, reading about nutrition, and eating lots of guacamole.

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