Taking a nice hot bath at the end of a long, stressful day can help reduce your stress and relax your mind.
Add a glass of wine and some soothing music and you’ve got a sleep-inducing bedtime ritual.
However, if it is better health you seek with your nighttime bath habit, you may want to add a little vinegar to the water too. According to research, this common kitchen staple provides a number of benefits.
1. Helps kill bacterial infections
Though the human body needs some bacteria in order to digest food and destroy damaged cells, the U.S. National Library of Medicine shares that “infectious bacteria can make you ill” by giving off toxins that ultimately make you sick.
Research has found that apple cider vinegar can help kill off these infectious bacteria such as E. coli, staphylococcus aureus, and candida albicans. While this particular piece of research was conducted in test tubes, a 2017 case report confirmed the same.
This report was published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine and involved a 32-year-old woman who had struggled with chronic vaginal candida infection for a period of five years. Although she had previously tried various forms of integrative medicine to treat her condition with no response, after applying apple cider vinegar, researchers reported that “recovery was achieved.”
2. Reduces body odor
Apple cider vinegar’s anti-bacterial properties also make it beneficial for those who struggle with body odor issues. That’s why some apparel experts recommend using it under the arms twice a day if the goal is to get rid of bothersome armpit odor. Others claim that white vinegar also does the trick when it comes to helping improve bodily smell.
3. Improves hair and skin health
Lowering your body so low into the bath water that you’re able to soak your scalp with the vinegar you’ve added can also help improve the health of your hair. Healthline shares that it is the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar that lowers the pH of your hair which can help resolve issues related to dullness, frizziness, and brittle hair.
Its disinfectant properties also helps with scalp issues such as itchiness and, because it is an anti-inflammatory, it can also help with flaky conditions such as dandruff.
Healthline adds that the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is just as beneficial to the skin as it is the hair. That makes this liquid beneficial for everything from acne to wrinkles to skin conditions such as eczema. It can also be used on the skin after a bath as a toner or astringent.
4. It’s good for foot issues
Vinegar’s antimicrobial properties can potentially help with foot-related issues such as athlete’s foot, foot odor, and warts according to Medical News Today. This is important since the California Podiatric Medical Association reports that three out of four Americans will experience some type of foot health problem at some point in their lives, with women experiencing foot troubles four times as often as men.
Tips for adding vinegar to your bath
When adding vinegar to your bath, Healthline suggests filling the bath with warm water versus hot and then adding two cups of apple cider vinegar. After soaking for 15 to 20 minutes, rinse the vinegar water off and wash with soap if you wish.
In the January and February 2018 edition of the Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association, these two authors indicate that three to four cups of vinegar is an option too as this amount added to 20 gallons of water will create “acidification of the water to the ideal pH of 4.5.1.” They further recommend soaking for 10 minutes, then draining the tub and rinsing, followed by patting the skin dry versus rubbing it.
One word of caution is, if you notice burning or discomfort while bathing in a vinegar bath, it’s best to get out and rinse off as there have been reports of vinegar causing burns.
For instance, in October 2012, the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology published a report of an 8-year-old boy whose mother applied apple cider vinegar to lesions on his legs, then covering them. After approximately eight hours, the boy had developed discoloration of the skin and tenderness consistent with a chemical burn.