Sore Throat
Natural Remedies

Apple Cider Vinegar for Sore Throat Treatment

Oct 20, 2016

Whether you just woke up with it or you've felt it coming on for several days, a sore throat is no joke. When we look for and try treatments for sore throats, we want something that's going to work quickly and completely, which is exactly how apple cider vinegar functions. Apple cider vinegar is one of the most effective treatment options for sore throats as it naturally eliminates infection and restores the nutrient balance in the body.

What Is a Sore Throat?

We've all had them and know the indicative signs of this common condition. Roughness, pain, and redness in the throat, a hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, and coughing -- all of these and several others are common signs of a sore throat, but what exactly is a "sore throat"?

A sore throat is irritation and inflammation that is the result of an assortment of different conditions. Viral infections are the most common cause; however, sore throats can also result from bacterial infections, allergic reactions, environmental irritants, and even digestive issues.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Work for Treating a Sore Throat?

Apple cider vinegar or ACV is one of the single most effective treatments for sore throats. This remedy not only relieves a sore throat but also restores the immune system and supports overall health.

How apple cider vinegar works:

Apple cider vinegar is a product derived from the rendering of apples. As such, the product contains an array of essential vitamins and nutrients carried in a slightly acidic liquid. These nutrients help restore the body's natural defenses while the acid in the liquid helps equalize the pH in the body, also treating a sore throat and any other existing illnesses. The treatment also naturally eliminates infection.

How to use ACV:

To use apple cider vinegar, mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of ACV into a small glass of warm water and then slowly drink the mixture. Drink the tonic at least once a day until the sore throat subsides. You may also want to add some honey to the mixture for added benefit.

A sore throat can be an annoying and even frustrating condition; however, this remedy will help you get relief in no time. Give it a try and let us know how it worked for you!

Continue reading below for more than 100 user reviews of people who have used apple cider vinegar to cure a sore throat!

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Posted by Chris (Iceland) on 10/05/2016
0 out of 5 stars

I was sick with maybe strep throat: I had a fever and a very sore throat at any rate. I read about using ACV somewhere else first that didn't mention diluting the ACV, so I gargled it straight. It definitely killed whatever was back there (my fever went away a couple hours later) but now a few days later I have no symptoms of being sick but my throat is still in quite a bit of pain. I'm wondering if I acid-burned my tonsils and esophagus? If so is there anything to do about that or just wait it out?

Replied by Stacia
New York

I've been there. I did a shot of it to get it over with quick and had the same thing happen where the sore throat went away but then it was in pain from the ACV. I just waited it out and it was gone in a few days. But I didn't gargle it, so it might take longer?

Posted by Shels (Martinez, Ca) on 09/19/2016
5 out of 5 stars

I had an extremely painful sore throat over the past couple days and could barely move around because it hurt so much. I tried all the regular things like throat lozenges, salt water gargles, Tylenol, chloroseptic, rest, etc., but nothing was working. I found this article and already knew the wonderful benefits of ACV, but I never knew it could work for a sore throat.

I immediately went to the kitchen for my ACV and gargled 1/4 cup ACV with 1/4 cup hot water-several mouthfuls for about 5 minutes. I then drank 2 tbsp ACV with 1 cup hot water, 1tbsp honey and some cinnamon. Yes, it tasted awful-but I felt 30% better within a few minutes and about 50% better after 30 minutes. By the end if the night I was up to about 80% and even felt good enough to play with my two young children. All I can say is that it worked for me! Next time I feel a sore throat starting to come on, I'm going to knock it out with some ACV and hopefully stop it in its tracks.

Replied by Linda
Phoenix, Az Usa

Listerine will also do this, especially if you have the flu, it kills all germs and got rid of the flu in just over a week when everyone else had it for a month. I gargled every 30 mins. with it, if you can stand it.

Posted by Sarahumbrella (Lethbridge Ab) on 05/16/2016
5 out of 5 stars

I had a sore throat last night. It felt like I was swallowing razor blades and I had to leave my plans early to come home. Didn't have my cayenne pepper which is what I normally used but decided to try gargling with ACV. I did it as much as I could handle for 30 seconds or so...and this morning I feel great :) Not even a trace of a sore throat!! Thanks again Earth Clinic!!!

Posted by Betty (Broken Arrow, Ok) on 11/23/2012
5 out of 5 stars

Had bad sore throat for several days and got low grade fever last night. Tried gargling with listerine, hydrogen peroxide... Neither worked. Have always loved EC site so decided to see what others used. Last night I made a mixture of 3T of ACV, 1T honey, and 1/4 cup water. Didn't have cayenne on hand. I gargled 3-4 times with mixture and then sipped the little that was left. It took a couple of hours, but the sore throat and fever left me. I slept well and am feeling good this morning. PTL!

Replied by Rich
1 out of 5 stars

I am a big ACV believer in many things but not sore throat. It seemed to have made it worse. The Cayenne pepper remedy however did work.

Replied by Sarah
3 out of 5 stars

Better But With Side Effects

I went to bed with a mild sore throat, and woke up in the middle of the night unable to swallow. Tried ACV, warm water, and creamed cinnamon honey. I think I drank a bit too much of it as my stomach has a nice ball of fire in it, like I drank a fifth of whiskey. However, my throat is still a little sore, but much better than last night. I intend on trying again shortly, without swallowing, to see if it will continue to improve.

Replied by Norma
Fort Worth
5 out of 5 stars

Just tried the gargle with the cayenne pepper. Almost gagged but my throat feels much much better.

Posted by My2cents (Rock Hill, Sc, USA) on 11/18/2012
1 out of 5 stars

Talk about regrets! I am an ACV fanatic. I believe whole heartedly in the power of ACV. Especially the unfiltered, unpasteurized ACV with "the mother". BUT in this case, I regret it. I started out with a very sore throat. I was unable to swallow food, and swallowing even liquids was uncomfortable, but not unbearable. I mixed the vinegar and honey. Gargled, swallowed. I noticed that WHILE I was gargling I felt great. My throat did not hurt at all. And for maybe ten seconds afterward. THEN, I noticed that gradually, my throat got worse and worse. It now hurts so bad to swallow that I try just spitting unless I am drinking something. I say proceed with caution.

Replied by Bugsy77
Wichita, Ks, Usa

I used a water, honey, ACV, ginger and cinammon tonic to help with internal yeast I think is causing my perioral dermatitis and it gave me an awful sore throat and terrible indigestion. Didn't work for me either.

Replied by Lee
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur

Did you dilute the mixture?

Replied by My2cents
Rock Hill, Sc, Usa

Hi, sorry I did not se your comment sooner. I used the acv/honey as it was directed. So here is what I did, I used two tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and two tbs honey and 1/4 cup warm water. I have never had trouble with vinegar irritating my throat. I believe that perhaps this simply irritated my throat more than it already was. I am usually a big believer in ACV. It just did not do the trick this time.

Replied by Nicolette
London, Uk

If you suffer with sensitivity to yeast then I find vinegar of any sort is not advised.

Try plain warm table salted water. Not too salty as this can feel strong on the skin. Gargle and snort through the sinus system till all passages are clear. Do this 3 time a day on the infected areas for 3 days until clear. This is the most natural way I have found that works for me.

You can purchase a saline solution nasal spray from the pharmacy for easier applications through the day. Most effective for kids and if you find you are susceptible to picking up colds after travel on long flights!

Posted by Alex (Mechanicsville, Va) on 10/03/2012
4 out of 5 stars

I rinsed with apple cider vinegar (that's it. Didn't have the honey as recommended) and wow that did a job on my throat. It feels 80% better after one treatment. Thanks for the post. I was about to try salt water gargling for the umpteenth time even though it never seemed to work before.

Replied by Vgamemaster4
America, Usa

Thanks for the tip! It really bugged me when I tried to eat something and my throat stopped me from enjoying it. This really works and I suggest it to people who need a quick temporary cure.

Posted by Annie (New York, Ny) on 09/03/2012
4 out of 5 stars

A few months ago, I had a wisdom tooth coming out, which also came with a sore throat. I drank some Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with raw honey and it helped one side of my throat feel better which is better than nothing. It was a quick effect. The drink also helped my sister with a sore throat as well; didn't cure it but probably might have if she had more than a cup.

Replied by Lana
Des Plaines, Il

Wish I knew this 3 days ago! It works! :O) I gargled shots of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar and it alleviated the soreness right away! Took a few swigs too. Brushed my teeth afterwards so acid wd nt build up on my teeth.

Replied by Wm
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Consuming low pH liquids like vinegar, pop, and juices cause enamel to soften temporarily. Brushing while the enamel is in this state will cause physical abrasion that can compromise its structure. Best to just rinse immediately with water, and allow the minerals in the saliva to buffer the acidity. Wait at least 1/2 hour before brushing.

Posted by Angle (Lawrenceville, Ga) on 12/17/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I use 2 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp. Honey, lemon juice and a little hot water to dilute. It's still potent but more bearable. The first time I used it years ago, my throat was completely swollen and "closed" up like a strep infection. I used it 3-4 times a day and knocked it out. I only use a little water so that I'm done quicker :) then drink water after to wash it down.

Replied by Happy!
Savannah, Georgia
4 out of 5 stars

I have had a horrible sore throat for a couple days. I did this gargle, minus the lemon juice and immediately the stinging in my throat is gone! I can swallow without pain for the first time in several days. The soreness is not completely gone of course, but is much less painful. I will definitely keep this up for the next few days! Thanks :)

Replied by Cynthia
Greenville, Sc
5 out of 5 stars

Third day with strep. Fifth time in 5 months. Waiting on surgery in the next month. This time the worst pain ever. Temps of 102. Fever, chills aching all over. Have been taking antibiotics for 3 days. Using magic moth rinse religiosly. Also taking ibuprofen every 6 hours. 3rd night and the pain so severe up all night researching other remedies. Found this one but did not have Apple Cider Vinegar in the pantry. Used white wine vinegar instead. Have used several times this morning. Feel the best I have in days. Feel as if I can actually get some sleep now. Wish I had known this much sooner. Thought it was a crazy shot in the dark but am thankful I tried it.

Replied by Vj
Plano, Tx

I made my own sore throat spray by putting 100% ACV into a little spray bottle. Because it isn't diluted and you bypass most of your tastebuds, you don't have to chase it with anything. Seems to be helping.

Replied by Yea! Em
Cape Town, South Africa

I could feel my very very sore throat as I was doing this! Wish I discovered it before :) e Town

Replied by Ryenj
Kendall Park, Nj
5 out of 5 stars

It works thanks for sharing. I was to the point were I could not talk, tried sprays, cough and cold meds nothing worked. One night I mixed this without the water and it worked great. Thanks again.

Replied by Mat
Broken Heartsville, Tn
5 out of 5 stars

Made a mix with acv, honey, cayenne pepper mix with a little hot water. Like a tea. Girrgled and sip, work pretty good reduce soreness by 50 %

Replied by Vt
Plano, Tx, United States
5 out of 5 stars

ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! My 6 yr old daughter has strep throat, and was experiencing some serious pain! I came to the site out of desperation... As a mother distressed by seeing the most exaggerated displays of pain and anguish from this dreadful bacteria! I mixed about a 1/4 cup of hot water, two full tablespoons of raw honey, and two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar. After hours of incessant tears, wailing, and spitting up from fear of swallowing, it was all subdued enough for her to go to sleep! Totally awesome... I told her to try this remedy because it couldn't hurt since her throat hurt anyway. She had a numbing mouthwash prescribed to her with a dosage to gargle once every 4 hours. Her strep throat was so severe, she was gargling 3 times an hour with little result, and before long, the pain fully returned. Again, thanks to this simple yet highly effective remedy, which she gargled and sipped, her pain subsided and she was able to get some peace. I'm a HAPPY MAMA!

Replied by Aalikane
Raleigh, Nc, Usa
5 out of 5 stars

I swear by this remedy. Everytime I get a sore throat, I take a shot glass, and fill it with the vinegar. I don't dilute it (however I'm one of the few people who can stomach the taste of pure vinegar so I have no problem gargling it). It takes about 3 tries to gargle all the vinegar in the shot glass, but at the end, my throat feels better, and not as sore as it did.

Immediately rinse your mouth out with water so as to get any residual acid out of your mouth and off your teeth.

Never been able to try this with strep throat (because fortunately for me, I haven't had a confirmed case of Strep Throat since I discovered this remedy), but I believe that it would work.

Replied by Albert
Johnson City, Tennessee Usa
1 out of 5 stars

This remedy is not very good. I tried it, drank it, cleared it up with water, and I quickly felt a throw up feeling in my stomach. I was about to throw up when I went on the floor, made myself stop breathing, and that sort of helped me not throw up. The only good thing is that my sore throat barely cleared up. (Btw, I am never trying that again, or anything else that my instincts tell me "That is gross, don't try it", so I am never trying gross stuff). I will never do that again. I use salt water gurgling and its works a lot better than this.

Replied by Kiwi135
Noneofyourbusiness, Ny, Usa
5 out of 5 stars

Yea!!! This worked so well-for those of you that can stand the taste of pure vinegar! I gargled, and then swallowed it and within 1 sip, it cured my sore throat. When I tried this, I was aying to myself, no way these comments are real. WELL THEY ARE!!! And I am amazed how well and fast this works. :-) You better try this!

Replied by Steph
L.a., Ca
3 out of 5 stars

Better But With Side Effects

Woohoo, thanks, Earthclinic! I used 2 tbs. ACV, a LOT of honey to cover up the taste, and a little lemon juice in a bunch of hot water and my sore throat is almost gone.

My throat was sore all yesterday and I kept waking up in the middle of the night, it was so bad. I finally Googled a cure on Earthclinic and this came up. I did it last night around 3am and today around 7am and feel scores better.

** The only warning I would say is, use a lot of hot water because the vinegar was so acidic, it made a little part of my tongue bleed the second time I did it - just a minor issue, though.

Replied by Laura
Perth, Australia

AMAZING!! I didnt have acv, so someone else on here said they used white wine vinegar!! I did too!! I mixed it with some honey and water and gargled it and drank a tiny bit of it!! There was instant relief from the pain and my throat didnt feel as closed up!!

Replied by Amy
Saint Louis, Mo
4 out of 5 stars

YEA Could hardly swallow. Used hot water, honey and alot of ACV and I felt relief right away. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Not cured but def so so so much better.

Replied by ._.
San Jose, Ca

Soreness is definitely gone, but now I feel like im about to puke any second.

Posted by Jenny (Perth, Western Australia) on 11/25/2011
4 out of 5 stars

A very bad sore throat caught me out the other night and now I can't seem to ditch it. I've tried drinking warm water with ACV and honey (even gargling with it) 3-4 times per day and while it feels a little better, it's still very much there.

Replied by Brenda
Surprise, Az
4 out of 5 stars

I must agree. I have been suffering from an ear infection, sinusitis, and post nasal drip. I have been on antibiotic but it's actually not helping much. Normally I do not have a sore throat lasting longer than two days max. This is a constant sore throat as long as there is drainage so I was encouraged by all the "Yea" votes that I decided to try the ACV gargle. How much of a "sting" that was present was reduced very slightly. Although helpful, my sore throat is still very much a BIG bother. I was tested for strep and it came back negative, I also was cleared of mono. Maybe I will give the honey a try. Not a honey fan, but maybe this is the key element I am missing. I give the ACV an overall (eh... So so) rating. It was worth a shot though. Good Luck all. It seems to be working for the rest of you. Wish I could say the same.

Posted by Daisy (Portland, Dorset, England) on 08/31/2011
5 out of 5 stars

i have a sore throat and think your cure is actually working well. It still aches and hurts but im feeling better by far.

Replied by Taryn
Aurora, Wisconsin
5 out of 5 stars

I had a slight sore throat for the entire day. I went to bed and slept for about 3 hours before waking up with the worst sore throat I have had since I had Strep in High School. Desperate for a remedy I checked earth clinic and was going to try the Cayenne pepper remedy. When I got to the cupboard I found that we were all out of Cayenne pepper. So I settled on the ACV, Honey and warm water.

I had a few sips for good measure and then gargled the rest over a period of probably 7-8 minutes. About 4 minutes in to gargling my sore throat had reduced by at least 50%. After 8 minutes I would say it was only slightly irritated. I went back to bed. Slept like a baby. Woke up the next morning with no throat pain whatsoever.

I seriously doubted that it would work, and then was I felt it working I doubted that the effect would last thought the night but IT DID! I am so amazed by this especially because a lot of other Apple Cider Vinegar remedies on this site have not worked for me.

If you have a sore throat, even if you are skeptical, you should give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Replied by Desertpunky
Socaldesert, Usa

ACV, salt and water as warm/hot as you can tolerate-gargled and not swallowed will work great on a sore throat.

Replied by Celeste
Santa Monica, Ca
5 out of 5 stars

This site is great, thank you to all who have posted! I got the worst sore throat in the middle of the night last night and woke this morning at 6am because it was so painful to swallow. I made my usual remedy of hot ginger, lemon, honey tea but it wasn't doing much. In desperation I googled best sore throat remedy and all of the "yeas" for ACV came up. I used 2 tablespoons of ACV, I tablespoon of honey and a little warm water in a glass to gargle with on and off over the last 15 minutes. My sore throat was reduced by about 70%. I'm amazed. It really breaks up the mucus so you can spit out all that is making your throat hurt. The hot ginger lemon honey tea was nice and soothing afterwords, when it didn't hurt so badly to swallow anymore.

Posted by Meg (Montreal, Quebec) on 07/04/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I put 1 tablespoon of ACV in about 8oz of peppermint tea flavoured water, and after the first gargle, my sore throat started to feel better instantly! I can swallow now without my throat feeling raw.

It tastes like crap, even with the peppermint, but hey - nothing else has ever soothed a sore throat faster! It's worth it :)

Replied by Mandy
Mandeville, La
5 out of 5 stars

I was skeptical at first, but got desparate in the middle of the night after 7 days' duration. I had tried all of the over the counter remedies but nothing helped my dry, painful sore throat caused by post-nasal drip. Since I had ACV on hand, I figured it couldn't hurt. My throat felt better almost immediately. The soreness didn't completely go away, but I would say it was 80% better. It continued to feel better until morning, when I gargled and sipped ACV in water again. I will keep using it throughout the day. The ACV also helped my nasal congestion and thinned the mucous so I could blow my nose. Definitely worth a try in my opinion.

Posted by Luann (Grand Haven, Mi ) on 05/24/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I've used apple cider vinegar for years on sore throats. A tablespoon full in a half glass of water if you can handle it works for me as a gargle. The one time I didn't use it on a sore throat I ended up with Strep.

Also to the person that was really tired, I was falling asleep during the day while working and driving. The fatigue would come on really fast and I couldn't keep myself awake no matter what I did. I went for a sleep study and was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. I didn't fit the profile. I'm a female, under 125lbs and don't snore. I was shocked when they came in and said that I stopped breathing as soon as I fell asleep. Go get tested, your life depends on it.

Posted by Alicia (Chapel Hill, Nc, Usa) on 02/28/2011
5 out of 5 stars

Yea - read the suggestions last night after 3 days of a sore throat that wouldn't quit. Did the 3 TBS of ACV and 8 oz of hot water. I'm on a diet so only did 1 TBS of honey. I sipped and gargled it as slowly as I could although I did feel pretty lousy after (no sugar no carb diet probably didn't help w/ACV in my stomach). BUT, I woke up this AM feeling a little better and now 24 hours later my sore throat is almost completely gone. I'm going to try ACV for seasonal allergies, which are starting here, just will make sure to have something more on my stomach. Thanks Earth Clinic - now off to find cures for wrinkles and gray hair :-).

Replied by Leena
Bridgetown, Nova Scotia

Actually, the best thing for seasonal allergies is LOCAL RAW honey... If you can find any in your area, try eating a teaspoon of it daily...

It's healthy, natural, won't cause you to gain weight, it actually promotes metabolism and because LOCAL honey is derived from LOCAL plants, it'll create natural anti-histamines in your system... It must be RAW honey as the pasteurization kills off all the good stuff that makes it work.

Posted by Victoria (New York City, Usa) on 02/07/2011
1 out of 5 stars

I tried this. First I did 2 tblsp of this in a glass of water and drank it. That didnt work. Then I mixed the ACV in a mug of tea. That didnt work. Finally I just took the ACV straight to the head. This didnt work either. So now I have a disgusting taste in my mouth and still a sore throat. :/

Posted by Anna (La Crosse, Wi, Usa) on 01/15/2011

I'm trying this for the first time right now, and I think it's working. I gargled with straight ACV first, and then made a pretty dilute tea of honey, ACV, lemon juice, and hot water, Because I was a little overwhelmed by the stinging feeling in my throat as the lemon juice and ACV are so acidic! Anyway, great herbal remedy!