Canker Sores
Natural Remedies

Apple Cider Vinegar Remedy for Canker Sores

| Modified on Oct 14, 2023
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Apple cider vinegar is Earth Clinic's most popular home remedy for canker sores! The apple cider vinegar cure is simple and inexpensive. Do be careful how you use this remedy; some of our readers have experienced side effects!

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Canker Sores

Dip a q-tip in raw, organic apple cider vinegar.  Apply this to the canker sore. Many readers find that this remedy does sting, but the sting is worth it, to most of our readers! Some readers hold the q-tip on the canker sore for several minutes. Repeat this treatment once a twice a day until the sore is gone.

How NOT to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Canker Sores

At least one reader  held apple cider vinegar in his mouth. This caused other parts of his mouth to hurt. Holding straight apple cider vinegar in the mouth is not recommended because of its possible risk to teeth enamel. Dabbing a sore with apple cider vinegar will keep it from bothering other parts of the mouth.

Reduce Your Risk of Side Effects

  • For medicinal use, always use raw, organic apple cider vinegar. 
  • Dilute the apple cider vinegar with water before use. Try 1 part apple cider vinegar and 2 parts water and dab that mixture on the canker sore. Diluted apple cider vinegar is often just as effective as a natural remedy with fewer side effects.
  • Take an apple cider vinegar tonic instead of apply the vinegar straight to the canker sore. Adding 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and consuming this tonic once or twice a day has helped many of our readers with too many ailments to list, including canker sores.

Read on and find stories of our readers and how they used apple cider vinegar for canker sores. Have you tried apple cider vinegar for canker sores? Please share your story with us!

62 User Reviews

5 star (44) 
4 star (2) 
1 star (15) 

Posted by LINDA (Texas) on 08/20/2021

ACV was magic for me. I had canker sores for years and tried all the known remedies like Alum, baking soda, ingesting lysine capsules but once I started drinking about 1 tablespoon with about 1/4 cup of water every morning that's what cured me. It took persistence and it wasn't immediate results but once I got rid of them they rarely come back. I was consistent for about a month. I don't have to drink the ACV daily now (I hate the taste) but will begin if I feel a sore coming on. I still get them but they are so small and don't last. I only have to drink the ACV for a few days to get things back in balance. It's worth a try to find what works for you. ACV for the win in my book.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Ari (Los Angeles, Ca) on 02/13/2017

I accidentally discovered the benefits of ACV for canker sores. All my life, I have been getting canker sores at least once every few months. Accidentally biting my lips or cheeks had been a sure fire way to get canker sores. Not lately though. I have recently been trying ACV for weight loss (jury is still out on this one as I have only been doing this for a few weeks). Twice I have bitten my lips while chewing food and not once did a canker sore develop. Curious, I decided to look up Apple Cider Vinegar and Canker Sores which led me to this page.

Replied by Michelle
(Milwaukee, Wi)

ACV made my canker sore much larger.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Klean (Sacramento, Ca) on 10/01/2012

I used ACV on a Sore on my tounge and it stung for a short time. Soaked a cottonball And Let it Sit for about 3 Minutes and the Pain went away and I was able to eat! Thanks to Earth Clinic! I Love This Place!

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Posted by Bobbi-jo (Kent, British Columbia) on 07/17/2012

I woke up three days before my birthday with a mouth full of canker sores (litteraly) so I started to rinse with salt water, it only seemed to irritate it more, then I tried baking soda paste; it stung bad and didn't seem to help so I found this site and tried ACV; I dabbed a cotton swab in it and held it on the sores for a few minutes (it stung really bad) but afterwards it went numb and I was finally able to eat. The next day I got a medicine from my pharmacy which helped a lot and didn't feel as good after as the ACV but I wasn't as sore for my party. I drank some vodka and it cleaned the sores out and the next day I could barely feel them (unless I ate or drank anything acidic) but I recommend you try ACV, the pharmacy or if you're really desperate, drink some vodka and make sure it washes on your sores!! Hope this helps!!

Replied by Susan
(Atlanta, Georgia)

I had the absolute worst canker sore in my mouth. I was on vacation and had a horrible time because I was so miserable. When I got home, I read about different remedies online and found the one about Apple Cider Vinegar. I cannot believe that it worked in one day!!! I dabbed it on before going to bed (it stings at first), but I had immediate results. Not only did it allow me to sleep but it pretty much cleared up by the next morning! I will use it from now on and stop wasting my money on the stuff that does not work from the drug store. Thank you!

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Posted by Kayla (Thornton, Co Usa) on 06/21/2012

Apple vider vinegar worked on my canker sore! I had tried everything to get rid of my horrible canker and this is the only remedy I will use from now on. Yesterday, my sore, which is located on my cheek near my molars, was angry and red and so painful I could not speak. Today, it has a new skin over it, it isn't red and the pain is at a 2 insted of a 10. Previously I tried, the salt wash, the baking soda paste, hydrogen peroxide, alum, benedryl and maalox and anbesol. None of it did much but irritate the canker. I ran out and bought Apple Cider Vinegar after coming across this site. I dipped a q-tip in and placed it on the sore for about 3 minutes, spit, and repeated. I was pain free for the rest of the day! I did it again when I went to bed and today I woke up and my sore is in the healing process. I am soooooooo happy I found this site.

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Posted by Kevin (Honolulu, Hawaii) on 05/22/2012

I came across this site and followed the suggested remedy. I used ACV on my canke rsore last week, I had 3! I had to use 2 Q-tips, each dipped in apple cider vinegar, and placed them directly on my canker sores until they went numb. It took about 6 minutes and it hurt a bit but the numbing really soothes the pain(that night and the next day). My inner lip turned a grayish color and my mouth tasted like vinegar for a bit but the next day, I barely felt the pain. My discoloration went away and the canker sores developed sort of a skin, like when they are healing. I did the procedure the next night and 2 days later(with hardly any pain), all 3 went away!

I have been dealing with these darn things for a long time, most of my life, and I never found a decent remedy. I've tried salt water, baking soda, and various other remedies but none of them helped at all. I can't believe a simple product like apple cider vinegar actually works and quick. I will always have ACV in my cupboard since I am one of the lucky ones to be blessed with these darn annoyances!!!

Replied by Jim
(Menomonee Falls, WI)

I was skeptical at first as they tell you to avoid citrus when you have a canker sore so the apple in the vinegar is what I questioned but none the less when your in pain you try anything. It worked to my surprise! Vinegar has germ killing effect so that is probably why it works so well.

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Posted by Tiffany (Charles County, Maryland) on 02/10/2012

I must say I was a little skeptical at first. But the ACV truly works with the pain and discomfort. I was so AMAZED at how quickly I was able to relax afterwards. I used the Q-Tip method. Hold on ulcer for 30 sec's, spit, repeat 2 more times. It stung at first, but my pain was gone in less than 10 mins.

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Posted by Cindy (Huntington, In) on 03/06/2011

I start taking apple cider vinegar in a glass of apple juice every morning because I had just heard that it was good for you and thought I'd try it. Well I always had about 3 canker sores in my mouth at a time, it was seldom that I didn't have at least one, I have been drinking the ACV daily for about a year now and I hardly ever get them, if I do, they don't last. If I skip a couple days I am sure to have a canker sore. It doesn't make since that drinking something that acidic keeps them away but I'm so thankful that it does!

Replied by Michelle
(Nova Scotia/canada)

I've had the opposite experience. I never normally get canker sores but started adding apple cider vinegar to my water twice a day and in the last week I've developed 2 canker sores!! :(

Replied by Max

It's because ACV is processed by the body as an alkaline- it becomes alkaline just like lemons and limes.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Ann (Bangkok, Thailand) on 02/21/2011

Apple Cider Vinegar for canker sores

I drink ACV for digestive purposes a glass each evening. I have had a hurting canker sore on the tip of my tongue for almost a week and today it was as painful as day one. Slowly drinking vinegar and water combo this eve I noticed that it didn't even burn the sore and actually made it feel better. I held sips in my mouth for a few minutes a couple of times over about a half hour and the pain is far less. Just a couple table spoons in a glass of water. To think I am 60 and am just now finding a remedy of this life long ailment.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Victoria (Gold Coast, Australia) on 02/09/2010

I cured two nasty painful mouth ulcers which I'd had for a week using the ACV remedy on the website. I just soaked a cotton tip in it and held it on the ulcers for 10 minutes. It did burn a lot at first, but then it just felt numb. The next day I woke up and it felt much better. I applied it again that day, and they have now disappeared.

I was taking a Vitamin C supplement at the time which was of 'orange colour' as well, which I think is what caused the ulcers in the first place!

Replied by Katty

When I tried this it not only took the canker sore away but it left a even bigger sore like if you were to of just rip the first layer of my inner lip apart that how bad it is it just made it so much worse

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Gloria (Santa Rosa, Ca) on 01/13/2010

Cayenne and ACV for Canker Sores

I recently had an awful canker sore and it was 4am and couldn't sleep because the pain bothered me. I remembered reading on Earthclinic about a canker sore remedy, but I couldn't remember if it was with ACV or Cayenne pepper (both are my go to ingredients when I'm sick/sore throat) so I decided to use both! I dipped a Q-tip in ACV then sprinkled cayenne pepper on it and applied it directly to the canker sore. It stung at first, but the cayenne helped relieve the pain, and both seemed to help the sore tremendously! I woke up, and the pain was gone and it is now evening and I forgot I even had it!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by rms11731 (East Northport, NY USA) on 07/14/2009

Apple Cider Vinegar cured my canker Sore in my mouth. It was hurting so much. I was using an over the counter gel I bought at the drustore. I used it for 3 days and it was healing it. I tried the apple cider vinegar and after 2 applications it's so much better. I dipped a cotton swab into the apple cider vinegar and applied it to the canker sore. It stung alot, but it was so worth it. I highly recommend this treatment.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Nikki (Detroit, Michigan) on 04/30/2009

Apple Cider Vinegar works great. I swabded some on with a qtip, it stung a little but it was worth it. Almost immediatly it no longer hurt to much. In less than 12 hours my canker sore no longer hurt and was much smaller. I was so happy this worked!

Replied by Mo
(Pakersburg, Pa)

I think it works well. A couple minutes ago it felt like there was a wall holding back and it hurt a lot to talk and I couldn't even eat. I didn't have lunch or dinner and was feeling so sick. Now that I see this I applied it and now it feels like the Berlin Wall just fell. I can talk finally! I'm going to not take a lot of acid today though, I have soda everyday so I'm going to cut down on that.

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Posted by Elle (Austin, Texas) on 04/26/2009

I've used ACV a few times now. It usually helps. I had one bad boy that it didn't seem to have any effect on. I get canker sores A LOT and have determined that orange things tend to give me canker sores. Not real orange things, but things with dye - like original Advil. Actually, I thought I was allergic to ibuprofen for years, but now know it's the coloring. Anyway, ACV does sting it may burn for some people and it doesn't taste that great. I've started using one of the OTC liquid oral pain relievers, then when it's nice and numb I apply the ACV soaked Q-Tip it doesn't seem to have negatively affected its efficacy, and if anything it has helped because I'm a super wimp and it allows me to keep the ACV on longer.

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Posted by John (Charlotte, NC) on 02/23/2009

ACV helped my canker sore dramatically. After several days of pain so intense it was hard to talk, I found this site on google and decided to try ACV. I used to cotton swab dipped in ACV to cover the sore on my tongue for 45 seconds or so (it does sting), but after a few minutes, my pain went from a 10 to a 3. I applied ACV a few more times the first day and the second day. Today, the third day, the sore seems to be almost gone.

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