Apple Cider Vinegar for Pink Eye: Natural Cure

| Modified on Mar 12, 2024
Apple Cider Vinegar and Cotton Ball.

Apple cider vinegar is widely recognized as the most popular natural remedy for conjunctivitis (commonly known as "pink eye") on Earth Clinic. A multitude of readers have reported its remarkable effectiveness in treating this eye condition, often highlighting the speed at which it brings relief.

How to Effectively Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Conjunctivitis

The key to using apple cider vinegar for conjunctivitis lies in its proper dilution. Create a mixture by adding 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water. Utilize a cotton ball to gently apply this diluted solution to the closed eyelids, three times a day. It's normal for a small amount of the solution to seep into the eye. Always use fresh cotton balls for each eye and each treatment session. It's important to treat both eyes, even if only one shows symptoms of infection.

For optimal results, use distilled or filtered water combined with raw, organic apple cider vinegar. The raw variety contains "the mother," a cloudy, beneficial substance rich in enzymes and probiotics. Avoid shaking the vinegar bottle before use to keep the mother settled at the bottom.

Sensations and Duration of Treatment

Some individuals may experience a mild stinging sensation upon applying the vinegar solution, but this discomfort is typically short-lived. Most people find that their conjunctivitis symptoms clear up within a day or two of starting the treatment. However, to fully eradicate the infection and prevent its recurrence, it's advisable to continue the treatment for a couple more days even after symptoms have disappeared.

Success Stories and Personal Experiences

Countless users have shared their success stories and positive experiences using apple cider vinegar for pink eye. These accounts often detail rapid recovery and relief from symptoms, reinforcing the effectiveness of this natural remedy.


Apple cider vinegar stands out as a safe, natural, and highly effective remedy for conjunctivitis. While it's generally well-tolerated, it's essential to prepare and use the solution correctly. If you've used apple cider vinegar to treat your conjunctivitis, we encourage you to share your story with us. Your experience could help others find relief from pink eye symptoms using this natural approach.

Continue reading below to discover more inspiring stories from our readers about the use of apple cider vinegar for conjunctivitis!

48 User Reviews

5 star (41) 
2 star (1) 
1 star (3) 

Posted by Mary Martinez (Arcadia, CA) on 10/22/2022


I was a big advocate for putting drops of Apple Cider Vinegar in my eyes mixed with distilled water. I had cataracts that is why I did this. I just had a doctor inform me that I had a tear in my Retina. He had to do a laser in the back of my eye. No more apple cider vinegar mixed with water for me!!!

Replied by Dan K
(Seattle WA)

Sorry you went through that. Is your warning because the doctor said your retinal tear was caused by your use of the apple cider vinegar, or are you just saying don't do that while you have a retinal tear? Thanks

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Cupoflove (Silver City Nm) on 07/08/2020

I had horrible eye infection going on for almost 2 months, lost my job in and out of hospital. High doses of multiple antibiotic ECT. Pain swelling redness constant puss running out. finally thanks to God I looked on earthclinic. The only vinger I had was the big cheap. Bottle of distilled Apple Cider Vinegar. I put a tablespoon in a cup of warm water. clean both eye eyelashes got out all gunk and the dropped about six drops in both eyes ..augh the burn was something else and my eye just oozed out puss and gunk ..

I clean them again and repeat until gunk slow down and then oh my gosh sweet relief and eyesight return.. first time in over a month with no eye pain. I repeated this every hour until bed time I woke a couple times during night and would repeat clean drops clean drops until eyes were clean and fresh. I woke this morning swelling gone. Eyelashes not stuck. Redness almost gone ...gunk gone ...I'm in shock . thank you so much . blessed be earth clinic forever

Replied by David l.
(Des Moines, IA)

You hit it hard, again and again, once or twice a day ‘ers will find a much slower result! —remember this in the natural world.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Cupotea (Los Angeles) on 01/04/2018

Apologies in advance. This is a bit long, but I just have enjoyed the benefits of this remedy and am thrilled to have this in my self-care medicine cabinet!

I just thought I'd add my two cents because it's been a life-saver for me. It's my go-to whenever I have gritty or dry-eyes or the occasional pink eye from wearing contacts too long (admittedly sometimes falling asleep in them too often). I first found this remedy here because I was desperate. Back in the days of living with no health insurance, too many all-nighters and being a dry eye having, contact lens wearing, cosmetic lover. While working one of my most stressful jobs, I came down with a combination head cold and eye infection that forced me to go to the doctor. I was put on a course of about 10 days of antibiotic eye drops ($60 for a tiny bottle not including doctor visit). I tossed my eye makeup, contacts, cleaned all my brushes and followed the prescribed cleansing with warm water/cotton balls and eye drops and saw it improve. Then the next week it came back—I think it hadn't completely gone away. I went back for a second bottle of eye drops. It didn't work because it seemed I needed to use something stronger or use it longer. In any case, I could see this being a recurring issue due to my lifestyle.

I luckily found this site, ACV remedy and it's happy users. I tried the method of lightly tinting about 1/4 cup of water with ACV, gently wiping with one soaked cotton ball per eye, discarding and saturating each eye with fresh soaked cotton balls (letting a few drops get into each eye). It stung slightly and caused my eyes to tear. By the end of the day (3 applications later), I saw less redness, swelling and gunk. By the third day, there were no more symptoms. I continued a couple more days, but only 2x a day to be sure it was gone and no contacts or makeup for a whole week. I'm so grateful this was shared on here—best ever remedy for me! I even occasionally use it for maintenance to flush out my tear ducts when they're irritated or have been feeling drier lately. I haven't had to use artificial tears anymore.

Please be sure to dilute! As other users have noted, you can injure yourself if you're not careful (it's an acid). If in doubt, it's better to err on the side of caution. I tested it with a very diluted solution at first and got a feeling for what I could tolerate. But, I noticed for me, 1/4 tsp ACV to 1 cup water is tolerable and resolved pink eye nicely over 4 days or so.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Rye (Los Angeles) on 07/09/2017

I wasn't wrong risking my eyes on this! My infection started on a saturday and people say that this usually last for a week and I was thinking I cannot afford not to go to work that long :(, so I saw from the web (not this yet) that ACV can cure, but I was so hesitant because I cannot imagine putting vinegar to your eyes! But I don't think that it will be much painful compared to having shampoo in your eyes... so I took the plunge and did it.. and the next day, all the symptoms went away!! I was wow! Holy ****! The people around me was like! What did you do?? how is that possible! OMG.. ACV totally Rocks!!

Replied by mel

I was thinking about the sting of the very well known eye drops Rx for pinkeye, call Vigamox, it hurts and stings as bad as ACV.

Long ago, medicine was in tea and powder form and people just took it as they needed to, now we are all spoiled, no bitter pills or powders, sweet coatings on our pills make them easier to swallow but do just the same as the old bitter potions our great grandparents had.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by User123 (Nottingham, England) on 10/18/2016

Having read through these pages a week ago and then again today I will offer a different opinion to what a lot of other people have said here. In particular I am wary of claims here that conjunctivits had been cured in "hours or days" due to the use of ACV.

I am on day 14 of acute keratoconjunctivitis (this is the viral version). It is now (very) slowly improving and the symptoms are starting to go away including the red eyes. I was told by the ophthalmologist that it will take a number of weeks for me to fully recover and as it is a virus like the common cold there is no cure for it, is is just a case of waiting for it to run it's course whilst trying to maintain comfort as much as possible.

Anyway, one week ago ago when my conjunctivitis was in full swing and I was more naive about such matters... I found this site and the claims that ACV with the mother was having positive effects on dealing with conjunctivitis. With an open mind I obtained a bottle and used it diluted but still with a bit of a sting, on my eyes, 3 - 4 times a day. I repeated this for about 5 - 6 days with the aim of the reduction of the red eye symptons and of some pain in my eyes. After a number of days it became obvious the ACV was not doing anything positive and so having seen no effect whatsoever I stopped use.

Thinking about it now I am not sure from a biological / medicine point of view what specifically in ACV is supposed to do to be effective against conjunctivitis. I am assuming its antibacterial proerties are considered to have a role in this... but would something with antibacterial properties help kill a virus?? I am aware of the very real health benefits of plants and so called alternative medicines and I will use them 100% every time in favour of modern medicine IF they provide me with benefits. However of all these people claiming ACV works, they can't all be wrong ... so I guess what works for one particular set of symptoms will not work for another similar but different set of symptons.

If you have conjunctivits I would suggest that you go and insist on seeing an OPHTHALMOLOGIST and insist on getting your eyes checked properly. In my case I first went to see a nurse at my local doctor surgery who was dismissive and not especially helpful. Then two days later when the symptons were significantly worse I went to see a doctor. The doctor was slightly more helpful but did not have the specialist tools or knowledge to make a particularly useful diagnosis other than a general comment about using eyedrops and it will go away after a few days.

It was only after I saw an ophthalmologist at the eye casualty and quite detailed study of my eyes that I was properly diagnosed with the problem that was one of the reasons I tried the ACV solution in the first place: I had as part of the conjunctivitis a "pseudomembrane" develop on all 4 of my inner lids and it was this that was causing excruciating pain when my eyes were closed for more than a few seconds. Anasthetic was dripped into my lids and each of these 4 pseudomembranes was surgically removed there and then. I was told to continue using liquid gel tablets as well as some anti viral eyedrops which I have already been using... I am told this will help with the keeping eyes closed and therefore sleeping, the other symptons of conjunctivitis will improve over time.

So.. that is my story. Feel free to try ACV anyway, it might work for you, it might not. Maybe you don't even have conjunctivitis after all, just a couple of the symptoms of it!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Maizy (Tulsa, Ok) on 09/12/2016


This is a warning for anyone with eye infections. Please Do Not use apple cider vinegar in or around your eyes. I had an eye infection, looked online and saw that claims were being made that it was okay to use this in your eyes (and that it cured infections). I made the mistake of doing so, it burned my eyes (not permanently) and I was so scared that I went to Urgent Care and then an Opthamologist. This is an acid and should never be put anywhere near the eyes. There are many posts saying that this is fine. It's not and could be very dangerous. Your eyes are precious - if you have a problem, go to an eye doctor.

Replied by Mmsg
(Somewhere, Europe)

Maizy, people mean VERY diluted, of course.

Replied by Alan

Diluted is only way to use it, nothing more than a mild sting, in used it in a eye bath, ie flooded my eyes, maybe I teaspoon in a cup of water

Cured my eye issue in one day

Did u use it alone? Full strength? If so, no wonder u had an issue.

Replied by David

Yes, it must be VERY diluted, like 1:10 ratio of ACV:Water. Like any medication or treatment, incorrect usage can result in problems. Some people have died from Paracetamol because they didn't READ the instructions and dosage limitations.

Replied by Chris
(New York, NY)

To be clear you are NOT supposed to use Apple cider vinegar undiluted. You MUST use roughly half a teaspoon in at least an 8oz cup of water. Yes it is an acid, but when using any medicine (in this case ACV) you will have side effects I.e. slight burning. If you use visine for example your eyes will burn as well for a moment. It's important to do careful research and not just take anyone's information. In this case reading multiple articles about to pros AND cons of using something will tell you about the risks involved. So anytime anyone wants to try something new (even if it is an FDA approved drug) you should search for side effects or people that give reasons not to use it. That's when you can make a sound diction on whether home remedies are safe enough to try. Dosage is everything. Salt is not only safe but needed for our life, but someone that in theory has never learned that might eat enough salt to have a heart attack. Moral of the story the devil is in the details.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Sandrab (Round Lake, Il.) on 06/07/2016

I was really amazed at the results using apple cider vinegar, filtered water, Himalayan salt, and black tea. I used 1 1/2 tbsp water, 1/4 tsp ACV and Himalayan salt, 1/2 tsp of black tea. First warm water and add salt. Stir to dissolve salt. Add ACV and tea. Stir. I used small 1inch square pieces of paper towel soaked in solution to wipe eye from corner to outside in one stroke and discarding each piece of paper towel. In using same method, I gently wiped several times, allowing solution to enter into the eye. Make sure you use paper towel only once for each wipe as not to reinfect eye. It helps to have a tissue under eye to catch dripping solution. Wash hands in between, as not to infect other eye. I applied same technique on other eye to ensure both eyes were treated and not infected. I got immediate results. Solution does slightly burn on first few wipes only. You can dilute solution to your preference. I used this technique twice a day for 2 days. Both eyes stopped itching, redness and swelling disappeared, and eyes became clear on the first day. This solution is a miracle. Allergy Meds, and eye rinse did nothing to stop condition, but this worked.

Replied by E

Thank you for sharing this recipe! After getting pink eye for the 3rd time in 3 weeks, I was desperate for something to work and this did!!! The first and second round of pink eye I treated with vigamox, with no success, and now dealing with a lasting side effect chronic dry eyes. This treatment above worked within 3 days, although it was painful I couldn't take the pink eye any longer Thank you again!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by 3dayzgrace (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) on 04/18/2016

Viral Conjunctivitis: I have been a believer in non toxic stuff for a few years now and I used to swear by how quickly honey was for my irritated eyes that I get every now and then and I must say After reading all the reviews I remembered that I had a full bottle of ACV with the "mother" in it and WOW is all I can say almost instant relief was little gritty at first but after a few eye washes and a little drop of it in my eyes I can tell it is working. Started just last night and My eye went from all red and irritated to just little red at bottom of eyelid. Fantastic and so glad I found this site. Thanks to all!!!! ..

One question I do have if you put mixture in a eye dropper with a cap is it still suggested to do fresh batch after 24 or 48 hrs?

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Carla (California) on 01/12/2016


My eye has been bothering me all afternoon...itchy, goopy, etc. I came on this site and saw that ACV was the most popular cure and I tried it.

I used a half cup distilled water with a half teaspoon ACV and applied with a cotton ball. Like some of the other posters did, I first lightly rubbed it on my closed eyelid and then squeezed a bit out so it would run in my eye. And yes, it did burn a bit, but not long. But my, oh my! The relief was instant! The itching, blurring and running goop was gone. I have done it twice in an hours time, and will again before I go to bed.

I know it's not healed yet, but I bet it will be by the end of the day tomorrow (taking the mixture to work).

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Ms. M (Pensacola, Fl) on 01/10/2016

I had watery eyes all throughout the day and into the night. I woke up in the middle of the night with a pressure sensation and inability to keep eyes open without discomfort. Looked in the mirror to find one eye extremely red; the other only mildly red. I knew immediately that this was viral conjunctivitis, as my mom had been suffering from it for about 5 days. We had done everything to prevent transmission, but it still happened and I was panicking, as I needed to go to work in the morning.

So I desperately began searching for a home remedy, and found the apple cider vinegar remedy on this site. It appeared to be the most popular one, so I gave it a try.

I warmed 1/2 cup spring water, added 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (MUST be raw, "with the mother"), and stirred for a few seconds. I dipped a cotton ball (one for each eye) in the solution, and with eyes closed, dabbed the solution at the inside and outside corners of each eye. I also squeezed the cotton ball a little, to allow some of the solution to flow over my eyelashes. It didn't burn until I opened my eyes. The burn was significant, but not very long-lasting.

I laid down on the couch with my eyes closed until 5am, at which point I got up to start the process of calling in sick. Before making any calls, I checked my eyes in the mirror....... to my EXTREME SURPRISE, the redness was COMPLETELY GONE. I was in disbelief. I went to work, and then repeated the apple cider vinegar treatment again before going to bed that evening. I did it again the next morning, just to be safe, and my husband did it as a precautionary measure as well. It worked. Our daughter didn't get it, either. My mom had tried colloidal silver and raw honey; none of which worked for her.

I highly recommend apple cider vinegar at first sign!!!!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Hannah (Centennial, Colorado) on 06/13/2015

Yesterday morning I woke up with a bad case of pink eye. I get pink eye a few times a year so by now, I know when I have it. Neither of my parents were in town so I couldn't go get medicine And I had a rather large event happening that night, thankfully I found earth clinic. I tried the ACV treatment and although it burned like hell, it worked its magic and by that night you almost couldn't tell I had ever had pink eye. Before I put in the ACV I would rinse my eye out with black tea, and treated my eye about 3 times. Today I keep treating it just to make sure it's gone but I am extremely thankful I found this site, it saved me!

Replied by Thomas
(Homewood, Illinois)

It's very odd that you would get pink eye several times a year, I've had it once in my life, and it's something that is contagious so, you would have to pick, it up from someone. Do you wash your hands frequently? Do, you touch your eyes a lot? I'm thinking you must because that's the only way you can catch it. It's isn't something that's airborne and goes into your eyes.

Replied by Jen
1 posts

I have had viral pinkeye (specifically the EKC virus) 3 times in the last 4 years. Episodes last roughly 10 months and let me tell you, it's devastating. I'm convinced that being that it is a virus, it never fully goes away and it just lies dormant till something triggers it again. I'm going to try ACV. I'm at my wit's end as this affects my family life, job, and ability to be social.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Shalita (Jackson) on 05/02/2015

This is from the Bragg's apple cider vinegar book: 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar to 4oz of distilled water. page 71 "Apple Cider Vinegar." I boiled the distilled water, let it cool, add acv, then place in sterilized dropper or eye cup and submerge affected eye. Cleanse 2 to 3 times daily.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Mlafay (Portland, Or) on 03/29/2015

I've had viral conjunctivitis for a couple month's now. My doc said there was nothing out there that would "cure" it and to just let it run it's course - up to 3 months!

I just did the 5:1 ratio with ACV and it burned like hell for about 30 seconds - and wa-la! My vision cleared up - been blurry ever since I contracted this. And my redness went down considerably. I am so thankful I found this remedy!!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Ava R (St. Petersburg, Fl) on 02/20/2015

I had Pink eye and I had just changed Drs. So, my new Dr. would not prescribe me anything. Well, I did the ACV and water four times a day. I also used the green tea bags twice a day to help with the soreness and I wash my hands a lot and I cleaned my glasses with the ACV, to make sure I would not get it again. It took a little over a week, but I think it took that long because I look at a computer working, at least 7 hours a day. I LOVE this website.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Sunny (Ca) on 07/30/2014

Yes! it works!

My lil bro had an eye infection, I don't know what kind, maybe pink eye? It was really swollen. So I got the ACV the top part, ( not shucked, stable, so that I do not get the mother, and a mixed in a bit of drinking clean water in a mug, then maybe 40 acv, 60 water. Try your own, the more ACV the more the burn, but the more the potency.

We put it in an clean drop dropper, and I applied to his eye. Yes it stung, muaaahahah. But he took it like a man. I told him to apply twice + a day. It took off in like 4 days.

He did not have to spend money on going to the Dr. :) , and I got to experiment with his eye :). It was a win win lol. I have to say I was a bit unsure about it. Because well, its the eye.... But not anymore, if I ever have an eye infection, I will not hesitate to put it on my eye. :)

If your are scared, you can apply to out lid, I guess.

ACV rocks! I love you Earth Clinic <3

Reply to this if it works for you



Replied by John

I got Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis in jan 2016. I told my docs it did not fully go away. they said I could only get it once. my eye is so dry and have blepharitis that will not go away. my vision is blurred in one eye from sub corneal infiltrates. I am trying this Herbal Eye Formula

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