Here are the top 7 uses for vinegar for laundry, for such uses as stain removal, fabric softener, odor removal and more.
If you're looking for a frugal and natural way to soften clothes, reduce laundry odors, and more look no further than vinegar.
The best vinegar for laundry uses is distilled white vinegar, since it is colorless, and therefore contains no tannins or other additives that could discolor clothing.
And bonus, distilled white vinegar is also one of the cheapest varieties of vinegar available!
Another great thing about vinegar is that it works in both HE and standard washing machines, since it doesn't suds.
Traditional oil-based fabric softeners work by coating your clothing in a very thin layer of oil, which is what makes things feel soft.
Vinegar to the rescue!
You can add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the final rinse, within your washing machine, and since vinegar is a mild acid (acetic acid to be specific) it will help neutralize the alkalinity from detergents, help rinse away excess detergent, and soften clothing.
You can add the vinegar directly to the fabric softener dispenser or add it manually at the beginning of that final cycle.
You may be concerned that using vinegar in this way will leave your clothes smelling like that distinctive vinegar scent, but you'd be surprised that isn't the case. Instead, it just leaves your clothes smelling scent free and clean.
If you do want to add some scent of your own to your laundry though, while also softening clothes, add a couple of drops of essential oils to your vinegar bottle you use for fabric softener, and you'll be left with lightly scented laundry naturally.
You can get ideas for various essential oil scent blends that work well with laundry here.
I think we've all put a load of clothes into our washing machine, run it, and then forgotten all about that load of clothes for a while. Oops.
When we finally remember those wet clothes there is often a mildewy smell that has permeated through the fabric.
Vinegar is a simple fix for the problem if you discover it quickly enough, usually within about a day or so.
To fix the problem rerun the load with hot water and 2 cups of vinegar, and let it run through a normal wash cycle. Then, run the machine again with the clothes, this time adding detergent, and you'll be good to go!
If the smell has had longer to take hold, or if the problem is more acute check out this advice for removing smells from towels here.
When you have that embarrassing moment where you realize you've got sweat or perspiration stains, vinegar can help you remove the evidence.
As long as the stain is fresh all you need to do is add vinegar to a spray bottle and then spray some vinegar, undiluted, onto the underarm of the shirt, and then toss it in the wash like normal.
The vinegar helps cut the odor, as well as prevents underarm yellowing by cutting through the residual deodorant left on the underarm of the shirt.
You can get more tips for perspiration stain removal here.
Do you have a problem with linting on some of your clothes, or pet hair that seems to cling to certain fabrics? If so, it's another reason you may want to use vinegar in the rinse cycle.
Along with softening the fabric, as mentioned above, vinegar can also help prevent the accumulation of lint and pet hair on fabrics at the same time.
Vinegar is a natural way to remove odors. As mentioned above it can be used successfully to remove the mildew smell from sour laundry.
In addition vinegae can be used to deal with tough smells such as cigarette smoke, which can otherwise linger in the fibers of your clothes.
To use it in this manner add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the wash cycle, along with the detergent.
Hard water deposits can clog your iron steam vents and the spray nozzle over time, making your iron not work well or at all.
The naturally acidic properties of vinegar are perfect for dissolving those deposits and getting your iron back in tip top shape.
To use vinegar in this way fill the water chamber of your iron with equal parts water and distilled white vinegar, and then set your iron upright on a safe, heat proof surface (like your ironing board), and turn it on.
Let the iron steam for 5 minutes. Then, let the iron cool and then rinse the tank with just water, to remove the vinegar residue.
Next, follow the procedure to steam the iron again, with just plain water this time, and spray some of the water through the sprayer as well.
Before you iron good clothes with your iron refill it yet again with plain water (or distilled water is even better to use since it lessens the total amount of deposits you'll get again in the future), and then iron an old cloth for several minutes.
This will allow all residue loosened up from the vinegar to get expelled onto the old cloth instead of on your good clothes.
If your iron is dirty, such as on the soleplate, instead of having mineral deposit build up, check out these iron cleaner reviews to find out the best way to clean your iron.
Finally, vinegar is great for removing soap scum and hard water build up from your washing machine.
When you feel like your machine is getting a build up of either of these substances run an empty load with hot water and 2 cups of vinegar.
Also, make sure that you run vinegar through the detergent and fabric softener dispensers to clean them out as well.
If your washing machine is dirty in some other way beside soap scum or hard water build up though, such as with mold or mildew growth, vinegar may not be the best cleaner in that instance. You can check out this article with tips for cleaning your washing machine for more details.
So how do you use vinegar in your laundry? Have I missed any of your favorite uses? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.
In addition, check out all these uses for vinegar here, for all around your home, within homemade cleaning recipes, and more.
Further, get more ideas for how to use common household products for cleaning and laundry, as well as lost of homemade cleaning products recipes here.
Hi, I'm Taylor, a busy mom with 3 kids, so I have lots of hands on experience with house cleaning, laundry and my fair share of spots, spills and other messy catastrophes. Thanks for visiting my site.
I update the website all the time with tips, tutorials, cleaning recipes, reviews of products from readers like you, and tests I've done on various cleaners, removers and laundry supplies.
I'd love to give you a gift! When you subscribe to my free weekly newsletter you will receive a free printable laundry stain removal chart that you can reference as needed.
I hope you enjoy this gift, and stop by again soon!
CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.
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