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Vinegar in Laundry: 11 Dos & Don’ts for Cleaner Clothes

Jennifer L. Betts
vinegar for laundry

Vinegar in laundry is a common hack used by DIYers for soft and stain-free clothing. However, there are do's and don'ts when it comes to adding vinegar to laundry. Explore how much vinegar to add to laundry and if it's safe for all types of washers.

The Do's for How to Use Vinegar in Laundry

Do you know how to use white vinegar in the laundry room? Many people might not think of vinegar past the kitchen. However, it has several uses in the laundry room like getting rid of static, fighting stains, and cutting soap residue.

Using Vinegar as a Fragrance-Free Fabric Softener

Vinegar makes a perfect fragrance-free fabric softener and works well for hard water. To use vinegar as a fabric softener and static reducer:

  • Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to the final rinse cycle of your washing machine.

  • If you are washing blankets and comforters, add two cups of vinegar to the final rinse.

Use Vinegar in Laundry to Brighten Clothes

The acidic nature of white vinegar can be used as a fabulous clothes whitener and brightener of dingy white and colored clothes.

  1. Add a half cup of vinegar to your wash during the rinse cycle to brighten clothes.

  2. You can use the fabric softener dispenser or just add it manually during the rinse cycle.

For particularly dingy clothes, boil a large pot of water and add one cup of vinegar. Turn off the heat, add clothes, and allow them to soak overnight.

Adding Vinegar to Laundry to Remove Stains

Undiluted vinegar works great as a stain treater for mustard, ketchup, deodorant stains, and grass stains on cotton and everyday clothing.

  1. Soak the stain in straight vinegar.

  2. Allow it to sit for 10-30 minutes.

  3. Wash as normal.

Hands cleaning stain in cloth

How to Use Vinegar in Laundry to Remove Mildew Odors

Vinegar is excellent for eliminating odors like smoke and mildew. Give this method a try if you have to tackle that mildew smell from the hamper or left your laundry in the washer too long.

  1. Add two cups of vinegar to the wash.

  2. Wash as normal.

Vinegar Removes Soap Residue

You can use vinegar in the laundry to eliminate soap residue. This works to keep your darks looking dark, and it's super easy.

  • In the washing machine, add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle, and the soap dissolves.

  • When hand-washing, add a few tablespoons to help dissolve soap residue.

Using Vinegar to Combat Lint in Laundry

Get rid of lint and pet hair problems in your laundry by adding a bit of vinegar.

  • Add half a cup of vinegar in your rinse cycle can minimize lint. Why? Because it reduces the static and makes lint and pet hair less likely to stick.

Using Vinegar for New Denim

Vinegar is great for whites, but this magic laundry sorcery keeps new denim from fading. This vinegar hack works great to lock in the color.

  1. Keep your new jeans from getting faded by soaking them for 1 hour in a solution of half cold water and half vinegar.

  2. Allow them to air dry.

Keeping Pantyhose Newer Longer With Vinegar in Laundry

Pantyhose are delicate, but you can keep them looking new longer by adding a bit of vinegar when washing.

  1. When hand-washing pantyhose, add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water.

  2. Continue washing as normal.

How to Use Vinegar for Ironing

Vinegar works as a pre-treater and during the wash, but you can add it when ironing as well. To remove creases or shine spots from ironing, you can:

  1. Fill a spray bottle with half vinegar and water.

  2. Spray the area and run the iron over it.

The Don'ts for Adding Vinegar to Laundry

Vinegar has its benefits when it comes to laundry. However, there are a few things you need to pay attention to when it comes to the vinegar in laundry dont's.

How Much Vinegar to Add to Laundry

How much vinegar you add to the laundry depends on the situation. However, generally, you use ½ cup of vinegar. However, when adding vinegar to the wash, you want to use the minimum amount to achieve your goal. Why? Because vinegar is acidic. Therefore, continually using too much acid can harm the fibers of the clothing.

Straight Vinegar on Clothing

In addition to adding too much white vinegar, it's acidic so you don't want to pour it directly on clothes unless you are dealing with a stain. Therefore, you want to add it to water or mix it with water before putting it over the clothing.

Is Adding Vinegar to Laundry in H.E. Washer Safe?

High-efficiency washers are a special breed; therefore, you might not know if it is safe to add vinegar to them. However, it is completely safe to add vinegar to your H.E. washer. You'll just need to add it to the right dispenser.

Putting vinegar in the washing machine

Vinegar in Laundry Front Loader

In an H.E. washer, you need to add white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser. Unlike a top loader, you can't just open it during the rinse cycle to add your vinegar. Therefore, you'll need to add it to the proper dispenser to have it added to the cycle at the right time.

Vinegar in Laundry

Using vinegar in the laundry can make your clothes softer and brighter. However, it's important to use it in moderation.

Vinegar in Laundry: 11 Dos & Don’ts for Cleaner Clothes