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10 Amazing Uses of Vinegar in Laundry


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Emmanuel Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuel Eguono is a mass communicator and fashion designer. When he is not behind a laptop screen or on a sewing machine, he spends his time netflixing and swimming.

Using low-priced distilled white vinegar in laundry will soften, whiten, brighten and reduce odour in your clothes without using harsh chemicals. Vinegar is safe to use in both high-efficiency and standard washing machines, friendly to the environment and beneficial to septic tanks.


All types of vinegar have acetic acid that works to soften, brighten, and eliminate odours in your laundry. Cider vinegar is produced from the juice of apples that ranges from five-to-six percent of acidity. It is usually golden amber or yellow.

Distilled, or white vinegar is made from the second fermentation of dilute distilled alcohol. The alcohol could be produced from grain or the starch from barley, corn, potatoes or rice.

Usually, distilled vinegar is less acidic than cider vinegar and has acidity in range of four-to-seven percent. It may also be tagged as Cleaning Vinegar but can also be used in the laundry.

When shopping for vinegar to use in the laundry, go for distilled white vinegar. It is less expensive and contains no tannins (natural plant dyes) that can leave stains on your clothes.

If you must use cider vinegar, use in little amount and dilute it in water before pouring directly on fabrics.

Vinegar in Laundry

1. Whiten and brighten clothes

Distilled white vinegar contains acetic acid that is so mild, it will not harm washable fabrics; yet it is strong enough to dissolve residues (alkalies) deposited by detergents and soaps.

Pouring just one-half cup of vinegar in the final rinse will result in clearer, brighter colours. Add the distilled white vinegar manually at the beginning of the rinse cycle or add the vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser.

The mild acetic acid in vinegar also acts as a brightener and whitener for grey, dingy clothes. To get dingy dishcloths and stained white socks white again, add one cup of vinegar to a large pot of water.


Heat to boiling and pour on the dingy items. Leave to soak overnight and then launder as usual. This process should only be used on 100 percent cotton fabric.

2. Eliminate mildew odour

Leaving a load of wet clothing in the washer or wet towels in a hamper can create a mouldy smell and enable mildew growth (a live, growing organism that is capable of attaching itself to most surfaces including clothes leaving stain and damage).

To get everything smelling fresh, fill the washing machine with hot water, pour two cups of distilled white vinegar into the washer and run a complete wash cycle. Run another full cycle this time adding detergent. This works well for a small amount of sour smells and mould.

3. Soften fabrics naturally

If you want softer clothes, but don’t fancy the idea of using heavily-scented commercial fabric softeners, just add one-half cup of distilled white vinegar into the final rinse cycle as it acts as natural cloth softener and leaves no residue on laundry.

You can add a couple of drops of essential oil like cedar oil or Lavender to your bottle of vinegar if you do like a light scent on your fabrics.

Commercial fabric softeners should never be used for children’s laundry as they interfere with the fire retardant of their clothing, especially pyjamas. Distilled white vinegar is hypoallergenic and safe for all children’s clothes.

4. Combat underarm odour

To remove perspiration stains and smell on washable fabrics, fill a spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar, spray the vinegar directly on the cloth on the inside of the underarm parts and allow to work for at least ten minutes before placing the cloth into the washer.

If the garment feels stiff before washing, break up the residue by brushing the surface with a soft-bristle brush. The vinegar will help break residual deodorant deposits on clothing and prevent yellowish underarm patches.

5. Help reduce pet hair and lint

Adding just one-half cup of white distilled vinegar to your rinse cycle will assist in preventing the clinging of pet hair and lint to clothes. It’ll also help to rid your fabrics of excessive lint if you accidentally wash something dark with some lint-producing towels.

6. Erase hemlines

Kids and some grownups seem to grow or put on weight overnight, and pant hems have to be let down to fit our new size, often leaving a mark.


To cover all those tiny holes along a hemline or seam when a garment is altered, dampen a white fabric with distilled white vinegar, place it under the clothing and press. To prevent scorching, use a pressing cloth on top of the garment and press with the recommended ironing temperature.

7. Keep dark fabrics dark

Dull faces of washable dark clothes are caused by detergent and soap residue on the cloth’s surface. To remove these residues, add one-half cup of distilled white vinegar to the finishing rinse cycle.

8. Eliminate smoke odours

If your washable garments reek of cigar and cigarette smoke odour, pour one-half cup of distilled white vinegar into the wash cycle. For dry clean only fabrics and furnishings like drapes and pillows, add one cup of vinegar into a bathtub filled with boiling water.

Hang the fabrics or clothes above the steaming water and shut the door to allow the steam to penetrate the fibres.

Distilled white vinegar can also be used to eliminate heavy smoke odour in the air caused by a kitchen or other small household fire.

9. Clean your washing machine

A clean washer is equivalent to a cleaner laundry. Mineral deposits and soap scum can build up in hoses of your washer restricting the flow of water and overall performance.

Four times per year, clean hoses and remove soap scum by running a full wash cycle with the washer empty using two cups of distilled white vinegar and hot water.

If you have an automatic fabric softener or detergent dispenser, place distilled white vinegar in the dispensers to break down any residue build-up that may hinder performance.

10. Clean your iron

Mineral deposits can block an iron’s spray nozzles and steam vents. To remove those deposits and clean the iron’s surface, fill the water chamber with a solution of equal parts distilled water and distilled white vinegar. Place the iron in an upright position on a heatproof surface and allow it to steam for about five minutes.

Rinse the tank with distilled water once the iron cools down. Refill the tank and shake water through the vents onto an old fabric. Finally, iron an old fabric for a couple of minutes to remove any residue before moving on to ironing wearable clothing.


To remove scorch marks from the surface of an iron, rub with a paste of equal parts salt and distilled white vinegar. Finish by wiping down the surface with a piece of cloth dampened with undiluted distilled white vinegar.

These are some of the fantastic ways distilled white vinegar can be used in the laundry; make sure to try them out the next you’re doing your laundry and if you’ve applied any of the procedures before, let us know how beneficial it was for you by using the comment section below.

We would be delighted to hear from you.

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