Once you know how to use vinegar in laundry, you can save a small fortune on expensive products.
No condiment is more helpful around the house than white vinegar. It’s no secret that vinegar is the power behind homemade cleaners. It’s what gives this daily shower spray and this DIY bathroom disinfectant great cleaning power.
It’s also a miracle-worker in the laundry room, too.
Ways To Use Vinegar In Laundry
Use Vinegar to Remove Wine Stains
The old saying, “Don’t cry over spilled milk” applies to red wine, too. Just because you sloshed your Shiraz doesn’t mean you need to spazz. Try these tips on using vinegar to treat red wine spills.
- Heat 2 cups of white vinegar.
- Stretch the fabric stained-side down over a bowl and pour half of the vinegar through it. As you pour, the vinegar will start pulling the stain out of the clothing.
- Rinse under cold water then soak the fabric in the remaining vinegar for 20 minutes.
- Rinse again and launder immediately.
- Heat 1 cup of white vinegar then pour it into a spray bottle. Add 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish detergent and swirl to combine.
- Blot the carpet stain with paper towels to remove as much wine as possible.
- Next, spray the stain with the heated, soapy vinegar. (Do not saturate the carpet or you’ll drive the wine into the pad!)
- Wait 5 minutes then blot with clean paper towels.
- Repeat if needed until the stain is gone.
Using Vinegar as a Fabric Softener
Adding 1 cup of straight vinegar to the rinse cycle is an excellent alternative to synthetic, commercial fabric softeners. Like to line-dry clothes? Using vinegar in the rinse cycle reduces that “crunchy” feeling air-dried fabrics often get. Don’t worry, the smell will disappear long before the clothes are dry.
You can also use vinegar to make your own dryer sheets!
Using Vinegar to Eliminate Mildew Smells
Just about everyone has forgotten a load of laundry in the washing machine at some point. When that happens, washing the load a second time doesn’t necessarily get rid of the awful mildew smell. As soon as the fabric gets damp from use, the odor will reappear. That’s because the mildew spores are still alive and clinging to the fabric.
To eliminate mildew smells, add two cups of straight white vinegar along with the detergent when you rewash the load. Select the longest, hottest cycle the fabric can handle. Vinegar will kill the mildew spores and the smell, too.
Vinegar Can Make Blankets Fluffy Again
Sweat, body oils, and fabric softener all build up in blankets over time. Eventually, it will feel flat and looking dingy, too.
Get blankets looking and feeling almost new by washing them in a long cycle with only white vinegar and no other laundry products — not even detergent. The vinegar will cut through the buildup and loosen the fibers.
Use Vinegar to Disinfect Laundry Without Bleach
Bleach can irritate skin and lungs, so those with respiratory illnesses or sensitive skin should avoid using it. That doesn’t mean you have to give up cleanliness, though!
Add 1 and 1/2 cups of straight vinegar to the wash cycle along with your favorite detergent. The acidic nature of vinegar disinfects and deodorizes, too. Using homemade laundry detergent or washing soda? Wait until the rinse cycle to add vinegar and let it soak for 20 minutes.
And never, ever use both bleach and vinegar — they are two of the cleaning ingredients that you should never combine.
Soften New Jeans with Vinegar
Give brand new jeans that soft, lived-in feel by washing them in a cold cycle using 2 cups straight vinegar. Stop the machine before the rinse cycle and let the jeans soak for 20 minutes, then proceed.
Use Vinegar to Get Gum Out
There’s no need to panic over gum stuck in your clothes or on your shoes. Just reach for the vinegar and get to work.
- Put the garment in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden the gum.
- Use the edge of a spoon to break away as much of the mess as possible.
- Heat 1/2 cup of vinegar.
- Place the item on a clean towel and gently scrub any remaining gum with an old toothbrush dipped in the hot vinegar.
- Repeat as needed until the gum is completely gone.
- Pour the remaining hot vinegar through the fabric to remove any residue. Launder immediately.
- Scrape away as much of the gum as possible with a table knife.
- Place the shoe in a plastic or paper bag and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Use the knife to pry up any remaining, hardened bits of gum.
- Wipe the area with straight white vinegar to remove any sticky residue.
Knowing how to use vinegar in laundry means you can replace a number of expensive products, so remember to keep your pantry stocked with it!
This article first appeared December 2011. It has been revised and updated for republication.
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