With these easy ways to use vinegar in the laundry, you can fight stains and odors while saving money at the same time.
Doing laundry is already a chore. Shuffling through a shelf full of expensive laundry products looking for one that might work — and which won’t damage your clothes — makes it even more of a hassle.
Fortunately, the solution is as close as your pantry cupboard. In fact, once you know how to use vinegar in your laundry, you may want to keep a spare jug of it next to the washing machine.
Ways To Use Vinegar In Your Laundry
From treating stains to solving sticky messes, eliminating odors, and revitalizing your linens, using vinegar in the laundry is an affordable, effective, and safe solution.
Use Vinegar to Remove Red Wine Stains
If you’re a sucker for Shiraz or crazy for Cabernet, you’ll want to use vinegar in your laundry routine to tackle those inevitable red wine stains.
- Heat two cups of white vinegar and stretch the fabric stain-side down over a bowl.
- Slowly pour half the vinegar through the fabric and let it begin pulling the stain out.
- Rinse the cloth under cold water then soak the stained area in the rest of the vinegar for 20 minutes.
- Rinse again and launder.
Soften New Jeans with Vinegar
Give brand new jeans that soft, lived-in feel by washing them in a cold cycle using 2 cups of vinegar. Stop the machine before the rinse cycle to let the jeans soak for 20 minutes, and then proceed. (Related: How to Keep Jeans from Fading.)
Use Vinegar to Get Gum Out of Clothes
If you’ve sat in gum, don’t panic. Follow this 3-step method of using vinegar in your laundry to get rid of the mess. First, freeze the gum with an ice cube then scrape it off the fabric with the edge of a spoon. Then, soak the spot in hot vinegar for 30 minutes, scrubbing it with an old toothbrush every 5 minutes to remove residue. Finally, launder the item right away to get rid of the stickiness.
Using Vinegar as a Fabric Softener
Vinegar softens clothing fibers and removes residue from using too much detergent. All you need to do is pour one cup of vinegar into the rinse cycle, use it to fill your fabric softener dispenser. Don’t worry — the smell disappears as your clothing dries. (Related: How to Make Dryer Sheets.)
Using Vinegar to Eliminate Mildew Odor
Who hasn’t forgotten about clothes in the washer, or found a damp towel on the floor that’s reeking of mildew? Using vinegar in your laundry every load is an excellent solution because detergent alone doesn’t kill the mildew spores. Vinegar does. Just add two cups to the wash with the detergent. Then be sure you don’t forget about the load when it’s time to dry. (Related: How to Disinfect Laundry.)
Use Vinegar to Make Blankets Fluffy Again
If your favorite duvet isn’t as fluffy or your blanket has lost its softness, it’s usually due to a buildup of body oils or excess detergent or fabric softener. But you can use vinegar to make your blanket soft and like-new again.
Add your bedding to the washing machine with 2 cups of vinegar and nothing else. Run the longest cycle with the hottest temperature the fabric can handle. If possible, run a second rinse cycle, too. When you’re ready to dry, toss a couple of clean tennis balls in with your blanket to fluff the fibers. (Related: How to Wash and Revive Towels.)
Use Vinegar to Disinfect Laundry Without Bleach
Many people avoid bleach because it’s irritating, especially if you have asthma or sensitive skin. You can still disinfect laundry without it, though. Adding 1 cup of vinegar to the wash cycle with your favorite detergent kills many of the worst household germs. Finish disinfecting by tumble-drying laundry for at least 30 minutes on high heat.
This post first appeared in December 2013. It has been revised for republication.
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