How to Use Vinegar in Laundry

7 Smart Ways to Use Vinegar in Your Laundry

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Is there any end to the usefulness of humble white vinegar? From adding it to cleaning products to making a decent salad dressing, this is one versatile condiment. It’s even helpful in the laundry room.

From treating stains to solving sticky messes, using vinegar your laundry is an affordable, natural and safe way to level up your laundry routine.

Pro Tip

The standard laundry load uses 19 gallons of water. Adding up to 2 cups of water to that is like mixing a shot glass of vinegar in a bathtub of water: it’s enough to be effective but not enough to cause damage.

Use Vinegar to Remove Red Wine Stains

If you love a nice red at the end of a long week, keep some vinegar in your laundry room to tackle the inevitable stains.

  1. Heat two cups of white vinegar and stretch the fabric stain-side down over a bowl.
  2. Slowly pour half the vinegar through the fabric and let it begin pulling the stain out.
  3. Rinse the cloth under cold water then soak the stained area in the rest of the vinegar for 20 minutes.
  4. 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. Then check out my tips to keep jeans from fading.

Use Vinegar to Get Gum Out of Clothes

If you’ve sat in gum, don’t panic. Freeze the gum with an ice cube then scrape it off the fabric with the edge of a spoon. Next, soak the spot in hot vinegar for 30 minutes, scrubbing it now and then with an old toothbrush every 5 minutes to loosen the mess. 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. Add a cup to the rinse cycle or use it in your fabric softener dispenser. Don’t worry, the smell disappears as your clothing dries.

Using Vinegar to Eliminate Mildew Odor

Using vinegar in ever load of laundry helps keep your clothes from developing mildew, since detergent alone can’t do that job. 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.

Use Vinegar to Make Blankets Fluffy Again

Get your blankets fluffy again by washing them with two cups of vinegar—no detergent, no fabric softener—at the hottest temperature recommended on the care label. When you’re ready to dry them, add a couple of clean tennis balls in with your blanket to fluff the fibers.

Use Vinegar to Disinfect Laundry Without Bleach

A cup of vinegar added to your 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, or line-dry it in bright sunlight.

Which one is your favorite way to use vinegar in your laundry — or is there one I haven’t mentioned yet? Share in the comments!

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  1. does vinegar hurt my septic system

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Mary,
      Vinegar is actually more beneficial to your septic system than commercial cleaning products which may kill the bacteria that your system needs to break down waste. By the time vinegar in your laundry reaches your septic tank, it’s mixed with so much water that it is neutral and non-toxic to those bacteria, so you can feel good about using it.

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