Water Softener Made With Vinegar

Softening water is removing or countering minerals (calcium, magnesium, and even iron). Mechanical water softening systems are available, but vinegar can also be used to soften water for dishes and laundry purposes.

Mother and child (21-24 months) doing laundry
credit: Buccina Studios/Photodisc/Getty Images

Types

For softening your water, it is best to use distilled white vinegar. Other types of vinegar may stain or discolor your fabrics (when used for laundry), dishes and dishwasher (when used for dishwashing).

Uses

Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to the final rinse cycle when using for laundry. Use white vinegar in your rinse aid dispenser in your dishwasher to soften water when washing dishes.

Benefits

Using vinegar to soften water in your washing machine or dishwasher increases the effectiveness of your detergent, resulting in cleaner clothing/linens or dishes.

Misconceptions

Vinegar has a very pungent aroma, but don't worry -- the smell washes away completely so your clothing/linens and plates will be odor-free.

Fun Fact

Vinegar doesn't just soften water and increase cleanliness of the articles you wash. In the laundry it softens fabrics and whitens whites, and in the dishwasher it acts as a rinse aid for spotless dishes.