11 Ways to Wash Clothes in Vinegar

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Wash clothes in vinegar to eliminate odors
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Put versatile vinegar to work in the laundry room to brighten colors, kill odors and eliminate tough stains. A staple in any homemade cleaning arsenal, distilled white vinegar is a multitasking must-have for your laundry routine. The inexpensive ingredient is an effective natural cleaner and is safe to use on everything from towels and sheets to delicates and baby's clothing. Learn 11 easy ways to incorporate vinegar into your laundry routine.

Image Credit: Susan Hudson
Vinegar Fabric Softener
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2. Fabric Softener

Replace expensive commercial fabric softeners with white distilled vinegar. Vinegar acts as a natural fabric softener that softens clothes without leaving any residue. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the final rinse cycle.

Image Credit: Susan Hudson
Wash clothes in vinegar to reduce static cling
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3. Static Reducer

Dryer sheets will be a thing of the past! Add 1/2 cup of vinegar in the final rinse cycle of each wash load to prevent static cling.

Image Credit: Susan Hudson
Wash clothes in vinegar to eliminate soap residue
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4. Eliminate Soap Residue

The acetic acid in white vinegar breaks down any soap residue that may have built up on clothing, towels, blankets and sheets. This residue can irritate sensitive skin, especially in babies and young children. Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle to eliminate soap buildup.

Add 2 cups of vinegar to the final rinse cycle when washing towels, sheets, and blankets. This will remove all soapy buildup that has accumulated over time and leave your towels softer and fluffier than they have been in a long time.

Image Credit: Susan Hudson
Wash clothes in vinegar to minimize pet hair
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5. Minimize Lint and Pet Hair

Not only will vinegar reduce static cling, but it will also help minimize lint and pet hair build up. Adding 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle will help keep lint and pet hair from clinging to fabrics.

Image Credit: Susan Hudson
Wash clothes in vinegar to whiten whites
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6. Whiten Whites

Keep white clothes white and remove yellow or dingy stains with vinegar. To prevent stains, add 1 1/2 cups of vinegar to the last rinse cycle in a load of white clothing.

To remove stains, bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 cup of vinegar. Remove pot from heat and add your whites. Soak overnight, then wash as usual.

Image Credit: Susan Hudson
Vinegar Stain Treatment
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7. Stain Treatment

Don't cry over spilled coffee. Keep a spray bottle of undiluted white vinegar in the laundry room to pretreat coffee, wine, soda, chocolate and jelly stains. Apply vinegar to stains on washable 100% cotton, polyester and permanent press cotton fabrics until saturated. Let the fabric absorb the vinegar for 10 minutes, then gently scrub with a soft brush and launder according to care tag instructions. For accidental deodorant stains, saturate one corner of a washcloth with vinegar and gently wipe away stains.

Image Credit: Susan Hudson
How to wash clothes with vinegar
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8. Eliminate odors

Vinegar is great for eliminating funky odors and even works on smoke or mildew smells. Add 1 cup white vinegar to the last rinse cycle to deodorize an entire load.

For lingering smoke odors in clothes, fill a bathtub with hot water and add 2 cups of vinegar. Hang clothes above the tub and let the vinegar absorb the smell.

Forgot to take clothes out of the washer and now they smell sour? No problem! Run the load again with hot water and add 2 cups of vinegar. Then wash again with detergent to get rid of the musty odor.

Image Credit: Susan Hudson / Stephanie Gerber
Wash clothes in vinegar to prevent fading
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9. Prevent Fading

Brightly colored clothing tends to run in the wash (hello, pink socks!). You can prevent fading and extend the life of colored clothes by making them colorfast before washing. Soak new colored clothing in solution of one part vinegar and one part water for 20 minutes to prevent them from bleeding in the wash. Test on an inconspicuous spot before immersing fabric and then launder according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Image Credit: Susan Hudson
Wash clothes in vinegar to clean delicates
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10. Wash Delicates

Use vinegar instead of detergent to hand-wash delicates and swim suits. Add 1/4 cup of vinegar to a sink full of lukewarm water and soak delicates for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and air dry.

Image Credit: Susan Hudson
Use vinegar to clean washing machine
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11. Clean Your Washing Machine

Soap residue and mineral deposits can build up in your washer's barrel, dispensers and hoses. Remove soap scum and freshen your washing machine by adding 1 cup of vinegar to an empty washing machine and running it through a normal wash cycle without clothes once a month.

Pour the vinegar into any automatic detergent or fabric softener dispensers to remove any soapy residue that has accumulated in there as well.

Image Credit: Susan Hudson


Stephanie Gerber is the founder and editor of the beauty and wellness site, HelloGlow.co. She lives in Nashville with her husband and three children.