Vinegar for Laundry: 11 Earth-Friendly Uses and Benefits

Last Updated on 11 months by Susan Mayrich

White vinegar is a multipurpose cleaning product that’s been used for generations. It can be used to clean, disinfect and deodorize just about everything in your home. Vinegar is cheap and safe to use on most surfaces and materials.

Vinegar for Laundry

Keep reading to discover the 10 friendly uses and benefits of vinegar for your laundry.

What is Vinegar

Vinegar is a liquid made from the fermentation of ethanol and acetic acid. Vinegar is mostly made from alcoholic beverages, such as wine, but some are produced by fermenting starch or sugars. Vinegar can be used as a condiment or food preservative and has been used for both throughout history.

Is It Safe to Use Vinegar Laundry?

Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and stain remover that can be used in your laundry to help remove stains and odors from clothing and linens. It also acts as an oxygen bleach, which means it helps brighten whites while removing stains on colored fabrics.

vinegar for laundry

Will Vinegar Damage Clothes

Vinegar is acidic and it can damage some types of fabric when left on them for too long. The most commonly damaged fabrics are silk and wool because they are more sensitive than most other types of fabrics.

If you are going to use vinegar on your clothes make sure that you rinse them thoroughly after washing them in vinegar so that no traces remain on them after drying.

will vinegar damage clothes

What Kind of Vinegar for Laundry

Vinegar is a great cleaning product and can be used to remove stains from clothing. The most common types of vinegar include distilled, white vinegar as well as apple cider vinegar. Distilled vinegar is the most common type of vinegar used for household cleaning and disinfecting, while apple cider vinegar has many more uses.

what kind of vinegar for laundry

11 Earth-Friendly Uses Vinegar in Laundry

The natural properties of vinegar make it ideal for use in the laundry because it gently cleanses while helping to remove stains and odors from clothing while softening fibers at the same time.

Here are some ways to use vinegar for your laundry.


Use vinegar as a pre-treater for tough stains like blood or grease on clothes or carpets. Pour a small amount of white vinegar directly onto the stain, rub it in with your finger and let it sit for five minutes before washing as usual.

The acid in white vinegar will help break down these tough stains so they’ll rinse out more easily when you wash them later on.


Soap Residue Remover

Vinegar helps remove detergent residue from fabrics, which can cause them to become stiffer over time. If your towels or sheets are starting to feel rough after repeated washings, use vinegar instead of a store-bought fabric softener. You can also add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to soften clothes further.

soap residue remover

Stain Remover

Vinegar is a natural stain remover that works on protein stains such as blood, urine, and grass stains as well as mineral stains such as rust and mineral deposits left behind by hard water (murky white spots). It will not work on grease stains or oil-based messes like motor oil or tar.

Fabric Softener

Fabric softeners make your clothes feel soft and fresh without weighing them down with chemicals. Vinegar is an effective fabric softener when used alone or in combination with baking soda.

fabric softener

Odor Remover

Vinegar also deodorizes clothes and helps remove odors from fabrics such as leather or wool that are prone to retaining odors over time. It also works well for removing mildew from towels and bed linens that have been left damp for long periods of time or clothes stored in areas where mildew grows easily like basements or closets with poor ventilation.

odor remover

Substitute for Bleach

You can use vinegar as a substitute for bleach when washing whites. Add one cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle instead of bleach for bright white results without any chemical residue left behind on your clothes from chlorine bleach.

substitute for bleach

Wash those shower curtains and liners

Shower curtains and liners often get stained by mold or mildew, which can be hard to remove. Bathing them in vinegar will make them fresh again without damaging the material. Just pour 1 cup of vinegar into the washer and add about 4 drops of liquid fabric softener if needed. Let it run through until it’s finished, then rinse with regular detergent when you’re done.

wash those shower curtains and liners

Remove Wrinkles

Do you know that vinegar can remove wrinkles from your clothes? If so, this is another great reason why you should use it for laundry purposes. Simply apply a few drops of vinegar to any area where you have wrinkles or creases on your clothes and let it sit for about half an hour. This will help get rid of those unwanted wrinkles on your items so that they look amazing again.

Clean the Washer

You don’t have to use expensive cleaners on your washing machine. Fill a cup with 1/2 cup vinegar and run through a cycle. This will remove soap buildup and leave your washer smelling fresh. If you have hard water stains, mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 cup water and pour into the bottom of the washer before adding clothes for another cycle.

clean the washer

Restore Towel Absorbency

Vinegar can help remove odors and restore original size after machine washing or dry cleaning sweaters that have lost their shape due to shrinkage from too much heat during processing.

If your towels aren’t as absorbent as they once were, soak them in vinegar overnight, then launder as usual. You can also add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle for extra softness and odor removal.

Set Colors

If your clothes are fading or bleeding onto other items in the wash, try adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle. This will help set colors so they don’t run onto other clothing items. It’s also useful if you’re washing dark-colored clothing with light-colored clothing.

set colors

Vinegar for Laundry FAQs

What Happens When Use Too Much Vinegar in Laundry

When you use too much vinegar in your washing machine, it can cause damage to your clothes, including fading and holes in fabrics. This can also cause permanent yellow stains on your clothes if you don’t treat them quickly enough after they are stained with the acid from the vinegar.

Can You Put Vinegar in Laundry Front Loader

Yes, you can put vinegar in a front loader washer without any problems at all. Vinegar has many uses around the house, including as an all-natural cleaner for various surfaces around your home or as a stain remover when used as part of your regular laundry routine.

Can You Mix Vinegar and Laundry Detergent Together

The answer is yes, you can mix vinegar with laundry detergent. The combination of the two will clean your clothes more efficiently than either one alone. It will also save you money because you won’t need as much detergent to get the same results.

Is Soaking Clothes in Vinegar Overnight Safe?

Yes, soaking clothes overnight in vinegar is safe as long as you use distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar rather than malt vinegar or other types of vinegar with additives that can damage fabrics over time if left on too long or left on frequently (the same goes for baking soda).

How Long To Soak Clothes in Vinegar

It is recommended that you soak your clothes overnight in vinegar if they have tough stains on them or if you want to get rid of smells like smoke or perfume from your wardrobe items.

Soaking helps break down oils and other substances that may be present on your clothes which might be causing odors or stains on them. Soaking overnight also gives time for any dirt particles or residue left behind by detergents or other cleaning agents used previously.

Final Words

Because of its many uses, vinegar is a great tool to use in your laundry room. Vinegar is a natural fabric softener and odor remover, making it an ideal addition to your list of essential laundry supplies.

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