Using Vinegar for Laundry Purposes

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Home Improvement

©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Vinegar is an excellent pre-treatment for stains, water softener, and laundry detergent booster. Distilled white vinegar is the preferred choice when cleaning fabrics, but apple cider vinegar works equally well in case it is not available.

This article provides various ways to use vinegar for better laundry results. However, please note that the tips mentioned here should not be applied to dry-clean-only fabrics.

Here are some basic tips:

Blankets: Add two cups of vinegar to the last rinse cycle when washing cotton or washable wool blankets. This will help remove soap and make blankets soft and fluffy.

Clothes Softener: Add half a cup of vinegar to the last rinse cycle to soften clothes.

Lint: Reduce lint buildup and prevent pet hair from clinging to clothing by adding vinegar to the last rinse cycle.

New Clothes: Soak new clothing in one gallon of water with half a cup of vinegar to remove any irritating chemical treatment. Rinse and wash as usual.

Static Cling: Control static cling by adding half a cup of vinegar to the last rinse cycle.

Special Fabrics

Delicates: Follow the garment’s care instructions while washing delicate items by hand and add one or two tablespoons of vinegar to the last rinse to remove soap residue.

Leather: Use a mixture of one cup boiled linseed oil and one cup vinegar to clean leather. Apply it carefully to any spots with a soft cloth and let it dry.

Silk: Dip silks (do not soak) in a mixture of half a cup mild detergent, two tablespoons vinegar, and two quarts cold water. Rinse well, then roll in a heavy towel to soak up the excess moisture. Iron while still damp.

The next section demonstrates how vinegar can help in cleaning colored garments and removing stains.

Cleaning Colors and Removing Stains

Vinegar is a versatile solution for washing colored garments and removing stains.

Colors

Brighten any dull colored clothing item by soaking it in one gallon of warm water and one cup vinegar. Follow it up with a clear water rinse.

Yellowing: Add half a cup vinegar to the rinse water while hand washing linen, wool, or silk to prevent yellowing.

Removing Stains

Vinegar is a great aid in removing laundry stains. Here are a few examples:

Coffee and Tea: Soak the item in a solution of one-third cup vinegar and two-thirds cup water for coffee or tea stains that have set. Dry the garment out in the sun afterwards.

Grass: Soak white clothes with severe grass stains in full-strength vinegar for half an hour before washing.

Gum: Soak gum stains in vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes if sticky spots remain after removing a piece of gum from clothing. Launder as usual.

Ink: Spray hair spray on an older ink stain in cotton fabric, then wipe it with vinegar to remove the sticky spray.

Using Vinegar in Laundry

To remove dried red berry juice stains from bleach-safe garments, soak them in a solution of 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 water, then wash as usual. For mildew stains on most fabrics, use a mixture of salt, vinegar, and water, and up to full-strength vinegar if mildew is extensive. Synthetic blends or old stains on natural materials can be treated with ammonia before applying vinegar and water.

A basic laundry pretreatment mixture of half water and half vinegar can help with many common stains on clothing. Keep a spray bottle of this in your laundry room to spray onto stains before washing. Vinegar is a great help in laundry and is a better option than buying new clothes.

To remove rust stains in fabric, make a thin paste of vinegar and salt, spread it on the stain, and lay the item in the sun to bleach it, or stretch the fabric over a large kettle and pour boiling water through the stained area. Check the stain, run the item through the rinse cycle, and repeat the treatment if necessary.

A pretreatment solution for tough clothing stains can be made by combining 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup baking soda, 2 squirts liquid soap, and 2 quarts water. Keep the solution in a clearly labeled spray bottle in your laundry room.

Vinegar in Laundry FAQs

Adding vinegar to laundry can whiten and brighten garments, remove odors and lint, and help remove ink, juice, and gum stains. Ideally, use white vinegar, but if it’s not available, apple cider vinegar can be used if diluted with water to avoid staining. Vinegar can be added to the fabric softener compartment or manually during the last rinse. Clothes can be soaked in vinegar for 10 minutes to half an hour.

Originally Published: Mar 16, 2006

FAQ

1. What kind of vinegar should I use for laundry?

You should use white distilled vinegar for laundry. It is the most commonly used type of vinegar in laundry. It is clear and has a sharp, acidic taste. Other types of vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar, may leave stains on clothes.

2. How much vinegar should I use in my laundry?

It is recommended to use 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar per load of laundry. You can add it to the rinse cycle or use a fabric softener dispenser if your washing machine has one. You can also add vinegar directly to the fabric softener compartment of your washing machine.

3. Can vinegar remove stains from clothes?

Vinegar can help remove some stains from clothes. It works well on sweat stains and underarm stains. To remove stains, mix equal parts vinegar and water and apply the mixture to the stain. Let it sit for 30 minutes before washing the clothes as usual.

4. Can vinegar replace fabric softener?

Yes, vinegar can replace fabric softener. It helps to soften clothes and remove static cling. It is also a natural and inexpensive alternative to conventional fabric softener. However, some people find that the smell of vinegar is too strong. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, you can add a few drops of essential oil to the vinegar before adding it to your laundry.

5. Can vinegar help remove odors from clothes?

Yes, vinegar can help remove odors from clothes. It is especially effective on musty odors. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to help eliminate odors. You can also soak clothes in a mixture of vinegar and water before washing them to help remove strong odors.

6. Can vinegar damage clothes?

No, vinegar is safe to use on most types of fabric. It is a natural and gentle alternative to harsh chemical cleaners. However, it is not recommended to use vinegar on silk or other delicate fabrics. Always check the care label on your clothes before using vinegar.

7. Can vinegar help prevent colors from fading?

Yes, vinegar can help prevent colors from fading. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to help keep colors bright. It can also help remove detergent residue that can dull colors over time.

8. Can vinegar remove pet hair from clothes?

Yes, vinegar can help remove pet hair from clothes. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to help loosen pet hair from clothes. You can also use a lint roller or a sticky tape to remove pet hair from clothes.

9. Can vinegar help remove mildew from clothes?

Yes, vinegar can help remove mildew from clothes. Mix equal parts vinegar and water and apply the mixture to the mildew stains. Let it sit for 30 minutes before washing the clothes as usual. Vinegar is also effective in preventing mildew growth on clothes.

10. Can vinegar help remove soap residue from clothes?

Yes, vinegar can help remove soap residue from clothes. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle to help remove soap residue. Soap residue can make clothes feel stiff and uncomfortable to wear.

11. Can vinegar be used in a front-loading washing machine?

Yes, vinegar can be used in a front-loading washing machine. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to the fabric softener compartment of your washing machine. If your washing machine does not have a fabric softener compartment, you can add vinegar directly to the rinse cycle.

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