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How to Use Vinegar in the Laundry Room

White Vinegar is a Miracle Laundry Product


Inexpensive white distilled vinegar can be used in the laundry to whiten, brighten, reduce odor and remove mildew without harsh chemicals. Keep a bottle next to your detergent to keep laundry looking its best.

Specific questions? Just ask here.

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Clothes Brightener

Keep Clothes Colors Bright
The acetic acid in white distilled vinegar is so mild that it will not harm fabrics; yet is strong enough to dissolve residues (alkalies) left by soaps and detergents. Just adding 1/2 cup vinegar to the final rinse will result in brighter, clearer colors.

Mildew Remover

Remove Washer Odor

Leaving wet towels in a hamper or a load of wet clothing in the laundry washer creates mildew and a moldy smell. To get everything smelling fresh, fill the washer with hot water, add two cups of white distilled vinegar and run through the wash cycle. Then, run a normal cycle with detergent.

This works well for small amounts of mold and sour smells. For larger mold issues, you'll need to use a more aggressive treatment.

Green Fabric Softener

Fabric Softener and Childrens Sleepwear

If you don't like the idea of using heavily scented commercial fabric softeners, but want softer clothes, white distilled vinegar acts as a natural fabric softener leaving no residue on laundry. Just add 1/2 cup to the final rinse. This should be used with all fire-retardant children's clothing - especially pajamas. Commercial fabric softeners interfere with fire retardant qualities.

Laundry Whitener

Keep White Clothes White

The mild acetic acid in vinegar acts as a whitener and brightener for gray, dingy clothes in the laundry. To get stained white socks and dingy dishcloths white again, add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to a large pot of water. Heat to boiling and add the articles. Let soak overnight and then launder as usual. This should only be used on 100 percent cotton clothing.

To learn more about how to keep whites white, follow these steps.

Reduce Lint and Static Cling

Remove Lint on Clothes

By adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the washer rinse cycle, you can help prevent lint and pet hair from clinging to clothes. If you accidentally washed something dark with some lint-producing towels, follow these tips to help get rid of the excessive lint.

Remove Perspiration Stains and Odor

Fill a spray bottle with distilled white vinegar and keep it on hand in the laundry room. To remove perspiration odor and stains on clothing spray the vinegar on underarm and collar areas before tossing them into the washing machine. The vinegar will help to cut through residual deodorant left on clothing and prevent underarm yellowing.

Remove Smoke Odors

Remove Cigarette Smoke Odors

If your washable clothing reeks of cigarette or cigar smoke odor, add 1/2 cup vinegar to the wash cycle. For dry clean only clothes and furnishings like pillows and drapes, fill the bathtub with very hot water and add 1 cup white distilled vinegar. Hang the clothes or fabric above the steaming water and shut the door so the steam can penetrate the fibers.

For heavy smoke odors from a fire, follow these steps to remove the odor.

Keep Black Clothes Black

Keep Black Clothes Black

Adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the final rinse cycle will remove soap and detergent residue that makes black clothes look dull.

Learn more tips to keep black clothes black.

Seam and Hemline Mark Remover

How to Iron
Microsoft Publisher 2003
To get rid of the tiny holes left along a seam or hemline when a garment is altered, moisten a cloth with white distilled vinegar, place it under the fabric and press. Select the correct ironing temperature and use a pressing cloth on top of the fabric to prevent scorching.

Steam Iron Cleaner

How to Clean Iron

Mineral deposits can clog an iron's steam vents and spray nozzles. To remove those deposits,fill the water chamber with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and distilled water. Set the iron in an upright position on a heatproof surface and let it steam for about five minutes. When the iron is cool, rinse the tank with water. Then refill the iron and shake water through the vents onto an old cloth. Iron an old cloth for several minutes before moving on to wearable garments.

To remove scorch marks from the faceplate of an iron, rub with a warmed-up solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and salt. Finish with a cloth dampened with full-strength white distilled vinegar.

Washing Machine Cleaner

How to Clean a Washer
Microsoft Publisher 2003

Soap scum and mineral deposits can build up in the hoses of your washer restricting water flow and performance. Four times per year, remove soap scum and clean the hoses by using hot water and a cup of white distilled vinegar in the wash cycle.

If you have automatic detergent or fabric softener dispensers, use pure white distilled vinegar to clean any build-up that may limit performance.

Follow the links for more specific cleaning instructions for Front Load Washers and Top Load Washers.

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