18 ways to use vinegar in the laundry that will surprise you

18 ways to use vinegar in the laundry that will surprise you

White vinegar is a hugely efficient cleaning product, and can peform most tasks the same if not better than most household cleaners. It's cheap, natural and environmentally-friendly which makes it ideal for laundry - you can remove stains, fluff up blankets and clean your iron. Discover ways to use vinegar during your laundry now...

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1. Get rid of underarm stains

Eliminate perspiration marks under the armpits of clothing by soaking them with vinegar before washing as usual. You can also get rid of solid residue from deodorants and body lotions by saturating the area in vinegar before laundering as usual. This will also remove any lingering smells too!

2. Deep stain removal on collars and cuff 

Keep those collars and cuffs pristine.
Keep those collars and cuffs pristine.

If the hot weather is leaving sweat stains on your shirts and other tops, make a homemade stain remover by stirring in spoons of vinegar to bicarbonate of soda until it form a thick paste. Rub it into the stains before chucking it in for a hot wash.

3. Clean cloth nappies & prevent nappy rash

Neutralise the urine in soft cloth nappies and by soaking them in a bucket with a solution of 1/2 pint of vinegar and 9 litres of water. It also helps prevent staining! If you wash nappies in the washing machine, add 1/2 pint of vinegar before the rinse cycle to equalise the pH balance which is said to help prevent nappy rash in babies who wear cloth nappies.

4. Cut down on lint in your laundry

Another great reason to pop vinegar in the rinse cycle of your washing machine is that it helps reduce the amount of lint after laundering. For an average load of laundry, add 1/2 a pint of vinegar into the rinse cycle and you'll hopefully experience less lint.

5. Reduce stiffness in new jeans

Soften any stiffness.
Soften any stiffness.

Vinegar is a great fabric softener. Turn your new jeans inside out and add 1/2 a pint of vinegar to the wash - your jeans will be nice and soft when they dry.

6. Remove white marks in hemmed clothing

Have you ever noticed a white line when you let down the hems on clothing? You'll often find this where the fabric was turned up and creased. You can remove this by taking a toothbrush and dipping it in a vinegar diluted with water and scrubbing the mark. Put your iron on a low heat and gently press the mark, it should lift out but if not repeat until it disappears.

7. Prevent colour run 

If you fear a piece of clothing might run in the wash, pour a small cup of vinegar in the washer along with cold water.

8. Prevent fading in coloured towels and bed linen

Keep those towels fluffy and bright.
Keep those towels fluffy and bright.

Add 1/4 of a pint to your washing when you're cleaning brightly coloured towels and linen to prevent colour run and fading. Precious items like handmade blankets can be soaked in cold water and vinegar before hand washing.

9. Refresh your ironing board 

Save your money when it comes to buying a fabric freshener or odour eliminator! Simply pour some vinegar into a spray bottle and while your ironing cover is still damp, liberally spray it with the vinegar. Don't worry about your ironing board smelling like vinegar, when it's dry it won't smell.

10. Remove shiny marks left on your clothes from ironing

Shiny spots on fabric caused by ironing are so annoying and can ruin a piece of clothing. Vinegar to the rescue! Pour a solution of half water and half vinegar into a spray bottle, and whilst ironing use the spray intermittently until the shiny marks lift off.

11. Make your blankets soft and fluffy

Fluffy and oh so cosy.
Fluffy and oh so cosy.

If you have a new baby, puppy or just want super soft blakies, add a pint of vinegar to a bathtub of water and soak your cotton and wool blankets in it. Put it through a rinse cycle afterwards without any washing powder and they should dry nice and soft.

12. Remove grease from suede

Always keep a bottle of vinegar in your laundry cupboard.
Always keep a bottle of vinegar in your laundry cupboard.

Grease spots on suede are so annoying and can ruin the look of suede! Don't despair, grab your trusty bottle of vinegar and dip a clean toothbrush into it. Use it to gently brush over the stains with the vinegar and when it's dried it should look much better. You can repeat the process a few times.

13. Get rid of the smell of smoke from clothes

There's nothing worse than the lingering smell of stale cigarette smoke on your clothes. If you can still smell it after washing, you need a vinegar bath for your clothing. Pour half a pint of vinegar to a bath of hot water or a large tub, and hang your clothes above the steam. Leave it overnight with a window open and by the morning your clothes should smell a lot fresher.

14. Steam clean your iron

Mineral deposits can build up in your steam iron over time affecting the efficiency. Remove the deposits by filling it with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water and letting it steam until dry. When this has been done, rinse the tank with clean water, refill it and shake the water so it comes out of the steam holes over a sink or old piece of cloth.

Note - this method should not be done on new irons (where there are no mineral deposits present) and the acidity could damage it.

15. Clean the base of your iron

Make a paste of vinegar and baking soda, before applying it with a damp cloth to the plate of your iron. It'll be left clean,  smooth and shiny in just a few minuted, and the paste won't damage your iron in any way.

16. Remove the overwhelming smell of beach

Bleach it, vinegar-ise it!
Bleach it, vinegar-ise it!

If you're afraid to use bleach to whiten your whites because of the strong smell it leaves, don't worry - vinegar can tackle that! Add half a pint of vinegar to the final rinse of a washing load and it will soon neutralise the smell.

17. Remove and set creases in clothes 

You can use vinegar to not only set new creases but remove them also. It's really easy to do, simply iron them in or out with a pressing cloth soaked in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water.  You might be worried about the strong smell, but the scent of vinegar soon leaves clothing after they've been aired.

18. Remove Cola stains from cotton 

Cola stains on white cotton might seem like an undefeatable stain but always try vinegar first before you disregard the item. It can be used to tackle stains on both pure cotton and cotton polyester mixes. Take distilled  vinegar and using a sponge, directly apply it to the stain and gently rub at the stain then wash according to the washing instructions. This tip is more likely to work if you do it within 24 hours of the spill.

Thanks for reading! If you have any tips on how to use vinegar to effectively clean your clothes and for use in other laundry tasks, let me know in the comments section below - Anushka 


Anushka F


A keen money-saver and fan of all things natural, Anushka enjoys making her own beauty products and is partial to a bit of crafting. Never short of a clever tip or two, she's always looking for new ways to make her money go even further.

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  1. Author Daniel Dalfen on August 25, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Hi,how about using a cup of White Vinegar to help decalcify your washing machine?

    1. Author Anushka F on August 25, 2016 at 9:21 am

      That's an interesting one. Have you ever done it Daniel?

    2. Author Z.stanley on August 25, 2016 at 10:16 am

      I have used vinegar in my washing machine and worked brilliantly. Just remember to do an empty wash after.

    3. Author Debbie on August 25, 2016 at 10:21 am

      Useful tips as ever, and some I'm sure to try, better than the chemicals I'm all too prone to buy, And it means the vinegar will not go to waste - I buy it for visitors, but don't like the taste! But just one tiny problem, please don't think me fickle, using all that vinegar, will I end up in a pickle?????

    4. Author Anushka F on August 25, 2016 at 11:58 am

      Hahah possibly a pickle! Another great exceptional poem Debbie, bravo.

    5. Author Anushka F on August 25, 2016 at 11:58 am

      Ooh thanks for the added tip there!

    6. Author Robert Jones on June 21, 2017 at 10:18 am

      Hi, As a single Male, I have used more good shirts for work (Building trade) with your tip`s with vinegar I now have more shirts to wear out............Keep up the good work...many Thank`s ........Rab..

    7. Author Stephanie C on June 22, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Hi Robert. Thanks a lot for your kind comments - I'm glad our tips are prolonging the life of your shirts. Happy building!

  2. Author ann purkiss on August 25, 2016 at 11:10 am

    white vinegar also good for cleaning your loo.

    1. Author Anushka F on August 25, 2016 at 11:57 am

      Yes! I do that sometimes too.

  3. Author Lilian Grocott on August 25, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Some of these tips are brilliant, i don't know how i haven't thought of them before, they are so obvious. Thank you ?

    1. Author Anushka F on August 25, 2016 at 11:56 am

      Aww thank you Lilian that's amazing to hear!

  4. Author evam mole on August 25, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Its very good to keep net curtains white and fresh as a foot bath to use when hair is extra grease and on wool jumpers vinegar is a very good cleaning agent

    1. Author Anushka F on September 7, 2016 at 10:01 am

      Thanks for sharing these tips Evam. I do rinse my hair with apple cider vinegar when there is product build-up, works a treat!

  5. Author Laura on August 25, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Good useful tips but very bad spelling mistakes for such an article such as get rid of the overwhelming smell of beach and to get soft blakies!! (Controversial)

    1. Author Anushka F on September 7, 2016 at 9:59 am

      Hi Laura, I'm so sorry about that. I've just been through the article and corrected those typos.

  6. Author Jackie on August 27, 2016 at 11:45 am

    All these ideas are great but Can anyone suggest where I can buy white vinegar in England? Every shop and supermarket I try doesn't sell it.

    1. Author Anushka F on September 7, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Hi Jackie, I have found it in larger supermarkets before but your best bet is ordering it online from Amazon. It's good value for money.

    2. Author Catherine on November 20, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      You can get it in bulk from Makro for a few pounds. Much cheaper than Amazon. Asda also sells it in small bottles.

    3. Author Donatello46 on January 9, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      If you have a branch of B&M Bargains near you, they sell it quite cheaply, £1 for about half a litre.

    4. Author Donatello46 on January 9, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      At least, that was the price when I bought some a few months ago.

    5. Author Karen on January 10, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      Aldi now sell white vinegar so do Morrisons

    6. Author Anushka F on January 11, 2017 at 11:50 am

      Oh fab! That's good to know. I do most of my shopping in Aldi.

    7. Author Anushka F on January 11, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      Hhm I don't think I do sadly!

    8. Author Anushka F on March 8, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Fab thank you!

    9. Author Linda Hodge on April 15, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      Hi is it just ordinary white vinegar you buy from the supermarket? If you have a smoker in the house leave out a half full egg cup with vinegar & when you get up in the morning..... no smell of stale smoke.

    10. Author Stephanie C on April 19, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Hi Linda. Yes, distilled white vinegar is fine. That's an excellent tip - certainly a new one for us. Thanks for sharing :)

  7. Author debbie eccles on August 31, 2016 at 8:50 am

    I have a deep pile cream rug which has caught dirt and become flattened What can I do other than [ay £50 to have it cleaned? Many thanks

    1. Author Anushka F on September 7, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Hi Debbie, you could buy a carpet shampoo and try to clean it yourself first? You can find a selection in most supermarkets and hardware stores.Good luck!

  8. Author Maureen falconbridge on August 31, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Some very handy tips I will be trying a few thanks

    1. Author Anushka F on September 7, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Oh that's great Maureen, I'm so happy to hear it!

  9. Author Destiny on August 31, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    The laundry uses are relatively new to me but my late father gave me a book on vinegar- it's uses around the home. Have found it to be extremely useful.

    1. Author Anushka F on September 7, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Hi there, I have a few vinegar books too. Some tips are quite outdated, but I love vinegar for laundry uses. It really does work!

  10. Author Fred on August 31, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Is it true to use vinegar to clean microwaves

    1. Author Anushka F on September 7, 2016 at 9:49 am

      Hi Fred, yes you can use vinegar to clean your microwave. Pour one cup of vinegar in a bowl and add another cup of hot water. Place it in the microwave and set the timer for 4 minutes. The steam will help remove dried on foods, making it easier to clean.

    2. Author Catherine on November 20, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      You can also use a good squirt of lemon juice in a small amount of warm water and heat this in the microwave for a minute or so. The steam softens stains and helps to get them off.

    3. Author Anushka F on March 8, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Fab tip. I'll give it a go...thanks!

  11. Author Mabear on August 31, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    I use vinegar and a scrunched up newspaper on windows and mirrors. Nothing better!

    1. Author Anushka F on September 7, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Great tip, I do this too!

  12. Author marion cheatham on September 1, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    where can you get large bottles of white vinegar? want to you for cleaning, but no sure where to find it.

    1. Author Anushka F on September 7, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Hi Marion, you can get it from larger supermarkets and possibly hardware stores like Robert Dyas but I would call to check first. I tend to buy it from places like Amazon though as you can get better value for money.

  13. Author Sheena on September 8, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Does anyone know how I can get rid of red permanent felt tip pen

    1. Author Anushka F on September 29, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Oh gosh I'm not too sure about permanent felt tip, what material is it?

  14. Author Del on September 13, 2016 at 1:28 am

    White vinegar is found in all supermarkets, next to the malt vinegar. I use it as a general cleaner, de-greaser and steriliser. Brilliant stuff. But nowhere near as much as stated here. Half a pint seens far too much to put in washing machine, Great also if you want to re-use jam or mustard jars, sauce bottles, etc, just put small amount of vinegar in, tighten lid, shake, leave for an hour or two for really stinky smells, empty and rinse.

    1. Author Anushka F on September 29, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Thanks for the tips Del! How much vinegar do you think you should put into the washing machine out of interest?

  15. Author ARFAN ASLAM khan on November 16, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    sorry to be so naive,do i add vinegar to the washing powder when i am using my machine.or when should i pour it into the machine.

    1. Author Anushka F on March 8, 2017 at 10:53 am

      Hi there - not to worry! I tend to pop it straight into the drum :)

  16. Author Maureen falconbridge on January 9, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Some great tips will be trying the iron cleaning thanks

    1. Author Anushka F on January 11, 2017 at 11:51 am

      No problem glad the article was of some use to you!

  17. Author Sylvia Leaver on January 17, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    I've read a lot about cleaning with white vinegar, which is great and thanks for all the tips, which I plan on trying. My question is: Can you also use it in cooking, like ordinary vinegar?

    1. Author Anushka F on March 9, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Hi Sylvia, thanks for the comments. I have never cooked with white vinegar to be honest - perhaps you could do a quick Google and see whether you can? I'm sure you can, but it will be interesting to see what types of recipes call for white vinegar.

    2. Author Susie Gee on April 23, 2017 at 12:27 am

      Hi, I use white vinegar when I make Piccalilli, its great in marinades for tenderizing meat and I also find it helps to remove the odour of onions from your hands If I use a splash of vinegar with some handwash.

    3. Author Stephanie C on April 24, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Hi Susie. Piccalilli is delicious, especially when it's homemade! Thanks for stopping by :)

  18. Author Roberta on April 12, 2017 at 9:08 am

    I have stripped floors with hot water and white vinegar .Worked a real treat ,it neutralized the floor before putting a sealant back on . I find soaking mop in white vinegar takes away any smells

    1. Author Stephanie C on April 12, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Hi Roberta. It's always great to hear tips from our readers. The mop cleaning definitely sounds interesting! Thanks for stopping by :)

  19. Author Mary on April 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    I washed my pillows in machine with a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of bicarbonate of soda and they came up like new the sweat smell was totally gone and no marks showed my sister in law and she also done it really impressed .Love all these tips

    1. Author Stephanie C on April 19, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Hi Mary. Great work - this method really does bring up whites a treat! Thanks for stopping by :)


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