Laundry detergents and stains removers can be pretty expensive. If only there was a way to get your clothes clean without spending a fortune...
...that's where vinegar comes in.
Yes, that's right! Adding vinegar to laundry is an old trick that still works wonders today. It will help you to do all sorts of things including removing stains, fluff up blankets and even clean your iron.
Discover why you should start adding vinegar to laundry today with the list of benefits below...
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in August 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in July 2018.
1. Get rid of underarm stains
Do you struggle with sweat stains? Soaking clothes in vinegar is a method that's been used for years to banish perspiration marks the natural way.
Saturating the area in vinegar before laundering will remove even the most stubborn of stains, including solid residue from deodorants and body lotions.
Best of all?
Vinegar will also remove any unpleasant sweaty smells from your laundry - your clothes will come out smelling good as new. Speaking of sweat, did you know vinegar can be used to remove sweat stains from hats? Check out our other article to find out how.
2. Deep stain removal on collars & cuffs
In hot weather, underarm sweat stains aren't the only thing to worry about.
If your previously pristine white shirts have begun to get grubby around the collar or cuffs, it's time to get that vinegar out.
You can remove stains with vinegar by slowly adding it to bicarbonate of soda until a thick paste is formed. Rub the mixture into the stains before chucking your shirts in for a hot wash.
3. Clean cloth nappies & prevent nappy rash
Cloth nappies are much more environmentally friendly than disposable ones, but how on earth are you meant to keep them clean and soft?
Vinegar's the answer!
Neutralise urine by soaking cloth nappies in a solution of 1/2 pint vinegar and 9 litres of water - it will also work to remove stains.
If you wash nappies in the washing machine, add 1/2 pint vinegar before the rinse cycle to equalise the pH balance. This is said to help prevent nappy rash in babies who wear cloth nappies.
4. Reduce lint
Another great reason to start adding vinegar to laundry is to reduce lint.
For an average load of laundry, add 1/2 a pint of vinegar to the rinse cycle and you'll hopefully experience less lint.
5. Reduce stiffness in new jeans
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 on hemmed clothing
Are you a savvy sewer? If you've ever let down the hems on clothes, you may have noticed a prominent line - this where the fabric was turned up and creased.
Luckily, there's an easy way to remedy this...
...you guessed it - it's vinegar. You can remove this by taking a toothbrush and dipping it in vinegar diluted with water and scrubbing the mark. Put your iron on a low heat and gently press the mark and it should lift out. If not repeat until it disappears.
7. Prevent colours from running
Bought a lovely new little black dress? New clothes can be prone to running so it's worth taking an extra step to ensure your clothes are protected.
If you fear a piece of clothing might run in the wash, add a small cup of vinegar to the cycle. It will help lock in dye and prevent any mishaps!
8. Prevent fading in coloured towels & bed linen
Don't let your towels and bed linen go dull!
Add 1/4 pint of vinegar to your laundry 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 to preserve their colour and texture.
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 liftoff.
TOP TIP: Always try and iron your clothes inside out. This will prevent such marks from happening and help keep your clothes looking great!
11. Hot to make blankets fluffy
There's nothing like snuggling up in a super-soft blanket.
If you have a new baby, puppy or just want super soft blankies, soak your cotton and wool blankets in a bathtub of water along with a pint of vinegar.
Put them through a rinse cycle afterwards without any washing powder and they should dry nice and soft.
12. Get rid of smoke smells
There's nothing worse than the lingering smell of stale cigarette smoke.
If your clothes still smell after laundering, a vinegar bath will help.
Pour half a pint of vinegar to a bath of hot water or a large tub, and hang your clothes above the steam. Leave them overnight with a window open and by the morning your clothes should smell a lot fresher.
13. Steam clean your iron
If your iron has become less effective or has starting spluttering, mineral deposits could be to blame. These can build up in your steam iron over time from the water you put into it.
To clean your iron out with vinegar, filling it with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water and let it steam until dry. Then, 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) as the acidity could cause damage.
14. Remove grease from suede
Suede is notoriously tricky to keep clean, but with the help of vinegar, it doesn't have to be!
To remove grease spots on suede, 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 to get your suede shoes, skirts and shorts spick and span.
15. Clean the base of your iron
If your iron isn't dirty on the inside, but the out, there's another trick using vinegar you should try.
To clean your iron with vinegar, add vinegar to baking soda until a thick paste is formed. Use a damp cloth to apply it to the plate of your iron and leave for a few minutes, before wiping clean.
It'll be left clean, smooth and shiny without damaging your iron in any way.
It's important to take good care of your iron. Check out our other tips to keep your iron spick and span and functioning effectively.
16. Remove bleach smells
Bleach is another useful product to use in the laundry to help make your whites whiter! The only problem? It can make everything smell.
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 the wash cycle to neutralise the smell.
17. Remove Coca-Cola stains
Yikes! Coca-Cola stains are some of the trickiest to tackle.
A spillage on white cotton might seem like an undefeatable stain but with the help of vinegar, you may be able to save it. Vinegar can be used as a stain remover on both pure cotton and cotton-polyester mixes.
Apply distilled vinegar to a sponge, then gently rub at the stain and launder as normal.
TOP TIP: When it comes to stains, it's important to act fast! Stain-removal is much more effective when done within 24 hours of the spill.
18. Remove & set creases in clothes
Ever wondering how to get super-sharp looking crease on your suit trousers?
Vinegar can be used both to set new creases and remove old ones. It's really easy to do - simply place a cloth soaked in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water and iron.
Don't worry about the strong smell - it will evaporate from clothing after it's been aired.
Thanks for reading! If you've had successes using vinegar in laundry we'd love to hear about them in the comments below.
Enjoyed this post? Pin it for later!
Hi,how about using a cup of White Vinegar to help decalcify your washing machine?
That's an interesting one. Have you ever done it Daniel?
I have used vinegar in my washing machine and worked brilliantly. Just remember to do an empty wash after.
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?????
Hahah possibly a pickle! Another great exceptional poem Debbie, bravo.
Ooh thanks for the added tip there!
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..
Hi Robert. Thanks a lot for your kind comments - I'm glad our tips are prolonging the life of your shirts. Happy building!
white vinegar also good for cleaning your loo.
Yes! I do that sometimes too.
Some of these tips are brilliant, i don't know how i haven't thought of them before, they are so obvious. Thank you ?
Aww thank you Lilian that's amazing to hear!
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
Thanks for sharing these tips Evam. I do rinse my hair with apple cider vinegar when there is product build-up, works a treat!
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)
Hi Laura, I'm so sorry about that. I've just been through the article and corrected those typos.
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.
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.
You can get it in bulk from Makro for a few pounds. Much cheaper than Amazon. Asda also sells it in small bottles.
If you have a branch of B&M Bargains near you, they sell it quite cheaply, £1 for about half a litre.
At least, that was the price when I bought some a few months ago.
Aldi now sell white vinegar so do Morrisons
Oh fab! That's good to know. I do most of my shopping in Aldi.
Hhm I don't think I do sadly!
Fab thank you!
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.
Hi Linda. Yes, distilled white vinegar is fine. That's an excellent tip - certainly a new one for us. Thanks for sharing :)
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
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!
Hi you could try putting it in the washer it depends on the size/weight but I put my hearth rug in with a cup of white viniger and a bio capsule and then hang over the line to dry
Using white vinegar and a bio capsule in the wash can be a great way to remove stains and odours from fabric. However, it's essential to check the care instructions on the rug to ensure it can be safely washed in a washing machine. Some materials may be too delicate or require professional cleaning.
Some very handy tips I will be trying a few thanks
Oh that's great Maureen, I'm so happy to hear it!
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.
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!
Is it true to use vinegar to clean microwaves
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.
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.
Fab tip. I'll give it a go...thanks!
I use vinegar and a scrunched up newspaper on windows and mirrors. Nothing better!
Great tip, I do this too!
where can you get large bottles of white vinegar? want to you for cleaning, but no sure where to find it.
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.
Does anyone know how I can get rid of red permanent felt tip pen
Oh gosh I'm not too sure about permanent felt tip, what material is it?
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.
Thanks for the tips Del! How much vinegar do you think you should put into the washing machine out of interest?
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.
Hi there - not to worry! I tend to pop it straight into the drum :)
Some great tips will be trying the iron cleaning thanks
No problem glad the article was of some use to you!
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?
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.
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.
Hi Susie. Piccalilli is delicious, especially when it's homemade! Thanks for stopping by :)
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
Hi Roberta. It's always great to hear tips from our readers. The mop cleaning definitely sounds interesting! Thanks for stopping by :)
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
Hi Mary. Great work - this method really does bring up whites a treat! Thanks for stopping by :)
Hi! Got some bad sweat/sumcream stains on basically all my white tshirts. Were going to try an overnight vinegar soak, but some of the tshirts got prints on them. Any idea if the prints will be damaged by being soaked? Many thanks!!
Hi Sophie, It's quite likely that the screen prints will fade in an overnight vinegar wash to a vintage look. If that's okay with you then go ahead! If not, maybe try only soaking the affected areas?
Hi, not sure if this thread is still being monitored. I have been adding white vinegar to Seventh Generation laundry detergent right in the main drum/full wash (not holding it until the rinse cycle) and wondering if that is safe… Thanks!
Hi Tess! We'd advise only using it in the rinse cycle. Thanks for getting in touch.
Thank you! Is this a safety concern with fumes, or an effectiveness concern?
Hi again, It's advised against because detergents might contain bleach that vinegar reacts with. You could end up creating chlorine fumes by mixing the two together. It's safe if used in the rinse cycle because the detergent will have washed away. The detergent you have mentioned might not react with vinegar, but as there is a risk, we would not advise using the two together in the drum.
Thanks for reintroducing me to vinegar!
You're welcome, Uche!
Hi! Is it safe to use distilled vinegar instead of fabric softener on clothes when hand washing them?
Hi Tim! That sounds like a good idea. Normally we'd suggest putting it in the fabric softener drawer of a washing machine, so you could do that and use a hand wash setting.
Thank you. How would you recommend using vinegar when hand washing clothes, put a cup of vinegar into the final rinse wash just like you'd add fabric softener?
I have a front loader with the necessary detergent/softener/bleach tray. I am curious as to where to add the vinegar as I recently bought some beautiful dark red plaid flannel sheets that I was warned the colors were prone to run in the washer. However, I was also told that if I added vinegar to the first and second wash that this could be avoided. To what pocket in the machine tray do I add the vinegar? or do I just pour it over the sheets when loaded? Thanks.
Hi Glenna! You can use vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser or directly into the machine. I can't guarantee that vinegar will stop colour bleeding, but I find using colour catchers to be really effective as a precaution.
hi once I start my washing machine again I can not open the machine until its finished
Most modern washing machines have a safety feature that prevents door opening or lid during a cycle to avoid injury or damage to the device. To stop the process and open the washing machine door, you can typically pause the cycle and wait for the machine to come to a complete stop before unlocking the door or lid.
Yes daniel it does work, and would remove the horrible gunge that they say makes your drum smell.
Thanks for the info about vinegar. I’ll be trying some of your tips. My problem is different though so I hope you can help I managed to get emulsion paint on a jumper and it has dried and been washed several times. Have you any suggestions about removing it please?
You could try spraying the stain with hairspray or dabbing it with rubbing alcohol to loosen the dried paint. Use a blunt butter knife or an old toothbrush to gently scrape it off.
Leave a Reply