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.
Stop! Before you turn on the washing machine, check when it's bad luck to wash clothes.
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.
Next, find out if linen shrinks in the wash.
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.
This is our favourite way to whiten bras!
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.
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