Top 7 Laundry Uses For Vinegar

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If you're looking for a frugal and natural way to soften clothes, reduce laundry odours, and more look no further than vinegar. 

The best vinegar for laundry uses is distilled white vinegar, since it is colourless, with no tannins or other such additions that could discolour clothing. It's just a bonus that distilled white vinegar is also one of the cheapest varieties! 

Another great thing about vinegar is that it works in both HE and standard washing machines, since it doesn't have any suds.

1. Use As Fabric Softener

Traditional oil-based fabric softeners work by coating your clothing in a very thin layer of oil, which is what makes things feel soft. But it also reduces absorbency, can stain, and many of these products carry a scent that can bother some people's allergies.  

Vinegar to the rescue! You can add 1/2 cup to the final rinse and since it is a mild acid (acetic acid to be specific) it will help neutralise the alkalinity from detergents, help rinse away excess detergent, and soften clothing. You can just add the vinegar directly to the fabric softener dispenser or add it manually at the beginning of that final cycle. 

You may be concerned that using vinegar in this way will leave your clothes smelling like that distinctive vinegar scent, but you'd be surprised that isn't the case. Instead, it just leaves your clothes smelling scent free and clean. 

If you do want to add some scent of your own though, just add a couple of drops of essential oils to your vinegar bottle you use for fabric softener, and you'll be left with lightly scented laundry naturally.

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2. Get Rid Of Mildew Smell When Accidentally Leave Clothes In Washer

I think we've all put a load of clothes into our washing machine, run it, and then forgotten all about them for a while. Oops. When we finally remember those wet clothes there is often a mildewy smell that has permeated through the fabric. 

Vinegar is a simple fix for the problem if you discover it quickly enough, usually within about a day or so.  

To fix the problem rerun the load with hot water and 2 cups of vinegar, and let it run through a normal wash cycle. Then, run the machine again with the clothes, this time adding detergent, and you'll be good to go!

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3. Remove Fresh Perspiration Stains

When you have that embarrassing moment where you've got sweat or perspiration stains vinegar can help you remove the evidence. 

As long as the stain is fresh all you need to do is add vinegar to a  spray bottle and then spray some vinegar, undiluted, onto the underarm of the shirt, and then toss it in the wash like normal. 

The vinegar helps cut the odour, as well as prevents underarm yellowing by cutting through the residual deodorant left on the underarm of the shirt. There's a reason I've added vinegar to my essential stain removal kit list!

4. Reduce Lint & Pet Hair On Clothes

Do you have a problem with linting on some of your clothes, or pet hair that just seems to cling to certain fabrics? If so, it's another reason you may want to use vinegar in the rinse cycle. 

Along with softening the fabric, as mentioned above, vinegar can also help prevent the accumulation of lint and pet hair on fabrics at the same time.

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5. Remove & Eliminate Laundry Odours

Vinegar is a natural way to remove odours. As mentioned above it can be used successfully to deal with sweat odours, as well as remove the mildew smell from sour laundry.  

In addition though it can be used to deal with even tough smells such as cigarette smoke which can otherwise linger in the fibres of your clothes. 

To use it in this manner just add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the wash cycle, along with the detergent.

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6. Remove Mineral Deposits On & In Your Iron

Hard water deposits can clog your iron steam vents and the spray nozzle over time, making your iron not work well or at all. 

The naturally acidic properties of vinegar are perfect for dissolving those deposits and getting your iron back in tip top shape. 

To use vinegar in this way fill the water chamber of your iron with equal parts water and distilled white vinegar, and then set your iron upright on a safe, heat proof surface (like your  ironing board), and turn it on. Let the iron steam for 5 minutes. Then, let the iron cool and then rinse the tank with just water, to remove the vinegar residue. Steam again with just plain water and spray some of the water through the sprayer as well. 

Before you iron good clothes with your iron refill it yet again with plain water (or distilled water is even better to use since it lessens the total amount of deposits you'll get again in the future), and then iron an old cloth for several minutes. This will allow all residue loosened up from the vinegar to get expelled onto the old cloth instead of on your good clothes.

7. Remove Soap Scum & Hard Water Build Up From Washing Machine

Finally, vinegar is great for removing soap scum and hard water build up from your washing machine. When you feel like your machine is getting a build up of either of these substances run an empty load with hot water and 2 cups of vinegar.  

Also, make sure that you run vinegar through the detergent and fabric softener dispensers to clean them out as well. 

So how do you use vinegar in your laundry? Have I missed any of your favourite uses? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. 

In addition, don't miss even more tips and tricks I've shared by following Household Management 101 here on eBay.  

Here's some of my additional guides below. (Check my profile for the full listing.)

7 Cleaning & Odor Removal Uses For Vinegar
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