We’ve all heard of crafty DIY household tricks, from home remedies to nontraditional cleaning tips. Some put baking soda in the fridge to fight odors, while others use lemon juice to keep apples from turning brown. One product that can be used for countless purposes is vinegar. Vinegar is especially useful when it comes to laundry, accomplishing everything from brightening clothes to cleaning your washing machine!
White Vinegar in Laundry
Distilled white vinegar is the perfect solution to odor, dulled clothes, or lint buildup, and it can be found on Amazon or at the store. Not only is it extremely versatile, vinegar is environment friendly, getting the job done without any harsh chemicals.
For those wondering why in the world vinegar would be helpful in your laundry, it’s because of the acetic acid it contains. This acidity helps to break down stains or odors in a similar way that bleach gets rid of stains. White vinegar works best for this, containing the perfect amount of acidity to clean and deodorize without causing harm to your clothes. If you only have cider vinegar, make sure to dilute it before use. Here are all the reasons to keep a bottle of vinegar in your laundry room!
While bleach is a popular choice to whiten clothes and remove stains, it’s also full of harsh chemicals that are harmful for the environment, like many commercial cleaning products. To avoid this, use vinegar on clothes that have stained or dulled over time. Simply add half a cup of vinegar to the final rinse cycle for brighter colors. Vinegar is also a great option for black clothes that become gray over time from the soap scum and laundry detergent residue that dulls black clothes.
You can either pour in the vinegar manually at the start of the rinse cycle or add it into the fabric softener dispenser. For a stronger method, add a cup of white vinegar to a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and put the clothing items in. Leave them to soak overnight and then wash them in the washing machine. This method is for stubborn or especially dark stains, but it should only be used on 100% cotton.
Another common stain in clothes is the underarm area, which can become yellow or gray over time from sweat and deodorant. To remedy this, pour white vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray the vinegar on the stained or yellowing area and leave for at least ten minutes, then throw the shirt into your washer.
The acidity of the vinegar is also helpful in reducing odors. We’re all familiar with the sour smell of towels or clothing that sat wet in the washing machine before being transferred to the dryer. This is the odor of mildew and mold that grows in these conditions. To get back to the clean, just-washed smell you were probably going for, add two cups of vinegar to the washer before running a complete wash cycle with hot water. Then, add detergent and run a second cycle.
Another odor that vinegar fights effectively is that of smoke. I’ve definitely worn a favorite shirt out, only to come home smelling of cigarette smoke from being around smokers. This can be difficult to get rid of, but vinegar does the trick! Load washer as normal, then add half a cup of vinegar to the wash cycle for fresh-smelling clothes.
White vinegar is ideal for getting rid of lint and pet hair that clings to clothes. Growing up with three fluffy animals of varying colors, I know how it feels to have pet hair on all of your clothes at all times. White vinegar is an easy, natural way to counteract the lint and hair that sticks to clothes- just use half of a cup in the rinse cycle.
For those who live in areas with hard water, it’s essential to use fabric softener when washing clothes. Many people opt for commercial fabric softeners to enjoy comfy, soft clothes, but white vinegar is the perfect natural softener. Add half a cup of vinegar to the final rinse cycle. If you want a nice scent along with your soft clothes, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil in as well.
Wash Your Washer
Last but not least, vinegar helps to keep your washing machine clean! This may seem unnecessary- the washer’s whole job is to clean things, so it doesn’t need to be cleaned, right? However, washer hoses can collect soap scum and mineral deposits, which makes it harder for them to clean effectively. To counteract this, it’s recommended to run a wash cycle with an empty washer, using two cups of white vinegar and hot water. This should be done a few times a year for a nice, clean washer that works efficiently!