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Washing clothes with vinegar: Your questions answered

Want to learn about using vinegar in laundry and learn how to wash clothes with vinegar? This guide looks to answer all your questions surrounding washing clothes with vinegar.

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bottle of vinegar, baking soda, a lemon slice and green sponge on blue table

There are lots of uses for vinegar – not just on your fish and chips – and it is often touted as a chemical-free alternative when it comes to cleaning solutions. But when you think of vinegar, laundry probably isn’t high on your list of things it can be used for – but it’s actually a great solution to some common laundry problems.

Will using vinegar in laundry get rid of stains? Does vinegar disinfect laundry? This guide is here to help. From knowing how much vinegar to add to laundry to using vinegar in laundry to keep your colours from fading, read on to find all the tips you need when it comes to washing clothes with vinegar.

Key Steps

  • When using vinegar in laundry to remove stains and keep clothing fresh, be sure to only use white vinegar, as other vinegar may stain.

  • Pop white vinegar into your wash cycle using the fabric softener compartment to keep white laundry white.

  • Use white vinegar to treat a variety of stains from grass to coffee.

Does vinegar stain clothes?

It is unlikely that white vinegar will stain your clothes when using vinegar in the laundry, however, it is always a good idea to do a spot test on any fabrics you intend to use white vinegar on. For the most part though, white vinegar is actually really useful at getting stains out of clothes, rather than staining them.

Remember, if you want to wash clothes with vinegar, it is important to be careful as the following forms of vinegar can cause stains:

  • Red wine vinegar   

  • Balsamic vinegar

These have dyes, additives and more which can cause stains. If you get these on your clothes, rinse or sponge the stain with cold water and blot at it until all the liquid is absorbed.

It may surprise you to know that washing clothes with vinegar isn’t only great for making your white laundry whiter but also treating stains without leaving an odour after washing.

Will vinegar get stains out of clothes?

Washing clothes with vinegar is a great way to help get stains out of clothes, regardless of the cause of the stain. Simply follow these simple steps:

  1. Using vinegar in laundry: Coffee and tea stains

    Soak your clothes in 1/3 of a cup of vinegar mixed with 2/3 of a cup of water. Then wash as usual before drying them in direct sunlight, which is a natural stain remover. This method is also great for removing berry stains from your clothes!

  2. Washing clothes with vinegar: Sweat stains

    Pour vinegar directly onto the stain, followed by rubbing salt over the mark. Wash as usual. This will help to lift the stain from your clothing.

  3. Using vinegar to get rid of grass stains

    Soak your clothing in undiluted vinegar for half an hour before popping them into your normal wash cycle. If you have stubborn grass stains, make a vinegar and baking soda paste and coat the stain before washing as usual.

    Never mix vinegar with bleach, as this creates chlorine gas, which is toxic.

For more tips stain removal, check out our ultimate guide on how to get stains out of clothes.

Washing clothes with vinegar to keep clothes from fading

Vinegar is not only great for removing stains, but also works to help keep white clothes white, freshen your laundry, and can soften fabrics such as towels. All you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Add between ½ a cup and 1 cup of distilled white vinegar.

    When it comes to knowing how much vinegar should you add to laundry, about ½ a cup and 1 cup of distilled white vinegar inside your wash should do the trick.

  2. Wash as normal.

    Wash as normal following the instructions on your clothing care labels.

  3. Choose your favourite detergent.

    Follow the care instructions on the labels of your clothes.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

Does vinegar kill bacteria in the laundry?

This is a pretty common question when looking for alternative ways to keep your wardrobe hygienic. As vinegar contains acetic acid, adding ½ cup of white vinegar to your rinse cycle can help to get rid of some pesky germs. However, this is not necessarily the best way to disinfect your laundry. Instead, head to our guide on how to kill germs in the washing machine.

Using vinegar in the laundry is an easy solution for your laundry needs – from getting rid of stains to keeping your colours from fading, vinegar can do it all. Curious about what else you can clean with vinegar? Find out here.

Originally published