How to Wash Clothes Using Vinegar

Tomato Stains

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Saturate the tomato stain with vinegar and allow it to soak in. Then, launder as usual. Check to make sure the stain is out ​before you run the clothing through the dryer.

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She’ll do it herself once she feels safe.

You can always bathe her with cat shampoo, although she won’t like it much!

I just got these wipes from a local pet boutique and they make the kitties smell lovely. They’re called Earth Bath Cat Wipes. They also make a liquid version but cats had water.

Don’t stress her out the first week or so with a bath.

You can wipe her down with a baby wipe diluted with water and wrung out or warm washcloth with ‘Bliss Out’ catnip spray that has a light peppermint odor.

It is harmless for her if she licks herself.

Bliss out is great stuff for attracting her to her bed and toys also.

You can get it at Petsmart for around $5 and it lasts forever.

Give her a bath (she won’t like it), and spray some Nature’s Miracle or other odor-eater specifically formulated for cat pee. I use the cheaper stuff from Target, and it works just as well.

Dry shampoo her by rubbing cornmeal into her fur and combing it out with a fine comb. This will help clean her fur in a variety of ways.

Wet a washcloth with white vinegar, and wipe her fur. White vinegar is safe and non-toxic, and happens to be urine’s nemesis. The vinegar smell will dissipate within 5–10 minutes.

After wiping her with vinegar, you can bathe her with a kitty shampoo to make her smell nice.

Stop peeing on your cat. 😉

Vacuum First, Yes, Vacuum

Pet fur and dander have a way of getting trapped in carpets, furniture, and even fabric window coverings, no matter how well or how often the property (and pet) have been cleaned. Fur and dander may also be lingering on non-carpeted floors, too.

  1. Vacuum the floors and stairs — carpeted or not — as well as any upholstered furniture and window coverings left in the apartment.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda over all carpets, rugs, and upholstered surfaces. Let it sit for several hours, and then vacuum it again. Baking soda neutralizes trapped odors, just as it does when used to remove funky smells in a refrigerator.
  3. Wait a few hours, and vacuum again.

Mustard Stains

The Spruce / Autumn Wood

Mustard stains require a bit of persistence. Start by applying undiluted vinegar to the stain and allowing it to soak in. If that doesn’t do it, you may also need to treat the spot with laundry detergent. Just work it into the stain and throw the clothing in the wash, checking to make sure the stain is out before you dry the garment. Repeat the process, if necessary.

Is bleach or vinegar better to clean the washing machine?

Using vinegar to clean and disinfect the washing machine is a lot better than bleach since vinegar is a potent natural cleaner whereas bleach contains dangerous synthetic chemicals that are highly corrosive and harmful to your skin, clothes, and the environment.Bleaches are used to remove colors from fabrics or clean or to remove stains. They can weaken or dissolve and melt many types of fibers and dyes and cause irreversible damage to your clothes or shoes. These substances are highly flammable, easily escape in the open air, and are very dangerous. Flammable fumes in an unventilated area are dangerous combustible. And the ingestion or breathing of the fumes can cause health damage.

What to Look for When Shopping

  • Feel the cloth's texture before purchasing. Does it feel kind of stiff and crunchy? This indicates that there may be excess dye left in the fabric. Be aware that you will need to wash this item several times to remove the excess dye and that this could leave it a lighter color.
  • Read the label for warning words such as “Turn inside out to launder,” “Wash in cold water,” and “Color may fade.” These are signs that the manufacturer knows the dyes are unstable. This doesn’t just apply to dark fabrics—these warnings can appear on a range of fabrics and colors because it’s dependent on what type of dye process was used. This shouldn’t prevent you from buying the item, but at least you will know what to expect.
  • Fabrics like polyester and jersey knits are usually more resistant to bleeding than more delicate materials.The fabrics least likely to run are those made of synthetics, because the color is added to the fibers while they are being created.

Make an informed decision: Check the label for warning words about color fade.

Sura Nualpradid at

References:

Crews, Patricia Cox. Effectiveness of Dye Setting Treatments on Cotton Fabrics Dyed with Direct, Reactive, and Vat Dyes. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 7(4) Summer 1989, 1-7.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

How to Wash Clothes With Vinegar

Brighten your clothes/reduce fading/general clean

As you may have noticed, white t-shirts and shirts start to go a yellow-like colour as they age. Similarly, colourful clothes can start to fade after years of being worn out and about in the sun. These are fairly common problems and can be sorted out by using white vinegar.

Interestingly, method 1 below can also be used to perform a general clean of your clothes too.

Method 1

What you need:

  • White vinegar
  • Washing machine
  • Detergent

Steps:

  1. Pop half a cup of white vinegar into the detergent compartment in the detergent drawer.
  2. Run a hot cycle.
  3. You don’t need to put detergent into the wash.
  4. When the cycle is done you can wash your clothes with detergent, if you like, but they should be fine.

Method 2

What you need:

  • Bucket
  • Boiling water
  • Cup of white vinegar
  • Long spoon

Steps:

  1. Grab a large bucket.
  2. Pop the kettle on and boil a bucket’s worth of water.
  3. Add the water to the bucket – be careful.
  4. Pop a cupful of white vinegar into the bucket.
  5. Stir gently with a long spoon.
  6. Add in the clothes you want to brighten – keep and treat colours and whites separately.
  7. Leave to sit like this overnight.
  8. Rinse clothes under warm water the next day.
  9. Wash clothes in the washing machine with detergent the next day.

White vinegar as a fabric softener

If you live in a hard water area you may find that your clothes are a bit rough. White vinegar is perfect at making tough clothes feel soft again.

What you need:

  • Quarter/half a cup of white vinegar (one/one and half cups – heavy goods)
  • Washing machine
  • Detergent

Steps:

  1. Add a quarter of a cup to half a cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener compartment in your detergent drawer during the rinse cycle.
  2. Allow the cycle to end as it would normally.
  3. For heavier items, like throws, and one to one and half cups of white vinegar into the fabric softener compartment.

Remove stains

If you need to remove a nasty stain from an item of clothing you can use white vinegar. However, you should be careful because vinegar is so acidic that it can ruin clothes. So, only do this if you really need to.

What you need:

  • Stained clothes
  • Cup of white vinegar
  • Bucket
  • Washing machine
  • Detergent
  • 4.5 litres of warm water

Steps:

  1. Grab your stained item of clothing.
  2. Get a bucket.
  3. Pop half a cup’s worth of white vinegar into the bucket.
  4. Add 4.5 litres of warm water to the bucket.
  5. Pop the item in.
  6. Leave the item to soak in the white vinegar for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the item.
  8. Rinse the item.
  9. Wash the clothes as normal.

You may need to add half a cup more of vinegar for older stains. And you might need to leave the clothes in the bucket for longer, if the stain is particularly hard to remove.

Remove soap from clothes

Clothes from time to time can get a little too soapy for their own good. While you may not necessarily notice extra soap stuck in the fibres of your clothes, they can sometimes irritate your skin and can make your clothes feel different.

Method 1

What you need:

  • Cup of white vinegar
  • Washing machine
  • Detergent

Steps:

  1. Pop a cup’s worth of white vinegar into the fabric softener compartment in your washing machine’s detergent drawer during the rinse cycle.
  2. Continue the cycle as normal.
  3. Allow the cycle to finish.

Method 2

What you need:

  • Sink/bath
  • Detergent
  • Tablespoon
  • White vinegar
  • Warm water

Steps:

  1. If you wash your clothes by hand, wash your clothes as you normally would with water and detergent.
  2. Add one/two tablespoons of white vinegar to your warm water and continue to wash your items.
  3. Rinse clothes well when you’re done.

Remove mildew and odours from laundry

If clothes are left in a washing machine for too long, they will start to smell of mildew. This isn’t a very pleasant odour and it can linger for a very long time. To get rid of this stench, all you need to do is add some white vinegar to your laundry as it’s being washed.

What you need:

  • Two cups of white vinegar
  • Washing machine
  • Detergent

Steps:

  1. Add two cups of white vinegar to your washing machine’s detergent compartment.
  2. Do not add detergent.
  3. Wash your clothes on a hot cycle.
  4. Remove the clothes to see if the smell of mildew has gone.
  5. Wash again, if need be, or run another cycle without adding any products in. 

Reduce static in your laundry

Nobody likes wearing clothes that are full of static. In fact, it can cause a nasty shock! One way to eliminate this problem is to use white vinegar in the wash. Plus, if you do this you also be able to stop pet hair from sticking to your clothes too.

What you need:

  • Half a cup of white vinegar
  • Detergent
  • Washing machine

Steps:

  1. Add half a cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener compartment in your washing machine’s detergent drawer during the rinse cycle.
  2. Continue the washing cycle as usual. 

Make clothes feel like new

It’s safe to say that some of our clothes take a hammering. We wear them every day and they’re continuously in the wash! Yes, I’m talking about our delicates.

Washing items like this can make them look quite weathered and in need of some TLC! But all you really need is some white vinegar to bring your worn clothes back to life.

What you need:

  • Warm water
  • Sink/bath
  • Tablespoon
  • White vinegar

Steps:

  1. Add warm water and detergent to your sink/bath.
  2. Wash your clothes as normal.
  3. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar to the water.
  4. Continue your washing session.
  5. Make sure that you rinse the clothes under warm water when you’ve finished. 

Can I put vinegar and baking soda in the washer?


You can mix water with white vinegar and baking soda and put it in the washer. This very effective, all-natural, DIY, homemade cleaner can help you keep your laundry and washer fresh and clean. Using white vinegar with baking soda to wash your clothes is a plastic-free and less toxic way of taking care of them since it eliminates unnecessary bottles of cleaner. Vinegar is an affordable and eco-friendly fabric cleaner and conditioner. It effectively eliminates bacteria and cleans stains, spots, residue to make your clothes last longer. Depending on how dirty your clothes are, use more or less vinegar mixed with baking soda and moderately warm water. Start with one cup of vinegar and a half cup of baking soda and four cups of water. If you don’t want to make this natural cleaner yourself at home, you can also look for package-free cleaning products made of vinegar at farmer’s markets or some grocery stores. Increase the vinegar and baking soda proportion if necessary. Be careful not to use too much vinegar or baking soda since some fragile colors may fade. Simply pour the vinegar, baking soda, and water solution into the washing machine with your load of dirty laundry. Then, select the cold water setting and start the washer on a gentle washing and tumbling cycle.

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About the Author: Alex Assoune

Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.

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