How To Use White Vinegar In The Washing Machine (and why!)

So you’ve heard about washing your clothes using distilled white vinegar, the secret ingredient hiding in your kitchen cupboard that: eliminates bad odours, works as a gentle fabric softener, helps preserve colours, helps brighten whites and is cheap as chips (get it?), and you want to know how to use it.

Great! That’s what you’re about to find out in this article. We’ll take you through everything you need to know about using white vinegar in your washing machine and give you some helpful tips to help you get the most from your wash cycle!

What Type Of Vinegar Can You Use In The Washing Machine?

Before we dive into how to use vinegar in your washing machine, we first need to make something very, very clear… and that’s that we’re talking specifically about distilled white vinegar. And NOT balsamic vinegar.

Why? Because balsamic vinegar and other specialty vinegars are not suitable for using in your washing machine. These types of vinegars have strong colours and distinct smells that can potentially stain or leave a lingering scent on your clothes. Stick with white vinegar when following this guide.

distilled white vinegar We Recommend

Here are some products we recommend using when following this guide:

Now that you know exactly which type of vinegar we’re talking about, let’s take a look into how to use it.

How To Use White Vinegar In Your Washing Machine

Here’s a step by step guide to using white vinegar in your washer. All you will need is 120ml – 240ml of white vinegar (depending on your load size).

Step 1: Prepare Your Load Of Laundry

Before you even think about adding vinegar, make sure you’ve sorted your laundry and loaded the machine correctly.

Separate your whites, colours, and delicates to prevent any colour bleeding or fabric damage. White vinegar is a great substance to use in your wash, but it’s not magic!

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Step 2: Add The White Vinegar To The Fabric Softener Compartment

Open your washing machine’s detergent compartment and take a moment to find the fabric softener compartment. It’ll usually have a symbol on it that looks like a flower.

Washing Machine Fabric Softener Compartment

This is where the magic happens. Instead of pouring fabric softener, grab your white vinegar. Measure about half a cup to a cup of white vinegar (120ml – 240ml) – the exact amount depends on your machine’s size and the level of cleaning required.

Pour the white vinegar into the fabric softener compartment.

white vinegar going into washing machine

It’s best to measure this using a measuring jug if you have one. But once you’re a pro you can pour by hand too.

Step 3: Choose The Right Wash Cycle

Now that you’ve added the white vinegar, it’s time to select the right wash cycle for your load.

For regular laundry loads, a normal 30C cycle will do just fine. However, if you’re dealing with stubborn odours or extra-soiled items, consider using a hotter cycle.

SEE ALSO: What Temperature Is Best To Wash Clothes At? (& when to use each)

Step 4: Let The Machine Do Its Thing

Press that start button and let your washing machine do what it’s good at. As the cycle progresses, the white vinegar will mingle with the water and detergent, penetrating the fibres of your clothes and breaking down any build-up or odours.

Step 5: Dry Your Garments

Once the cycle is complete, transfer your clothes to the dryer or hang them out to dry, depending on your preference and garment care labels. As your clothes dry, you’ll notice a remarkable difference – they’ll not only look cleaner but also feel fresher.

It’s usually better to sun dry your clothes outside if possible.

SEE ALSO: What Are The Benefits Of Drying Clothes In The Sun?

The Benefits Of Adding White Vinegar In Your Washing Machine

Using white vinegar in your washing machine offers a lot of benefits that you won’t want to miss out on. These include:

  • It Gets Rid Of Odours
    White vinegar’s natural deodorising properties work wonders in getting rid of unwanted smells. This makes it especially great for towels!
  • It Kills Off Bacteria & Mould
    White vinegar not only gets rid of the bad smells, it also kills off the bacteria and mould too. This helps your garments and your washing machines drum stay clean.
  • It’s A Gentle Fabric Softener
    White vinegar acts as a natural fabric softener, without the use of harsh chemicals. Your clothes will feel softer and more comfy against your skin.
  • It Helps Preserve Colours
    Adding white vinegar can help prevent colour fading, ensuring that your vibrant clothes stay looking their best for longer.
  • It Gives You Brighter Whites
    If your white clothes have lost their sparkle, white vinegar can bring back their brilliance. It helps to remove dulling residue and keeps your whites whiter.
  • It’s Environmentally Friendly
    Using white vinegar is an eco-friendly alternative to commercial fabric softeners and additives. You’re not only caring for your clothes but also for the planet.
distilled white vinegar washing machine

Tips & Tricks For Using White Vinegar In The Wash

  • Don’t Overdo It
    While white vinegar is a fantastic laundry ally, too much can cause issues. Stick to the recommended amount to avoid any vinegar scent lingering on your clothes. You don’t want to be walking around all day smelling like a bag of chips!
  • Avoid Using Vinegar & Bleach Together
    Never mix white vinegar with bleach as this can create harmful fumes. If you’re using bleach, make sure to run a rinse cycle before adding vinegar to the load.
  • Test On Unseen Fabrics First
    If you’re worried about how white vinegar might react with a certain fabric, test it on an area that’s not clearly visible first to make sure it’s safe. Most of the time you’re going to be completely safe, but it’s always worth being extra careful.
  • Don’t Use It On Elastic Clothes
    Some elastic clothes such as activewear can become damaged over time if you’re always putting them through a white vinegar wash. This is because the elastic reacts with the acid in the vinegar. So if you are keen on using it on sports clothes, be sure to only use a little bit.
  • Consider Adding Essential Oils
    If you miss the smell of traditional fabric softeners, you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the vinegar before pouring it into the fabric softener dispenser.

Have You Got Anything To Add?

If you’ve got anything you’d like to share about using vinegar in the washing machine, or if you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.

And just remember, a little vinegar goes a long way, so don’t overpour!

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