Vinegar is truly one of the most useful condiments in your pantry. Aside from being an essential ingredient when cooking up a dish of adobo, you can also use it as an alternative to commercial chemical cleaners. It can be used to clean your refrigerator to keep it smelling fresh, it can also be used to get rid of molds in your washing machine; but did you know that you can also use vinegar during the laundry cycle?
How vinegar cleans laundry
Did you know that most store-bought white vinegars are made out of diluted acetic acid?
Acetic acid is a color-less substance that has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can also dissolve dirt, grime, and mineral deposits (like built-up soap scum). Not only will this clean your washing machine, it will also clean and deodorize your laundry as well!
The best part about it is that it does not impart the strong vinegar smell in your clothes! As a matter of fact, it acts as a natural deodorizer; so you need not worry about receiving “amoy suka” comments from passersby.
What kind of vinegar can you use in laundry
The best kind of vinegar to use in the laundry is distilled white vinegar. Not only is it cheap and readily available, its white color will not stain your clothes or any other surface it will come in touch with.
White wine vinegar and cane vinegar do the same job but they are milder acids compared to a distilled white vinegar; this can be a pro or con depending on your situation.
Apple cider vinegar can also be used, but be careful because its brown color may stain some clothes (especially white ones). Also, the smell is stronger compared to regular white vinegar. The same goes for sukang pinakurat.
With its dark brown color, balsamic vinegar may not be the smartest choice when cleaning as it has a potential to stain your clothes or any surface it comes in contact with.
When in doubt, just choose the lightest colored vinegar you can get.
Can you use vinegar and regular laundry detergent together?
While you can use vinegar and your usual laundry detergent together in the same cycle, you should not mix them.
Since vinegar is acidic and laundry detergent is alkaline, mixing them together will neutralize them both; you won’t get any of the benefits from the vinegar, while the laundry detergent is dissolved, leaving you with residue on your clothes.
What you should do instead is to add the vinegar during rinsing. Most fully automatic washing machines have a compartment for fabric softeners in their soap dispenser; put the vinegar here as this only releases the liquid during the rinsing process.
Benefits of using vinegar in laundry
Adding just one cup of vinegar during the rinsing process gives the following benefits:
1. Removes stains
The vinegar dissolves the dirt and food particles to make it easier for water to carry them away.
You can also treat yellow stains found in the armpit area using vinegar. These yellow stains are caused by the salt in your sweat reacting with your deodorant’s chemical (usually aluminum or silver). The vinegar breaks the bond between these chemicals so that you can remove them easily.
For best results, spot treat stains in your clothes using vinegar, and then add another cup or two of vinegar during the rinsing process.
2. Whitens your whites
Vinegar can be used as a less-harsh bleach alternative to whiten your whites.
For best results, mix vinegar and baking soda together during rinsing. You can also pre-soak your clothes using the mixture.
3. Softens fabrics
If you are allergic to the harsh chemicals usually found in store-bought fabric conditioners, vinegar may be the best alternative for you.
You should add 1/2 cup of vinegar during the rinsing process to soften fabrics. As stated earlier, you can add this in the fabric softener compartment on the soap dispensers of fully automatic washing machines.
4. Removes odors
Vinegar is a natural deodorizer especially when paired with baking soda. Add 1/2 cup of each to neutralize odors in your clothes.
Additionally, this same mixture can be used to remove molds from your washing machine. This will reduce the number of black molds found in your wash as well as the musty smell associated with it.
5. Loosens soap buildup in your washing machine
When you don’t clean your washing machine properly, soap residue may build-up and eventually turn up in a batch of laundry.
You can use vinegar and baking soda to clean your tub (don’t put in clothes of course). Using this same mixture during your regular wash cycle will reduce the amount of soap build up in your washing machine.
Vinegar isn’t just a fundamental part of your pantry; it can also be used as a cheap, readily-available, eco-friendly, and hypoallergenic household cleaner. Adding baking soda to the mix is a potent one-two punch for stubborn stains and smells.
Miguel Mores worked for 5 years as a member of the product management team for a home appliance company in the Philippines. He started 101appliance to answer the most common customer questions that he has encountered during his time in the industry. He now works in the digital marketing field and manages a small online bookstore on the side.