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11 Uses of White Vinegar in your Laundry

Please read our Introduction on White Vinegar Usage before undertaking any of the following suggestions.

1. Clothing Stains

Any heavy stains on (non-delicate) clothing can be sprayed with white vinegar, leaving to soak for a little while before being washed in the normal way.

2. Collars & Cuffs

These areas of clothing tend to take the most abuse (particularly on shirts), with grime and dirt collecting and creating “rings”. Where this happens put a little baking soda into a small shallow container, add small amounts of white vinegar and mix until you have a thick paste. Using an old toothbrush rub this paste into the affected areas before adding the clothing to your next wash load.

3. Color & Dye Run

New clothes and other new fabrics (plus newly dyed items) might have a tendency to bleed (or run) when first washed. It is always an excellent idea to wash such items separately but to help set the color more effectively, add white vinegar to the rinse cycle of this first wash. Strangely juxtaposed but this also helps the fabric color from fading in the longer term.

4. Diapers (Non-Disposable)

Add a quarter pint of white vinegar per gallon of water to a diaper pail to reduce odor and minimize staining. When it comes to washing, use half laundry detergent and half white vinegar, plus additional white vinegar instead of fabric softener. This approach rebalances the Ph levels and gives a soft cloth finish, which can help reduce nappy rash.

5. Deodorize Clothing

Clothing can pick up odors (e.g. bonfire smoke, cigarette smoke etc.) and this is easily removed by washing. However for items, which require dry cleaning, this can be expensive, especially if you have only worn the garment once. In these circumstances, run a bathtub of hot water adding a pint of white vinegar and hang the garment(s) over the steam rising from the tub (why not treat yourself to the bath first!). Leave for a few hours (e.g. overnight) and this should dissipate and remove the odor from the clothing.

6. Fabric Softener

Use half a cup of white vinegar in place of fabric softener; clothes will come out soft and with the added benefit of reducing lint production and static. Also, being organic, it doesn’t coat your clothes with a range of harmful chemicals like a lot of commercial softeners do!

7. Grease Removal from Suede

If you inadvertently get grease on a suede garment or footwear, this can be difficult to remove. However, use an old toothbrush dipped in white vinegar and gently brush the affected area to remove the grease.

8. Ironing

Spritz garments with a spray of 50/50 white vinegar and water. This helps to set and reset creases most effectively. The use of a cloth over the top of the item, to be pressed, works well at preventing shine. To refresh and deodorize the ironing board cover, use the 50/50 spray and lightly iron it.

9. White Hem Marks

If you need to let a hem down you will frequently find a white line has formed where the crease was. In this situation the white mark can be removed by lightly scrubbing with a mixture of 4 parts white vinegar to 1 part water (an old toothbrush is ideal for this); and lightly pressing with an iron. This often works first time but repeat the process if necessary, until the white line has been removed.

10. Whiten Whites

Instead of using bleach add a white vinegar and baking soda mixture to your white clothes for washing. Measure a quarter cup of baking soda and top up to 1 cup with white vinegar and mix these together. This achieves the same result without the harshness, making it ideal for delicate materials and those that can be “stained” yellow (e.g. some cottons) by bleach. If you still use bleach, adding a cup of vinegar will remove the smell of bleach from the finished wash.

11. Underarm Marks

The underarm area of clothing can sometimes stain due to straightforward sweating but also due to chemicals in anti-perspirant/deodorants that may be used. When this is the case, spray the area with white vinegar and then wash as per usual. For hardened or stubborn areas, spray the area and leave it to sit for a reasonable period of time (e.g. overnight), before washing as per normal.

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