How You Can Effectively Clean Clothes with Vinegar Using Our Clothes Washing Guide

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How You Can Effectively Clean Clothes with Vinegar

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Vinegar is one of the best alternatives to commercial laundry products in your pantry. So, if you ask us, “Can vinegar clean clothes?” the short answer is yes.

This solution has several benefits, both as an ingredient and a cleaner. Not to mention that it’s cheap and readily available.

Vinegar is a multipurpose household cleaner, deodorizer, and all-natural product that can help remove stains and odors and keep your clothes fresh. It works by loosening aluminum chloride, which helps remove stains and dirt from your clothes. In addition, vinegar is a great antibacterial agent that won’t leave any scents on your clothes.

Using vinegar to wash your clothes helps protect the environment, saves money, and avoids allergies your skin may have to certain laundry soaps.

Here’s everything you should know about cleaning your clothes with vinegar.

Is Vinegar Effective For Washing Clothes?

Vinegar does clean clothes. As mentioned earlier, it is an effective alternative to commercial products you use to wash your clothes. It can remove dirt, tough stains, and even foul odors. It’s very reliable against soap residue and traces of oil products.

Washing clothes using vinegar is an excellent solution for your laundry needs and the planet at the same time.

Can Vinegar Damage Clothes? 

Not as long as you use the correct amount of it! Vinegar is a safe cleaning agent and will not ruin your clothes. It is a natural and safe product with no additives or chemicals that may damage your clothes, skin, or the environment.

However, it’s always a good idea to be careful about the amount you use when cleaning clothes with it. It’s also smart to spot-test your clothes with vinegar before using it.

Note: The amount of vinegar you use for your laundry depends on the size of the load you wash. It would help if you had more vinegar for heavier loads. And for every cup of vinegar, you will need to add 4 cups of water.

Does Vinegar Remove Smells from Clothes?


Vinegar removes smells from clothes, especially when the odor comes from sweat. A quick vinegar soak can resolve even the most smelly clothes. Add 1 cup of vinegar to the washer and soak your clothes for about 15 to 30 minutes.

This cleaning agent is a deodorizer and a natural cleaner that can make your clothes clean, fresh, and free from foul odors.

Can Vinegar Be Used to Remove Stains on Clothes?

Yes, distilled white vinegar is an effective stain remover. The vinegar’s acetic acid is mild enough to remove stains on clothes without damaging them.

As you may have noticed, white clothes or shirts turn yellow as they age. Also, this can happen from years of wearing them under the sun. This is a common problem that vinegar can solve.

To effectively remove stains on your clothes with vinegar, you can try the pre-treating method. To do this, dilute the vinegar solution with water (vinegar 1:3 water) or soak your clothes in undiluted vinegar for about 15 to 30 minutes or even overnight for tough stains.

Can Vinegar Be Used on Black Clothes?

It is safe to use vinegar on black clothes as it won’t make the color fade. To use vinegar on black clothes, mix 1 cup of vinegar and 4 cups of water in a basin. Let your black clothes soak in the solution for at least an hour to allow the vinegar to do its magic.

If you run out of vinegar try using baking soda instead. Read our post – Unveiling the Truth: Does Baking Soda Bleach Black Clothes?

How to Wash Your Clothes with Vinegar?

Here’s how you can clean your clothes with vinegar:

Things you’ll need:

  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • Detergent (optional)
  • Water
  • Washing machine


  1. Put the vinegar into the detergent compartment. You don’t need to put detergent into the wash.
  2. Run on a hot water cycle.
  3.  If necessary, you can wash your clothes with detergent when done washing them with vinegar. This is not mandatory as your clothes are already clean with vinegar alone.

You can also put vinegar directly in the washing machine while washing your dirty laundry.

Is It Safe to Use Vinegar to Clean a Washing Machine?

You might have heard that using vinegar in a washing machine is bad. But the truth is that using vinegar to clean a washing machine is safe. So long as you don’t overdo it, your clothes and washing machine will be just fine. If you put too much vinegar in the washing machine, it will harm some of its parts.

Can Vinegar Be a Substitute for Laundry Detergent?

Yes, vinegar can be a substitute for laundry detergent. You can make this solution an all-natural clothes cleaner by mixing it with water instead of using store-bought detergent.

Mix 1 cup vinegar with 4 cups water to make this DIY vinegar cleaner. But before using vinegar to wash your clothes, it’s advisable to read laundry instructions found on your clothing. It will help you determine whether you can use vinegar to wash your clothes, if they need handwashing, or if you can put them in the washing machine.

How to Use White Vinegar for Cleaning Clothes?


Here are several ways you can include white vinegar in your laundry routine:

Fabric Softener

Fabric softeners are hard both on clothes, the environment, and your skin. But eco-minded folks will easily substitute vinegar for fabric softener. To do this, add ½ cup of vinegar to an empty container.

You can also mix ½ cup of vinegar and 4 cups of water, then pour it into your clothes while performing a cycle in the washer.


To freshen up your old clothes, you can use vinegar too. Add ½ cup of white vinegar to the detergent compartment of the washing machine.

If your washing machine doesn’t have a detergent compartment, add ½ cup of vinegar into the drum of the washing machine after filling it with water.

Pre-Treat Clothes

No washing machine? Don’t worry! Before you handwash dirty and smelly clothes, allow the clothes to soak in a water and vinegar mixture for several hours or overnight. Remember to read the label on your clothes for any special washing instructions.

Revive White Clothes

If you have dirty white socks and tees, vinegar can revive them. Bring a pot of water to boil on a stovetop and add vinegar. Remove the pot from heat and soak the dirty items in the pot overnight.  

Brighten Shower Curtains

Shower curtains can get moldy over time. So wash them at least once a month.

To clean your curtains in the washing machine, add white vinegar and water solution to the drum and wash them as usual. This process will make your curtain look brand new.

Clean Washing Machine

After you wash your clothes, you can treat your washing machine by deep cleaning it with vinegar. Begin with an empty washing machine and add two cups of baking soda. 

Then, add two cups of white vinegar and ten drops of essential oils. Run your washing machine, and the vinegar will do its magic, removing moldy smells and dirt.

To learn how to clean your washing machine with vinegar, read our article – Cleaning a Washing Machine with Vinegar: A Cleaning Guide to learn how.


After reading this, you should know vinegar is safe for your laundry. You should also know that it removes stains, revives white and black clothes, acts as a fabric softener, detergent, pre-treat for clothes, and cleans shower curtains.

But don’t use too much of it as it may harm your clothes and washing machine. Remember to check your clothes for directions before washing them. When you use vinegar to wash your clothes, they will turn out clean, odor-free, and fresh.

To learn other ways to clean your clothes, read our post – Can Baking Soda Clean Clothes?