Can Vinegar Clean Clothes?

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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 cleaning aid. Not to mention that it’s cheap and readily available. 

Vinegar is a 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 means stains and dirt won’t stick to your clothes. In addition, it is a great antibacterial agent that won’t make your clothes smell.

Here’s everything you should know about cleaning your clothes with vinegar to help you protect the environment, save money, and prevent mistakes when washing your clothes.

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

Vinegar is a natural and safe product with no additives or chemicals that may damage your clothes, skin, or the environment. It’s an excellent solution for your laundry needs and the planet at the same time.

Can Vinegar Damage Clothes? 

Absolutely, not as long as you use the correct amount of it! Vinegar is a safe cleaning agent and will not ruin your clothes. It can remove dirt, tough stains, and even foul odors. It’s very reliable against soap residue and traces of oil products.

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

The amount of vinegar you will use for your laundry depends on the size of the load you wash. You will need more vinegar for heavier loads. And for every cup of vinegar, you will need to add 4 cups of water.

Can Vinegar Be Used to Remove Stains on Clothes?

Yes, distilled white vinegar is a popular stain remover not only for clothes but also for floor tiles, countertops, carpets, and much more. The vinegar’s acetic property is mild enough to remove stains on clothes without damaging them.

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 safely make this solution, 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.

You can also put vinegar directly in the washing machine while washing your dirty laundry. Again, vinegar can remove stains and odors from your clothes. 

How to Wash Your Clothes with Vinegar?


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. These are common problems that can be solved 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. You can use detergent to wash your clothes when the cycle is done. This is not mandatory as your clothes are already clean with vinegar alone.

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 what’s the truth? Well, 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 an alternative to laundry detergent. You can make this solution an all-natural clothes cleaner by mixing it with water instead of using store-bought detergent. To make this DIY vinegar cleaner, mix 1 cup vinegar with 4 cups water. Apply the mixture to the stained area for at least an hour.

Make sure not to soak the clothes in the solution for too long to prevent any damage. Also, take note that delicate fabric requires the utmost attention. Once satisfied with the outcome, rinse it with clean and cold water.

It’s also advisable to read laundry instructions found on your clothing. It will help you determine whether such clothes only need handwashing or can be cleaned in the washing machine. 

How Can You Use Vinegar to Clean Clothes?


Here are several ways you can include 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. You need to 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 2 cups of baking soda. Add 2 cups of white vinegar and 10 drops of essential oil. Run your washing machine, and the vinegar will do its magic, removing moldy smells and dirt.


After reading this, you should know that vinegar is safe for your laundry, can remove stains, and revive white clothes. But don’t use too much of it as it may harm your clothes and washing machine. 

Follow the directions for washing your clothes with vinegar and your clothes will turn out clean, odor free, and fresh.

To learn what else you can clean in your home, read our article – Can Vinegar Clean Ovens?