You can use vinegar in your laundry instead of fabric softener. It’s cheaper and it does more than just soften clothes.

I made a comment about using vinegar in your laundry, and got a few comments asking for more details, so I decided to make another post.

I use vinegar in place of fabric softener in my laundry. Not only does it soften clothes, but it also a natural deodorizer. And it’s CHEAP, compared to fabric softener.

1 gallon will do 32 loads. At US$2.50 a gallon, you’re looking at less than US 8¢ per load.

I think the average cost per load of even store brand fabric softener is going to be around US 30¢ per load.

And vinegar is all-natural™, softens and deodorizes, and will remove hard water deposits in your washing machine.

You can usually buy a small bottle in the grocery store for less than a dollar, if you want to just try it out.

**EDIT:** You should add this to your fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine. If you don’t have one, then a Downy fabric softener dispenser may work.

#WARNING: DO NOT MIX VINEGAR AND CHLORINE BLEACH OR COLOR SAFE BLEACH EVER!!!! THIS CANNOT BE STRESSED ENOUGH! VINEGAR AND CHLORINE BLEACH WILL PRODUCE CHLORINE GAS. YOU WILL BURN THE INSIDE OF YOUR LUNGS AND MAY NOT SURVIVE THE EXPERIENCE. HYDROGEN PEROXIDE (USUALLY FOUND IN COLOR SAFE BLEACH) AND VINEGAR WILL MAKE PERACETIC ACID. THOUGH NOT AS DANGEROUS, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THESE CHEMICALS NOT BE MIXED.

If you are unable to dispense vinegar using a fabric softener dispenser, best not to use it.

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39 Comments

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  1. I would be interested to know if vinegar can seriously damage parts of your washing machine. I’ve read pretty often to not use it in the machine because of the acid. I’m unsure because of mixed statements, so I won’t use it.

    Edit: I’ve read quite often that – as I stated in another comment – the acid in vinegar can destroy rubber parts like hoses and seals. Yes, (rubber) seals and such are weak parts, that will weaken overtime naturally, but my concern is that the “weak” vinegar acid will emphasize the process of damage. I’m not a chemist, nor a technician. Just concerned.
    Thanks for your replies.

  2. I’ve used vinegar as fabric softener for almost 6 years steady now. Clothes and washing machine are just fine, and I don’t have to scrape the remnants of regular fabric softener out of the washer or dryer.

  3. I saw a comment in regards to dark or color clothes, is vinegar alright with these? Also don’t dryer sheets help with static in the dryer? Does using vinegar help with it during the drying?

  4. Started using vinegar for laundry after my SO and I ramped up our gym presence. My gym clothes use to have a nasty carryover stank. With vinegar they smell like new after each wash. It’s amazing stuff.

  5. Can’t recommend this enough if you work around or with chemicals and things that smell. I work as a fueler at an airport and deal with jet fuel, av-gas, and diesel which all are very greasy fuels and love to stick to skin and fabric. Washing with standard detergents does absolutely nothing, and even the smell of vinegar is better than the fuels.

  6. Do you pour the 1 cup of vinegar directly into the load or do you put it in that little pouch/inlet on the side of the washing machine?

  7. I was told along with this to also add bicarbonate with your washing powder as it works well with the vinegar. Plus fabric softener over time with towels will make them water proof. So if you want your towels to last longer. Use vinegar. I was also told that the vinegar helps clothes dry quicker than fabric softener.

  8. I live in an apartment with shared laundry facilities, do you think it would still be okay to dispense the vinegar in the fabric softener slot or would it be safer to put it directly on my clothes?? I never use bleach but I’m just thinking of others’ laundry

  9. This was posted before and somebody, probably a plumber or washing machine repair person, mentioned that if was a terrible idea because it damages the actual washer.

  10. I used liquid detergent and vinegar but I could smell the vinegar on the clothes.

    I found popping in a bit of fabric softener as well gets rid of all of the vinegar smell and the vinegar gets rid of any funky smells like BO or smelly socks.

  11. I think there is a lot of myth and confusion in this post.

    First fabric softener/conditioner is not for softening hard water or removing odors. Vinegar does not replace it, or its function. Tho you are right it is cheaper.

    Yes, vinegar is useful if you have hard water to prevent mineral deposits, if you live somewhere with hard water you are probably already on top of this.

    Vinegar (and baking soda) is not a deodoriser. With the concentration of it you are using 30-50l of water with the wash and 80% of the vinegar being water it will do little to neutralise any odor causing chemicals.

    All evidence is anecdotal and seems to either suppose that the odor is being covered up by the vinegar odor. Or that multiple washes have managed to get the strong pungent odor of vinegar out (but was miraculously unable to get the previous odor out).

  12. I feel like maybe this is one of those things that doesn’t translate from US to UK so can I just ask a few Qs:

    * Is UK vinegar the same as US vinegar, i.e. [does it look like this](http://d25hqtnqp5nl24.cloudfront.net/images/products/11/LN_007611_BP_11.jpg)

    * Does it have to be the ‘light malt’ kind or will any dark vinegar work?

    * Using actual real empirical measurements (i.e. not a ‘cup’ whatever the heck that means!), how much should I add to a single load of laundry?

    * Where do I put it, in the same compartment in the drawer as the fabric softener would usually go?

    * You’re certain it doesn’t make your washing machine smell of vinegar?!

  13. My question then is how much vinegar to use? I’d love to give this a try as my girlfriend doesn’t like fabric softeners, and I don’t like scratchy clothes…

  14. My mom works at a fast food restaurant and recently started using vinegar to take away the smell of from her clothes and it really works. I thought it would make her clothes smell worse by adding the vinegar but you can’t smell it at all

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