The Best Laundry Tip

Okay, y’all. I have the very best laundry tip to share that you are not going to believe the difference it makes in your laundry.

I’ve been using this method for my laundry for a little over a year and can not believe the difference it has made.

I never, ever, ever want to go back.

Like ever.

Are you ready for the tip?

Vinegar.

Plain ol distilled white vinegar is a huge life saver, or should I say, laundry saver.

When we built our house, we bought a new washer and dryer set for our laundry room. I was beyond thrilled with this “new and improved” design and just knew that it was the best thing since sliced bread in the laundry department.

Well, after a little while I started noticing a musty smell in our laundry.

The towels seemed to be the worst.

It was horrible!

If you’ve ever had that same problem, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I tried everything from using less detergent, cleaning out the seals of my washing machine at least once a month, buying washing machine cleaner, to calling a repairman. Then, in a conversation one day while talking to my Mama about my Grandmother hanging clothes on a drying line and ironing my Granddaddy’s overalls until they could stand up by themselves, Mama mentioned that my Grandmother was a firm believer in using white vinegar in her laundry.

Why in the world had I forgotten that little fact.

When I began using it in my laundry, I noticed no more mildew smell from my front-load washing machine, my towels seemed fluffier, and whites whiter. As a bonus during the fall and winter when we’ve been outside around our firepit, there was no more residual smell of smoke on our clothes afterward.

 

Using Vinegar in Laundry

I simply add 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar into each load of laundry.

For sheets, towels, and stained linens, I pour distilled white vinegar into the fabric softener dispenser of my washing machine.

As with any change in your laundry routine, I suggest you read your machine’s manual to make sure there are no issues with using vinegar in your washing machine.

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Comments

  1. 3

    Andrea says

    I’ve been adding vinegar to the rinse cycle and 1/2 cup baking soda when I add the detergent and the improvement is remarkable.

    I’d like your take on another laundry tip I read recently – adding a teaspoon of black pepper along with your laundry detergent helps keep your brights as bright as they can be. I’ve never heard of this and haven’t tried it yet!

  2. 5

    Lisa says

    Just curious, are you still using fabric softener as well? Do you simply dd both vinegar and softenert the same time to the fabric softener compartment?

  3. 7

    says

    I’ve tried this before…but in a different method. I cannot stand that towel smell! I have to try this one now. (The other one included baking soda, and no laundry detergent.) Thanks for this, Robyn!

    • 8

      says

      You’ll have to let me know how it works for you. I still use my laundry detergent and no baking soda. But, I believe the method you are using the baking soda works as the detergent.

  4. 13

    Shar says

    I have heard from a very technical guy, that they were just as excited about their new washer, and found that the “energy saving” was saving water from one wash to the other, Grey Water. But if you are not washing right away, of course, it will go slimy and stale. Brilliant design! They returned theirs. Just FYI. Silly too, as the laundromat front loaders are just fine! They surely can make ones that work for the home! ANd they can still make them like they use to, with parts that last 30 plus years – another story.

    Since vinegar cuts soap, I was curious – you put it in WITH the detergent?

    There are recipes for home laundry detergents on other sites also, with borax, and soap flakes….to get away from more of the toxic thing they have done to our laundry. I hear it saves money too, certainly plastic! Skin is the largest cleansing organ – so toxic chemical residues in contact with the skin constantly – yikes!! I have recently been in the public schools at the end of the day, to tutor. Holy cow, the dryer sheet and laundry toxins when you walk in the school – it is so toxic! The smell is overwhelming! Nearly choking to one without the exposure. Laundry products are the ONE most toxic indoor pollutant.

    We put vinegar in the rinse cycle. For whites, a second rinse is always very whitening anyway. Woolen dryer balls are excellent softeners. Interestingly, many put some vinegar on their dryer wool balls for extra softening, and the effects last quite a while – so long after the vinegar has dried. All hang-dry items go in for a 10 minute toss with the dryer balls here.

    Borax is actually boron, and any residual would actually be good for our bodies.

    • 14

      tansy says

      I have started making the no grate laundry detergent, I use 1/2 cup per load, and instead of softener, I use vinegar. Just pour it into the softener spot. I also add 1/4 cup baking soda to every load. I am thrilled at the money that I am saving by using just vinegar, and my own detergent!!

  5. 15

    says

    I put vinegar in the “softener” ball I bought a few years ago. That way it is released with the rinse? Or whenever that thing pops open LOL.

  6. 17

    says

    My mother would be so proud of this post! She’s a vinegar cheerleader and has been for years. But I hadn’t thought of using it with my laundry. She’s suggested it for cleaning the washer, like running a load with just vinegar (no clothing or linens). I wonder – do you get a vinegar smell? Cuz that wouldn’t be pleasant…..

    • 18

      says

      Hi Barbara,
      I was rather worried about a residual vinegar scent as well, but luckily haven’t had one. I’m sure if you added more vinegar, you might have a carryover scent, but I’ve not had one. Just fresh, clean smelling!

  7. 19

    says

    I used to do this faithfully several years ago and just got out of the habit. Thank you so much for posting this reminder. I am going to stop and get a gallon jug of vinegar on my way home. No more smelly towels for my family! Thanks!

  8. 20

    says

    I’m going to start doing this more often! I’ve only used it when someone, ok it’s me, forgets to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer for a day or two. A little vinegar in the rinse freshens them right up. Now, I’m going to use it for everything! Thanks!

  9. 21

    Karen Lynch says

    Giving this a try today. My towels have been smelling funky for a while now. Hope this works. BTW I read an article about putting aspirin in with laundry to help fight underarm stains. About six per load. While we haven’t got new undershirts for DH the existing stains have lightened, and I don’t use bleach, more mishaps than worth it when teens are around.

  10. 22

    Shawnna says

    I’ve been putting Borax in with our towels for a while and it completely got rid of the musty smell in our frontloader. 1/2 c. in the drum right before you put the towels in.

  11. 24

    Jody Belleman says

    No one mentioned leaving the washer door open until the rim is dry. I leave my washer door open for a couple of hours after I finish my laundry and do not have any smell.

  12. 27

    Elizabeth says

    Something else you can do is add hydrogen peroxide to the wash. That is the “secret” ingredient in all the “oxy” type products. Cheap and brightens laundry right up.

  13. 28

    Linda says

    I got this recipe from Maytag after experiencing the same ‘stank’ from my towels and trying everything to get rid of it.

    Once a month: Put in the detergent dispenser: 1 cup bleach and 1 cup dishwashing powder (either Sunlight OR Cascade Complete – important to use only these, they have higher phosphate); then 1 cup bleach in the bleach dispenser. Use Hot water and run on the Heavy wash cycle.

    Of course it helps to wipe down the gaskets, and let the washer dry out before closing the door. In our house, we could not leave the door open, so I cut a koozie up and tuck it in the lock so the washer can’t close all the way. It did burn out my light, but I no longer have the stank of mildew.

    Since using vinegar to clean it out, I now use it instead of fabric softener (but add dryer sheets periodically), and sometimes baking soda in the loads that are stinky or full sweaty workout stuff and LOVE how fresh my laundry smells.

  14. 29

    says

    A friend of mine suggested VODKA for the same reason. Kind of expensive compared to vinegar, but I bet the laundry is happy. Done the vinegar and the leaving open the washer door post laundry. Now, if I could just get the spouse to quit nagging me about putting too much in at once …

  15. 30

    says

    This is brilliant! Can you clarify if you add the vinegar in addition to your normal laundry detergent or alone? Is there any risk in mixing vinegar with your normal laundry detergent?

  16. 32

    says

    I made sure to buy a washer with the “Sanitary Wash” option, which means it heats the water to 90C – very nice for boiling the germs out of towels and sheets (our grandmothers used to do that too, but stovetop). Between running that cycle periodically, and _always_ leaving the door open, so far we’ve been spared the mildew. The vinegar is cheaper though, and certainly smaller carbon footprint!

  17. 33

    Sue Bakker says

    I’ve been using vinegar for about a year, due to the musty towel odors, and it is doing a fabulous job. I also stopped adding dryer softener sheets to the towels. Vinegar is a natural softener. I love the way the towels smell now. FYI, I have been rinsing my hair with vinegar for about 5 years. I began getting small, painful acne on my scalp that was actually folliculitis – it also caused my head to itch like crazy. After googling treatments and spending money on special shampoos that were totally worthless, I decided to give it a try. It costs just pennies a week and works wonderfully. The vinegar odor disappears as soon as the hair dries.

    • 34

      Sandy says

      How much vinegar do you use for your head? Like a capful or a cupfull? I have been trying to get rid of the itchys on my head for some time and none of the special shampoos seem to work.

      • 35

        Stephanie H says

        Sandy…I’ve never had severe scalp issues, just itchy a bit. I have been reading about the MANY MANY benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for awhile. Turns out it’s awesome for skin and hair. I bought a refillable ketchup bottle and I filled it half with ACV and half with water. That ratio can be adjusted to each persons needs. I leave the bottle in the shower. After shampooing I run the thin tip of the bottle filled with ACV mixture along the hair lines of my scalp then finger massage. I also put some into my hair. It naturally conditions the hair and you do not need to use store bought conditioner (save $$ big time). Yes, it smells bad and be careful not to get any in your eyes. Once you’re hair is dry, the smell is gone. It has helped my itchy scalp and after almost 4 months of doing this, my hair is growing faster and is healthier.

        Another way I use ACV is by using a water/ACV mixture (again, adjusted to personal needs) as a facial toner. I don’t have bad break outs, but my friend does. I gave her the mixture and saw her two weeks later…Big Improvement for her!

        I hope this helps!

  18. 36

    Emily says

    We have a brand new – fancy-dancy top loader washer. The first NEW appliances I have ever had. The lid locks once you start the cycle, so I can’t add during the the rinse cycle.
    My Mom is over-the-top nuts about Vinegar and Baking Soda use for anything in the house. So after listening and listening to her talk about it – I’ve compromised on THIS:
    I buy some good smelling fabric softener and mix ‘just a tad’ into my jug that I put my vinegar in. It’s already pre-mixed and a smaller container to handle than the big gallon jug. I just seem to pour that stuff everywhere if it’s in such a big container.
    It softens wonderfully and I still get the hint of ‘exhilaration’ smell by adding traditional softener.
    I’m working on the full monty – but until I get there… my mixture is going to be just fine.

    • 37

      Renee Hudson says

      I have also read you can add a little hair condition with the vinegar to give it the good smell. Haven’t tried it myself yet but it is on my to do list as soon as my fabric softener is all gone.

      • 38

        Stephanie H says

        I’ve tried using conditioner with the vinegar but the vinegar cleans away all the scent. I dropped the conditioner and stuck with the vinegar because it works! Even though I’ve had no problem using vinegar as a laundry softener, I plan on making wool dryer balls this week for added benefit (and I think it will be fun). I will be testing out soaking the wool balls in my favorite smelling softener, not for softening, but I to like scented laundry.

  19. 39

    Kelly says

    I have used the vinegar trick as a replacement for fabric softener for awhile. I also add several drops of Tea Tree Oil with the vinegar to help with the fresh smell. Works beautifully

  20. 40

    vanessa says

    I use vinegar in EVERY load I do. I have 2 cats and if I don’t clean their litter box DAILY they like to use the dirty laundry. At one point I was washing every load twice and couldn’t get rid of the smell…..since vinegar is sooo powerful I gave it a shot….got my clothes smelling clean and softer in 1wash!!!! I probably add too much, I tend to use about 1-2 cups per load and have never had a problem with my clothes smelling like that nasty vinegar smell. Wouldn’t wash any other way!

  21. 41

    Alicia says

    Been doing this for a couple months after seeing on here. Really works!!! Between this and leaving washer door open when not in use- the washer actually smells really good! Like the detergent! No more smell at all in washer or towels.

  22. 43

    Ann says

    I’ve been wondering myself about the musky towels… They are horrible! lol I am excited to try this. I too have a top loading washer, which locks when in use. Do I add the 1/4 cup vinegar where you’d normally put the softener?

  23. 45

    violaine rice says

    I like to put vinegar in my dishwasher along with the tablet. The dishes come out perfect and my dishwasher insides sparkle. I’m going to now put in my laundry.

  24. 47

    Audrey says

    I had the same problem with my front loaders and have done this for a few years now. I forgot a load of laundry in the washer for a couple of days and couldn’t get the mildew stench out of it. I ran through a load of whites with bleach, then I started adding a half a cup of vinegar to each washer load. I just pour it in over the clothes when I put them in the washer. Problem solved. No more stink.
    My mother used to use vinegar as she said it was a natural fabric softener (it changes the PH of the water), gets clothes cleaner, sets colors so they don’t fade as quickly, and makes the fibers last longer. It removes the stink from sweaty clothes really well too.

  25. 48

    Leilani says

    I use both baking soda and vinegar – no need for fabric softener anymore. I immediately noticed the squeaky clean feeling when transferring from washer to dryer. Clothes come out smelling so clean – as if they were line dried.

  26. 49

    Naya says

    Laundry has been always my task since I was with my parents house and I love doing it. Now I am 32 years old and married. For regular laundry or dark coloured clothes, I use 50/50 laundry soap and baking soda then put on last rinse a mixture of 40/60 water and vinegar plus 1.5 table spoon of scented oil and table 3 spoons of alcohol. That’s basically my fabric softener. Cold water on dark colours. The container for my fabric conditioner mix is the heinz bottle 32FL.

    For whites, using cold water on quick cycle, I pre-treat it with 50/50 dishwashing liquid and Zonrox pink (hydrogen peroxide) to take away grimes or any oil and add pure distilled white vinegar to last rinse. Once the cycle is finished, I wash it again, now using warm water (30-40c for normal or delicate clothes and 60c to towels, pillow cases and bedsheets), I use the same soap and fabric softener combination as above.

    I do not use dryer if it’s sunny. I hang clothes outside. Sun gives that fresh scent and kills dust mites (Icky little creatures). I also do not spin most of the clothes except towels and sheets (the one’s that is hard to wring using hands). I notice the garters of the clothes last and the clothes do not get damaged easily. I have clothes that I own since I was in high school and (luckily) still fits me and I can still wear it at home. We just hang clothes to dry.

    Hope it helps!

  27. 50

    Brittany A. says

    Hello Sandra,

    Do you do both a 1/4 cup of vinegar at the beginning and another 1/4 cup in the rinse cycle?

  28. 53

    Leslie Thompson says

    I use vinegar to help with stinky athletic wear. I dump in about a cup into “small load” amount of water in top load washer and let it soak until I remember to go add soap and maybe more water and shut the lid to let the washer start. Has extended the life of many of the clothes that were getting very bad smelling.

  29. 54

    charity maji says

    I put vinegar in my laundry all the time. I have a front loader and I use power cause they say that’s is the best to use in the machine so I put the vinegar where liquid goes and it dose fine.when I used to have the old type washing machine I just poured it in with the clothes in it did fine so I don’t think it matters how you put the vinegar in it personally.but I use it for all my laundry if it needs it needs it, bedding regular clothes I use vinegar for cleaning my house it works for everything I run it through my dishwasher clean my kitchen counters my bathrooms everything.

  30. 55

    matt says

    Also leave your lid up (or open if a front loader) ALL THE TIME. This will guarantee no residual smells in the laundry. We had an old Maytag top loader that was the best washer ever. BUT it always smelt until we started using vinegar. However even after the use of the vinegar it would still get the odd residual smell. ANSWER Leave the lid open all the time (obviously not while washing). Problem solved.

  31. 57

    says

    We have been using vinegar in the laundry for over a year now. I love the way our clothing feels and I no longer need dryer sheets. We just use dryer balls. The whites look amazing and the vinegar will help get out the smell of anything.

  32. 58

    jennifer says

    My husband has greasy stinky work clothes that regular detergent just wont cut, someone told me to try vinegar in the rinse cycle but would it benefit me more to add it to the bleach dispenser instead?

  33. 59

    Mike says

    To start I hate the smell of vinegar. I am hesitant to use it in the fabric softener tray… I will give A little bit of filler info- we have a 1 yr old samsung he front loading washer and dryer (their top of the line options with steam, etc.) – we also do the self clean option reguarly. The washer smells fine but Blankets, shirts, and especially towels smell either like mildew or wet dog. I want to use the vinegar but there are 4 places to put the vinegar:
    1. Prewash.
    2. Wash Detergent
    3. Bleach or
    4 fabric softener.
    Each compartment has max fill lines so I am not sure 1/2 cup will fit in all of them. My questions are: which compartment do i fill, how much do i put in so that I don’t stink like vinegar, and do i use anything else in the wash (i.e.- vinegar in the fabric softener but still use detergent; or vinegar in the detergent and also add detergent and put fabric softener in the fab softener compartment—- you get the point) Please help! Thanks

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