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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?


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 ¼ 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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Robyn Stone

Robyn Stone is a wife, mom, blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. Welcome to Add a Pinch where I share thousands of delicious, tested and perfected easy recipes that the whole family will love.

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  1. I live in Kent,  where water is extremely hard and we don’t have a water softener . Will white vinegar help soften clothes and towels, I really don’t want to use fabric conditioner if I can avoid it and don’t want to tumble dry if I can avoid that also, as I like the outdoor smell where possible?

    1. I’ve not used it with the intent of softening, Anne. I do love to use it for the tip I mentioned though! If it helps, I’d love to hear. Thanks! xo

    2. I use white vinegar instead of fabric softener and it works perfectly. They come out soft and my daughter’s skin problem is solved. 

  2. Use powdered laundry detergent. I still like vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser, but using powdered laundry detergent eliminated the musty smell in my washing machine (once I got the smell out).

  3. I am a mom of 8 (adopted 4) Grandma to 13. I use the Downey sofener balls filled to top to add vineger during rinse. Careful adding vinegar to products with bleach or using softener in rinse after washing with vinegar as it can cause a bleaching effect. For static control add about 3 diy foil dryer balls. In my opinion only the foil balls also help improve dryer time. To avoid recurring mildew smell add baking soda or 1-2 tsp Dawn dish soap to wash cycle and add vinegar to rinse. Great article and tips.

  4. We live in the country and have hard water, it doesn’t smell bad just leaves light colored clothes looking dingy after awhile. Iron Out is expensive for the amount we would have to use for a family of 6 and it leaves the clothes smelling very odd even after Gain liquid softener and dryer sheets.

    So my 92yr old Mother in law said to use 2cups of white vinegar and a 1/2cup baking soda for a X-large load. Well….it worked! I now do this once a week with our lighter colored clothes and it works awesome!
    No more nasty rotten egg smell like the Iron Out used to leave behind and the cost is cut by 75%.

    My best friend as well as 2 of my coworkers now use this method faithfully. You can even put a couple drops of your favorite essential oils in with this mixture and it is absolutely amazing!

  5. I have just read that fabric softener is harmful and I was looking up all the ingredients because my daughter arm pit is really sore and this is the second time this has happened, anyway I’m going to try vinegar so do i just put a small amount into the drawer as I do with washing powder and is it harmful to clothes.

  6. I had a terrible time with my jeans getting horrible musty smelling, and I think it was from detergent buildup. I washed with vinegar, baking soda, basically everything I could think of and nothing got rid of the smell. Then I remembered I had some enzymatic laundry detergent from a direct sales company that specializes in cleaning naturally, and tried it. Lo and behold, my jeans finally came out smelling fresh again! I’ve noticed some detergent buildup smell on some of my other clothes, as well, but adding vinegar to every load has been enough to get rid of it, and I’ll continue adding it to every load every time I do laundry, and using the enzymatic laundry detergent periodically to really keep things fresh!

  7. When you use vinegar for your towels and sheets, are you using the same amount?  1/4 cup in the fabric softener dispenser?  We are on a septic system so I haven’t been able to bleach my machine.  I’ve tried adding a few drops of tea tree oil, which has helped a little…I’m thinking vinegar may do the trick though!

  8. Hi, we have an HE front load washing machine. I want to try this laundry tip. But reading through all the comments, i didn’t seem to find the answer to my question. Do I add the 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar on the fabric softener compartment at the same time as i add the laundry detergent before i start my washing machine?
    Thanks for your response in advance.

    1. Hi Gina,
      I have an HE front load washing machine, too. I pour 1/4 cup white vinegar in the fabric softener dispenser at the same time that I add the laundry detergent before I start the washing machine. Hope this helps!

  9. That’s good to know that you could get less mildew smell from your laundry if you use some vinegar in the washing machine. I would have thought that it would have done the opposite of making it smell better since it smells pretty bad itself. I’ll have to give that a try and see if it makes my towels smell a bit better after a wash.

    1. Hi Tyler,
      Vinegar added to the wash really does help the clothes smell better, especially if you have a front loading HE washer. Hope it works for you, too!