Keeping your washing machine clean and free of odors is important for maintaining the longevity of the appliance and ensuring your clothes are washed in a hygienic environment. One effective way to do this is by using white vinegar. The acidic properties of white vinegar make it an effective tool for removing buildup and stains from the interior of the machine, as well as eliminating any unpleasant odors that may have accumulated over time. In this article, we’ll show you how to clean your washing machine with white vinegar, and why it’s an effective and cost-efficient method for keeping your machine in tip-top shape.
Here are 9 ways to incorporate vinegar into your daily laundry routine.
- Stop the stink
Some clothes maintain that musty smell even after they’ve just been washed. You can shock them into smelling neutral by adding 1/2 to a full cup of vinegar to your washer’s rinse cycle. One caveat: The acid in vinegar can eventually break down the elasticity of clothing, so don’t make a habit of washing your smelly softball uniform in vinegar after every practice.
- A clean machine
Forget the clothes – sometimes it’s the washing machine itself that smells like mildew. If yours has developed an odor, use a cloth dampened with white vinegar to wipe down the rubber seal.
And to disinfect the entire washer and remove soap scum, pour 2 cups of vinegar, then run the machine through a full cycle without clothes or detergent. If your washer is particularly dirty, fill it with very hot water, add 2 gallons of vinegar and let the agitator run for 8-10 minutes. Turn off the washer and let the solution sit overnight. In the morning, empty the basin and run your washer through a full cycle.
- Remove wrinkles
We’ve all been there – hitting the dryer cycle again because the clothes have been sitting there for a while and getting wrinkled. Instead, fill a spray bottle with a solution of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, and spray the wrinkles before hanging the item to air dry. Add a few of your favorite essential oils to give the mixture a fresh scent. (Start light, say 10 to 15 drops to four ounces of water. You can always add more scent, but you can’t remove it).
- Wash those shower curtains and liners
Over time, plastic shower curtains and liners can develop ugly mildew stains – not fun to look at when you’re in the shower. Easy solution: Throw the soiled curtain or liner and a few towels into your washing machine. Add 1/2 cup laundry detergent and 1/2 cup baking soda to the load. Wash it in warm water on your machine’s regular cycle. Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the first rinse.
Before the machine goes into the spin cycle, remove the curtain and hang it up to dry.
- Whiten and shine
If your whites have gone dingy, here’s an out-of-the-washer solution: Add one cup of vinegar to 1-1/2 quarts of tap water in a large saucepan, boil the mixture, then pour it into a bucket and add the whites. Wash and dry them after they soak overnight and revel in their like-new brightness.
- Restore the absorbency of the towel
It’s natural for towel absorbency to decrease as towels age, thanks to fabric softener, dryer sheet and detergent buildup. Strip them to restore some of that just-bought feel by washing them with vinegar. Wash a half load of towels with a cup of vinegar instead of detergent, but add in the same way, and using hot water (or the sanitize cycle). Do the same again, but with half a cup of baking soda instead of vinegar or detergent. Dry as usual.
- Define colors
To help keep brightly colored clothes from fading – or clashing with lighter colors in the wash – soak them in undiluted vinegar for about 15 minutes before their first wash. Bonus: This can help remove dust and chemicals trapped in the fabric.
- Repair shrunken sweaters
Oops, you neglected the care instructions and washed your favorite sweater in hot water, or ran it through the dryer, and now it’s shrunk. Let’s go back from the toddler size by boiling it in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water for 25 minutes. Gently stretch the wet garment and let it air dry.
- Don’t sweat the sweat stains
Soften your yellow! Yellow sweat rings on shirt collars and underarms can be embarrassing. Make a paste with 2 parts white vinegar and 3 parts baking soda. Apply and leave on for half an hour before washing.