Can You Use Vinegar And Laundry Detergent Together?

Vinegar is a powerful agent that can be added to your washing machine load; however, it should not be mixed with laundry detergent. You can add vinegar to the rinse cycle after the detergent is washed out.

Vinegar is acidic, while most detergents are basic. Mixing the two solutions results in a neutralization reaction, reducing the effectiveness of the detergent. It also makes the clothes oily.

Can You Use Vinegar And Laundry Detergent Together

Where Do You Put The Vinegar In The Washing Machine?

Vinegar and laundry detergent is a killer combination; however, they cannot be put in the same dispenser. Mixing the products together may make your clothes oily and unclean, so you’d have to rewash/strip them.

Add a cup of white distilled vinegar into the fabric softener compartment and run a load of clothes on a regular cycle. This will soften your clothes and take away any stubborn dirt.

For better results, add vinegar to the final rinse cycle. Although it will not harm your clothes, the vinegar’s pH may cancel the detergent’s cleaning ability when added to the fabric softener compartment. Adding vinegar to your laundry routine will not only soften your clothes but also kill any germs (dryers do too at the right temperature).

Another clever way to use vinegar in the laundry is to make them like dryer sheets. Cut up an old towel or cloth into squares the size of normal dryer sheets.

Soak it in water, vinegar solution, and twelve drops of your chosen essential oil. Keep your pieces of cloth in an airtight container. Add one or two to the dryer before it starts.

While being reusable, you’re also saving money on buying dryer sheets. It’s also gentler for your skin.

Can Vinegar Damage Your Washing Machine?

Overuse of vinegar has the potential to damage your washing machine.

Vinegar can damage the rubber components in the machine. Since it has strong acidic properties, it is an effective cleaner for the metal surface but damages the rubber. This is a slow process and eventually causes holes in the washing machine.

A leaking washing machine is a dangerous hazard to your house, which can cause slips and falls, potential fire hazards, and even mold. Vinegar also has the possibility of damaging certain pipes in the machine. So, use vinegar whenever it’s necessary!

Benefits of Adding Vinegar to Laundry

benefits and precautions when using white vinegar

White vinegar has several advantages; it’s not just a flavoring for food and an effective cleaning aid. It works by breaking through aluminum chloride and zinc salts, which means dirt won’t stick to the clothes and eliminates bacteria.

Don’t worry; your clothes won’t smell like vinegar! Here are some benefits of adding vinegar to the laundry.

An Effective Stain Buster

Distilled white vinegar is a good stain remover because it is acidic so it can tackle basic (alkaline) stains. Although it is not as strong as harsh chemicals found in commercial stain removers, vinegar is still good at canceling the alkaline stain.

In the same way, baking soda is best at tackling acidic stains (like green tea). If you combine baking soda and vinegar, it can make a powerful stain buster.

A Natural Fabric Softener And Hypoallergenic

Vinegar is a great alternative to harsh detergents if you have sensitive skin. Certain commercial laundry detergents can irritate the skin and cause a rash called contact dermatitis. Since vinegar shows advanced cleaning abilities, it can be a good substitute. Additionally, vinegar can soften fabrics.


Vinegar is better for the environment than the harsh chemicals in some laundry detergents. When this goes back into the environment, it can harm plant life and marine life. On the other hand, water that contains vinegar can be added to your lawn as it is not as harsh.

Prevent Streaking And Yellowing

Vinegar can break down detergent residue and prevent it from sticking to the clothes. You can soak your clothes in a solution of vinegar and water before popping them into the washing machine.

It Takes Away Odor And Brightens Clothes

Vinegar contains certain chemicals that eliminate odors, which leaves your clothes smelling clean. It can take away smells that come from smoke, sweat, and pets. Your clothes won’t smell like vinegar, but you can add some essential oils for a fragrant effect.

The solution also has a bleaching effect, which brightens your whites without the risk of staining them.

Reduces Lint Build-up And Static

Adding half a cup of vinegar to your fabric softener dispenser just before the last rinse cycle will soften your clothes and reduce lint build-up and static.

Distilled white vinegar also gets rid of stubborn pet hair on clothes. If you want your clothes to smell nice, you can also add some essential oil to the dispenser.

Keeps Denim/Black Clothes Looking New

Constant washing of black clothes with detergent can make them look dull. Adding a half cup of white vinegar can keep your black clothes dark and clean.

It can also prevent fading on new denim. This is because vinegar is good at locking in the color in fabrics and removes the soap residue, which is often responsible for dulling the color of denim.

Cleans Your Washing Machine

Your washing machine goes through a lot to wash dirty clothes. A clean washing machine will give you cleaner clothes. Besides white vinegar being your clothes’ best friend, it can also be used to clean your washing machine.

Run the machine on a cleaning cycle, and add a cup of vinegar with hot water. This will take out any lint and mineral deposits in the washing machine.

Precautions When Using Vinegar in Laundry

One of the most important precautions of vinegar is not to mix it with your laundry detergent. Let’s dive into more precautions to prevent any mistakes!

Don’t Add Too Much Vinegar

You should only use the recommended amount of vinegar when washing clothes. While it is an effective cleaner, it is still an acid. This acetic acid can damage/weaken the material of your clothes. It’s not necessary to put vinegar in each wash cycle.

Don’t Pour It Straight On Clothes

You have to dilute vinegar in water before using it on your clothes. Its acidic nature will ruin your clothes, color, and quality. It must always be diluted unless instructed otherwise. This is why it’s best to add vinegar to the last cycle.

Only Use White Vinegar

White vinegar is the only type of vinegar you can use on your clothes. This is the best type to use for cleaning as it is colorless, has a strong acidic level, and is cheap. Kinds of vinegar such as red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or brown vinegar can stain your clothes.

Distilled white vinegar should be a staple in your laundry room; however, you shouldn’t mix it with laundry detergent. This would not give you better effects; rather, it will have you washing clothes for longer!

Shauna Stone