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Can You Put Vinegar in the Washing Machine? (Answered)

You might have heard how vinegar can be a great addition to your laundry to clean your clothes and make them look all new.

While it is essentially true that vinegar can be a great alternative to cleaning products and detergents, it’s important to know whether putting vinegar in the washing machine is safe.

Putting vinegar in the washing machine

You can put vinegar in the washing machine as long as you put it in moderation. You can only use white vinegar, in diluted or distilled form, in small amounts. It is safe to add a dash of vinegar to the softer compartment of the machine. Using too much vinegar can damage parts of the machine.

There are different types of vinegar available in the market. Here are some kinds of vinegar and whether you can use them in the washing machine.

White vinegar:

If you are thinking about using vinegar in a washing machine, white vinegar should be the only type that you may use.

Not only for washing machines and laundry, but generally white vinegar is also one of the most popular cleaning product substitutes used around the world.

One of the many reasons why white vinegar can be used in washing machines is its transparent color.

Being colorless means that it would not leave any stains. Since it is natural, there is no chance of artificial coloring in the bottle that you buy.

Other than that, the acidic content of white vinegar is quite high which means it would get the job done in getting rid of stains and odors.

However, since it is acidic, diluting the vinegar and limiting its use in your washing machine would be required.

This also means that if white vinegar is not used the right way, it could potentially harm parts of your washing machine.

Malt vinegar:

Malt vinegar is different from white vinegar in its basic composition. While the latter is purified vinegar with and larger percentage of water content, malt vinegar contains malting barley grains, vinegar, and water.

Yes, it does mean the acidic level in malt vinegar is much milder but using it in the washing machine is not advisable. Not only does it have a strong odor, but it also has a brown tint.

When added to the washing machine, it might leave stains on the clothes and the walls of your machine drums. People who have tried using malt vinegar complained about the smell it left behind.

Apple cider vinegar:

Although you can use diluted apple cider vinegar in your washing machines, it is not recommended to do so.

Apple cider vinegar is not colorless, unlike white vinegar, and may leave stains on some clothes, particularly black ones if used directly. However, you can use apple cider vinegar to clean the insides of your washing machine.

You would need to mix a cup of vinegar and run an empty cycle to wash it all up. This can get rid of bacteria and mildew odors from the machine.

Distilled vinegar:

Distilled vinegar when compared to pure white vinegar might be a safer option to be used in the washing machine.

However, you would need to remember that distilled vinegar is very mild and the acidic content is low. If you are looking to get rid of hard stains, you would need to use larger amounts of distilled vinegar.

Due to low acidity, it possesses less threat to the important parts of the machine.

Can vinegar harm your washing machine?

Vinegar can harm your washing machine when not used in the right way. Hence vinegar can only be used in washing machines in moderation.

Due to its acidic nature, vinegar has the potential to wear away numerous parts of the machine. When you add too much vinegar to a washing machine, you may run the risk of damaging the portion which stops leaks like the seals.

Additionally, there is also a chance that vinegar may wear away the hose that runs between the washing machine and the water supply. If you overdo the vinegar, the acidity may even put permanent stains on the walls of the drums.

Other than that, if you add vinegar directly to your clothes, your clothes may become stained as well.

Since you are using detergent, you would not need to use vinegar in every single wash. Doing so would cause visible damage to the appliance in the long run.

Using slightly hued vinegar like malt vinegar can also leave a tint in the machine or even in the clothes.

What kind of vinegar for laundry?

Before you go out shopping for a dash of vinegar that you would want to put in your washing machines, you would need to know which ones are safe to be used.

Each vinegar has a different chemical composition, which means that its acidic level and hence its ability to be used in washing machines varies.

White vinegar:

White vinegar can be used in laundry, mainly because of its potent ability to dissolve stains and remove odors from clothes.

One of the reasons why white vinegar is widely used in cleaning clothes is its colorless nature. It means that the vinegar does not leave stains or has additive colors that may stain clothing.

However, white vinegar should not be added directly to clothes but during the final rinse cycle of the machine.

Distilled white vinegar:

Distilled white vinegar is much milder than pure white vinegar.

Although its low acidity means that there is no chance of white or black clothes being stained, you would need to use more of it for the vinegar to successfully remove hard stains.

Nevertheless, distilled vinegar can be used to soak clothes for about 30 minutes. The mild acidity works to get rid of sweaty odors and dissolve recent stains.

Apple cider vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar, too can be used in laundry although it is not the first choice when it comes to using vinegar.

Due to its light brownish color, it may leave a stain when used in larger amounts. Adding a bit of apple cider vinegar in water and soaking clothes for no more than 15 minutes can work to make clothes cleaner.

Where do you put the vinegar in the washing machine?

As we have repeated, you can only use vinegar in the washing machine when you use the proper guidelines. Part of that includes where you would put the vinegar in the washing machine.

However, that would entail why you are using vinegar in the first place.

If you are using the vinegar to soften your clothes or remove tinges, you would want to add half a cup of diluted or distilled white vinegar to the clothes softener compartment in your washing machine.

This is a safe compartment to add your vinegar to because the softener is usually released in the rinse cycle of the wash. During the rinse cycle, the vinegar would be in contact with the clothes for a shorter time.

Yet, the rinse with vinegar would be enough to get rid of any soapy remains. Not just that a final rinse cycle with vinegar would also help to get rid of any lingering odor in the clothes.

How do I use vinegar in my washing machine?

To use vinegar in the washing machine you need to make sure that you follow the proper instructions. Let’s get to know them.

Define purpose:

First you would have to determine what work you want the vinegar to do. According to the purpose, you would need to change the dilution of the vinegar.

Firstly, you would need to use white or distilled vinegar. It is important that you only use a cup or half.

To clean put in vinegar with detergent:

If you want to clean your clothes using vinegar, simply substitute your usual detergent with half a cup of vinegar and run the usual washing cycle. However, this should only be done once in a long while.

To soften add distilled vinegar:

If you wish to use the vinegar for clothes softer, add a cup of distilled white vinegar to the softer compartment. The vinegar will be run once the washing machine reaches its final rinse cycle.

To eliminate smell add directly to rinse:

If you intend to get rid of smelly odors from the clothes, you would need to add half a cup of vinegar directly to the last rinse cycle of the wash.

Use to clean the machine:

Once a month, you could use vinegar to clean the washing machine to get rid of all the soap and detergent remains. Add a cup of vinegar to the drum and run rinse cycles without any clothes.

Final Thoughts

Adding vinegar to your washing machine is not fully recommended but it is safe to add small amounts occasionally to brighten your clothes. Due to the acidity, vinegar can damage the appliance. To avoid damage, use distilled white vinegar only, in the final rinse cycle of the wash.