How To Start Whitening Laundry With Vinegar

Did you know there is a cheaper and safer way to whiten your clothes that works just as great if not better? Vinegar! Yes, it’s probably in your kitchen cabinets right now!

And like myself, you have probably had some stubborn whites that you have given them the last chance on being white again. Eventually, I will tell myself “Well, this is as white as it will get”

When the yellowing starts from all the bleach I will just toss it! Talking about waste! Also, you could have sensitive skin and are looking for a better way to get stubborn stains out like sweat without using harsh whitening products.

I’m going to share with you some tips on how to start whitening laundry with Vinegar. Begin using these tips in your routine. Let’s get those white fabrics bright and white again. Follow along and test these methods out on your favorite white clothing.

whitening laundry with vinegar: different types of vinegars in white spoons. Each spoon is a different vinegar liquid. Balsamic, white, distilled and apple cider vinegar

How many kinds of Vinegars are there?

There are 5 types of Vinegar that you might be familiar with: Apple Cider Vinegar, White Distilled Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, Red Wine, and White Wine Vinegar. Only one in my opinion is best used for cleaning which is the White Distilled Vinegar.

It’s the only vinegar that doesn’t have a coloring agent. So if you are wanting to get your towels whiter or freshen up a white t-shirt it won’t stain.

Why does vinegar clean so well?

It’s the Acetic acid, the main component that makes vinegar such a cleaning powerhouse. Acetic acid is an organic compound that helps dissolve dirt, grease and has the strength to kill bacteria. If you look at the back of some household cleaners, you might see acetic acid.

The other benefit is the acidity level, so make sure you get at least 5% acidity. This acidity level is similar to many other comparable household cleaners. Therefore cleaning with vinegar by substituting some of your other household cleaners will still be just as effective.

What are the benefits of using Vinegar for Laundry? (expand on the benefits)

  1. The Acetic Acid in Vinegar is a milder type of acid that is strong enough to dissolve residue and still will not harm washable fabrics.
  2. It softens fabrics without being heavily scented or filled with harsh chemicals.
  3. Vinegar is a natural whitener for gray and dingy clothes.
  4. It’s safer and costs less than your average brand of bleach.
  5. It fights underarm odors and cuts down deodorant residue
  6. Gets rid of extra lint and prevents pet hair from clinging to your dark colored clothing.

Whitening your Laundry with Vinegar

whitening laundry with vinegar: a woman crouching down with a white towel in her hands in front of her washing machine.

Does Vinegar really Whitens Clothes?

Distilled white vinegar is best used to whiten fabrics. Like all vinegar, it contains acetic acid which breaks down and dissolves residues. This is unlike the alkalies that are left after washing from ingredients in soaps and detergents. 

The leftover residue can make your clothes look more dingy and gray. Vinegar whitens and brightens your fabrics naturally meanwhile getting rid of odors. Bleach uses chemicals made up of sodium hypochlorite and calcium hypochlorite during a process of oxidation to whiten clothes.

If you have a strong sensitivity to chemicals this can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs. Since it’s sometimes too strong of a chemical to use, moms if your listening? Try the alternative by whitening your laundry with vinegar. It’s safe to use on all those precious baby clothes.

There have been many times that I’ve used way too much bleach and couldn’t stop my eyes from watering lol. If you’ve got some horror bleach stories I love to hear them. Especially if you had a bleach accident and turned it into a tie-dye creation. 🙂

whitening laundry with vinegar: a woman putting laundry in her washing machine. The washing machine is a front loader. She is loading it with sheets.

How to wash clothes with Vinegar

Step 1: Start by adding one cup of distilled white vinegar to a pot of boiling water.

Step 2: Fill the hot water in a basin and add your clothing.

Step 3: Allow your white clothing to soak in the vinegar and water mixture overnight.

Step 4: The next day squeeze out the excess water and wash and launder as usual.

*To get the best results only soak fabrics that are 100% cotton otherwise use the vinegar in the final rinse cycle with warm or cold water.

whitening laundry with vinegar: a front loader drying machine with towels spilling out.

Believe it or not, Vinegar is safe to use in standard and High efficient Washing Machines so if you’re wondering if you can try it. Don’t hesitate! I have used vinegar in both machines and never had an issue. The only thing is you can use less vinegar with High-efficiency machines.

Say goodbye to stinky laundry. Say hello to a fresh, clean smelling load every time.

Many other ways to use Vinegar for your Fabrics

If you want to use Vinegar as a fabric softener, add one-half cup of distilled white vinegar to your final rinse cycle of the wash. Another way to make sure the vinegar is used as a final rinse is to put it in the fabric softener section of your washing machine. 

Do this same tip to get rid of excessive lint that tracks when you wash clothes with towels. Get rid of clingy pet hair for dark clothing as well that doesn’t seem to disappear after drying. Using Vinegar on the final rinse cycle will eliminate the pet hair.

whitening laundry with vinegar: a jar a vinegar paste with baking soda. two wool dryers, clothes pins and two stacks of white towels behind it.
a jar of vinegar paste with baking soda. two wool dryers, clothes pins, and two stacks of white towels behind it.

Other Alternatives For Bleach In The Laundry

Baking Soda

whitening laundry with vinegar: a bottle of vinegar, a jar of baking soda, a sponge and one white towel set up for cleaning.

Baking soda can also be used as a natural whitener. Begin by adding a ½ cup to your wash with the laundry detergent. If you need to pretreat a stubborn stain create a paste with a little bit of water.

Allow it to sit for a few minutes then add it to the washing machine and launder as usual.

Hydrogen Peroxide

whitening laundry with vinegar: a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a spray bottle with vinegar.

Hydrogen Peroxide is a common product we all have but may not know of its many uses. One thing it also does is help whiten clothing.

All you would need to do is add ½ cup together with your laundry detergent. It acts as a booster to whiter clothes.

Creating a Laundry Stain Pre-Treater with Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

You can also make baking soda and hydrogen peroxide paste as a stain pre-treater for white fabrics. Just add equal parts of both hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

Create a ¼ layer to sit on the stain for 30-60 minutes. When time is up brush off the extra residue from the paste. Finally, toss the clothes in the wash and launder them.

whitening laundry with vinegar: two white t shirts blowing in the wind off a clothes line on a sunny day.
two white t-shirts blowing in the wind off a clothesline on a sunny day.


Vinegar is a natural and safer way to whiten clothing! Not only does it make your white fabrics brighter and whiter it’s also very cost-effective. Add Vinegar alone to whiten by soaking and pre-treating fabrics before you apply it to your normal laundry cycle. 

Vinegar breakdowns down sweat and mildew with its acetic acid, and those stubborn deodorant stains. Finally use Vinegar as a way to soften fabrics by adding it to your final rinse cycle. 

If you are interested in many other natural ways to clean your home. I’ve written another article on natural cleaning products with recipes included called: Save Money by making your own Cleaning Supplies

While you’re testing out all these new and money-saving ideas, why not make cleaning easier with my Cleaning Checklist. Don’t waste another minute figuring out how to quickly clean your home without my list. 

It’s a time saver and you can keep track of what you can do to keep your home clean and tidy.  Use it as an Ultimate Spring Cleaning checklist or share it with the family to break up the chores.

Interested in more tips like these?  Join my email list today and get many tips weekly on how to save money, time and live a great life positively

Here at Shekeepsthechange, we are all about “changes”! And I believe it only takes one habit or tip at a time to really achieve great changes in your life!

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