Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vinegar in the Wash


I do a number of loads of wash a week (usually at least one a day), and since we had our daughter I do even more.  Not only are there more clothes, but also other sundry linens like towels and rags used to clean up spills and messes, and to clean up Bird herself.  I keep a little stash of rags on the kitchen counter that I use to wipe her hands and face after eating, etc.  While I try to let these rags, as well as my dishrags, dry out a bit before I toss them in the laundry basket, they usually go in at least damp and as a result, I end up with musty-smelling laundry.


As many of you ladies probably know, that musty, pre-mildewy smell is hard to get out of fabrics.  It was starting to drive me batty how I would wash a load of linens with hot soapy water and they were STILL coming out with a bit of musty smell. And the last thing I want to be wiping my daughters hands and face with is a dank-smelling cloth, no matter how “clean” it is from being laundered.  I would wash them again and again, and was still getting the odour.  I didnt want to use bleach, not only because I dont like the idea of using such a strong chemical on fabrics my daughter will be using, but also because many of the lines that were getting musty werent just simple whites, so bleach wasnt really an option anyway.

About two weeks ago, I decided to try a little vinegar in the wash.  I know many people swear by vinegar as multi-purpose cleaner and I’ve been using it more and more lately myself.  I figured it couldnt hurt to put a tablespoon or two in the bleach compartment in my washer (i have a front-loader with a pull out “drawer” for soap, bleach and softener).


And it worked like a charm!  No mildewy smell, no mustiness.  AND, to my relief, no vinegar smell, either. :)  I’ve been using plain white vinegar in all of my washes now since, and its been making everything come out fresh and clean.  Then yesterday I forgot to add some vinegar and sure enough, when I went to grab what I assumed was a nice clean rag to wipe Bird’s hands after dinner last night- YUCK- musty smell.  I had to put the whole load back in the wash today, got the trusty vinegar back out, and they are now fresh and clean again and ready to go. :)


SO, all of this to pass on this little tip to you in case you didnt know about it.  Chances are all you ladies out there are so smart you already knew about this, but you know me…. Im not too proud to admit when I learn something, even something basic!  Happy Laundering, ladies!


~~Carol~~ said...

Nope, I never heard of this, but you better believe I'm going to start doing it! That moldy smell is disgusting. I use white vinegar mixed with water to clean my windows and mirrors, so I've always got a bottle of it in the house. Thanks so much for sharing this tip!

Vent Machine said...

Thanks for the tip! I was not aware of this either. I have not experienced much mustiness in my linens...only my bath towels but I assumed it was because I didn't get them out of the dryer quick enough. Might need to try this!

Mary said...

I'll try it. Homemade laundry detergent (google Duggar's homemade laundry detergent) also does it well. Something is wrong with our water where I live and many people complain of bad smelling towels, but this homemade detergent killed the smell, and also took away the horrible mildew smell of my washer itself!

Our Family said...

ohmigoodness. I can't wait to try it. I can't stand that dank smell and it permeates everything here in Hawaii (where dampness happens whether your clothes were wet or not because the air itself is so heavy with moisture). It drives me batty. Thanks for the tip!

The Armchair Housewife said...

Wow! I am so excited to see that I was really able to pass on a tip that will hopefully help some of you with those musty linens. Glad to know Im not the only one who struggles with that, its the worst!

And Jen, you may be on to something about the towels and getting them out of the dryer- that is important, too, to make sure that the dryer cycle is long enough. But i was finding that even if I dried them long enough they were still musty and stinky.

Yay for vinegar! :)

The Armchair Housewife said...

@Mary- Just wondering if you have a blog? I see your profile is private but just wondering if you have one as Id like to check it out if you do. :)

Vee said...

Thanks for the tip! That's a good one. I will give it a try. It's certainly less expensive than running it through again.

Laura said...

I've heard about this but never tried it and ... I need to.
We have a pool and if someone doesn't hang their damp/wet towel on the clothesline, it ends up in the hamper. I've noticed the musty smell too but didn't think I could do much about it. I'm going to try this today!
Thanks for letting me know it works!


Cheery Blossom Avenue said...

I've been using vinegar in my laundry for a year now. I also add in a cup of baking soda to my clothes- it makes whites whitter and dark clothes bright. It also acts as a natural softner.

FYI- I buy both of these cleaning staples at Sams Club- the baking soda somes in a giant bag that lasts me a couple of months and the two-pack vinegar generally lasts the same. Much, much cheaper!

Laura said...

It works!!!! :)


The Armchair Housewife said...

Ladies, I just need to tell y'all how much it has blessed me to see so many of you chiming in on a post about laundry!! I mean I guess it just goes to show how we all have this in common, right? :)

And Laura I am so glad it worked for you. im telling you, it really does work, its a great trick and one I swear by now!