Can You Mix Vinegar With Laundry Detergent? thumbnail image

Can You Mix Vinegar With Laundry Detergent?

In Cleaning Products, Home Tips by Jamie

Vinegar has a lot of great qualities and has been used for cleaning for centuries, so you may be wondering if you can mix it with your laundry detergent to give your clothes an extra boost.

The short answer is- no. You should never mix vinegar with laundry detergent because vinegar is an acid while detergent is a base. Mixing these two together will cancel each other out and make them ineffective.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t use vinegar to wash your clothes, but there is a science to it. Read on to find out how you can use vinegar to help get your clothes extra clean without neutralizing the effects of your laundry detergent.

What Happens If You Mix Vinegar and Laundry Detergent?

Mixing laundry detergent and vinegar isn’t going to enhance the cleanliness of your clothes, and it won’t effectively disinfect them either. The reason for this is because of the chemistry of both cleaners.

Using laundry detergent and vinegar together won’t damage your clothes or cause any extreme adverse reactions, but it won’t do the job you were hoping for. If you want to use vinegar while washing your clothes, then you’ll need to add it in after the laundry detergent has been used and rinsed out.

Does Vinegar Cancel Out Laundry Detergent?

Mixing vinegar with your laundry detergent will neutralize the effects of the detergent. The reason for this is basic chemistry. Laundry detergent is basic and has a high ph level of around 7-10.

Vinegar is acidic and generally has a ph level of 3. Mixing an acid and a base together will cancel out the effects of the base, in this case the laundry detergent, while weakening the effects of the acid. Mixing these two cleaners will actually leave your clothes less clean and disinfected.

Can I Wash Clothes with Vinegar Instead of Detergent? Lucy's Family Owned Natural Distilled White Vinegar

Using vinegar to wash your clothes instead of laundry detergent is effective, cost-efficient, and environmentally friendly. Vinegar will work to remove any dirt or germs from your clothing, and will also break down any minerals produced by your washing machine if you live in an area with hard water.

If you use vinegar instead of detergent, ‌keep in mind that it will leave your clothes odorless after the wash cycle. So, if you’re the type of person who wants to have that fresh laundry scent on your clean clothes, then you may want to consider adding some fabric softener or scented dryer sheets afterward.

Is It Safe to Use Vinegar in a Washing Machine?

Vinegar is fine to use in your washing machine in small doses. Washing machines have a lot of important plastic pieces such as hoses and seals that can be damaged by vinegar’s acidic nature if used too frequently or in large amounts.

Damaging these pieces can lead to leaks or other problems with your washing machine and that can be an expensive fix. Stick to a small amount of vinegar no more than a couple of times a week to prevent damaging vital pieces of your washing machine.

What Type of Vinegar Can I Add to Laundry?

Distilled White Vinegar

You’re going to want to make sure you’re using the right type of vinegar before adding it to your laundry. Distilled white vinegar is the best option for washing your clothes. It’s effective for disinfecting and brightening your clothes.

Distilled white vinegar is also an inexpensive option that doesn’t contain any tannins, which are natural plant dyes that could stain your clothes. You can also use apple cider vinegar, but it’s best to dilute this with water. Aim for a ratio of 60% water and 40% apple cider vinegar.

You shouldn’t use any other types of vinegar in your laundry because it can stain and damage your clothes. Avoid using red wine vinegar, brown vinegar, and balsamic vinegar in your laundry.

If You Were to Use Vinegar and Laundry Detergent in the Same Load, How Should You Do It?

There are a couple of ways you can use vinegar and laundry detergent in the same load. You never want to mix the two, but you can use both in the same load if you want the vinegar to help freshen and clean your clothes.

One method is to add your vinegar to the washing machine after the rinse cycle when all the detergent is gone. This will give the vinegar a chance to work its magic without interfering with the effects of your laundry detergent.

Another option is to put the vinegar in a fabric softener dispenser. Not all washing machines come with this feature, but if yours does then it can be very useful in this situation. Your machine will dispense the vinegar into your laundry for you after the rinse cycle, as it would with fabric softener, so you don’t have to run back to your machine to add the vinegar in yourself.

How Much Vinegar Should You Add to Your Laundry Load?

You want to be careful not to add too much vinegar to your washing machine. It is an acid, which means it could damage the plastic components of your washing machine and cause expensive repairs if you use too much too frequently.

Only use ½ a cup of vinegar per load and try not to use vinegar in your machine more than a couple of times a week. You can also use a ½ cup of vinegar to clean your washer. Just add it to the machine without any clothes or linens and it’ll work away any grime or dirt build-up.

Can I Add Baking Soda to my Laundry Too?

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda-4LB (01170)

You can absolutely use baking soda to enhance the cleanliness and brightness of your clothes. However, baking soda is a base just like laundry detergent, so you don’t want to add it to a load with your vinegar. Its high ph level will become neutralized by the vinegar’s low ph and they’ll end up canceling each other out.

If you want to use baking soda with your laundry, then you should add it along with your detergent. Then you can add vinegar after the rinse cycle or you can put the vinegar in your washing machine’s fabric softener dispenser so the machine can add it in for you.

Final Thoughts

Vinegar can be a great tool for washing your clothes. As a natural product, it’s environmentally friendly and inexpensive. It also has properties that will allow it to disinfect and brighten your clothes, as well as eliminate odors.

The most important thing to remember when using vinegar in your laundry is not to mix it with your detergent. The different ph levels will cause them to cancel each other out and will result in your clothes not being properly cleaned or disinfected. Instead, add ½ cup of vinegar by itself or after the rinse cycle has finished to be sure it doesn’t interact with your laundry detergent.

About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.