Does Vinegar Damage Clothes?[Be Careful!]

Many people choose to use vinegar on garments instead of using caustic chemicals. It’s inexpensive, whitener, brightener, and softener too. But, does vinegar damage clothes?

Does vinegar damage clothes? Incorrect use of Vinegar can have harmful effects on garments. It may reduce lifespan by breaking down the fibers. You can’t wash kid’s dresses and delicate items with vinegar. Moreover, clothes may smell weird after applying them.

Are you interested in knowing more? Then, follow me.

Harmful effects of vinegar on clothes

Reduce lifespan of garments

Vinegar is an awesome cleaning agent. Therefore, you might use it regularly to wash garments. However, vinegar is acetic in nature. It mainly contains acetic acid that can be rough on many natural fabrics. 

Therefore, you shouldn’t add too much vinegar to your washer. According to– 

  • For mild smell, use ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • For medium smell, use ½ cup of white vinegar
  • For strong smell, one cup of white vinegar is enough

Not suitable for delicates

delicate clothes are ordered properly
You shouldn’t apply vinegar on delicates too often

Ensuring proper care of delicates can be complicated. Some might rely on ironing, while others prefer to wash items with vinegar and laundry detergent. 

Many delicate items like velvet, chiffon, or wool can’t stand acid. So, never apply vinegar to them. To clean them better, read the clothes tag first. If the garment tag says to wash with vinegar, do it. Otherwise, stay away from using it. 

For such expensive and sensitive items, use eco-friendly detergent and laundry additives. For whitening clothes, add a small amount of baking soda. Excess use of it can leave white residue on garments.

Odd smell

There are different types of vinegar in the market. These are-

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • White wine vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar

However, all of these aren’t perfect for laundry works. For cleaning garments, you should stick with distilled white vinegar. 

Even, if you use white vinegar, you may observe weird smell. In such situations, add one cup of baking soda to washer and wash them again. 

Hopefully, you may not observe any foul odor. If so, spray items with essential oil after drying them properly. After that, iron clothes at the right temperature setting.

Not suitable for kids wear

a kid is playing with his new clothes
You should use vinegar carefully on your kid’s dress

Vinegar is probably the best stain removal. You can use it to remove the following stains-

  • Vomit stain
  • Iron scorch mark
  • Ink mark
  • Rust stain
  • Grass stain
  • Sweat stain
  • Mustard stain
  • Coffee mark
  • Tea mark
  • Tomato sauce mark

You can hardly find another product that works awesome just like vinegar. However, it may not be suitable for sensitive skins because of its acidic characteristics. 

Generally, many people, including kids, may have sensitive skin. Therefore, it may trigger an allergic reaction and make you sick. 

Hence, pour vinegar carefully while washing your kid’s dresses. Most importantly, never use white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and brown vinegar for laundry. They can stain and bleach garments negatively. 

By the way, you can use baking soda as an alternative to vinegar. It works great on stains. Moreover-

  • It’s a natural oxygen-based bleach
  • It softens fabrics
  • It removes foul smell from clothes.
  • It improves the overall performance of laundry detergent.

Discolor some fabrics

In many cases, vinegar can discolor fabrics like acetate and rayon. Therefore, you need to be cautious while using them. Strong laundry detergent and baking soda are enough for these fabrics.

To know the reaction of vinegar on your dresses, add it to a small portion. If you don’t observe anything unusual, add vinegar to fabric softener compartment during the rinse cycle. Never pour it directly on clothes. If you want to apply it to clothes, first mix it with water.

Frequently asked questions

Does vinegar stain clothes?

In normal situations, vinegar doesn’t stain garments. Therefore, you can use it as fabric softener, odor, and stain removal. However, you shouldn’t just pour vinegar on clothes directly while washing. First, prepare a solution of vinegar and water and throw it on your clothes. Or, add it to the fabric softener dispenser of your washer. 

Moreover, you should choose distilled white vinegar for laundry purposes. Other kinds of vinegar like red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and white wine vinegar can stain clothes. 

Does vinegar bleach clothes?

Distilled white vinegar doesn’t bleach clothes oddly. Instead, it can-

  • Protect fabrics from being discolored.
  • Remove foul smell from all garments.
  • Present you with stain-free clothes.
  • Make white clothes brighter naturally.
  • Soften fabrics removing lint on surface.

However, some people might end up with odd-colored fabric after using vinegar. They may pick white wine vinegar or brown vinegar as substitutes for distilled white vinegar. They may bleach your clothes as they contain sugar. 

Should you use vinegar?

Every object has its own side effects. Frankly speaking, the perks of vinegar is much greater than its downsides. Vinegar can ensure properly cleaned clothes for you. Not only that, it can ensure stain-free and softer fabrics just for you. Most importantly, it works equally on almost all fabrics.

Therefore, you should use vinegar in exact amounts. Otherwise, garments may be ruined or damaged permanently.


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