Vinegar and Laundry – A Perfect Marriage

White Vinegar - the wonder ingredient

White Vinegar – the wonder ingredient

Do you ever read lists like “101 Uses for Cornstarch” or “100 Uses for Vinegar?”  Well, I’ve often seen lists like that and haven’t done more than skim them and sometimes been startled to read some of the uses but that’s been about it.  That all stopped the other day when I pulled out a clean dishcloth and wet it down to wash off the kitchen counter.  After I accomplished that mission, I hung the dishcloth on the faucet and sat down at the dining room table to do some reading but I noticed that my hands stunk.  Ugh!  They had that sour smell that your dishcloths and sometimes your towels get.  Jeepers!  That dishcloth was clean.  What in the world?

I went over to the basket where I store all my dish towels and cloths and put them to the “smell” test.  Oh, no….all of my dishcloths had that sour smell.  Now what was I going to do?  Well, since I LOVE to do research, I put my nose to the grindstone and started looking at different tips for getting rid of that smell.  Over and over, people were suggesting that you use vinegar added to your laundry washer to get rid of the smell.

Now, I HATE the smell of vinegar.  I keep it around to use to descale our Keurig machine and coffee pot but that’s about it.  The thought of having my laundry smell like vinegar wasn’t particularly appealing.  However, the sour smell wasn’t appealing either so I decided to give it a try.

Add it to the Fabric Softener dispenser

Add it to the Fabric Softener dispenser

First I put my towels into the washing machine along with my detergent.  I then added a cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser and started the washer.  After the machine cycled through a wash, I threw the towels in the dryer, along with one of my regular dryer sheets.  Hey, it worked.  I had also read that vinegar is wonderful for keeping your regular laundry fresh-smelling and very soft.  I decided to try it on all of my loads of wash.  The recommended amount was about 1/2 cup for normal loads.  Also, once you’ve “dosed” those smelly towels and cloths, you should be able to reduce the amount of vinegar down from 1 cup to around 1/2 cup per load.

I’ve been adding vinegar to my washing loads now for over a week and I am amazed at how soft the clothes are when they come out of the dryer.  I’m also amazed that there is NO vinegar smell on them.  I’m a believer.  The sour smell is gone from my towels and washcloths, too.  I now have a jug of white vinegar next to my washer and dryer and it is part of my regular laundry routine.

Oh, and that sour smell on towels and dishcloths?  The culprit is apparently bacteria that grows when the material is moist and doesn’t get the chance to dry out properly.  I now hang my dishcloth over the oven handle after every use which allows it to dry thoroughly.  I also change them out every other day.  No more sour smells in this kitchen.


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