There are lots of ways to use white vinegar in your home, but did you know it can be used as a fabric conditioner? Fabric conditioner can be expensive and coats your clothes with chemicals. The chemicals help them feel softer, reduce static and add artificial fragrance. White vinegar is a natural alternative that is kinder to the environment, cheaper and leaves behind no residue. White vinegar also acts as a softner, its deodorising properties help freshen the scent. Don’t worry, you won’t end up smelling like a chip shop either, when dried the clothes just smell clean & fresh, no hint of vinegar left at all.
Buying white vinegar
We first started looking at alternative fabric conditioners to reduce our plastic waste. We were buying on average, 2 bottles of fabric conditioner a month, that’s 24 empty fabric conditioner bottles a year. Buying white vinegar in bulk worked out cheaper for us at a cost of 6p per 100mls. We plan to use white vinegar for cleaning too, as well as laundry so the bulk option was cost-effective. Our white vinegar arrived in 4 large 5-litre plastic containers, and we hope they will last 9-12 months, using much less plastic overall.
White vinegar is also widely available in supermarkets and can usually be found with normal vinegar. It sometimes called distilled vinegar, it’s the clear one you are looking for. Malt vinegar has a stronger smell and may stain your clothes. It can be usually be bought in glass bottles in the supermarkets, which is much more eco-friendly but has a higher cost per ml.
How To Use White Vinegar As Fabric Conditioner
You will need;
- An empty container
- White vinegar
- Your choice of fragrance (optional, see below)
Fill the empty container with 50% white vinegar & 50% water. We used our old fabric conditioner container because it still had lots of life left, its a familiar shape & it saves recycling. I add about half a capful of this mix into the fabric conditioner drawer with each wash.
Some people use neat white vinegar and add just 1-2 tablespoons per wash.
Adding fragrance with essential oils
You can add 20-30 drops of essential oils to add fragrance. My top choices are lemon, orange or lavender, for their fresh scent and antibacterial properties. Honestly though, I found that although I can smell the essential oils when I add to the washing machine and on the wet clothes, by the time the clothes are dry, I can no longer smell the fragrance, the clothes just smell clean.
Adding fragrance with herbs
You can also infuse the white vinegar with herbs, like this example. Vinegar infused with citrus peel is on our list of things to try for cleaning surfaces around our home. You can either leave to infuse for 3/4 weeks and then drain, or just leave it with the mix and drain before you add to your washing machine.
Using white vinegar as a fabric conditioner works, it softens and reduces the static. It also works out much cheaper, as well as being better for the environment. White vinegar is amazing for towels. it leaves them much more absorbent than fabric conditioner. If you don’t decide to use white vinegar for all your laundry, it’s definitely worth using it for towels.
One thing we do miss is the scent that comes with commercial fabric conditioners. It isn’t a huge loss, given that you only really smell it when emptying the washing machine or dryer, or when you get dressed.