vinegar, by the gallon...

you would not believe how many things can be done with a bit of white vinegar. from killing weeds to deterring fruit flies to cleaning an icky toilet, this stuff is powerful. stinky, yes. but effective. so good that on a trip to costco a few months back, i bought 2 gallons of the stuff. it set me back about $4. not to bad of an investment, right? to read a full list of household uses for vinegar, check out this link from the folks at the vinegar institute. (yes, there really is such a thing).

anyway, the here's one of the uses that i'm absolutely loving: vinegar as fabric softener. i read about this and thought that it was totally crazy. but, muttering to myself about how crazy it was, i decided to give it a try. i filled up the liquid fabric softener dispenser on my washing machine (you can also use a downy ball) with the vinegar and let the machine run through the cycle.

can you believe i found this image? the internet is amazing.

upon my return to fetch the laundry, the entire garage smelled like someone had been dying easter eggs. the clothes had to stink, too. bracing myself for a rewash, i opened the lid and pulled out a pair of jeans. took a big whiff and... no stink. amazing.

i was once a 3 dryer sheet, snuggle & bounce girl. i used so many dryer sheets, in fact, that my clothes had kind of a super-soft, slick, filmy feel to them. i associated it with cleanliness, softness, comfort. but here's what that film actually is: a thin coating of artificial chemical fragrances, many of which are known carcinogens. banned for human consumption, but apparently fitting for use against our skin. i'm steering clear, and not only because i'm forgoing dryer use for another month: besides the sketchy chemical aspect, let's not forget that dryer sheets are yet another single-use, throwaway item. they take energy to produce, need to be packaged and shipped, and are not recyclable or compostable due to questionable ingredients.

were my vinegar-rinsed clothes any softer that the non-treated ones before them? well, line drying makes things crunchy. there's not too much you can do about that. but i did notice a difference, mainly in that the vinegar-rinsed clothes were easier to fold. it's not like they were fresh out of the dryer or anything, but that's to be expected. i have no doubt that with machine-drying, even just a fluff-cycle, they would have been much softer. as soft as with a dryer sheet? probably not. but pretty darn close.


I WANT PRETTY-SMELLING LAUNDRY!!! i'm bored of nature's 'sun-dried special.' and since we use biodegradable laundry detergents without any scents or dyes, i'm looking for something natural to scent my wash with. i've read about (but have not tried) adding a few drops of essential oil to the vinegar to help scent the clothes a bit. right now though, i'm banking on "crunchy clean." it's an all-natural, biodegradable detergent handmade by a very nice work-at-home mamma who sells on etsy. my order is due to arrive any day. i chose 3 scents to sample... 'apple orchard,' 'oatmeal, milk n' honey,' and 'monkey farts' (a blend of bananas, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries & more). i've heard nothing but absolute rave reviews about her stuff and i cannot wait to try it.

could it be? soft and yummy smelling laundry, naturally? stay tuned. you know i'll keep ya posted.


Justk said...

How have I missed this Blog?? I love it (bookmarking now)...keep it coming!


Justk said...

How was the detergent. I just bought my two gallons of vinegar yesterday and I'm ready to white glove my home before my mother arrives from NYC tomorrow (5 weeks!). I love the Vinegar Institute website (thanks)but tell me, have you used the vinegar on LO's diapers? I'd like to dry it on Pelé's seeing as after 9 months, I'm sure that there is a load of uric acid to strip? Does it not harm the diaper? And how frequently do you use it with laundry?

erin said...


i haven't gotten the detergent in the mail yet, so i am still waiting to try it. as far as the vinegar goes, bumgenius does not recommend vinegar on their diapers, however i've heard of people using it without problems. i only use it on our regular clothing though. as far as stripping, have you tried using a bit of original dawn diswashing liquid? 1 tsp per load, without detergent. make sure you do an extra rinse to get all of the bubbles out. it will help with repelling & stinkiness, which microfiber is prone to. i add a teensy squirt to my diaper load on occasion to prevent any issues & it works great!