How to Remove Stains with White Vinegar

Removing stains from clothing, carpet, bedding and other household fabrics is an ongoing battle.

A walk down the detergent aisle of any supermarket reveals shelves full of products designed to get rid of all sorts of stains. These solutions can be expensive however, and there is a more common stain remover product that is cheaper and already found in most homes. Plain white vinegar is an excellent stain remover for a variety of stains and can be mixed with other cleaning products to enhance their effectiveness.

Mix a solution of 50 percent white vinegar and 50 percent water in a spray bottle. Close the spray bottle, and shake it well to combine the contents.

Apply the solution to a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric to test for color fastness. Allow the vinegar solution to sit for two minutes, and then check the color of the area. If no difference in color is evident, continue with the stain removal process.

Spray the stain thoroughly with the vinegar and water solution until the stain and fabric are completely saturated.

Let the stain sit for two minutes and then blot--do not rub--the stain with a clean, white towel. Continue until stain is completely removed. If the stain does not seem to be diminishing, continue with additional stain removal steps.

Mix 1 tsp. of white vinegar, 1 tsp. of liquid dish soap and 1 cup of warm water. Apply the solution to the stain using a sponge, and allow it to sit for two minutes. Blot the stain with a dry towel to remove it.

Allow the fabric to air dry once the stain is removed. A hair dryer, set to the coolest temperature will also speed drying time.

Things You Will Need

  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • White towel
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Hair dryer


  • Use only white vinegar for stain removal, as other types of colored vinegar will actually create new stains on the fabric.
  • Use only a white towel for blotting, as colored towels may stain light colored fabric.


  • Vinegar can lighten colored fabrics. Always do a color test in a small area before treating the full stain.

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.