Vinegar Tips for Odor in Laundry

Tackling a large pile of smelly laundry is not a pleasant chore. There are many reasons for laundry to need extra odor treatment. Maybe the wet clothes were left in the washer a little too long before being moved to the dryer; maybe it was an extra sweaty day at the gym. Instead of resorting to chemicals, add vinegar to your laundry to solve odor problems.



Perspiration may leave odor and stains on your clothing. Deodorants used to fight perspiration may also leave stains. Spray white distilled vinegar directly on the sweaty areas on your clothing, underarm and collar, and wash as normal.

Another method is to rub white vinegar into the underarms, or other sweaty areas. Let the clothes sit for 30 minutes and then wash as normal.

Socks with a strong foot odor can be deodorized by adding vinegar to the washing process. Launder the socks as normal. Then add to a mixture of one gallon of water and one cup of white vinegar. Let the socks soak in the mixture for half an hour and then line dry.


Clothing quickly absorbs any type of smoke odor. The smoky smell from a fire or cigarettes or cigars can be hard to remove in the laundry.

Fill your bathtub with very hot, steamy water. Add one cup of vinegar. Hang the smoky clothing over the steam and close all doors and windows to help trap the steam in the room and let it penetrate the fabric.


Damp clothing left in the washing machine or dryer can have a musty or moldy odor. Put the clothes back in the washing machine and add two cups of white vinegar to the machine. Run a cycle in hot water. When that cycle is complete, run another normal cycle with your regular detergent.

Sprinkle cotton clothing with white vinegar and iron as normal to remove any musty odors.


Adding vinegar to your laundry has benefits aside from deodorizing. It is a natural fabric softener and bleach alternative. Clothes will be softer and brighter.


Do not add vinegar to the laundry if you have also added chlorine bleach. This can cause dangerous fumes.

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