I’m a laundry sniffer at my house.  I really do love to sniff the clean laundry.  I cover my face with it and breathe in deeply. Towels and t-shirts are my favorite to sniff.  I love that clean cotton, fresh from the dryer smell.  I also love that smell when I’m outside and someone is doing laundry and I can literally smell that laundry smell coming from their house. YUM. I’m a laundry sniffer.

There is no underlying smell of mildew in these towels!!!! Thanks to my secret laundry weapon.

There is no underlying smell of mildew in these towels!!!! Thanks to my secret laundry weapon.

What I hate is the smell of mildew that gets stuck deep into my towels and dish rags, that rears its stinky head when I re-wet them.  If I dry off with one of those towels then I stink, too.  Or if I wipe off my kitchen counter or table with one of those dish rags then my counter or table stinks, too.  I find this smell occurs after leaving a wet load in the washer for too many days (oops) before remembering to put it in the dryer.  It also occurs when too many dirty dish rags hang out together for a long time waiting for me to put them in the washer.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  If so, you need my secret weapon for laundry!

The smell of mildew in towels and rags is easily taken care of with a surprisingly easy, cheap and accessible secret weapon!  It’s VINEGAR!  White distilled vinegar.  I honestly can’t remember where I heard this tip, but I couldn’t believe that one of my sisters didn’t know about it. I thought it was common knowledge but others have seemed surprised by my vinegar testimonials, too, so apparently it really is a “secret” weapon.

I know it seems counterintuitive to put something so stinky into your wash to make it not stinky, but I promise, a cup or so of vinegar in the wash does wonders for your wash. And you might find yourself sniffing laundry, too.

Eliminating mildew is not the only benefit of vinegar for your laundry.  Vinegar also whitens your laundry.  The mild acetic acid in vinegar acts as a whitener and brightener for gray, dingy clothes in the laundry.  Vinegar also acts as a natural softener without the residue left behind.

I throw a cup of vinegar into the wash when the boys get home from camping and it gets the campfire smoke out of their clothes.  It also helps with the stinky athletic socks and, well, anything stinky that comes out of the kids’ laundry baskets.   I add it right to the bleach dispenser when I’m filling up the washer with water for the wash.  I’ve also added it straight to the water and that works just fine, too.

Add the vinegar to the bleach dispenser when you start your load of wash.

Add the vinegar to the bleach dispenser when you start your load of wash.

I buy a gallon of vinegar at a time. You can get a gallon of vinegar really cheaply in the cooking aisle of the supermarket. It’s usually on the bottom shelf and the cheapest store brand works just great!! I store it right there in my cupboard above my washing machine, right next to all of that other really useful and random stuff. In a pinch I’ve actually used apple cider vinegar from my kitchen shelf but I don’t make a habit of that because it’s much more expensive.

Keep the vinegar in your laundry room so it's always handy.

Keep the vinegar in your laundry room so it’s always handy.

There is no underlying smell of mildew in these towels!!!! Thanks to my secret laundry weapon.

There is no underlying smell of mildew in these towels!!!! Thanks to my secret laundry weapon.

So there you have it.  Vinegar is my secret laundry weapon.  Thanks to vinegar I can keep on being a happy laundry sniffer!

4 Comments
  1. Edith

    I started using vinegar as a produce wash. It’s great at getting all the dirt and pesticides off the produce with peels. I just mix it with the cold water and let them soak. After doing this the first time to my cherry tomatoes I was shocked to see all the dirt and brownish water left over. The tomatoes looked otherwise clean to begin with but the vinegar was a secret weapon!

    Do you not use bleach in you wash?

  2. My friend told me about vinegar about a year ago. I still haven’t tried it. I just use detergent and bleach for towels (white ones and rags). I should really try it. I’ve hear about it a few times now and still haven’ tried. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Allyson

    Good tip! I could have used this information long ago.

  4. Pam

    The nice thing with vinegar is that you can use it with almost every load. Bleach is a little more limited to just whites. I always have a bottle or two up in my laundry cupboard.

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