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Vinegar In Front Load Washer: Tips & Mistakes to Avoid

Find out where to put vinegar in a front load washer so you can make your clothing soft again.

Vinegar is an excellent cleanser to use when washing your clothing. It helps to bleach your white clothing, remove mold, and reduce odors. Like Borax, there are many benefits to using vinegar in your washing machine.

However, do you know the cons to using vinegar in a washing machine? Today we’re discussing the pros and cons of adding vinegar to laundry along with where to put vinegar in a front load washer. After all, you can’t stop a front load washer mid-cycle to add vinegar to the water.

Key Takeaways

  • Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser in a front load washer for soft and clean clothes.
  • Regular use of vinegar can damage synthetic rubber seals in some washing machines, but not natural rubber seals.
  • Vinegar helps remove odors, brighten and whiten clothing, and works as a fabric softener without residue.
  • Clean your front load washer with 1 cup of vinegar to eliminate mold, mildew, and soap scum, improving the machine’s performance and smell.

Does Vinegar Damage Front Load Washers?

Yes, using vinegar on a regular basis can damage front load washers if they have synthetic rubber hosing or seals because the acid eats the rubber. However, vinegar will not damage natural rubber seals such as ethylene-propylene, silicone, and virgin Teflon.

This may eventually cause your washing machine to leak.

Benefits of Using Vinegar In Washers

Using vinegar in laundry is an excellent way to help keep your clothing clean.

Vinegar can be used for odor. It will help to kill any mold lingering in your clothing or washing machine causing a foul smell. You can also spray it on the armpit area of your shirts to remove the stains and smells left by perspiration.

Vinegar also brightens and whitens your clothing, because the acid helps to remove the alkali residue left by soaps and detergents.

If you have hemlines left from letting down children’s clothing you can use vinegar to remove the lines. Moisten a white cloth with vinegar. Put it under the garment you need the hemline removed from, and iron the line away.

It will also help to remove the lint and pet hairs from your clothing. This is handy when you accidentally wash an outfit with lint-producing towels. The vinegar will help remove the lint.

Vinegar is also an excellent softener to use. It will soften your clothing without leaving a residue behind.

In addition, you can use vinegar to clean your washing machine. The acid in the vinegar will remove the soap scum and gunk where mildew and mold love to breed which will remove the foul odor produced by the bacteria.

Where To Put Vinegar In Front Load Washer

Mixing vinegar and detergent may cause an oily residue to build upon your clothing, so you need to add the vinegar to the final rinse water. Add the vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser.

If you’d like to use vinegar as a substitute for laundry detergent, add the vinegar to the laundry detergent dispenser.

You can also use vinegar to brighten clothing. To do this, add vinegar to the bleach dispenser. Remember to be careful about mixing vinegar and bleach as this creates poisonous chlorine gas.

How Much Vinegar To Use In Laundry

Plan on adding ½ cup of vinegar to each cycle of wash as adding too much vinegar to your water may eventually damage clothing.

You can also use ½ cup of vinegar to wash your laundry as a DIY substitute for laundry detergent.

Vinegar is better than laundry detergent for washing decorated items as harsh laundry detergents may break down the items. This is especially true for heat transfer vinyl designs. Vinegar doesn’t damage the adhesive.

Can You Mix Vinegar and Detergent Together?

No, it’s best not to mix vinegar and detergent in the same water. You can end up with an oily residue on your clothing if you do. It’s best to add the vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser so the vinegar is added to the final rinse water.

Caution: You will also need to be careful when using a detergent with bleach added to it. Vinegar and bleach can create lethal chlorine gas.

How To Clean Front Load Washer With Vinegar

Vinegar can be used to clean your front load washing machine whether it’s a high-efficiency machine or not. The vinegar will help remove any mold, mildew, and soap scum lurking in your machine.

This will help to remove any odor your washing machine has. It also helps to keep your washing machine draining properly.

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Paper towel
  • 6 Microfiber cloths
  • Small bucket
  • Dish soap
  • Water

1. Check Machine

Before you begin cleaning your front load washer with vinegar, check to be sure the machine is empty. Remove any clothing found in your machine.

2. Clean Rubber Seal

Begin by cleaning the rubber gasket or seal at the front of your washing machine. Pull it back and use a paper towel or microfiber cloth to remove all the gunk that you see.

Also make sure that there are no small toys, buttons, or socks caught in the seal as well. These can develop mold or mildew causing your machine to stink.

Moisten a clean paper towel or microfiber cloth with soapy water and use it to wipe down the seal. Make sure that you remove all the mildew trapped in it. When finished, use a third towel or cloth to dry the seal.

3. Clean Dispenser Trays

Remove the detergent and fabric softener dispenser trays. Wash them in warm soapy water made by adding a squirt of dish soap to a small bucket of water. Use a microfiber cloth to gently scrub the trays until they’re clean.

Rinse and dry the trays before returning them to your machine.

4. Run a Wash Cycle

Add 1 cup of vinegar. Then set your washing machine to the self-cleaning cycle if the machine has one. If not, then set your washing machine for the hottest water available, the largest load size, and the longest cycle. Include the extra rinse cycle if that’s an option.

Start your washing machine.

When your machine is finished and cool, dry the drum, seals, and gaskets with a clean and dry microfiber cloth.


Does Vinegar Destroy Rubber?

Yes, vinegar will eventually destroy synthetic rubber, but vinegar will not destroy natural rubber. The natural rubber has a lower resistance to damage by heat, light, and ozone. Synthetic rubber has a higher tolerance for these but will be damaged by acids.

Do You Have to Rinse After Cleaning With Vinegar?

No, you do not have to rinse after cleaning with vinegar but you may choose to do so. The vinegar will leave a vinegar smell on your clothing that you may wish to remove.

Can I Soak Clothes In Vinegar Overnight?

Yes, you can soak your clothing in vinegar overnight. This will help to remove any soapy residue in your clothing. It also brightens and whitens your clothing.

To soak your clothing, fill a bucket with water. Create a homemade cleaning solution by adding vinegar in the ratio of 1 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water. Soak your clothing and wash them in the morning.

How Do I Get Rid of the Smell In My Front Loader Washing Machine?

Clean your front load washing machine by adding 1 cup of vinegar to the wash or clean cycle. If your washing machine is still smelling, sprinkle baking soda into the drum of your machine and start another wash cycle.

Your machine should smell much better when you’re finished.

Where Do You Put Baking Soda In a Front Load Washer?

The best place to put baking soda in a front loader is to drop it directly into the drum before loading the laundry. Adding 1/2 a cup should be sufficient for the best results.

Is Bleach or Vinegar Better to Clean Washing Machine?

Choosing bleach or vinegar to clean a washing machine is a sensible option. However, bleach provides a deeper clean, killing all bacteria and mold.

Washing Clothes with Vinegar

Vinegar can be an excellent cleanser to add to your wash cycle. Vinegar will help to clean, brighten, and whiten your clothing. You can also use vinegar to remove odors, clean your washing machine, and help to keep pet hair and lint off your clothing.

Vinegar is an incredibly useful product to keep in your laundry room.

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About the Author

Sara Dennis

Sara Dennis is a coffee-loving freelance writer, homeschool blogger, and mom of six kids. In her free time, Sara loves reading books and researching more efficient and effective ways to keep a clean house, homeschool her children, and blog better while making a home for her large family.