Baking soda or vinegar can be added to the washing machine alongside your regular laundry detergent to boost the detergent’s ability to clean, whiten and brighten clothes. Vinegar and baking soda are also powerful stain lifters and can be used to pretreat clothing, rugs and other fabrics before washing.

Vinegar brightens and disinfects laundry

Adding just half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle can help to clean, deodorize, soften, and brighten clothes. It also helps to reduce static, kill bacteria, and dissolve soapy residue from the washing machine and pipes.

Washing with white vinegar also helps to remove the smell of manufacturing chemicals from new clothes. And spraying undiluted white vinegar directly on underarm, sweat and deodorant marks just before washing can help to remove odor and stains.

Vinegar can also help dingy socks, cloth napkins and dishcloths to look white again. Fill a large pot with water and add one cup of distilled white vinegar. Bring the pot to a rolling boil and then turn off the heat. Carefully place the dingy items into the pot, let them soak overnight and then wash as usual.

Using vinegar in the laundry helps to neutralize bacteria and uric acid in cloth baby diapers. (Vinegar should not be used with PUL (polyurethane) diaper fabrics because the soft plastic fibers can degrade over time.) You can also add a few cups of white vinegar to the diaper pail to keep smells at bay until the diapers are ready to be washed.

Baking soda cleans, deodorizes and softens laundry

Baking soda helps to balance the pH of water and can be used to effectively clean, freshen, brighten, and soften laundry. After adding laundry to the washing machine, add liquid or powder laundry detergent as usual and then pour one cup of baking soda directly over the clothes.

Adding baking soda to the washing machine also helps to neutralize the smell of musty towels and bathing suits that have been sitting in the hamper or that smell like chlorine.

To remove the musty odor from laundry that was left wet in the washing machine for too long, rerun the washing cycle with a cup of vinegar or baking soda to refresh them.

Baking soda also deodorizes rugs, upholstery, pet beds, mattresses and other fabric surfaces without damaging them. Simply sprinkle the baking soda over the surface, and let it sit for fifteen minutes and vacuum.