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Vinegar Will Get That Mildew Smell Out of Your Clothes

A load of clothes inside a washing machine.
Monkey Business Images

We’ve all done it. You leave a set of clothes in the washing machine overnight and are then faced with that lovely mildew smell. While it might seem counterintuitive, vinegar is the answer.

Yes, to some, vinegar smells bad, too. Usually, two wrongs don’t make a right, but in this case, they do. Vinegar is actually able to remove that mildew smell thanks to its low pH, which binds to smells and removes them.

But won’t your clothes just smell like vinegar, then? Not if you use the method from Jessica Zinna, Ph.D., and senior scientist at Tide.

She recommends adding five cups of white cleaning vinegar to the drum of your washing machine with your clothes and skipping the detergent. Run a cycle with hot water, let it finish, and then rewash the clothes with detergent.

Why do you have to wash them twice?

Well, because vinegar can mess with the cleaning power of your detergent. In fact, that same low pH that removes the mildew smell is the problem. It alters the detergent’s pH which is often carefully formulated for efficacy.

So, yeah, you’ll have to wash your clothes twice, but you’ll get that nasty smell out!

Keeping some vinegar on hand is a good idea for other household uses, anyway. From creating your own three-ingredient cleaner to cleaning and polishing appliances, it’s a wonder liquid!

[Via Southern Living]

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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