August 13, 2021

If you want to whiten your clothes but you’d rather not use chemicals to get the job done, you might be wondering whether natural alternatives like baking soda and vinegar can do the job instead.

The answer is yes – or partly. Vinegar is less of an important ingredient for clothes whitening, and you could get the results you’re looking for with baking soda alone. Baking soda is gentle but effective, and can tackle hard water stains and fridge odours – and, of course, whiten your clothes.

To use baking soda to bleach your clothes, just turn on your washing machine and add your laundry. Follow up with half a cup of baking soda dissolved into water (if you’ve got a particularly large laundry load, add a full cup of baking soda). Wash on your usual cycle. When you unload your laundry, it should be brighter and whiter than before.

Though vinegar isn’t an essential component here, adding a cup of white vinegar to your machine may also help brighten your whites. Both baking soda and vinegar are safe to use in your washing machine, so there’s no risk of damage – and what’s better; they’re both completely natural and non-irritants.

How does baking soda and vinegar whiten clothes?

Baking soda is a natural whitening agent, while vinegar contains acetic acid that makes it effective at removing residues left by detergents and soaps. Together, these ingredients are ideal as a natural whitening, stain-removing solution for white laundry.

Baking soda is also beneficial for improving the effectiveness of laundry detergents. By regulating pH in the water used by your washing machine, baking soda prevents acidity or alkalinity and creates the perfect washing environment. Add half a cup of baking soda to your laundry load to get more out of your detergents and reduce bacteria.

If you’re dealing with particularly stubborn stains, try running your laundry on a hotwash first with vinegar, then baking soda, which should do the trick.

Can you put vinegar in with laundry detergent?

Vinegar is safe to use in combination with laundry detergent, but there are a few things worth keeping in mind.

First, vinegar has a low pH level, which may weaken certain fibres, such as nylon, cotton and linen. Also be careful using vinegar with laundry that uses pH-sensitive dyes, as it could permanently alter the colour of your clothes.

Another thing to be aware of is the concentration of vinegar you buy. Some white vinegar can be made almost entirely out of water, which means you’ll need to use multiple cups of vinegar with a single load of washing to get the bleaching results you’re looking for.

Is baking soda safe on coloured clothes?

Search online and you will find many horror stories about baking soda bleaching coloured clothes. But you will also find plenty of people who swear by baking soda as a natural laundry detergent – and their coloured clothes seem to be fine. Who do you believe?

The answer is a little difficult, as it depends on the dyes used in the clothes you’re washing. Typically, using the right amount of baking soda (and not going too overboard) should be fine, and won’t cause your coloured clothes to fade. But if your clothes contain pH-sensitive dyes, they may be affected by baking soda.

It’s also important to only use baking soda in your washing machine, or, if you’re soaking clothes, properly dissolved in water. Applying baking soda directly onto your coloured clothes is a bad idea, and may result in white staining.

Is baking soda safe for all clothes?

As a natural stain remover, baking soda is suitable for use on almost every type of fabric. Baking soda can remove odours, freshen and clean a variety of clothes, thanks to its mild alkaline qualities.

Baking soda is safe to use on the majority of clothes, and, in fact, tends to be safer than bleach and other chemical products that can sometimes cause irritation. Some people use baking soda instead of water detergent, as a more environmentally friendly, 100% natural alternative.

Again, just make sure that you’re diluting baking soda in water before use, and avoiding prolonged exposure to baking soda.

is it a good idea to soak clothes in baking soda and vinegar overnight?

Soaking your clothes in white vinegar is an option to consider, but the most beneficial ingredient here is baking soda. Especially if you’re dealing with heavy odour problems, like cigarette smoke or underarm perspiration, it’s wise to pre-soak your laundry in baking soda water.

Simply combine one or two cups of baking soda with a bucket of warm water and add your smelly laundry. Leave for at least two hours, preferably overnight, then wash as usual the following day.

About the author

Tim Russell

I am passionate about health and wellbeing and have writing for over 10 years on the subject. I have a BSc Hons Degree and undertake vigorous research to help people improve their lives and live more a healthy and happy life.

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