White vinegar comes in handy: it’s an ingredient in my thrifty leather food, and I also use it when I’m mixing up my own kitchen and bathroom cleaner. I buy the stuff in bulk: this five-litre vat (left) from Summer Naturals costs £4.99 and lasts forever. You can also buy five-litre bottles of white vinegar from Chinese supermarkets.
When we lived in America, I noticed that some of my friends there kept five-litre bottles of white vinegar next to their washing machines. They told me it made an excellent fabric softener, among other things. Since we came back to the UK, this has been playing on my mind. It would be great if white vinegar worked to soften clothes – but how would it work, exactly? And what if it made my clothes smell of chip shops?
Right now I’m on a roll when it comes to laundry – I’m nuts about my eco-friendly soap nuts – so I decided to throw caution to the wind and try out the vinegar. I wasn’t going to test it on my own pretty garments, but my husband provided me with the ideal opportunity. He decided to do the laundry, carefully picked out all his own clothes for the machine, then left his wet washing mouldering inside the drum for a couple of days. Perfect! And if the clothes smelled of chip shop afterwards, so be it. I put the load through the machine again, and added a slosh of white vinegar into the fabric softener compartment.
I’m delighted to report that when the clothes came out of the machine, they were soft and smelled absolutely fine. There was no vinegary whiff. I have no idea how or why the vinegar works, but it does. I’ve put a number of loads through since then, and the vinegar has worked fine every time!
I still have no idea how vinegar works as well as Lenor, but I recommend it. It’s a cheap, eco-friendly alternative to those expensive bottles of pastel-coloured, sweet-smelling gloop that are piled high on the supermarket shelves.
White vinegar: I love it.