I had heard about using white vinegar in laundry to deodorize and brighten my clothes, but (while I do want bright whites) faded clothes were always my biggest nemesis. However, after researching vinegar’s acidic qualities (which I will explore more later), I was sure that I was hopeful that I could clean with vinegar and achieve soft, colorful clothes easily.  This is what the process involved – and why vinegar is the surprising substance that your colored laundry craves. 

Using vinegar to encourage softness – and prevent fading

Though I was confident in vinegar’s ability, I wanted to seek encouragement from home-care experts who could reassure this laundry room idea further. ‘Vinegar is used for reducing fading because it is an acidic substance [pH about 2-3],’ says home improvement blogger Pulkit Damani (opens in new tab). ‘When applied to fabric, it helps to set the dye in the fabric, making it less likely to fade.’  The expert adds that the acid serves as the mordant, which encourages the fabric to absorb dye in the dye bath and consequently leaves the clothes looking bright and colorful. After the wash, the strong vinegar aroma disappeared, so you don’t need to worry about any lingering scents.  After airing my laundry (this is how I dry clothes quickly without a dryer), I will admit that I was amazed at how soft my clothes felt. And the best part? The colors looked as bright as they had before the cycle. Pulkit had already explained how the vinegar’s acid encourages the colors not to fade, but  I also had to ask: what made my clothes so soft?  ‘Vinegar is used as a fabric softener because it is an acidic substance that can help break down the fibers in fabrics,’ he says. ‘Because of its acidic properties, it helps in breaking down the fibers in fabrics. This makes fabrics softer and less likely to wrinkle.’ I never fail to turn to white vinegar when washing my colors, and its softening ability is perfect for my best bedsheets, too. Will you give this trick a try?