If you’re taking care of a loved one at home and you’re not already using white vinegar in your laundry, you are missing out on some magic.
White vinegar (or distilled white vinegar, as it’s packaged) is a natural anti-bacterial and deodorizer. It’s cheap and easy, and it can make the difference between a room that smells like a hospital and one that smells like a home.
What’s that Smell?
If your loved one has incontinence issues, you know what it’s like to do multiple loads of wash every day: sheets and blankets, couch covers, chair covers, clothing, and underwear. But with regular laundry detergent, the urine smell doesn’t go away. And it leads to that “sickroom” smell that’s unpleasant and embarrassing.
Scented laundry detergents can help, but they aren’t as effective on the enzymes that create the post-laundry odor.
And if your loved one has any sensitivity to chemicals, those scented detergents can cause problems with skin rashes. That’s a complication you don’t need.
Instead, just a half a cup of distilled white vinegar added to the wash water, along you’re your normal laundry detergent, will remove the odor and kill the bacteria.
The vinegar breaks down the uric acid that creates that nasty smell.
And don’t worry, your clothes don’t come out smelling like vinegar.
White Vinegar in the Wash or Rinse?
Some people recommend using white vinegar in the last rinse cycle. That’s just too much hassle for us. We put it straight into the wash water along with the detergent.
But if you prefer, you can also put it in the rinse cycle by using one of the fabric softener dispenser balls that are designed to release fabric softener in the rinse. Just pour it into the dispenser ball and add it to your wash, as usual. But don’t put it in the spin cycle, because if it’s not diluted with water, it can affect the fabric color and leave your clothes smelling like a salad!
White vinegar is also great if you forget and leave the laundry in the washer overnight. You know that funky smell the clothes get when that happens? Just run the clothes through a rinse-only cycle with that half cup of white vinegar added to the water and it will take care of that smell.
You can also use it for urine spots on furniture cushions and mattresses. Dilute a half cup of white vinegar in a gallon of water as soon as possible and pour on the stain or use with a cloth to blot the stain (check your manufacturer’s recommendations for any delicate surfaces). Then soak up the extra with a cloth and blot with cold water. Let dry before covering.
Look for White Vinegar in the Cooking Aisle
You can find generic or store brand distilled white vinegar in the cooking ingredient aisle of your grocery store, in small or large sizes. Even the smallest size will only cost you a few pennies for each load of laundry. Make sure it’s distilled white vinegar, not apple cider vinegar!
Of course, like any laundry product, you’ll want to test it on any delicate fabrics. But chances are if your loved one has incontinence issues, they’re not wearing all that many delicate fabrics, right?
Try it! We bet you’ll join the white vinegar fan club too.