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larsi_gw

DON'T use vinegar in your washing machine

larsi_gw
12 years ago

Today we had a service call from our favourite Miele Senior technician. He said to NEVER use vinegar in the washing machine or the dishwasher Yes, it shines the stainless, but he said it totally eats and rots the rubber hoses and seals. He went on to say that they can always tell the machines that are used with vinegar. He says hoses and rubber seals and parts many times just crumble in his hands, when service is performed!

He said yes it is chemical free, but it is NOT good for the machines. Liquid fabric softener is 100% safe, when used as directed & with normal use...it does NOT build up or gunk the machine (especially if a regular clean machine cycle is done).

Comments (381)

  • dadoes
    2 years ago

    I ordered from PWSLaundry twice in 2018, they had the best price on the items I needed at the time. Four orders from AppliancePartsPros in 2011, two in 2013. They're still in business so that's a point of favor.

    SQ doesn't directly deal with consumers via distributors or corporate
    (except for extreme complaints, which are referred to the dealer anyway).

    The machine will run perfectly fine without an softener dispenser or cap. Aesthetic concern is your choice. <$5 (+ shipping) may be a reasonable risk for whether it fits (probably it will) ... you can also check for offerings on eBay.

  • Penelope Megquier
    2 years ago

    That’s odd. I have been using vinegar in my washer for at least five years and it’s fine. My other washer was twenty years old. Used vinegar in every load. No problem!!

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  • elbits
    2 years ago

    Yes, that was an accumulation of lint and chihuahua hair. I wash plenty small blankets and towels every few days. My Speed Queen was purchased in December 2011, so this was 8 years worth.

  • SEA SEA
    2 years ago

    Well, I'm glad you got that cleaned out elbits. Maybe run a clean cycle with d/w detergent or citric acid for good measure.

  • anoop
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    What about a laundry rinse with these ingredients? Is this chemically similar to vinegar since some folks have recommended using vinegar as a laundry rinse.


    Product declaration

    Citric acid 15–30%

    Vegetable alcohol (ethanol) 5–15%

    Water, swirled up to 100%


    List of ingredients as per EC 648/2004

    Aqua, citric acid, alcohol

  • beaglenc
    2 years ago

    Anoop, what product is that?


  • PRO
    Executive Touch Services
    2 years ago

    FYI
    vinegar hurts nothing. it also relaxes fabric fibers so well that 1 part to 3 parts h2o will act as wrinkle release. use in spray bottle then smooth , shape . smell dissipates in short amount of time. Also using to clean washer is safe. bleach would harm more than vinegar ever could/would. it's a neutralizer.does get rid of odors to. safer to use w septic as well. safe and smart to even sanitize/ rinse cutting boards,produce off. To one who said she couldn't find it,it's by the pickles,spices or baking aisle.
    .

  • monicakm_gw
    2 years ago

    dadoes, I've searched this thread and don't see where you specifically answered the question about vinegar being bad (or not) for washers. What say you? :)

  • PRO
    Executive Touch Services
    2 years ago

    not bad at all. I once had a print out 3 pages long of all the uses for white vinegar. there is a cleaning vinegar, I wouldn't suggest that. just regular good ol distilled white vinegar.
    Google used for white vinegar, you'll be surprised at how many there are. 😊

  • dadoes
    2 years ago

    Vinegar dosage of the level that fits into a softener dispenser is unlikely to cause harm considering the dilution level when combined with the volume of rinse water.

    I would avoid using it in the rinse aid dispenser of a dishwasher. It is acidic and could have a long-term effect on deteriorating the dispenser (seals). It's not diluted while sitting in the dispenser.

  • monicakm_gw
    2 years ago

    Thanks. I can't remember how much I used. It's been a few years. I don't think I put it in a dispenser tho. I think I just poured it in the rinse water. Maybe a cup or a little more. I only used it for my husbands sweaty white t-shirts.

  • PRO
    Executive Touch Services
    2 years ago

    also you can use hydrogen peroxide for whitening . maybe a cup or so

  • Cindy Salas
    2 years ago

    i own a samsung he pair, i make my own fabric softener. its 2 cups water, 1/4 c hair conditioner, and 1/4 c white vinegar. I fill he softener to the recommended level,use an existing softener bottle.Ive been using for 3 years now, no problems, and my laundry smells like my freshly washed hair!

  • JMF S
    last year

    Vinegar in correct dosages is Fine. Vinegar in excess Will dry out hoses. I used to overdo it in my washer fluid reservoir in my car and the vinegar eventually thinned and dried the hose.


    Salt and vinegar chips are off the menu as well, and I lament that fact. The vinegar caused a filling to disintegrate and eventually fall out. It's fine for non-porous fillings, but this one was composite. You can see the pock marks from where the vinegar had been wearing it down. The issue is that the chips stick to the teeth so it makes a kind of vinegar paste which will get washed out with saliva over time, but not before making a wee bit of progress. All that progress added up and Flop! Out came that filling. Color me flabbergasted! Mind y'all, I was eating an inflated number of these chips during allergy season because the vinegar Also thinned the mucous that was causing sore throats and congestion (yuck). The chips seemed a good way to handle the issue And they're delicious. I did a search to see if it was something that has been heard of and sure enough . . . dentists actually warn about vinegar chips! Who knew?! My enamel suffered as well so I have sworn off this now forbidden treat. :( I don't brush after eating because a) who has time and b) your enamel is softened by the excessive saliva so I thought I was doing the right thing by waiting until it had rehardened. Not so much.


    I think, though, that our washing machine pipes have enough clean water running through them after the main wash that the vinegar is being purged. In the case of my car the vinegar was sitting in the line 24/7 and it took Years for the line to go bad.


    If you're all that concerned about it, run a rinse-only cycle after using vinegar to wash out any excess sitting in the pipe. That and actually Measure the amount of vinegar instead of free pouring it like I know most of us do. ;)

  • Virginia Miller
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I have been using vinegar as softener for 15 plus years. My current washer is 10 years old, still running like a champ. It will corrode the finish off the front of your washer if your not careful. Nothing that a bit of clear coat couldn‘t fix.

  • HU-691109476
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Here a quote to show why there is a discrepancy between who is right. “There are dozens of rubbers out there with different chemical compositions, some of which react with vinegar and some that do not,” Glajch says. “If you don’t know what kind of rubber is in your appliance and the manual doesn’t say you can use vinegar, then don’t.”

    So basically it boiling down to what type of washing machines you have. If you have no problems, than you are golden. However don't be surprised if someone else has problems. Washer Machine are only standardized to standardized landuary soap. Not homemade ones. So some machines are fine, well others aren't.

  • Terry Holder
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I work for a hose manufacture. I can atest that viniger diluted with water will not hurt your hoses. The funny thing with hoses is that they can with stand a lot of abuse. Hoses only crack because of age and like anything they don't last forever. Lots of hoses are made with the same material as the coolant hoses to your vehical and able to withstand high heat. But pressure is a whole different ball game, as certain chemical compounds need to be added for strength to withstand a specific psi.

  • HU-261299473
    last year

    Fabric softener is a cationic surfactant that makes your blood coagulate. Dryer sheets also😭😭😭all heart problems people, look it up

  • Mark
    last year

    It rots rubber over time. Either by drying rubber out or turning it into putty. Using it for a fabric softener and the outcome is truly delusional.

  • Rosie C
    last year

    how can anyone claim that liquid softener does not cause build up? that is essentially what it was created to do. garments feels softer due to the build of an oily/wax layer on the fabric. this same build up also forms inside the machine and coats rubber parts especially when used in cold water cycles.


    even if you do not use a separate fabric softener, major laundry detergents contain additives meant to soften and brighten fabric to counteract the hardness of most water sources. this helps clothes feel softer as we all know, but eventually will build up in machine.


    the official name for this buildup is scrud. LG has on their website: Scrud is the name given to the waxy build up that can occur within any washer when the Fabric softener comes into contact with detergent. If Scrud is allowed to build up in the machine it can result in stains on the clothes and an unpleasant smell in the washer. (https://www.lg.com/nz/support/product-help/CT20186041-20151136257128#:undefined)


    hard water is a major reason why people feel that they need more fabric softener. when clothes come out stiff, it is often due to minerals left behind by hard water (calcium/magnesium/etc). If people didn't have hard water, there would likely be no need for chemical softener additives.


    why does vinegar works as a 'softener'?...vinegar deactivates/dissolves the calcium/magnesium in hard water. The acidity of vinegar helps to dissolve mineral particles by making them charged. These newly charged particles become attracted to the positive and negative charges in water and can be washed away easily. (https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/hardness-water?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects)


    I think it is unfair to blame vinegar for damaged machine parts. detergents contain many chemicals that have the potential to damage rubber. Vinegar when (used appropriately in the softener compartment) will make your clothes softer, and your machine will smell better. Still, I can't make any claims about how using vinegar will affect the longterm condition of your machine. However, it will prevent slimy gross brown buildup from fabric softener, which does have negative impacts on your washing machine.







  • Steve S
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Fabric softener buildup in the washing machine isn’t a huge problem. The only place to be concerned really is in the dispenser tray. Here it can build up a thick layer and cause a blockage. Most dispenser trays are removable for this reason.

    I clean mine out over the sink with a soft brush and warm water is all thats needed.

    Fabric softener build up inside the washing machine is otherwise not a problem. Once it’s out of the dispenser tray it gets mixed in with so much water and then absorbed into your clothes.

    The only place you have to worry about fabric softener residue is in the dryer. And this is really only a problem if you use dryer sheets as it can leave a waxy clear coating over the many moisture and temperature sensors used in most modern dryers. This can prevent these sensors from getting a correct reading resulting in too little or too much drying or the wrong temperature.

    This doesn’t mean dryer sheets are bad, but if you use them be sure to routinely wipe the sensors. Usually rubbing alcohol and a paper towel is all that is needed to clear it.

  • dadoes
    last year

    "Steve S.: Fabric softener buildup in the washing machine isn’t a huge problem."

    Not true. Friends of my sister destroyed their frontloader via softener ... continual overdosing and not running enough hot washes or the tub clean cycle (which on their model would heat to 130°F) to keep the residue cleared. They gave it to my sister for me to rebuild. The interior of the outer tub and exterior of the inner drum and support spider were coated with softener residue and the machine reeked of the scent. The spider hub crumbled to waxy gravel residue and broke loose during spin, the careening drum tore a gash in the front of of the outer tub.

  • Thomas Fisher
    last year

    Can we PLEASE lock this thread? 11 years later it's STILL going on?????

  • chrissymj
    last year

    Nooooooo! Don’t lock this thread! It’s my favorite!

  • HU-992661489
    last year

    Does anyone know what's *really* in fabric softeners? No, because it's not required by law for ingredients of softener to be listed. That alone is reason enough for me to want to steer clear-- IMO, if fabric softeners were not full of chemicals that fact would be proudly displayed on the jug... And did you know that scented fabric softener sheets are an effective deterrent to mice? The artificial scents (again, produced by unnamed chemicals) irritate their respiratory systems so they avoid them. Those are 2 reasons I use vinegar in my washer and dryer balls (sometimes with a few drops of lavender essential oil added) in my dryer.


    My clothes are soft, I have no gunk in my washer-- but the tub *does* sparkle because every load gently cleanses away detergent buildup, so that is a consequence of using vinegar, one I gladly accept!

  • c2ols
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    The drum of my Miele WKR771 appears to be ruined. It is badly tarnished and I have small rubbery particles inside on the last single item I put through it on Sunday - ski pants. I have put vinegar and bicarbonte of soda in the machine a few times this year to give the pipes a clean but this is awful. I can't think what to do next except buy a new machine.

    I wonder was it the NikWak cleaning and waterproofing I used in the machine :((

  • fordtech
    10 months ago

    Waterproofing? That doesnt sound good

  • Cavimum
    10 months ago

    c2ols --- What a nightmare! The NikWax product should not have done this to your machine, so I'm wondering if something else happened. I've used NikWax products in my Miele W4842 FL washer a couple of times, with no trouble.


    - Was this the first time you have washed the ski pants?

    - Do you know if the pants outer fabric some sort of rubber backing to make it waterproof which might have disintegrated to create the rubbery particles?

    - All NikWax package directions followed to the letter?


  • Liz Bennett
    9 months ago

    Our stains are makeup around necklines, turmeric usually with stains. The lining of the drum under the stainless steel deteriorated in a shredded black sludge like big ripped black tea leaves, staining and adhering to our clothes and drum and causing the filter to also fill up. This was a top loader without agitator. We are trying to get it clean but without success by doing many rinses with cleaning products that are sold for cleaning machines, and getting nowhere but with a machine left with hundreds of black sledge tea leaves again. New machines are costly.

    Napisan seems to be the culprit and we only do cold washes. It took the lining off the internals of the drum behind the stainless steel drum. Interesting. Costly. Now what machine do we buy?

    Our stains are makeup around necklines, turmeric on clothes, food stains on aprons, garden dirt, medicine stains, and it was easy to put in & use but.

  • mark40511
    9 months ago

    I think this worry about vinegar ruining the rubber in your washers is total BS. I mean, think about it......Pouring an OUNCE or two in the dispenser......which then gets heavily diluted by the water.....that heavily diluted vinegar then gets drained and new water added, when then gets drained.......there's probably hardly a trace left at any point to even worry about doing any kind of damage.

  • Brian Rossiter
    8 months ago

    Total bs

  • HU-161661408
    7 months ago

    I have just recently started using vinegar in my FS dispenser as recommended to me, my LG front loader is now leaking water all over the laundry room. Does anybody know if I have I ruined it ?

  • HU-701094255
    7 months ago

    I have a Maytag Neptune front loading washer that is OVER 25 years old. No joke! I have 4 children and cloth diapered them all. Not to mention the copious amounts of laundry a family of 6 creates. Always, always, always have used vineger in every single load for over 25 years. Never a problem. No hoses have ever deteriorated. The washing machine is still going like a champ! Vinegar softens clothes and doedorizes. It can effectively remove any detergent and liquid fabric softener residue as well.

  • dadoes
    7 months ago

    Maytag introduced the Neptune in 1997. Assuming you have the earliest possible model MAH3000, then it's getting right at 25 years depending on when in 1997 the market introduction happened. Cite the serial number, which is coded for the month and year of factory production, in a reply if you want to know the age more accurately.

  • HU-701094255
    7 months ago

    That's it! That's the one! Right AT 25 years. Yep. Bought the bloody thing brand new. Still going strong. About 7 or 8 years ago I pulled off the front cover over the buttons to see how much dust and other stuff may have accumulated underneath it. It was CLEAN. Perfectly, beautifully clean. Not a bit of dust anywhere. The circuit board -- is that wht you'd call it? -- looked brand new. Anyway, I'm very happy with the washer. Bought the gas dryer along with it too. It's still going as well, although I had to replace the belt once about ten years ago. I have used vinegar in every single load. ;o)

  • dadoes
    7 months ago

    Early Neptune models MAH3000, MAH4000, and MAH5500A have a problem with the wax motor that operates the door lock going bad and destroying a couple electronic components on the cycle control board in the console (there's also a motor control board mounted at the machine base). The wax motor was changed to a different design that doesn't exhibit the problem. Bad one has a brown actuator pin. Updated one has a black actuator pin. It's amazing that your machine apparently hasn't suffered that common failure. Your choice ... but may be a good idea to proactively change your wax motor to the updated version.

  • fordtech
    7 months ago

    My Neptune 7500 pair still sings on, no surprise yours are still running. I think Maytag should have never been put out of business over them. Mine have outlived MANY other versions that were being sworn as the best on this forum back then.

  • Steve S
    6 months ago

    There might be some washers that could tolerate vinegar.

    My advice is if you do not see anything mentioned about vinegar in the owner’s manual, next pull out your warranty.

    Even if your machine is out of warranty there is your clue that your machine cannot tolerate vinegar usually they will have this written in the exclusions.

    To deny reimbursement on your warranty claim as well as any property damage from leaks.

  • Glenn James
    6 months ago

    The commenter that said vinegar will dry out rubber hoses and seals in a washer must work for one of the detergant corporations. They know this one comment will stop probably thousands of people from trying vinegar in their laundry.

    If everyone knew how well vinegar worked in the laundry it would cost these detergant manufacturers a fortune because nothing they sell even comes close to softening, brightening, disinfecting, or cleaning the tub and your clothe, as well as vinegar. And nothing they offer is as safe and easy on you, your clothes, and your washer as vinegar.

    Chlorine bleach is far worse on your washer and clothes than vinegar could ever be.

    Put simply, you would be foolish not to use vinegar !

    Anyone out there that is doubting vinegar, or just dont want to chance it because of this one comment, congratulations! You have successfully been tricked into buying yet another bad product that you don't need, that will cause problems or at the least cause more preventive maintenance on your washer, and will slowly ruin your clothes.

    Just try the vinegar, you will wonder why you haven't been using it all along!

  • Dorian Crouse
    6 months ago

    9 Elements ’Purifying Softener’ is fairly weak compaired to raw vinegar. Substitutes like that are likely OK. However, Cleaning Vinegar and stronger bleaches potentially could be worse.

  • dadoes
    6 months ago

    @Glenn James and others,

    What exactly are the benefits of vinegar regards to washing (rinsing) clothes? I've tried it in the past and couldn't discern any difference in the clothes vs. not using it.

  • Glenn James
    6 months ago

    It can be used as a bleach substitute, it cleans, and brightens, in my experience, about as good as bleach but it doesn't bleach colors out, nor does it disintegrate your clothes, and linens like bleach does, it removes foul odors as good as bleach, it cleans your washer tub with each load, and it is in my opinion the best fabric softener hands down. Did I mention how bright ot makes your whites come out ? I use 1 cup of white vinegar, I pour it in along with the detergent. Try it, Im pretty sure you will be suprised. Stop using fabric softener, it is a waste of money, unless you just like the scent.

  • Glenn James
    6 months ago

    By the way, the original poster, I know it was posted 12 yrs ago, but the simple idea that they have a favorite Meile senior tech. tells me that there is something strange with their post, I mean who has so many appliance issues that they know their appliance tech. by their first name ? If I was seeing this guy that much I would buy another brand and find a different appliance tech.

  • anoop
    6 months ago

    Isn't the vinegar supposed to be acid to neutralize the alkaline soap and aid its rinsing?

  • Glenn James
    6 months ago

    Yes, I believe that is one of, if not the only chemical process going on with vinegar, but in a top load machine, by the time its is diluted in the load the already very week acid that is vinegar is nearly imperceptible, I believe it serves to soften the water also. If you have hard, mineral rich water, it will keep calcium deposits down also. If you already have a build up of deposits It wont do too much with that. I would assume over time it may remove them though. Bottom line is that one cup of vinegar per load, isn't even remotely as damaging to your laundry, or washer as one cup of bleach. Bleach is a highly corrosive oxidizer, and we all know what it will do to our clothes, skin, skin and respiratory tract, imagine what it's doing over time to your machine.

  • Diane Witter
    6 months ago

    I use the vinegar because it DOES break down detergent residue. I have sensitive skin and double rinsing is my normal. But it didn't always remove all the detergent. Using vinegar keeps the itchy skin problems clear. Don't use vinegar if you don't want to. But it does have its benefits.

  • anoop
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    I use rinse aid products which contain citric acid probably diluted to safe levels, as in safe for the machine.

    https://www.sonett.eu/products/waschen/laundry-rinse/?L=1

  • HU-992661489
    5 months ago
    last modified: 5 months ago

    Not only is bleach bad for your clothes, respiratory tract, etc, it's terrible for the environment! I first started using vinegar to soften up a stiff T-shirt (it took a few times being washed but it did work, whereas previous washings did nothing to help.) I noticed how it made my machine sparkle as well -- and I've never looked back. My towels are fluffy, my clothes smell clean (not full of fake "springtime morning" or whatever) and I know I'm not destroying nature. A win-win-win. :-)

  • HU-156851239
    2 months ago

    I also have a Samsung front loader washing machine. I also tried vinegar and bicarbonate of soda and it also damage the coating of my drum. I tried to clean the drum with it. My washing machine is still working, but the coating is damage. So I found out that the two products together created an acid. So, I think I will never try vinegar again or bicarbonate soda again, just to be safe. Only use products that stated that it is to clean your washing machine drum. Then you know it its save. Rather wash the clothes when stained in a bath and then put in the washing machine afterwards.


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