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larsi_gw

DON'T use vinegar in your washing machine

larsi_gw
14 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 (389)

  • monicakm_gw
    3 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
    3 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. 馃槉

  • dadoes
    3 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
    3 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
    3 years ago

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

  • Cindy Salas
    3 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
    3 years ago

    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
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    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鈥榯 fix.

  • HU-691109476
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

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

    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
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    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
    3 years ago

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

  • Mark
    3 years ago

    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
    3 years ago

    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
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Fabric softener buildup in the washing machine isn鈥檛 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鈥檚 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鈥檛 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
    2 years ago

    "Steve S.: Fabric softener buildup in the washing machine isn鈥檛 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掳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
    2 years ago

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

  • chrissymj
    2 years ago

    Nooooooo! Don鈥檛 lock this thread! It鈥檚 my favorite!

  • HU-992661489
    2 years ago

    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!

  • c2olz
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years 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
    2 years ago

    Waterproofing? That doesnt sound good

  • Cavimum
    2 years 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
    2 years 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
    2 years 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
    2 years ago

    Total bs

  • HU-161661408
    2 years 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
    2 years 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
    2 years 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
    2 years 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
    2 years 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
    2 years 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
    2 years 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鈥檚 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
    2 years 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
    2 years ago

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

  • dadoes
    2 years 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
    2 years 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
    2 years 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
    2 years ago

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

  • Glenn James
    2 years 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
    2 years 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
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years 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
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years 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
    last year

    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.


  • Paul Nix
    last year

    Within the past couple of years I found that my skin reacted badly to something in the liquid clothes detergent that I had changed to (previously using Cheer powder). Before I realized that it was the liquid detergent causing me the trouble (terrible itching) I had started to use vinegar in a rinse cycle.


    My washer was a top-loader Kenmore from the 2005 era. Within a few months of beginning to use vinegar in a rinse cycle I started to see little black 'dots' in the water as the tub filled. The Kenmore washer let me fill the tub with the top up and then it would stop (ready to go into the wash cycle) until I closed the lid. I used that feature to add the detergent to the wash water before adding the clothes (and I 'sloshed' the detergent around in the wash water for a few seconds before adding the clothes).


    It may have been the vinegar, or it could have been age, but a few months ago my old Kenmore washer began leaking on the laundry room floor.


    At that time I was of the opinion that I had to be able to continue using vinegar in the rinse (being desperate to keep my skin from itching again). I checked with several washer manufacturers and the only one that would say, in-writing, that it was OK to use vinegar in their washers, was Speed Queen. (Companies are very reluctant to say anything negative about their products.)


    I bought a Speed Queen 'TC5' Washer (the only one of the old design that has an agitator) in late 2022 and have been using it for just over a month. I find it a bother to use (it doesn't use a mechanical controller and I have to 'fight' the machine to get it to do what I want) but at least I have some peace-of-mind that the vinegar won't result in the machine leaking.

  • SEA SEA
    last year

    You might want to try using Tide Free and Gentle powder detergent for the skin itching, Paul Nix. They make a liquid version too if you must use liquid. I use both and no itching. Both clean well but don't cause irritation for most people.

    I have an older mechanical dial Speed Queen, so can't help with cycle selection on your new washer, but others here, should be able to. You might want to start your own thread in this forum to catch more eyes so they can advise you. (the vinegar debate is long tired) If you use the right cycles for your needs you shouldn't have to fight the washer.

    Hope that helps.

  • littlegreeny
    last year

    Paul, not sure if you knew but Cheer powder is still avaialble.

  • gvmelbrty
    last year

    I have a 2014 LG front loader and my wife has been using white vinegar with every load, not a lot, just poured into the fabric softener and bleach dispensers (we didn't know about not using vinegar in the wash cycle which is when the bleach dispenser is released).. Two years in, the dispenser drawer started to leak out of the front. Then rust streaks started to appear under the dispenser. .. A few more years went by and I decided it was time to take the washer apart to clean the door gasket and try to find out why the dispenser was leaking..


    What I found was the hose that goes from the back of the dispenser to the tub was badly deformed, looking like it was partially melted. The crumpled and restricted hose obviously caused the dispenser fluids to back-up and leak out of the front. .. Once I got the front door panel off, I could see that the lower main tub drain hose was also deformed and restricted. I was surprised the washer still functioned.


    Upper hose


    Lower hose


    The only products that have gone into the machine are liquid detergent and vinegar (vinegar was also used for the tub clean cycle). This is regular white vinegar you buy at the grocery store.


    I found this on LG's website:


    Can vinegar damage your Washing Machine?


    Yes, vinegar can harm rubber parts inside a Washing Machine, which will eventually lead to leaks if used too often. Whilst washing your clothes with vinegar is a cost-effective, natural way to soften and deodorize fabrics, avoid using it in your washer too frequently. Only use it sporadically when deep cleaning the machine.


    Can't be 100% sure, but the vinegar we used is the prime suspect. I replaced the hoses and stopped using vinegar. So far, the issue has not returned.


    Perhaps LG (and others) should make higher quality rubber for their products?

  • georgect
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I just did a quick search and found this on Consumer Reports...

    Things to not use vinegar on.

    "Vinegar is sometimes used as a fabric softener or for getting rid of stains and odors in laundry. But as with dishwashers, it can damage the rubber seals and hoses in some washing machines to the point of causing leaks. It鈥檚 a problem that Steven Grayson, owner of Foothills Appliance Service in Wilkesboro, N.C., sees fairly frequently. 鈥淲ith continual use, vinegar can literally melt hoses, causing leaks and thereby possibly all kinds of additional damage to the house,鈥 says Grayson. In his experience, front-load washers are especially susceptible to vinegar-related damage."

    I never knew this.

    I have used it before but for a very short period, as I found it didn't do much.

  • Pat Z5or6 SEMich
    last year

    Thank you very much, givmelbrty, for taking the time to post this for us.

    Also, thank you, georgect.

  • Jerome Davis
    10 months ago

    I stay away from vinegar. On top of ruining the machine, I am suspicious of how it would make my clothes smell. I stick with real laundry detergent and fabric softener.

  • merimeridith
    last month

    Ill check with the washing machine manufactu first about using vinegard. what i do know is if you want to help save pour planet DO NOT use liquid fabric softeners as they are not good. im still searching for something other than vinegar but so far vinegar works well.