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DON'T use vinegar in your washing machine

larsi_gw
11 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 (357)

  • Marge Plevak Gajkowski
    2 years ago

    Can I Use White Distilled Vinegar in HE Washers during the Rinse Cycle?


    If you dislike commercial fabric softeners, white distilled vinegar can be used instead to help soften the clothes.

    The white distilled vinegar should be placed in the fabric softener dispenser so it will be added during the rinse cycle. Fill the fabric softener cup to the top level with the white vinegar. The vinegar helps remove any detergent and soil that is clinging to fabric clothes feeling soft and clean. There will be no vinegar odor clinging to the fabric.

    An added benefit of using white distilled vinegar is that your washer will be left much fresher and cleaner than if you use a commercial fabric softener. Fabric softener residue traps bacteria and encourages the growth of mold and mildew and causes odor in front load washers.


  • Marge Plevak Gajkowski
    2 years ago

    So, if you're told that your "hoses" will be destroyed I believe you're being hosed!


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  • mamapinky0
    2 years ago

    Vinegar.

    Does not soften clothing the same as fabric softener. It also does not remove detergent residue. If enough is used it may neutralise residue. Once residue expecially carbonates is neutralized the clothes may have a smoother feel. Vinegar being so weak though I'm doubtful the small amount held in the fabric softener dispenser is going to do anything. If it makes you feel better than of course use it. Its harmless enough expecially at such a low dose.


  • georgect
    2 years ago

    Ahhhh...Larsi would be so happy this thread is still alive and kicking.

    LOL

  • Leslie Escobar
    2 years ago

    Are washing machines still being made with rubber parts? I checked my drain hose and it's plastic. I don't think vinegar will harm newer machines that don't use rubber parts, anyone know if there are rubber parts on the inside??

  • dadoes
    2 years ago

    Yes. Plastic largely isn't soft and flexible enough to serve for bearing and shaft seals, some internal hoses and tubes, etc.

  • Lisa Seatle
    2 years ago

    I’ve beeb using vinegar as a fabric softener in my HE machine for 10 yrs. zero problems. My laundry comes out great and the rubber gasket never gets mouldy.

  • Rose Luu
    2 years ago

    My bath towels (less than 1yr) smelled moldy despite being washed with detergent and hot water several times. I almost gave up! Before throwing them out I washed them once more using only vinegar and hot water. The smell went away! It was incredibl! I kept sniffing the towels thinking maybe something was wrong with my nose. Nope, they smelled fresh as new. Now I’m worried that maybe vinegar could ruin my machine...

  • georgect
    2 years ago

    It won't ruin it HU.

  • claire853
    2 years ago

    Hi, I have been using White distilled MALT vinegar for months (cannot find just the white distilled anywhere) and have had no problems at all. I used to use fabric softener but hated the smell, even though I tried different ‘perfumed‘ ones. The only smell now is just clean! Good luck.

  • jujufull
    2 years ago

    When our second child was born, his skin was so sensitive that cloth diapers irritated his skin no matter how quickly I changed him. A nurse at the doctor's office (who had six children) told me to use white vinegar in the final rinse to clear out all soap/detergent, and then to dry them in the sunshine (on a clothesline). When I began doing this, he had no more diaper rashes. It was truly amazing and I was so thankful for it.

  • Matthew Cathell
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    We have a new Samsung washer. On the Samsung website, in a few places, it actually recommends using vinegar (both in place of fabric softener, and when you're running a cleaning cycle without clothes in the machine).

    On the page Clean your Samsung Washer, in the section titled "Prevent washer mold, mildew, and odors," they state: "Avoid fabric softener: Liquid fabric softeners often leave residue behind that contribute to mold growth. To keep clothes smelling fresh, try using distilled white vinegar instead of fabric softener. And switch to using dryer sheets and dryer balls to soften your clothes."

    On the page Samsung Washer - Prevent and Eliminate Odors, in the section titled "Eliminating Odors," they recommend the following for a cleaning cycle: "Add 1/2 cup of bleach or distilled white vinegar to the tub and run a Sanitize or any Hot cycle. Do not add clothes."

    The devil is probably in the details here. Filling the washing machine up with vinegar would undoubtedly be a different situation that having a small amount (say, the capacity of the fabric softener dispenser) added to a load of water. I just don't believe the latter will cause the kinds of problems described here, particularly if the washing machine is being used regularly (so that any residual acid isn't just sitting around in the machine indefinitely). Also the low pH of the vinegar should be mitigated by the high pH of the detergent, bringing it closer to a neutral equilibrium by the time it all gets agitated together in there.

  • Donna Trahan
    last year

    Thanks to everyone's comments regarding using vinegar in the washers. Liquid fabric softeners and softener sheets cause skin irritations for some people and are the culprit to major sinus problems and migraines, plus cause havoc with your internal organs that most people have not read about. For several years (+/-8) I've used 1/2 c white distilled vinegar and 1/2 c baking soda in the final rinse cycle to stop static in my work clothes or anything with polyester. Works great on static! I wash with 1/3 cup SafeCoice Super Clean, which is a household cleaner https://www.greenbuildingsupply.com/All-Products/Cleaners-Household/AFM-SafeChoice-Super-Clean (I purchase 4 gal at a time to save on shipping)

    I just had to replace my 12+ yr old top load washer, new GE top load washer is HE, and I can select my water levels plus add Extra Rinse or Deep Fill. I was wondering if anyone pauses the HE machines once the rinse cycle starts and then add the vinegar in the final rinse?


  • monicakm_gw
    last year

    Donna, which GE did you buy? My goal, when shopping for a new washer was to find one that let me put in as much water as I wanted. Well, the advertising mat on top of the washer said "use as much water as you want". Not entirely true. As much water as you want as long as it's not more than they'll allow :o

    I bought the 4.5 cu ft HE # GTW685BSLWS w/ agitator. It's a good washer but due to the water restrictions, I can't wash as much as I want in one load. No way a king size quilt is going in there. I've had it since mid Oct and Lowes is letting me switch to the GE HE 5 cu ft # GTW845CSNWS. It will have water restrictions too but at least it will be a larger capacity. I like my clothes to move freely in the water.

    I already have it's matching dryer and love it! The washer has a water/soap station (I don't have a sink in my laundry room) and much more! I DO use vinegar in some of my washes. I don't think I've used it yet in the new (soon to be replaced) washer. I use it in the wash cycle to help with stinky sweaty work clothes. Mostly not a problem in the cooler months. I don't use fabric softeners of any kind. Towels aren't as absorbent with fs. I don't put our good clothes in the dryer. They are line dried and I prefer them to have more shape than be limp(ish) due to fs.

    So, no, I don't pause the rinse cycle to add vinegar but if I used vinegar in the rinse cycle, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

  • HU-505854705
    last year

    Oh no! Thanks for the heads up. I was always of the naive assumption that vinegar, being a "natural" product was basically harmless. My mistake corrected! Luckily I hadn't quite got around to actually trying it in the washing machine or even on teh windows but I will be careful where I douse my home cleaning products now. Thanks! Ellie ULS

  • elbits
    last year

    OMG, my husband and I cleaned the agitator to our Speed Queen tonight and gunk we pulled out was amazingly disgusting! It looked like a dead rat and I never use the fabric softener doodad at the top. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=how+to+clean+a+speed+queed+agitator&docid=608026326103820660&mid=29284816AEF2C47DB59D29284816AEF2C47DB59D&view=detail&FORM=VIREHT

  • elbits
    last year



  • Penelope Megquier
    last year

    I’ve used vinegar for many years with no problems. I learned that it keeps the drain hoses, etc, clean.

  • SEA SEA
    last year

    Yikes elbits! You must be so glad you got that removed! I guess you had to scrub and bleach inside the agitator column. Gag.

    I've tried numerous times to get the fabric softener doo-dad off my SQ to clean under it and that thing is not coming off without breaking the machine in the process. I've watched a few youtube vids on how to, but none of that works for my softener cup (which I never use either). I'm afraid I'd have a yuck too since I've had the machine for over 3.5 years now.

  • dadoes
    last year

    elbits ... LOL, common knowledge says that toploaders aren't subject to collecting smutz, that's only in the realm of those infernal frontloaders.

    .... it is, of course, completely wrong "knowledge." :-)

    That looks like a wad of lint with maybe some hair and other debris. Vinegar won't do anything to prevent it.

  • SEA SEA
    last year

    Yes dadoes, you are right. TL can get scuzzy too, not just FL.

    After much effort I was able to get the fabric softener cup off (hope I didn't break the machine) of my SQ. The inside of our agitator pole was not too bad. It looks like dark dust. No build up of hair or lint chucks. I was surprised since we have a long hair cat who sheds year round and the SQ by nature makes lots of lint. I wiped it out and good as new. I have a voice mail into SQ to try and obtain a cap to replace the FS cup since I don't use FS and this cup thing collects debris. I'd rather not have it.

    Would you know if it's alright to run wash cycles without the cup in place? I'm thinking it would be fine since it has little drain holes in the agitator pole.

  • dadoes
    last year

    Replacing the softener cup with a cap is the same thing as running the machine without the cup ... so no concern. I've read advisories on other agitator brands to never run the machine without the cup in place to avoid small items falling into the agitator, which makes me LOL. Sure, a sock could fall in there during loading (which of course the user *should* notice immediately) but items surely aren't going to leap out of the water into the agitator while a cycle runs.

  • monicakm_gw
    last year

    On one of my washers YEARS ago, I covered the FS cup with a few strips of strapping tape. Made it look nice, it wasn't just slapped on there haphazardly. The moisture and heat never caused the tape to peel off and it kept the cup clean.

  • SEA SEA
    last year

    Ok, good to know Dadoes. Thank you for the reply.

    I called SQ again today since they didn't return my call yesterday or today. In regards to a cap, they said I'd have to go through my distributor. And that the caps are not made to fit residential models--only commercial models. They claim to not know if the cap would fit my awn432. ??

    Moving on, since I haven't called the nearest SQ distributor yet...I see online there are two parts retailers that have the cap for under $5. I may do that instead One retailer is pwslaundry and the other is appliance parts pros. Do you know if they are reputable suppliers?

    btw, I'm running a load right now sans FS cup because you said it's ok, and it seems fine. I mean, it wouldn't really offend me if there was no cap in my life. Could even possibly be a good thing in that air can now get in there easily to dry it out--remove a place mold can grow. It does looks strange to the eye though, if you know what I mean. I can see how a sock can get dumped in there by accident, but one can fix that easy enough.

    Good thinking Monica. I'm trying to take it a step further and find a stretchable silicone lid. I see them on amazon, but only in multiples. Your idea made think I can probably just use saran wrap with a rubber band lol. Same difference, just not as tidy looking.


  • dadoes
    last year

    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
    last year

    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!!

  • elbits
    last year

    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
    last year

    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
    last year
    last modified: last year

    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
    last year

    Anoop, what product is that?


  • PRO
    Executive Touch Services
    last year

    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
    last year

    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
    last year

    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
    last year

    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
    last year

    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
    last year

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

  • Cindy Salas
    last year

    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
    10 months 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
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months 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‘t fix.

  • HU-691109476
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    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
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months 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
    4 months ago

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

  • Mark
    4 months 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
    4 months 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 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    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
    2 months ago

    "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
    2 months ago

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

  • chrissymj
    2 months ago

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

  • HU-992661489
    20 days 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!