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DON'T use vinegar in your washing machine

February 23, 2010

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 (313)

  • Pat z6 SEMich

    I am laughing so hard that I knocked myself out.

  • Dubs

    LOL bump this. My only concern with using vinegar in the washer, is exposing your clothes to potential mold. Mold loves to grow in soaps and detergents. If you're like my parents, they use liberal amounts of detergent and stuff the crap out of it. Over time that detergent can cake into layers, fuzzies and all, especially with only a single rinse. The vinegar should neutralize the detergent and mold/mildew, but being so diluted by washer water, there is no way that it can kill and remove everything in one sitting. With repeated use though, your drain hose may eventually get clogged up, making for longer drain times, and stinkier clothes until it all passes which could take months. I don't think vinegar would do anything to the hoses or gaskets, unless the acidity was much higher than 5%. Using vinegar might not be a problem towards anything in small volumes, but may not be as effective towards clothes.. so I'm kinda torn between using it and not using it.

  • mamapinky0

    Doubt vinegar will clean out mold.

    Hi Larsi.....Hi Pat

  • mamapinky0

    Dubs....if a washer has mold wouldn't the clothes be exposed to it even if you don't use vinegar?

  • mamapinky0

    LOL...Idont think you will find anyone here stuffing their washer....

  • Tabitha McFarland

    I have a question, can anyone tell me what the best way to clean flame retardant uniforms with? I was told cleaning vinegar but now I wonder if that's right I have an old top loading machine and I don't want to ruin my husband's work uniform they are very expensive. I don't know the pH of my water I live in Ontario but I don't think it's hard but then again I really don't know if anyone has any recommendations I would appreciate it thanks

  • jujufull

    Tabitha, I googled your question and found this webpage. Hope it helps. :-)


  • Tabitha McFarland

    Thanks jujufull!

  • mlmcmains

    Dear hisown:

    I am desparate. Brand new expensive sheets. My husband is sweating bleach odor into them. I have asthma. Asthma and bleach do NOT mix. Please tell me how much citric acid do I use in my Speed Queen washer to get out the bleach odor?

    Please, please, please!!!

    Thank you!!!

  • mlmcmains

    I do not have access to a clothesline. My kingdom for one, as I have been told that bleach breaks down in the UV rays of the sun.

    Soo, back to some circle of hell, I am wondering if bleach is temperature sensitive? Streaming bleach fumes into the kitchen laundry area is not that appealing truthfully.

  • hcbm

    If you can smell bleach they were not rinsed well enough. Depending on your machine add some extra rinses. If these are brand new and never washer, wash them without bleach and rinse well. I have asthma and rarely use bleach but if I do I use it sparingly, only for the last few minutes of a wash and use at minimum 3 full rinses and sometimes 4. If it still smells of bleach rinse again. You don't need vinegar or anything else to remove the smell but you need hot water.

  • mamapinky0

    Heather what I'm getting from this last post is her/his husband is sweating bleach onto the sheets....I bet Greeny can explain this one lol.

    But Hmortons advice to remove it is good advice.

  • Pat z6 SEMich

    Sweating bleach odor into sheets. And someone wants to end this forum? Are you kidding me?

    Hi, Mama.

  • mamapinky0

    Hi Pat, you georgous thing you!

  • hcbm

    Mama everything I know I learned from you.

  • mamapinky0

    Heather, you my chick are sooo sweet. Thank You for the lovely compliment.

  • Lea Shell

    Long time listener, first time commenter. This is the Car Talk of vinegar laundry users. Thank you all. Here’s my problem: I think I may have created a pressure washer out of my Samsung front loader by adding too much vinegar (a cup or two?) and a large cup of Tide. Is this possible? There was water (drain water, not new clean water from a pipe) everywhere when I went into the basement tonight. A load with a towel that got dragged across the yard by my 4 year old was in the washer and got ran twice a couple of days apart. I regularly drain and clean the filter on the front of the washer as instructed. If I’ve lost it, someone let me know where to buy those magnets and I’ll take the hint.

  • mamapinky0

    Lea Shell..your using a large cup of Tide in a FL washer? Well it doesn't surprise me your having problems.


  • georgect

    Lea, toooooooo much detergent for a high efficiency front loader. You probably had suds coming out of the drain.

    You can't pressure wash as there are vents built into the washer to allow for air.

  • Thomas Fisher

    @Tabitha McFarland
    If you do, the lint from the other non-fire resistant clothing will get embedded in the material and then slowly make it less fire resistant over time. This is exactly what we were told when we changed uniforms to our new Nomex ones at the fire station - avoid bleach and washing with other clothing. Use ONLY detergent and rinse well to remove as much as possible so as to avoid build-up and reducing the flame resistance.

  • chrissymj

    So, would it be a good idea to soak my magnets in vinegar before placing them in the washer? Or should I just keep magnets in my vinegar container to properly magnetize the vinegar to better absorb the hard water minerals when I add it to each load of laundry? This thread has been very helpful.

  • annelykke
    For Pete’s sake there’s not a dad gum thing natural about acetic acid produced in industrial quantities. HCL and cyanide and hundreds of other poisons are just as “natural”. Think molecule, what does it do, how does it interact with other molecules. Mother Nature kills ya know.
  • Pat z6 SEMich

    larsi would faint.

  • Gail O'Brien

    What they don't tell you is how harmful fabric softener is to your body. How many of these chemicals do you really want in your body? We've already got too many from all the pollutants and chemicals in the environment and now you just want to add some to your skin which sucks all of them in. Well, good luck with that. I'll stick with my vinegar. I haven't had any trouble yet. I think mysteryclock was right, he just wanted you to buy more fabric softener.

  • bpalkow


  • crdee1939
    My Samsung also advises NOT TO USE VINEGAR in any of the washing machine dispensers
  • echogardener

    I can't believe this thread is still going. Did anybody read what I said? I'll repeat: I used to have to rinse my towels at least 6 times to get all the soap out even though I used only about 1/8" of detergent in the cap. Now, using a vinegar rinse, the suds are all out in ONE rinse. I suggest you contact your manufacturer and ask them WHY they say you shouldn't use vinegar.

    To Chrissymj - soaking clothes in vinegar before washing won't do a damn thing. And magnetizing vinegar? I never heard of anything more ridiculous. Vinegar doesn't have any metal in it. It's made from plants and/or grains. Now I've got to unsubscribe from this thread because this should have been shut down long ago. Want to get all the soap out? Use it instead of fabric softener. Also rinse your hair with dilute cider vinegar. The scent goes away quickly and it's great for your hair and scalp. Don't believe it? Then don't - but your manufacturer who says don't use vinegar probably has a contract with fabric softener makers.

  • mamapinky0

    Yep use enough vinegar and it will neutralize the detergent.

  • zenhar24

    Hand soap residue can accumulate in significant quantities within towels as they are used to dry hands, etc. After realizing this I now wash my towels twice: the first time with plain water with no added laundry detergent just to rinse out the residual hand soap, and then a regular wash with laundry detergent. Adding the water-only wash step has cut down in the number of instances where I felt the need to get out the vinegar bottle to dissipate large amounts of remaining suds in the rinse water.

  • mamapinky0

    I always do a prewash on face cloths.

  • olpattycakes

    All this talk about vinegar being bad for your washing machine made me create an account.

    I only use baking soda and vinegar to wash clothes. They smell nice and come out clean.

    My washer only melted twice from the vinegar (joke)

  • mamapinky0


    How much baking soda and how much vinegar per load? TrTraditional top loader or HE machine? How long have you been doing this?

  • Gail O'Brien

    I don't use baking soda in the wash, only the vinegar. I have a top load HE machine and I fill the softener compartment. I've been using vinegar in there for about 6 months and have had no trouble. I also use a homemade laundry soap and have no trouble with that either. I have a Whirlpool Cabrio platinum washer and dryer.

  • mamapinky0

    Gail I would be interested in seeing the insides of your washer. The parts that can't be seen without tearing it apart.

  • Larisa Batchelor

    Oh goodness I too would love to see the inside of the washer. Before I researched better I used to use homemade laundry soap and ended up with a few disasters. A dryer fire happened too. Tore the machine apart and scrapped a two gallon bucket of soap scum out of machine, gross. Then stripped my clothes before washing with strong detergent (not soap) and omg they were black. Nothing was getting clean. From then on I used detergent and ditched soap and vinegar. Vinegar has its uses but for my family it’s NOT in my laundry room.

  • Gail O'Brien

    My washer has no soap scum on the inside of it. Believe me, I've checked. It looks as shiny as the day we bought it. Never had a problem with the dryer, either. I've actually had more trouble with store bought fabric softener and the strong fragrances from the detergents and fabric softeners you buy, too. There was a clump of fabric softener that just kept building up in the place for the softener. No thanks, I'll stick with homemade. My body thanks me every single day for not messing it up with the chemicals that you buy in the store!

    Considering the fact that there are too many chemicals to list in store bought, I will stick with my borax, washing soda, and homemade coconut oil soap, made into a liquid form. I guess I haven't had a problem yet, and I've been using that for over a year and the vinegar I've been using for about 6 months. Not a single issue yet, since it's more water than soap.

  • Larisa Batchelor

    My washer showed no signs of soap scum until I tore it open. The inner tub (where you can see inside) don’t hold the soap scum it’s the outer tub. From looking at it you could never tell it had 2 gallons of soap scum in it.

    The dryer lint screen was clogged to high heaven with soap scum as well which started the dryer fire. Even soaking it in hot water and dish soap yonscrubbit off didn’t help. Only thing that cleared the dryer lint screen was a overnight soak in degreaser.

    Bottom line is you can’t see the soap scum it’s in parts of the machine where you have to tear it apart.

    I bought a used machine from someone else and found out they too had used homemade soap and tore that machine apart to clean and found the same soap scum in outter tub (hubby used a five gallon bucket for that machine and was overblown half full) . Told her about it and sent her pictures and she stopped using homemade too. Her dryer died (it was her second one) and couldn’t figure out why but we later looked at her lint screen too and it was clogged causing it to overheat and eventually die. She ended up giving me the money back for the machine (50.00).

    Soap leaves stuff behind (think soap scum in a bath tub) and detergent does not. Can not buy the ingredients to make detergent alone. Water softners and boosters along with soap just didn’t cut it for our family along with the safety issue. There are some great natural detergent choices out there. I only use plant based fabric softners when I do need a softner as I cannot stand traditional fabric softners as those are made from animal fat (barf).

    I am in no way saying to stop using your homemade soap just sharing my experience :)

  • dadoes

    Gail O'Brien, reference this thread for a look at how scum and residue can accumulate in the areas of washing machines that aren't accessible without disassembly. That's the type of situation Larisa Batchelor is referencing. The visible interior of the inner drum is perfectly clean ... it's the exterior of the inner drum and the interior of the outer tub that catch the smutz.


    Perhaps you've successfully avoided the problem ... but you can't know for sure without disassembly.

  • mamapinky0

    Olpattycakes. This is what happens when you mix vinegar and baking soda together.

  • HU-51812381035

    "soap scum" LOL. One person said they get "soap scum" from using LESS soap. How do you manage that? And sure took a long time before anyone asked, how can you have "soap scum" when you are using DETERGENT?! ...i remember when Zest and other "cleansing bars" (detergents) became so big about 50 years ago because they didn't leave bathtub ring. So if you use detergent and not soap, what is causing this scum? Softeners are much more likely culprit, since they are designed not to rinse out, but to stick to fabrics as long as possible. Or in the case of the person getting scum from using LESS detergent, was it skin cells and such remaining because not enough detergent was used? I also wonder if "scum" is more likely when using cold water. But mainly, i suspect there are several issues here that are all getting lumped under "soap scum."

  • mamapinky0

    I think some of the above conversations talk about soap based laundry soap. And some about detergent.

  • Deborah Ingemansen

    Interesting article. I just read that vinegar ph is 2.3. Rinse aids for dishwashers are 2.2 ph. So tell me again why vinegar is a bad idea? Sounds like they want to scare you into buying their products.

  • Cavimum

    Aren’t vinegar and baking soda what kids mix for science project volcanoes?

  • Marge Plevak Gajkowski

    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

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

  • mamapinky0


    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

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


  • Leslie Escobar

    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

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

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