Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Vinegar Redux

I posted a while ago about the fact that I’m switching to vinegar for my cleaning needs, instead of the various and sundry chemicals I’ve been using. I’ve now found another use for vinegar: As a fabric softener.

Like cleaning chemicals, fabric softener isn’t great for the environment. However, I really don’t like doing laundry without it; sometimes Andrea doesn’t use fabric softener, when she does the laundry, and I hate how “staticy” the clothes get when it’s not used.

But I’ve found out that you can use vinegar, instead; use it the same as you would use liquid fabric softener. (I use about a half cup per load, in the fabric softener cup in my washer.) For as long as I’ve been on my own, I’ve been using Bounce sheets in the dryer, for my laundry; here’s how vinegar compares:

  • Static cling: vinegar works just as well as Bounce
  • Softness: vinegar works just as well as Bounce
  • Smell:
    • If you like smell, meaning that you have some kind of scented fabric softener, then Bounce sheets (or your normal liquid fabric softener) work better.
    • If you don’t want smell, then vinegar works better; vinegar leaves no smell in your clothes, whereas even unscented Bounce sheets leave a bit of a smell. (And yes, you read that right: vinegar leaves no smell in your laundry.)
Vinegar also has an added bonus: it helps to break down detergent, which means that there will be less detergent residue in your laundry when it’s done. Some people who have sensitive skin use vinegar in their laundry for this specific purpose, to get more detergent out of their clothes.

If you’re interested in giving it a try, why not experiment with a load of towels? Throw in a load of towels, use vinegar instead of liquid fabric softener (and don’t use any Bounce sheets, of course), and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised.