Can Vinegar Damage Your Washing Machine? [FAQs]

For as long as I’ve been doing laundry, I’ve heard people say that white vinegar is a safe and effective way to clean your washing machine. But when I recently tried it myself, I wondered—can vinegar damage my machine?

Is Vinegar the Enemy of Your Washing Machine?

Let’s find out!

What is Vinegar?

Vinegar has a long history of being used as a cleaning agent, returning to ancient times. It’s made by fermenting alcohol with bacteria and oxygen and contains acetic acid. That gives vinegar its pungent odor and acidic properties, making it an effective cleaner for many surfaces.

Vinegar is effective against E. coli and salmonella — two of the most common food-borne illnesses.

But why is it so popular for cleaning washing machines? Well, the acetic acid in the vinegar has some antibacterial properties that can help reduce bacteria buildup in your device.

Its low pH won’t damage any parts or components inside your washer. So far, so good!

The Pros and Cons of Using Vinegar in Your Washing Machine

Vinegar can be an effective cleaner for some parts of your washing machine, but it has downsides to using it too often. For starters, if you use too much vinegar in each load, the acidic smell will linger on your clothes after washing them.

Additionally, over time this could lead to corrosion in certain parts of your washer (especially if you’re using an older model). So while vinegar can be helpful when used sparingly, you should avoid using too much at once or regularly.

Alternatives To Vinegar for Cleaning Your Washing Machine

Fortunately, plenty of other options are available for cleaning your washing machine without using vinegar. Baking soda is one example — add 1/2 cup of baking soda directly into your detergent drawer before starting a wash cycle and let it run through a complete process without any clothes or detergent inside.

This will help remove any buildup from hard water minerals or soap scum residue that may have accumulated over time. You can also try adding hot water mixed with oxygen bleach powder directly into the drum before running a cycle — this will help break up tough stains and odors caused by bacteria buildup inside the machine itself.

So is vinegar safe to use in your washing machine? It depends on how you use it! Used sparingly (1/4 cup per load) and occasionally (once every few months), white vinegar can be a great way to remove odors and disinfect certain parts of your washer without damaging any components inside.

Just make sure not to overuse it, or you might end up with more problems than solutions! If you want something more substantial than white vinegar but still don’t want to risk causing damage inside your washer, try baking soda or oxygen bleach powder instead — both are great alternatives that won’t corrode any parts over time!


If you want to keep your washing machine in tip-top condition, avoid using vinegar – don’t even think about putting it into the detergent dispenser! Vinegar is acidic and can corrode metal components, weaken hoses and seals, and cause soap scum buildup that can be difficult to remove.

To make sure your washing machine remains clean and functional, stick with traditional detergents or products specifically formulated for use in a washing machine. Washing machines are made with materials that can withstand the chemical makeup of some cleaning products but not all – so read labels carefully before adding anything to your wash cycle.

Did you know that pouring vinegar directly into the drum of your washing machine isn’t recommended either? The acidity of the vinegar could damage its interior parts like the pump or motor, causing leaks and costly repairs in the long run – talk about a sour ending!


Can Vinegar Damage Your Washing Machine?

Vinegar contains acidity, which can be corrosive to certain materials and leave a buildup of mineral deposits if used too frequently. It is possible that vinegar can damage your washing machine, depending on the type of vinegar you are using and how much you are using. Doing a spot-check first before using large amounts of vinegar in your washing machine is best.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Vinegar In Your Washing Machine?

There are several benefits to using vinegar in your washing machine! Firstly, it can act as a natural fabric softener; it reduces static cling, helps remove odors, and helps prevent fading colors from clothes.

Secondly, over time, it can help remove built-up residue from detergent, fabric softener, or other products from your washer’s drum and hoses.

Lastly, it also has antibacterial properties, which help to keep your washer clean.

How Much Should I Use When Adding Vinegar To My Washing Machine?

Generally speaking, you should add about one cup of white distilled vinegar for every full load of laundry you do. If you have hard water or heavy buildup in your machine, you may want to increase the amount up to two cups per full load.

It’s also important to remember not to mix vinegar with any other detergents or cleaning agents, as this could cause a reaction that could damage both the washer and clothing.

How Often Should I Use Vinegar In My Washing Machine?

For regular upkeep and maintenance purposes, it is recommended that you use vinegar in your washing machine once every few months (or once every four months for more heavily soiled loads). Depending on how often you use your device and what kind of detergents/fabric softeners you use regularly, this frequency may vary slightly – but it’s best not to overdo it with the vinegar!

What Other Uses Does Vinegar Have Around The Home?

Besides being used as a cleaning agent in washing machines, white distilled vinegar has many other uses around the home! It can be used as an all-purpose cleaner for surfaces such as countertops, floors, or appliances.

You can even use it as an effective deodorizer by placing bowls filled with equal parts water and white distilled vinegar around smelly rooms – like bathrooms – for several hours at a time. And if all else fails, white distilled vinegar makes a great weed killer for pesky outdoor plants!

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