Vinegar on black t shirt

Can You Use White Vinegar on Black Clothes?

Most of us know not to mix black and white in the washing machine.

But what about using white vinegar on black clothes? Does white vinegar stain black clothes? Can white vinegar damage black fabric?

Read on to find out whether you can use white vinegar on black clothes and what the effects will be if you do.


Is It Safe to Use White Vinegar on Black Clothes?

freshen clothes with white vinegar spray

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to use white vinegar on black clothing. It’s a common misconception that white vinegar causes discolouration.

Perhaps it’s due to the name ‘white’ vinegar. However, white vinegar is actually a clear liquid. The name doesn’t refer to the effect that it has on clothes.

This misconception could also be due to the fact that vinegar is sometimes used as a replacement for bleach, and bleach does cause discolouration.

Bleach can dye fabrics, so using it on black clothing will cause it to turn a different colour. However, vinegar doesn’t have the same composition as bleach and, as such, will not cause colour to leech from fabrics.

Both vinegar and bleach can help restore whiteness to clothing, but they work in different ways.


Can White Vinegar Damage Black Clothes?

Vinegar is acidic so it’s best not to apply it undiluted, directly to fabric. The high acidic content can cause some discolouration to clothing.

This is why it should be diluted when using it for stain removal.

The one case in which you shouldn’t use vinegar on black, or any coloured clothing, is if the item contains rubber.

Vinegar can damage rubber so it’s best not to use it often on clothes that contain rubber, or soak these clothes in vinegar.

remove rust stain with white vinegar

How to Use White Vinegar on Black Clothes

To keep black clothes from fading

Add half a cup of vinegar to the final rinse cycle on a normal wash. The vinegar will remove build-up of detergent or fabric softener, which leave clothes looking dull.


To remove stains

White vinegar can be useful for removing stains from clothes.

Add half a cup of vinegar and one tablespoon of detergent to a large bucket of warm water. Soak the stained item for at least 30 minutes, ideally, overnight.

Alternatively, dilute a mixture of half water, half vinegar in a spray bottle and spray directly onto the stain. Let it sit for around 10 minutes, then launder as usual.


To remove odours

Add half a cup of vinegar to your laundry along with your usual detergent and launder as usual to remove odours from clothes.


To disinfect clothing

The same method as above can be used to disinfect clothing. However, vinegar may not kill 100% of bacteria so it’s best to use it for mild disinfecting. For more serious cases, be sure to use a stronger disinfectant.