Does Vinegar Kill Germs in Laundry?

Does Vinegar Kill Germs in Laundry
Apple vinegar
Welcome to GrayLineParis Some links on this page are affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Vinegar is a good disinfectant and should be used in laundering, when possible. But it does not kill all germs. And it is needed in the right ratio to be truly effective.

Some bacteria and yeast are able to develop resistance to acetic acid (the disinfecting ingredient in vinegar). That means not all germs on your clothes are destroyed by exposure to vinegar.

graylineparis.com

My first contact with vinegar was in a book. Well that wasn’t a contact. Some months ago, I had a dandruff infection, and among the remedies that were prescribed was the same vinegar: Apple cider or white vinegar. 

Some time before, I had a plastic stain on one of my favorites trousers, and after watching many Youtube videos I got a suggestion: Use vinegar!

I did. It didn’t work though.

Honestly, I’ve heard and read quite a lot about this well heard, but little known liquid. So today, I decided to check, “can I kill laundry germs with vinegar?”

Is all the hype really it? Or is this just another overhyped effect of this substance on laundry?

So, 

  • I’ll break this down into the properties vinegar
  • Experiments on the disinfecting abilities of vinegar.
  • and analysis of how effectiveness applying vinegar to laundry is.

BACTERIA VS VINEGAR EXPERIMENT

Does Vinegar Kill Germs in Laundry
Bacteria

Well, I wish to do an experiment. Get my setup and test to see if it will really kill some experimental bacteria or other germs

What I’ll needed:

  1. Vinegar
  2. Germ sample
  3. Microscope kit.

What I don’t have:

  1. All of the above

What I did instead:

So I went on a hunt for some with the above kits.  I wash able to find a guy, “online” sadly. He has a youtube channel with the name: Oneminmicro.

Here is his experiment:

  1. He got a microscope kit.
  2. Got a bacteria sample
  3. Got a white vinegar

He placed the vinegar on a glass screen containing some bacteria. And it kill all bacterias almost instantly.

This was what I was looking for.

But this is a distortion of the truth. As you will later see, vinegar is not as effective in killing germs as portrayed by some.

With this in mind, let’s get into the vinegar vs germs vs laundry debate

Can Vinegar Kill Germs in Laundry?

A main ingredient of vinegar is acetic acid. This naturally occurring acid is powerful enough to kill microbes. In a research paper by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, acetic acid is said to be toxic to most microorganisms, at concentrations of 0.5 weight percent. That mean there must be at least 0.5 liters of acetic acid to in a 100 liters water to kill microbes.

A white distilled vinegar has about  5% acetic. This means a you need a 10 liters of to produce 0.5 liters of acetic acid. Going by this assumption, you’ll need 10 liters of vinegar for every 100 liters of laundry water. 

That is 1:10 vinegar/water minimum mix to disinfect your laundry water.

According to Consumer Reports:

  • An agitator top loader uses 19 gallons (72 liters)
  • While a high efficient top loader uses 13 gallons (42 liters)

Therefore on average, 

  • A front loader needs a minimum  of 10/100 * 26.5 liters of vinegar to disinfect a full load top washer. This is 2.65 liters needed for a full top load.
  • An agitator top loader needs a minimum  of 10/100 * 72 liters of vinegar to disinfect a full load top washer. This is 7.2 liters needed for a full top load.
  • A high efficient top loader needs a minimum  of 10/100 * 42 liters of vinegar to disinfect a full load top washer. This is 4.2 liters needed for a full top load.

How Much Vinegar Do You Need to Kill Laundry Germs?

Washing Machine TypeWater Usage Per Load (Gallons)Water Usage Per Load (Liters)Vinegar/Water Ratio FormulaVinegar Needed for Disinfection (in Liters)
Front loader26.5 10/100 * 26.52.65
Top loader (Agitator)197210/100 * 727.20
Top loader (High Efficiency)1326.510/100 * 424.20
graylineparis.com

The above table contains the amount of vinegar need to kill germs on different laundry size. In reality, most users simply put a fraction of the about amount of vinegar on their, with large faith that the magic liquid will swap some magic wand on their laundry and kill every germ in their laundry.

while this is not entirely a lie, it is a big exaggeration.

Vinegar, though effective, is not the ultimate germ-killer. 

Can Vinegar Kill All Germs in Laundry

Does Vinegar Kill Germs in Laundry
pile of clothes.

No, in the aforementioned study, some bacteria such as 

  • Escherichia coli and 
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae 

and yeats like 

  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae 

are able to develop resistance to acetic acid. That means not all germs on your clothes are destroyed by exposure to vinegar.

Because you cannot determine which bacteria is in your laundry at any given time, it is good to have a balanced view of its effectiveness in eliminating germs from garments.

A Better Way to Kill Germs

Does Vinegar Kill Germs in Laundry
Bacteria infection

Saying that vinegar does not kill all germs, is not to downplay its effectiveness. But you should have a balanced view of its effectiveness. And view it as part of your defense mechanism against laundry contamination, rather than the ultimate ‘kill-all’ disinfectant.

When added with:

  • The power of detergents and soap in washing off germs. 
  • The disinfecting effect of bleach. 
  • The hot temperature of hot water wash, 

You will have a balanced deterrence to the unavoidable germs in your laundry.

Of course there are abundant stories of the effectiveness of vinegar on the internet. And some of these are true. But when taking health-related advice from non-medical sources, it is safe to view, not as medical advice or as an absolute truth, but as a general helpful piece of information.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.