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Can You Use Vinegar on Black Clothes? (Explained)

You probably already know how vinegar and laundry go hand in hand. From getting rid of stains to warding off stubborn odors from your clothes, vinegar can be quite a catch when added to your cloth washing routine.

However, most people wonder if vinegar can also be used on black clothes and if so, how.

Using vinegar on black clothes

You can use vinegar on black clothes to get rid of stains and odors and to make black clothes look darker. Contrary to popular belief, vinegar does not make black clothes whiter. The clothes should be turned over before vinegar and cold water solution are used on the fabric.

There are different types of vinegar, each with its sources and acidic potency. Hence you would need to know which vinegar to use and how much in your black clothes, so that not to fade the color or ruin the fabric.

White Vinegar:

White vinegar is not as refined as distilled vinegar and hence has a higher acetic content. It is wise to patch-test white vinegar in your black fabric before adding it all.

When used the right way, white vinegar with cold water can in turn make black clothes enhance their dark shades.

White vinegar is commonly used in the laundry but when it comes to using white vinegar for black clothes, you would need to be careful with how much is being added.

It is best to add about a half cup of vinegar once your black fabric has gone through the washing machine cycles. Not only does this soften the black fabric, but white vinegar is also known to keep underarm odors and mildew odors.

If your black jeans have been sitting in the closet for too long, you would want to add white vinegar at the end of the washing cycle.

If you are soaking your black clothes in a bucket of water and detergent, add about a cup of white vinegar in cold water. Keep the clothes soaked for about 30 mins before you get them out.

Apple cider vinegar:

Like white vinegar, apple cider vinegar can also be used on black clothes.

Similarly, it is also crucial that you remember to dilute apple cider vinegar before adding it to the clothes and avoid direct contact with the black clothes.

When given an option to use either apple cider vinegar or white or distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar is usually not the first choice.

This is because this vinegar is said to leave a stain on some black fabrics if the clothes are not flipped when in contact with the vinegar.

If you are soaking your black clothing in water and vinegar, make sure that it is not soaked for more than 10 to 15 mins.

Distilled vinegar:

As the name suggests, when any kind of vinegar is distilled or made purer by separating the liquid from the base, distilled vinegar is produced.

When compared to white vinegar and apple cider vinegar, distilled vinegar may be considered to be the best option to be used on black clothes.

This is mainly because distilled vinegar is much less acidic with an acetic content of about only 5 to 8 percent.

Being milder, distilled vinegar is often successful in getting rid of the softer stains from black clothes, without altering the blackness of the fabric.

Despite being mild, distilled vinegar can be used to remove detergent or soap remains by simply adding the vinegar in the final cycle of your washing machine.

The advantage of using distilled vinegar involves the lesser risk of losing the tone of the black shade, which may happen if too much or too strong of vinegar has been used.  

Does vinegar make black clothes whiter?

Among the myriads of benefits that vinegar has when used correctly on laundry, one of them includes brightening and whitening light-colored clothing.

Vinegar simply does this by cleaning the clothes, and getting rid of the stains and soap remains that cling to the clothes. Since stains are mostly acidic, vinegar dissolves and loosens up the dirt, making the fabric look cleaner and hence brighter.

When it comes to black clothes when using the right amount of vinegar in the right way, you are left with cleaner, stain free, and soap-free clothing that does not become whiter.

After being washed with a vinegar solution, black clothes often look even darker, retaining the blackness the cloth originally had.

How long to soak black clothes in vinegar?

How long you would need to soap black clothes in vinegar would depend on several factors.

To start, this time would vary on the type of vinegar you are using. If you are using apple cider vinegar, soaking the clothes in the solution for about 10 to 15 mins should be enough.

Soaking it any further could leave a smell on the clothes and in some cases, put a strain on the black fabric.

If you are using a mildly acidic vinegar like that of a good quality distilled vinegar, you can soak it up for about 30 minutes before hanging the clothes to dry.

Distilled vinegar is so mild that there is negligible chance of the vinegar staining your black clothes even if you had left it for more time.

In the case of white vinegar that has been diluted enough, you may soak your black clothes for about 15 to 20 mins. In all cases, it is crucial to turn over the clothes. Other than that, the use of cold water when using vinegar is mandatory.

How to use vinegar for black clothes?

Black clothes need to be treated differently, more carefully so that the black color does not fade out or stain after washing them.

Using vinegar for black clothes can sometimes be tricky. Here are a few steps to follow to use vinegar for black clothes:

Turn over:

Whether you want to wash your black clothes by hand or using your washing machine, you need to first make sure that the cloth is turned over.

When you turn the clothes inside out, the vinegar does not come in direct contact with the outer fabric. Additionally, there is also less chance that there will be any fabric tears due to corrosion against other fabrics.

Set safe temperature:

When using vinegar with black clothes, use cold water. If you put warm water with vinegar, chances are that your black fabric would look faded or dull after drying.

If you are to set the temperature in your washer, 60 to 80 degrees is a safe temperature.

Short cycle:

By setting your washer to the shortest cycle, add the suitable detergent and let the washer run.

You would then want to add half a cup of white vinegar or one cup of distilled vinegar during or at the start of the rinse cycle. You would want to add the vinegar directly to the washer basin.

Adding vinegar add this stage helps to get rid of the smell with the benefit of the vinegar evaporating off itself.

Add distilled vinegar:

If you need to soak black clothes and hand washes them, all you need to do is add a cup of distilled vinegar with water and soak it for about 30 minutes.

If you are using apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, add only half a cup and soak for about 15 minutes,

What kind of vinegar for laundry?

As an alternative to detergents, one of the best options is using vinegar for laundry. You can either use white vinegar, distilled vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.

White vinegar dissolved in water is a popular choice but the best of the three options is distilled white vinegar. Distilled vinegar is mild enough, not to stain your clothes but acidic enough to remove and dissolve the gunk from the clothes.

Not only does distilled vinegar soften the fabrics, but is it known to remove any kind of odor.

Whether you have gotten your long-forgotten jeans smelling like mildew or a shirt soaked in swear odor, distilled vinegar can get rid of them if you soak the clothes for 30 mins.

Adding a pint of apple cider vinegar and leaving the clothes to soak for 10 minutes has also proven to be quite effective. When using a stronger white vinegar, just make sure you dissolve the vinegar, just to avoid direct contact with the clothes.

Patch testing the vinegar and reading the instructions on how much to use can always be helpful.

Final Thoughts

Vinegar is a great addition to your laundry if you want your clothes to be extra clean. Using vinegar on black clothes can get rid of stains, stubborn odors, and soap remain, without fading the color out. You’d need to mix half a cup of vinegar in the last cycle of washing or with cold water.