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How Long to Soak Clothes in Vinegar to Remove Smell

Are you tired of battling stubborn odors that cling to your clothes? Look no further than your kitchen pantry for a simple and effective solution: vinegar. Vinegar has long been known for its odor-eliminating properties and can work wonders in revitalizing your garments. In this article, we will guide you through the process of using vinegar to remove unpleasant smells from your clothes, offering step-by-step instructions for optimal results.

cleaning with vinegar

How Long Should You Soak Clothes in Vinegar to Remove Smell

To remove odor from clothes using vinegar, it is recommended to soak them for a minimum of 30 minutes. For more stubborn odors, extend the soaking time to one hour or overnight. Delicate fabrics may require shorter soaking periods. The goal is to allow the vinegar solution to thoroughly penetrate the fibers and neutralize the odors. After soaking, rinse and launder the clothes as instructed to eliminate any residual vinegar scent. Experiment with soaking durations to find what works best for your clothes and odor concerns. Vinegar provides a natural and eco-friendly solution for freshening and deodorizing your garments.

Steps to deodorizing clothes using vinegar

Step 1: Gathering Supplies

Before you embark on your odor-removal mission, ensure you have the necessary supplies:

  1. Distilled white vinegar: This type of vinegar is the most effective for removing odors and is readily available in most grocery stores.
  2. A large basin or sink: Choose a container large enough to accommodate the clothes you wish to treat.
  3. Warm water: You’ll need enough warm water to cover the clothes completely during the soaking process.
  4. Mild detergent (optional): If your clothes require additional cleaning, a gentle detergent can be used in conjunction with vinegar.

Step 2: Sort and Pre-Treat

Start by sorting your clothes based on color and fabric type. Separate darks, lights, and delicates to prevent any color bleeding or damage. Inspect each item for stains, focusing on areas where odors tend to linger, such as underarms or collars.

For stained areas, pre-treat with a stain remover or a paste made from baking soda and water. Gently rub the paste onto the stains and let it sit for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Step 3: Prepare the Vinegar Solution

Fill your basin or sink with enough warm water to submerge your clothes completely. For every gallon of water, add one cup of distilled white vinegar. Mix well to ensure the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the solution.

Step 4: Soak the Clothes

Place the sorted and pre-treated clothes into the vinegar solution. Use your hands to gently agitate the garments, ensuring the vinegar solution reaches all areas. Allow the clothes to soak for a minimum of 30 minutes. For more stubborn odors, consider extending the soaking time to one hour or even overnight.

Step 5: Rinse and Launder

After the desired soaking time has passed, remove the clothes from the vinegar solution and drain the liquid. Rinse the garments thoroughly with fresh, cold water to remove any residual vinegar scent. If you notice any lingering odor, repeat the rinsing process.

Once the clothes are rinsed, proceed with your regular laundry routine. Use a mild detergent if additional cleaning is necessary, following the instructions on the detergent packaging. Ensure you wash the clothes with similar colors and fabrics to prevent any damage or discoloration.

Step 6: Drying and Evaluation

After laundering, allow the clothes to air dry naturally or use a dryer if appropriate for the fabric type. Once dry, evaluate the results. In most cases, the vinegar treatment will have successfully eliminated the unpleasant odors, leaving your clothes smelling fresh and clean.


Removing stubborn odors from clothes can be a frustrating experience, but with the natural odor-fighting power of vinegar, you can easily banish unwanted smells. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you’ll be able to effectively soak your clothes in vinegar and say goodbye to unpleasant odors. So go ahead and rescue your favorite garments from the clutches of persistent smells, and enjoy the fresh scent of success!

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