Does Vinegar Set Colors in Laundry?

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When added to a load of laundry, vinegar prevents color bleeding and fading. One cup of vinegar is sufficient for a medium or large load. The best vinegar for this application is distilled (white) vinegar because it is colorless.

Textile dyes prone to bleeding and fading are called unstable dyes. During washing, these dyes release pigmented mineral compounds. Vinegar absorbs and neutralizes these minerals. Distilled vinegar also has other laundry applications. Added during the rinse cycle, it strips dark clothing of dulling soap scum. It also brightens greying white socks and underclothing. To return those items to their true white color, one can boil a cup of white vinegar in a large pot of water, take the pot off of the heat and immediately insert the clothing items. After they have sat cover tightly for at least 12 hours, the items can be run through the washing machine on its normal setting.

White vinegar has other important domestic uses. It kills bacteria and is safe for use around children and pets. When mixed with warm water, vinegar is a valuable aid for wallpaper removal. When sprayed on peeling wallpaper, the vinegar helps break up the paper's adhesive. This makes it much easier to remove large areas of wallpaper in a short amount of time.