Here at Pearl Street Laundry, we are all about finding natural and or organic alternatives to make what we do a bit more eco-friendly. Lately, we’ve been focused on swapping out some of the abrasive agents used in the laundry business for gentler solutions. One of the most wonderful substances we have started using is white vinegar. My mom always swore by it but I had to find out by doing my own research.
The applications for vinegar when it comes to cleaning are myriad, even before you consider laundry. Due to its astringent nature, vinegar cuts through household grease and can be used to tidy up kitchen appliances with ease. It can even get the charred, black remains of last night’s steak off of the grill or griddle. An oily microwave or sticky refrigerator shelf is easily remedied with this all-around liquid miracle. And, best of all, it doesn't expose your home or kitchen to harsh chemicals!
Not only is vinegar multi-purpose for cleaning, it is also considered by some as a health tonic – well the apple cider vinegar variety. Could you imagine something this cheap and commonplace being so effective at so many things?
But before we start to sound too much like we own stock in some big vinegar company, let’s talk about some of the ways our business has prospered thanks to this wonderful home remedy— and how you too can make use of vinegar in the upkeep and cleaning of your garments.
Soaking colored laundry in a sink filled with vinegar and water before you run it in the washing machine has been shown to prevent colors from running. Imagine that! Prevent those new red pants from turning your entire load of laundry pink with this pre-soak tip!
It can also be added to your rinse cycle (think about ½ a cup) in place of your liquid fabric softener. A cheaper, organic alternative that is actually better for your clothing fibers. This will also decrease the amount of lint your dryer sucks out, effectively reinforcing your clothing against the heat and tumble of electric drying!
Because of the powerful acetic acid found in vinegar, it also acts as a whitening agent. A little bit thrown into your whites helps them keep their purity and brightness without having to resort to bleach. (BTW – bleach and vinegar are a bad combination!) The acid also acts as a sort of anti-fungal agent, and in doing so removes that nasty mildew smell that clothes pickup if they are left too long in a humid environment or forgotten in a washer. The list of vinegar’s amazing abilities really does just keep going and going.
If you or someone you’re close to is a cigarette smoker, you’ve no doubt been annoyed at the sour and ashy smell that they leave in every piece of cloth near them. But this clinging odor is a lot less of a problem with vinegar on your side, and soaking smoked-out garments in this wonderful substance helps to get that stubborn bar-room smell out of even the older and most smoke-imbued objects. The same goes for those smelly gym clothes or running shoes, with their locked-in aroma of sweat and effort. This is because vinegar has the ability to neutralize some of the bacteria that cause the smells associated with human body odor.
Vinegar can’t exactly do your taxes for you, but when it comes to laundry and dry-cleaning it is pretty much a Jack-of-all-trades. We here at Pearl Street are working to incorporate this wonderful fluid, along with other eco-friendly solutions, into our day to day routines. We sincerely hope you will join us!