Whiten cotton T-shirts with a vinegar soak.

Soaking a Cotton Shirt in Vinegar

by S.R. Becker

Soaking a cotton shirt in vinegar serves several purposes. It can help remove tough stains, such as perspiration, in new shirts and whiten those that have turned gray. Don't be afraid that your shirt will smell like salad dressing after soaking, as a trip through the laundry removes the vinegar odor. Vinegar can replace chlorine bleach, if you're trying to make laundry day more eco-friendly. Freshen old cotton shirts and help prevent color bleeding in new ones by giving them a vinegar soak.

Rinse the shirt with cold running water before adding it to the vinegar bath. Squeeze out the excess water and pour straight vinegar on any stains. Rub the fabric together gently on the stained spots. Allow the shirt to sit for 15-minutes.

Place the stopper in a clean sink, and fill it with just enough warm water to cover the shirt. Pour in 1-cup of white vinegar, and stir the water with your hand to mix it.

Place the wet shirt in the sink. Unfold it if it's wadded up. Smooth it with your hands underwater, so the vinegar will penetrate the fibers evenly.

Allow the shirt to soak for 30-minutes to one hour. If desired, swish it around, and turn it over once or twice while soaking.

Drain the sink, and squeeze the excess water out of the shirt. Move it to the washing machine, and wash it with items of the same color. Add laundry detergent, according to the package directions, to remove the vinegar smell.

Items you will need

  • Cotton shirt
  • White vinegar

About the Author

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.

Photo Credits

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