The Best Vinegar for Laundry: Comparing Apple Cider and White Vinegar

As you already know, regularly washing your clothes and bedsheets keeps dirt away. Besides, it also reduces the risks of infections and disease. However, one should use the right products to clean them properly. So, the last thing a busy homeowner would want to experience is creating a laundry mess. These days, sustainable laundry solutions have become a crucial consideration. That's where the role of apple cider and white vinegar comes into being.

Using vinegar can make things easier for laundry-based tasks. Notably, it eases your laundry process and saves you time. However, it becomes quite challenging to figure out which one to choose –white or apple cider vinegar.

Well, this never-ending debate between these two types of vinegar has raged on for several years. So, this post gives you a detailed analysis by taking down the parameters. Let's first get a gist on both the types in the following points. 

A brief on apple cider vinegar

So, apple cider vinegar has been widely accepted by fans for various benefits. Notably, the fermented apple juice works wonders for your health. However, underestimating its importance in your laundry room would be a big mistake. 

Calling it a natural fabric softener is an understatement. Since it's acetic acid, it can break down the residue from detergents and fabric softeners. Thus, it leaves your clothes feel fluffier and softer.

The best way to use it is by adding half a cup (or one) of vinegar to one cup to your rinse cycle. Then, wait for some minutes and see the difference.

Next comes the wonderful benefit of eliminating odour from your clothes. Let's consider you are planning to wash your winter clothes. You may have worn them for several days without washing. Undoubtedly, it may have an odour. Plus, the scent you used may leave some traces of odour. Ultimately, it will smell unpleasant. Thus, using apple cider vinegar to wash winter clothes leaves them odour-free. It comes with antibacterial properties that help remove the musty odour. 

Apple cider vinegar is good for doing laundry because it helps get rid of tough stains. This is the reason why people like to use it when washing clothes. All of these benefits make apple cider vinegar a popular choice for laundry.

An introduction to white vinegar

Why would you choose white vinegar when you already have apple cidar vinegar that effectively eliminates odour and scent? Well, for people who are conscious of their expenses, ACV might be a costlier choice. They would rather stick to the conventional choice. That's where white vinegar wins the bet. 

First things first, budget-conscious customers would opt for something more inexpensive. So, white vinegar is a cost-effective option available in the stores. Like the other type, even white vinegar can remove stains of food and grease effectively.

Note that it comes with disinfecting properties. So, you can add one cup of white vinegar to your washing machine for it to sanitise your clothes. 

Notably, washing your clothes in the machine can accumulate a buildup of minerals. So, white vinegar can remove these buildups from the clothes and leave them fresh and bright.

The never-ending debate between white and apple cider and vinegar

You can understand their differences by checking the table below:


White vinegar

Apple cider vinegar

Odour and Colour 




A strong and pungent smell

fermented apple smell (somewhat fruity and sweet)

pH Level

Around 2.5 (usually more acidic)

2-3 (less acidic)

Cleaning Properties



Fabric softener

Better fabric softener

Mild fabric softener


Made from fermented grains or sugar

Made from fermented apples


Stronger antiseptic properties

Mild antiseptic properties

Stain removal

Higher acidity is good for hard water stains and discolouration (ink, rust, etc.)

Contains enzymes that break down organic stains (food, grass, etc.)

The ultimate laundry battle – parameters to consider to choose white vinegar vs apple cider vinegar

Enlisted below are the parameters on which both these types can be differentiated. Let's discover the aspects to understand the difference between white vinegar vs apple cider vinegar:


The sharp and pungent white vinegar makes you hesitate to choose it for laundry. Since it is higher in acetic acid, it can easily remove stains more effectively. On the other hand, a distinct characteristic of ACV is its ability to leave clothes odour-free. Incidentally, it smells like ripe apples (somewhat fruity).


Apple cider vinegar has an amber colour. So, it might not be suitable for white clothes or ones that come in light colours. On the other hand, white vinegar is transparent. So, you can use it for any type of fabric. 

How effectively they remove stain

Apple cider vinegar comes with natural enzymes that can break down stains easily. Notably, it is more effective for food and grass stains. It can remove stubborn stains when combined with pre-soak or added to the wash cycle. 

However, white vinegar has the qualities of breaking down mineral deposits. So, it's effective for preventing soap residues on fabrics. Since it comes with a higher acidic content, stain removal becomes a layman's job when used. Additionally, it can handle hard water stains as well as stubborn discolourations.

How easily they soften your fabric 

Evidently, as a fabric softener, apple cider vinegar can be useful for laundry activities. It comes with a mild acidity content that eases the breaking down of mineral deposits. So, it leaves clothes softer. You can use it when washing clothes in hard water without worrying about your fabric getting rough.

Similarly, white vinegar is also a fabric softener. What it does is neutralise alkaline residues in the detergents. So, it softens your clothes and prevents colour fading. 

pH Level

White vinegar is acidic, and the pH level remains around 2.5. While it can effectively handle tough stains, you must carefully handle your fragile clothes. 

Notably, apple cider is not as acidic as white vinegar. So, its pH level is between two and three. Thus, it can gently wash delicate clothes, considering their colours and fabrics. Furthermore, it does not result in fading, so it's a great choice for various laundry fabrics. 

An ultimate laundry vinegar choice between white vs apple cider vinegar: aspects to consider

Your vinegar selection for laundry activities depends on a few parameters. Given below are the ones:

How stubborn the stain is

To remove a stain, first look at how bad it is. Then, choose the right vinegar for the job. For example, apple cider vinegar works well on food stains. But for harder stains, white vinegar is better.

Clothes fabric

The type of fabric is a crucial consideration when it comes to choosing vinegar for laundry. Silk and chiffon are two delicate fabrics. For these clothes, you can use the milder apple cider vinegar. However, for linens and cotton fabrics, you may choose the stronger variant (i.e., white vinegar).

Light colour or dark colours 

When you want to remove a stain, it's important to think about the type of fabric and if the colour might fade or change. This is called colourfastness. Apple cider vinegar has a yellowish colour so that it could stain white or light-coloured clothes. White vinegar is a better choice because it won't discolour your clothes.

Your ultimate choice – a personal favourite

Besides the above parameters, you also need to consider what suits your interest. If you like apple cider vinegar because of its odour and colour, you can choose this for dark-coloured or neutral-coloured clothes. 


So, your choice of vinegar depends on the above parameters. You can select apple cider vinegar if you want a holistically formulated product. Zanducare's ACV is prepared with 100% organic Himalayan Apples with an Ayurvedic formulation. However, you can select white vinegar if you want a more powerful variant. 

Frequently asked questions

1. Will apple cider stain my clothes?

Note that apple cider vinegar will not stain your clothes if they are neutral or dark-coloured. However, it's better not to use apple cider for white-coloured (or light-coloured) clothes.

2. Does white vinegar remove the colour from fabrics?

Absolutely not; vinegar locks in the colour and prevents fading. So, it does not remove colour from your clothes.

3. Can apple cider remove mould from your clothes?

Apple cider can have natural enzymes. So, it eliminates mould from the clothes.

4. How often can you wash your clothes with apple cider every day?

It is better not to use apple cider vinegar every day for laundry. Soaking your clothes in ACV might be a mistake. You can use it once a week.

5. Does white vinegar leave an odour on clothes?

White vinegar does not seal the pungent smell in your clothes after washing. It washes out the odour by the end of the wash cycle.


Zandu Ayurvedic Team

Zandu Ayurvedic Team has a panel of over 10 BAMS (Ayurvedacharya), boasting a collective experience of over 50 years. With a deep-rooted understanding of Ayurveda, they are committed to sharing their expertise & knowledge through our blogs.
We use all kinds of Ayurvedic references in our content. Please use the contact form for any editorial queries.

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