The se­cret of whiter whites? A dash of vine­gar in your wash

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Va­lerie El­liott

HOW to keep your whites whiter than white has been a wash­day headache for gen­er­a­tions.

And many house­holds spend a small for­tune on liq­uids and pow­ders in the hope of banishing the dreaded grey ef­fect.

But now re­searchers have dis­cov­ered that a dash of vine­gar – the white va­ri­ety not the stuff you put on your chips – may be all you need to bring your gar­ments back to their best.

Lon­don’s Good House­keep­ing In­sti­tute has put to the test the the­ory that vine­gar may be just the thing for grimy socks, grubby bras and sad shirts – an old housewives’ trick dat­ing to Vic­to­rian times. In their tests, two loads were put through a wash­ing ma­chine, both with half a cup of vine­gar added, as well as de­ter­gent. In the first load at 60C, socks that pre­vi­ously re­mained brown when washed just us­ing de­ter­gent came out white. And even a se­cond, sim­i­lar load washed at only 40C was suc­cess­ful.

Emily Shut­tle­worth, ju­nior tester at the In­sti­tute, said: ‘I tried it on a few of my own clothes – white gym socks that had turned a de­light­ful shade of brown and a cream jumper that had gone grey af­ter I ac­ci­den­tally washed it with coloureds. I was very doubt­ful the vine­gar would work but they all came out whiter, cleaner and fresher. I will now use it at home.’

A pint bot­tle of the dis­tilled white malt vine­gar costs as lit­tle as 39p and the In­sti­tute advises: ‘Vine­gar is def­i­nitely a ver­sa­tile item worth keep­ing round the house. Be­sides be­ing ef­fec­tive, vine­gar is cheap and widely avail­able.

‘It is non-toxic and is much safer to have against your skin than bleach, am­mo­nia or other toxic clean­ing prod­ucts.’

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