Will vinegar hurt my HE washer?

Answered by Edward Huber

Vinegar can indeed harm a high-efficiency (HE) washing machine if used excessively. While vinegar is a versatile and cost-effective natural cleaning agent, it can have adverse effects on the rubber parts inside the washer, which may eventually lead to leaks. HE washers are designed to use less water and energy, and they typically have more sensitive components than traditional washing machines. Therefore, it is important to exercise caution when using vinegar in an HE washer.

Using vinegar occasionally in your HE washer is generally safe and can provide benefits such as softening and deodorizing fabrics. It can help remove built-up residue from detergent and fabric softener, leaving your clothes feeling fresh. However, it is advisable not to use vinegar too frequently to avoid potential damage.

To ensure the longevity of your HE washer, it is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding cleaning and maintenance. Some manufacturers may explicitly advise against using vinegar in their machines, while others may allow its use in moderation. Checking the owner’s manual or contacting the manufacturer directly will provide you with accurate information specific to your machine.

If you do choose to use vinegar in your HE washer, here are a few tips to minimize any potential harm:

1. Dilute the vinegar: Instead of using undiluted vinegar, mix it with water. A common ratio is one part vinegar to three parts water. This dilution will help reduce the acidity and minimize the potential damage to rubber parts.

2. Use vinegar sparingly: While vinegar can be beneficial in certain situations, it is best to use it sparingly. Regularly using vinegar in your washing machine may increase the risk of damaging the rubber seals and hoses over time.

3. Alternate with other cleaning methods: Instead of relying solely on vinegar, consider alternating its use with other cleaning methods. For example, you can use vinegar once a month and opt for alternative methods, such as using a washing machine cleaner or running an empty cycle with hot water and baking soda, in between.

4. Regularly clean and maintain your HE washer: Proper maintenance and regular cleaning will help keep your HE washer in good condition. This includes wiping down the rubber seals, removing any lint or debris from the filter, and periodically running cleaning cycles as recommended by the manufacturer.

By following these guidelines, you can safely use vinegar in your HE washer without significantly increasing the risk of damage. However, it is always important to prioritize the manufacturer’s recommendations and seek professional advice if you have any concerns about using vinegar or other cleaning agents in your specific washer model.

While vinegar can be a cost-effective and natural way to soften and deodorize fabrics in your HE washer, it should be used in moderation to avoid potential harm to rubber parts. By diluting vinegar, using it sparingly, alternating with other cleaning methods, and regularly maintaining your washer, you can minimize the risk of damage and enjoy the benefits of vinegar as a laundry aid.