Washing machine and vinegar

Vinegar or acetic acid or vinegar essence is a popular home remedy for descale. Basically, vinegar is also suitable for the washing machine, but should still be used in moderation and more in certain exceptional situations. What you can use instead and why vinegar is only partially suitable for cleaning and descaling a washing machine, you will learn afterwards.

Vinegar, vinegar essence or acetic acid

Essig Essenz Essigsäure or acetic acid is usually meant to clean or descale with vinegar to the washing machine. Vinegar in itself is not aggressive enough, because the amount of acetic acid is too low. Therefore, below, the amount of acid in each product:

  • Vinegar: 5 to 15.5 percent (regulated by law)
  • Essigessenz: 15 percent
  • Acetic acid: from 25 percent and more

Distinctive differences in vinegar and vinegar essence

There are also big differences. So it is with conventional vinegar, which most people use, mostly wine or fruit vinegar. But it is neither tasteless nor odorless. Vinegar essence is clear and produced industrially. Essigessenz is odorless and tasteless.

The properties of acetic acid

Some of the basic properties of acetic acid are not only positive for cleaning and descaling washing machines. Acetic acid dissolves lime and also has an antibacterial effect. It also neutralizes unpleasant odors. Therefore, a one-time cleaning or use of acetic acid or vinegar in certain incidents is highly recommended:

  • the washing machine smells musty or stinks
  • It has formed mold in the washing machine
  • Washing machine should be cleaned bacterially (which is usually accompanied by odor)

Mixing ratio of vinegar in the washing machine

The mixing ratio of vinegar may be 1: 2 (one part vinegar to two parts water). Vinegar essence and acetic acid are adjusted according to concentration. The vinegar is simply added to the washing machine before washing.

Let the vinegar work for a long time

Optimal acetic acid can act in the washing machine, if you turn off the machine immediately before pumping the liquor and preferably left to stand overnight. However, you should not use vinegar regularly.

Therefore, vinegar is not suitable for regular use

Because in addition to the properties already mentioned acetic acid has another, less suitable for washing machines attribute. Acetic acid reacts on copper and oxidizes. This produces copper acetate, also better known by the term "verdigris". In addition to copper, so copper alloys such as brass are at risk.

Also in the washing machine there are copper seals

In particular, there is the risk of copper seals, which can lose their sealing effects with regular use of acetic acid. In the exceptional situations already mentioned (odor, mold, bacteria, etc.), vinegar is certainly the most suitable medium of choice.

Alternatives to descale and clean the washing machine

But if you want to regularly descale or clean your washing machine, other acids such as citric acid are clearly better suited.

Tips & Tricks

Regular descaling of your washing machine is essential. Calcifications settle especially where the water gets particularly hot. That would be in particular the heating rods of the washing machine. Not only that the heating performance is deteriorated, the energy consumption increases significantly in calcifications.

Of course, vinegar is generally very good for descaling. However, only on internals and devices where no parts such as seals made of copper are present. Because even citric acid requires a skillful application. If too little citric acid powder is used, it may precipitate and have the opposite effect of descaling.