DIY Lavender Vinegar Rinse to Brighten, Deodorize, and Soften Clothes

DIY lavender vinegar rinse

​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

Turn laundry from a dreaded chore into a luxury with this easy-to-make aromatic vinegar rinse! Use it in place of artificially fragranced and synthetic fabric softeners. You will be uplifted by the scent of your laundry and pleased with how well it whitens whites, brightens colors, removes odors, and softens your laundry naturally. Plus, its all-natural ingredients easily biodegrade in the environment and won’t harm your health or that of the planet.

Ingredients and Preparation

All you need are to follow two natural ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon (100 drops) of French lavender essential oil (Lavandula augustifolia)
  • 16 ounces of distilled white vinegar
materials for making lavender rinse
The Spruce / Ana Cadena


  1. Add the essential oil to the distilled white vinegar.

    adding essential oil to vinegar
    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 
  2. Using a funnel if necessary, pour the mixture into a glass jar or bottle. 

    pouring the mixture into a jar
    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena
  3. Shake well and label accordingly so that it's clear it's meant for laundry uses and not for cooking!

    labeling the jar
    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena
  4. To use, shake the jar to reincorporate the essential oils into the vinegar and add ¼ cup to your laundry’s final rinse cycle or to the fabric softener tray if your washing machine has one. For especially large loads, add up to 1/2 cup.

    shaking up the mixture
    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

Tips for Using Essential Oils

  • Feel free to replace the lavender with other essential oils that are great for laundry use, such as eucalyptus, which is great for dust mites.
  • Also, when purchasing scents for your laundry rinses, be sure that you are buying pure essential oils and if possible, organic ones. They are often available from natural food markets, vitamin stores, and aromatherapy suppliers.
  • This is a great product to make for gifts since it’s so economical and easy to make. Create some extra fancy labels or gift tags noting the benefits and uses of the product if you give them away as gifts.
  • Many vinegar brands are available for purchase in different sizes. Simply purchase a 16-ounce bottle, remove the label, add the essential oils, and re-label the bottle. What could be easier?
  • If you have a jumbo size vinegar bottle and need a jar or bottle for storing your vinegar rinse, considering re-purposing a mayonnaise jar or glass milk jar.

How Does This Rinse Work?

Vinegar’s acidic properties help remove any remaining traces of alkaline detergent and mineral deposits, which results in soft, bright laundry. In addition, the acetic acid and other properties in vinegar help naturally combat mold, viruses, and bacteria, so it is a great addition to your wash when cleaning rags or especially dirty clothes. Vinegar also naturally freshens.

Lavender naturally scents your laundry and also has inherent germ-fighting properties due to its antiseptic, antiviral, bactericidal, and fungicidal actions. It also acts as a natural moth repellent.

You can also use this rinse to clean your washing machine. To remove mold, built-up soap scum, or mineral deposits, add one cup of this rinse to a hot-water wash cycle and run the machine empty. This is a great thing to do for periodic machine maintenance, too.

Common Sense Cautions

  • It is important that you use essential oils safely. If you get essential oils in your eyes, flush with water for 10 to 15 minutes. Consult a doctor if irritation persists. If you get essential oils on your skin, wash with soapy warm water. One exception: lavender doesn't harm the skin; in fact, it is often used directly on the skin to treat burns, insect bites, etc.
  • Vinegar can irritate your eyes if contact occurs. Flush liberally with water for 5 to 10 minutes if the product gets in your eyes.
  • Don’t ever mix vinegar with chlorine bleach. It will create toxic chlorine gas.
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Białoń, Marietta et al. Chemical Composition of Two Different Lavender Essential Oils and Their Effect on Facial Skin MicrobiotaMolecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 24,18 3270. 8 Sep. 2019, doi:10.3390/molecules24183270

  2. Entani, Etsuzo, et al. Antibacterial Action of Vinegar against Food-Borne Pathogenic Bacteria Including Escherichia coliO157:H7. Journal of Food Protection, vol. 61, no. 8, 1998, pp. 953–959., doi:10.4315/0362-028x-61.8.953

  3. Predoi, Daniela, et al. Antimicrobial Activity of New Materials Based on Lavender and Basil Essential Oils and Hydroxyapatite. Nanomaterials, vol. 8, no. 5, 2018, p. 291., doi:10.3390/nano8050291

  4. Mori, Hiroko-Miyuki et al. Wound healing potential of lavender oil by acceleration of granulation and wound contraction through induction of TGF-β in a rat modelBMC complementary and alternative medicine vol. 16 144. 26 May. 2016, doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1128-7

  5. Knowledge and Practices Regarding Safe Household Cleaning and Disinfection for COVID-19 Prevention - United States, May 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.