Ode to White Vinegar

so I'm sure you all know there are 1001 uses for white vinegar around the house (no, really: here)

I use it regularly for de-oderising the bins and wiping down surfaces to avoid mildew/mold growth in our sometimes damp apartment. But I also know it can help soften hard water, and often put a dash into my rinses for any hand washing to give that lovely soft draping handle for silk garments. 

So recently when I pulled my white silk shirt out of the wardrobe to find it almost completely Yellow- not sweat stains under the arms- I mean my beautiful white shirt was now an icky rusty yellow ALL OVER- (after obligatory freakout) I started thinking vinegar might be an option, as of course silk can be so finicky and I've never had much success with backing soda and other standard suggestions

sure enough after some serious google-ing to see if anyone had had any success an to get some idea of ratios/tips that might make be useful, I ended up just sort of winging it, but I was successful and my silk shirt looks and feels brand new!

so here's what I did, hopefully it might be of use to others out there, and save those silk shirts from ending up as polishing cloths!

Prepared a bucket of warm water with napisan & vinegar 
(20L bucket, 2/3rds full, two Tbs napisan & 3/4 cup of white vinegar)

I hand washed the shirt, agitating it initially for 5 full minutes, then alternately leaving it to soak and agitating it every 20-30mins for a couple of minutes over 1hr40 (or 1 episode of Midsomers Murder to be exact)

I then used a sard wonder soap bar on all yellowed areas (which was virtually the whole thing, but I paid extra attention to the inner collar and underarms- in case it had a reaction from perspiration, which caused the yellowing), gently scrubbing the fabric against itself to get a good lather going.

even at this point the change had been remarkable, but I left it for a further episode of Midsomers Murder to soak, before rinsing in cold water until the water ran clear, then I rinsed in half/half mixture of white vinegar & water (I used one cup of each), I then hung outside out of direct sunlight to dry in the fresh air.

unfortunately I have no photos, I was pretty sure I'd be binning it and so it wasn't until I had had such a great result that I thought about sharing my adventure!

if anyone has had similar success (or any other great tips for silks or whites), please share in the comments section!


  1. Fantastic effort S! Glad to hear that it worked. Nothing worse than clothing being ruined in the closet Xx