How to use vinegar to get rid of bleach smell

Updated November 21, 2016

Household bleach can be used for a myriad of cleaning and sanitising projects, from removing laundry stains, killing mould and mildew, or disinfecting drinking water. It's also inexpensive and easy to buy, and can be mixed with water to make a milder cleaning solution for counter tops and bathrooms.

At times, however, the smell of bleach can be overpowering, whether from an unintended spill or just general cleaning use. If bleach odours are bothersome, white vinegar can be used to neutralise the smell, as long as it is used properly so as not to create harmful fumes.

Wash your hands with a splash of white vinegar in a well-ventilated area after you have cleaned with bleach. Scrub thoroughly until the "slimy" feeling left by the bleach is gone, as well as the odour. Finish by rinsing with warm water to avoid creating any lingering fumes from the mixture of chemicals.

Launder clothing that smells of bleach in a mix of laundry soap and 1/4 cup vinegar, which doubles as a fabric softener. If clothing still smells of bleach, launder a second time with soap and vinegar to finish removing the odour.

Boil a small pan of vinegar on the stove to remove persistent odours in a house. If the bleach smell is in just one room, place a small bowl of vinegar in the room overnight and close the door.

Soak small items that reek of bleach (such as a shirt or towel) in a sink or tub filled with a mixture of half water and half vinegar for at least an hour. Then rinse the item in cold water to remove the vinegar odour.


Never mix bleach and vinegar directly, as it can cause toxic fumes that can bring on respiratory distress.

Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar
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About the Author

Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."