What Is Laundry Stripping? Check Out This Grossly Satisfying Cleaning Trend

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Have you noticed that your bath towels seem dingy? Or, are you realizing that your bed sheets aren’t as fresh and crisp as they used to be?

I’m not trying to gross you out here, but there’s a reason for that extra dinge: its a buildup of gunk.

No matter how often you wash your linens, they’re gradually building up detergent residue, fabric softener, minerals from hard water and even — this one is extra yucky — body oils that have collected over time. Yeah, it’s gross.

If you use fabric softener or dryer sheets, I hate to tell you that those items are leaving a small layer of film behind. Plus, homemade detergent may not have harsh chemicals like traditional detergents, but its notorious for leaving behind buildup, too.

What is Laundry Stripping?

That’s why we’re seeing a sudden renewed interest in laundry stripping.

Also known as strip washing, this cleaning trend is getting a big boost from TikTok and other social media platforms. Essentially, it is a method of washing all that extra gunk out that gets left behind in regular washing. It’s really simple, too.

So how does it work? You just soak the laundry in hot water with a borax solution, and the fabric is stripped of residue.

Bloggers, TikTok users, and Redditors alike are swearing by this method, and they’re posting video and photo evidence of their results. Trust me when I say that it’s gross.

After soaking towels or sheets in the cleaning mixture and hot water, you’ll see how it pulls all the gunk and buildup out. I mean, it leaves murky brown or grey water in the tub. Yuck!

Sure, it’s gross. But it’s also oddly satisfying.

What Can You Strip Wash?

So, if you’ve noticed that your towels aren’t exactly as absorbent as the day you got them, or they’re getting a little musky and grimy, it might be time to try out laundry stripping.

What else can you strip? Technically, you can strip any textiles. However, it’s probably best to focus on heavy-duty textiles, like towels, bed sheets, or bathrobes. You can also strip your clothes, but you should do it with caution as these items are often more delicate. Remember, the process calls for hot water, which isn’t suitable for all items.

It’s also worth noting that you should be careful with color fabrics. Strip washing could cause some dyes to run. If you do try this cleaning method on colorful textiles, don’t mix them. In other words, if you wash a red shirt with white sheets, you might wind up with accidentally pink sheets.

How to Strip Wash Your Towels

  • Clean, Freshly Laundered Towels
  • A Bathtub Full of Hot Water
  • 1/4 Cup of Borax
  • 1/4 Cup of Washing Soda (Sodium Carbonate)
  • 1/2 Cup of Laundry Detergent

Start by filling your bathtub, washing machine, or large bucket with hot water. Add the borax, washing soda, and laundry detergent, stirring to dissolve.

Completely submerge your textiles in the mixture, and soak until the water has cooled off — about four to five hours. Stir it occasionally.

Drain all that dirty, murky water, then run your towels through a rinse-only cycle in the washing machine. Tumble dry without dryer sheets.

Enjoy your towels, which will be cleaner and fluffier than ever.