The Ultimate Guide for Laundry Stripping

If you’ve been on Pinterest lately, I’d be willing to bet that you’ve seen some sort of tutorial about Laundry Stripping. It sounds somewhat scandalous but let me assure you…it’s not. It is, however, magic! This is one of my favorite tricks for getting those stubborn stains out of clothes and bedding. The best part? Laundry stripping is super easy to do.

Need more laundry ideas? 9 Laundry Tips and Ideas That Will Make Your Life Easier and The Best Laundry Room Storage and Organization Ideas

A New Trend or an Old Trick?

Contrary to what you might think, laundry stripping is an age-old trick that even my grandma used to do (and still does!). It has been getting a lot of attention lately because it seems that we have re-discovered this old laundry hack.

One reason that we have seen a rise in this laundry trend is because of the shock factor that it gives people when they realize that the clothes they thought were clean are horrifically dirty!

Laundry stripping provides physical proof that our regular laundry methods might not be working as well as we thought they were. 

Energy-efficient washers often tout how little water they use in a typical wash cycle, but laundry stripping is physical proof that our washers aren’t doing their job, often because of the little amount of water used.

Plus, it’s satisfying to see the murky colored water and see how much cleaner you’ve been able to get your laundry.

What Ingredients Do I Use for Laundry Stripping?

Ingredients typically used in laundry stripping include powdered laundry agents such as borax, super washing soda, and powdered laundry detergent.  
These powdered cleaners have been used for decades and there’s a reason why they’ve been able to stand the test of time! 

 Contrary to other laundry detergents, (did anyone say laundry scent beads?!) these cleaning agents don’t have a waxy build-up that forms over time.  That waxy build-up causes our clothes to become stiff and uncomfortable to wear.

Why Do People Use Their Bathtub When Laundry Stripping?

Many people do not have top load washers.  Because of this, using the bathtub is the most convenient option.  

Because of the extra-large capacity of a bathtub, it allows for the laundry powders and hot water to have access to all parts of the laundry.  The extra water flow allows for a longer soaking time.  Even some top load washer don’t let you choose the amount of soak time needed for laundry stripping (about 4-6 hours).

The extra water and extended soak time allow the laundry mixture to strip away the buildup that our regular laundry detergents leave on our clothes.  

If you do have a top load washer that will allow you to pause the washing cycle and let it soak for hours, please save yourself the back and forth effort and do it in your washer. 

Laundry Stripping Recipe & Instructions:

Start your laundry stripping with a load of clean clothes.  That way you’ll really be able to tell what a difference laundry stripping makes, even on clothes that you thought were clean.

  1. Fill your bathtub with hot water. Add in the borax, super washing soda, and powdered laundry detergent. Stir it around until all powders are dissolved. Tip: Use a broom handle for stirring so you don’t have to bend over.
  2. Add clean clothes into the bathtub and make sure there is enough water to cover all of the clothes or bedding.
  3. Stir the clothes in the water making sure all parts are wet.
  4. Leave the clothes to soak for about 4-6 hours, stirring about every hour.
  5. After the clothes soak for 4-6 hours, drain the water and wring out the excess water from the clothes.
  6. Promptly take the clothes to the washer and wash them on a regular cycle without adding any detergent.

Important Tip: Because there are several laundry cleaners and a large amount of water involved, it’s important to remember to keep small children away.  Lock the bathroom door so that children aren’t at risk for falling into the bathtub and drowning.  

Can You Strip Colored Clothes?

Because laundry stripping requires using HOT water, I personally don’t strip colored or dark clothes. It makes me too nervous that I’ll ruin a bunch of clothes! BUT! There are many people out there who haven’t had an issue with it.

If you do decide to strip dark colored clothes or colored clothes, I would highly recommend that you do all like colors together.

I love to strip things that get really dingy such as white towels, white sheets, white undergarments or clothes, or very light-colored clothes.

How Often Should I Do Laundry Stripping?

Laundry stripping is a long process and should only be done to clothes a few times a year to avoid damage to clothes.

You should also take into consideration how often you use the items you are considering stripping. Heather from Fueling a Southern Soul recommends stripping your workout clothes every 3 months for clothes that are worn all of the time.

Is it worth the time?

Some of you might be wondering if laundry stripping is really worth the time and effort. I wondered this myself before I tried it! Now that I have done it a few times I can firmly say that it is completely worth it.

I have my kids shower in the morning so they don’t have bed head when they go to school (except for when they have sports after school). So my kids don’t usually get into bed being freshly washed.

For that reason, my boy’s white bedsheets literally get brown! (as shown in my photos)

I’ve gone back and forth whether it’s better for them to shower at night or in the morning but I keep going back to the fact that I love freshly showered kids in the morning. So thankfully I’ve solved the brown bedsheets issue with laundry stripping!

I hope that this post has been helpful to you and that I’ve convinced you to give laundry stripping a try! You’ll love how satisfying it is to see that murky water and to see how clean your clothes and bedding can get. Happy cleaning!

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