What Is Laundry Stripping?: TikTok Cleaning Hacks

We like to think of ourselves as the New York Times of the cleaning world. Our finger is always on the pulse of cleaning trends, ready to pounce on the latest, biggest cleaning story. OK, I’m exaggerating. But we do like to keep our ears to the ground for new cleaning hacks and then share them with you!

A big laundry hack that came from viral TikTok cleaning hacks in 2021 is laundry stripping. But what the heck is it? In this article, I’m going to break down all the info. What is laundry stripping? How to laundry strip? And is laundry stripping effective? So if you’ve been wondering about the TikTok laundry stripping trend, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon and find out if it’s right for you. 

Melissa hanging laundry

What is Laundry Stripping?

As I write this, the hashtag “laundry stripping” has 138.7 million views on TikTok! That’s huge! But what actually is it? Laundry stripping is a viral trend that claims to deep clean laundry. While the trend got popular on TikTok in the past year, it’s actually been around for much longer than that. 

The purpose of laundry stripping is to deep clean laundry. The idea is that a regular wash doesn’t get all the dirt, grime, detergent build-up, body oils, and more that amass deep within the fibers of our towels, blankets, pillowcases, etc. So that’s where laundry stripping comes in. 

How To Laundry Strip

#cleantok is full of videos of people stripping their laundry. And you’re probably here because you’ve seen some already! While different people may have slightly different methods of laundry stripping, the principal is still the same. 

To strip your laundry, you’ll need a good chunk of time and a large bucket or bathtub. Most TikTok users tend to use their bathtub because laundry stripping is typically done on larger items like couch covers and towels. This isn’t a technique people are normally using on clothing. 

In a clean bathtub filled with water, TikTokers are adding a mixture of Borax, washing soda (i.e., sodium carbonate), and laundry detergent. This is usually a 1:1:1 one mixture.  

Then, the offending garment is added and left to soak for four hours. In countless TikTok laundry stripping videos, the bathwater will quickly turn a murky black as the products do the work. After four hours have passed, the garment is washed in a water-only cycle in the washing machine to get rid of all that product and dried appropriately. 

The whole process makes for a satisfying watching experience, but does it really work? And should you be laundry stripping? 

Melissa loading the washing machine

Should You Laundry Strip

Laundry stripping is fun to watch, and it makes great internet content. But should you laundry strip? Well, it depends. 

For most commonly laundered items, like clothing, the answer is absolutely not. This is not necessary and could potentially damage your clothing, or at least wear them out unnecessarily. 

If you have heavy materials (like towels, bedsheets, couch covers), the answer is maybe. Laundry stripping is great if you have items that have been washed with too much product or that smell. If your item feels stiff or a little grimy (like it has caked-on laundry detergent), or if it’s smelling and a regular wash cycle doesn’t help, then consider laundry stripping. 

The Final Verdict on TikTok Laundry Stripping 

The purpose of laundry stripping is to get rid of build-up. But that build-up mostly happens when you wash your laundry incorrectly. Like, if you’re using too much detergent when you do your laundry, you may need to laundry strip. 

So, although laundry stripping is tempting and fun to watch, I would never recommend this on a regular basis. If you have some old towels or couch covers you need to revive, be my guest. But otherwise, assess if you’re washing your laundry correctly because the problem might be your laundry technique, not the garment itself. 

I have tons of articles and videos on how to wash laundry correctly. So before you spend four hours of your life staring at a dirty tub, take a look. You’d be surprised how many people are doing their laundry wrong!

It’s mostly for internet shock value and should be used on items that have been washed with too much product, items that smell and can’t release odors (they are clogged from detergent and softener). But otherwise, properly dosed detergent shouldn’t create the need to strip laundry. For more great laundry content, check out How To Wash A Winter Coat,5 Annoying Laundry Problems Solved, and 4 Easy Hacks for Clean, Fresh Bath Towels. And to learn more about TikTok cleaning hacks, read Carpet Squeegee: TikTok Cleaning Hacks.

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


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