What is Laundry Stripping? It’s Laundry’s Truth Serum

If you ask most laundry experts (AKA any household with kids), their preferred method of cleaning clothes, towels and other linens is in their washing machine (of course!). With limited time available, it doesn’t get much easier than throwing a load in and forgetting about it until the cycle-done signal buzzes. However, there’s a hot new trend in the home laundry world that may be giving traditional methods a run for their money. It’s called laundry stripping. And while it makes the daily laundry task a bit more complex, you may find the benefits outweigh the extra time spent ensuring your family has the cleanest clothes, sheets and towels around. 

We investigated the method known as laundry stripping that some say will make your laundry the cleanest it’s ever been. Read on to learn more about the laundry stripping solution that’s gaining popularity.

What is Laundry Stripping?

At first glance, laundry stripping sounds slightly PG-13, but do not worry, it’s much more clean than explicit (see what we did there?). In short, laundry stripping is a soaking method meant to deep-clean laundry and reveal hidden grime. The technique has been around for years but has recently surged in popularity through homes–some even consider it the best and most effective laundry hack. While some may find the process satisfying, those with experience in laundry stripping say there’s no denying that seeing what’s left in the solution post-soak is slightly, well, disgusting. 

So, what exactly is this secret laundry stripping solution? It’s a homemade Borax solution. Unlike normal detergent, the solution is said to remove residue, hard water build-up, body oils and fabric softeners that have collected on laundry over time, wash after wash.

Laundry Stripping in Four Steps

While the laundry stripping four-step process is simple, the method as a whole can be extremely time consuming, taking much longer than the traditional washing machine cycle. Before starting the process, select the items you want to strip. You’ll want to be mindful of what you choose to strip and the items you choose to strip together. Basic laundry rules apply, so make sure to read each item’s washing instructions (laundry stripping is a hot water treatment) and properly group which items will be stripped together (darks vs. whites).

It’s best to start the process with clean laundry. Do a regular cycle in your washing machine before moving the items to the stripping solution. They do not need to be dried after the cycle and before the soak. After your items have been washed and are ready to soak, take these steps:

Step 1: Create the Solution

While the list for stripping laundry ingredients sounds like a middle-school science experiment, you can easily make the solution needed. You’ll need Borax, washing soda (sodium carbonate), laundry detergent with enzymes and Calgon®.

Step 2: Fill a Large Tub or Bathtub

Whether you’re using a large bin or bathtub, fill your container of choice with hot water. The hotter, the better. You’ll want to make sure you have enough water to cover the load of laundry you will be stripping entirely. Once the tub is filled, add your solution, mix it well and let it dissolve.

Step 3: Add Laundry and Soak

Once the solution is dissolved, add your clean laundry to the tub. Fully immerse and let soak in the hot water mixed with solution for a full four hours. The longer the items soak, the darker and murkier the water may become. This is normal and a sign that the stripping is working its magic.

Step 4: Rinse and Enjoy

When the four hours is up, drain the tub and squeeze excess water out of each item. Then, run the stripped laundry through your washing machine using a rinse cycle without detergent. Dry each item as you normally would and enjoy the new-found cleanliness and totally fresh load of laundry.

The Pros & Cons of Laundry Stripping

As with any DIY project, laundry stripping has its pros and cons.


Time and time again, laundry stripping has been proven to take clothes, towels and sheets to a whole new level of clean and fresh. The method removes build up and bad odors, making it a the perfect cleansing process for sheets, towels, workout clothes and reusable baby diapers. Not only will your items become cleaner, they will feel softer and smell fresher. The process is also said to make towels and diapers more absorbent.


Laundry stripping should be done in moderation because it can wear down fabric if done too often. Of course, some may find the time needed a barrier. Also, laundry stripping does not work for everything. You’ll want to skip trying this process on delicate items or items that cannot be washed in hot water.

If you live in a hard water area, your towels have lost their absorbency or you’d like to sleep on the cleanest sheets, you may want to try laundry stripping. And when friends and family ask, “What is laundry stripping?” (because you will have bragged about the results, of course), you can let them in on your laundry secret.