What is Laundry Stripping? The bizarre new trend taking TikTok by storm

Virginia Glaze
A pair of hands is shown washing clothes in a bucket.

TikTok is home to a slew of viral trends, having birthed everything from the ‘Savage’ dance to tasty hacks for your morning coffee — and now, users are sharing a seriously satisfying way to do your laundry.

It’s called “laundry stripping,” and it’s more than just a wash cycle on “perm press.” While this method of cleaning linens and towels has been around for a while, it seems to have just caught on to TikTok, and it has become all the rage among its users.

What is laundry stripping?

Laundry stripping refers to a method of cleaning fabrics, which requires combining a few key ingredients in a bathtub or other large container and leaving it to sit for several hours, while making sure to stir it every so often (not unlike a good stew or sauce).


The most satisfying part about laundry stripping is getting to see how much dirt and grime have separated from the linens into the water — something we usually don’t see in the days of washing machines.

How to strip your laundry

It’s not as sexy as it sounds. For those wanting to try the viral cleaning method, they’ll need:

  • Borax
  • Powdered laundry detergent
  • Washing soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • And a bathtub!

In essence, all you’ll need to do is combine the ingredients in hot water and leave your towels or linens in the mixture to soak for four to five hours, although the exact time varies from TikTok to TikTok. According to Taste of Home’s Erica Young, the exact recipe is:

“Add one part Borax, one part washing soda and two parts laundry detergent. For a bathtub, we recommend ¼ cup borax, ¼ cup washing soda and ½ cup detergent.”

Is laundry stripping safe?

As told by Tide senior scientist Jennifer Ahoni in an interview with CNN earlier this year, no. Claiming that there are certainly less time-consuming and better methods to get your laundry clean, she also states that most of the “grime” we see in the bathtub is actually residue from leftover cleaning products — not dirt, as users have hoped.

“I would not recommend that people do laundry stripping regularly,” she warned. “The hot water temperature can be damaging to fabrics and prematurely age them. It can also cause dye loss on some fabrics.”

Laundry stripping, if you do hope to try it, is best performed on hardy items like towels and sheets, rather than delicate materials like your favorite sweater or those lace doilies your grandma made.

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