While washing machines generally do pretty well at shaking dirt and grime from your clothes and rinsing it away, it’s hard to get it all. That’s where laundry stripping comes in. “Laundry stripping is a process of removing build-up—residue from softeners, soap, hard water, and minerals, as well dirt, oil, and bacteria,” says housecleaning expert Diane Regalbuto, owner of Betty Likes to Clean. “The dirt and residue should release into the water, offering that gross-yet-satisfying visual.”
Stripping your laundry is easy, too. You simply fill your bathtub with hot water and let your laundry soak in a mixture of baking soda, Borax, and laundry detergent. It works great for towels, bedsheets, and other linens, but you can also use the method for clothes if you do so with care. If you want your laundry to be the cleanest it’s been in years, here’s exactly how Regalbuto recommends going about laundry stripping at home.
Laundry stripping recipe
1. Fill a bathtub or a laundry basin ($42) with hot water.
2. Completely submerge your clean laundry in the water. It can be either wet or dry just-washed laundry.
3. Add Borax, baking soda, and detergent to the hot water. You can also add a little white vinegar as an added touch.
4. Let your laundry soak. Stir, mix, and squeeze it regularly over a four-hour period, or until the water has completely cooled. The dirt and residue should release into the water, turning it a murky gray.
5. Drain the water and wring out excess liquid from the items. Then give them a final rinse in the washing machine using a water-only cycle.
6. Rinse out your bathtub, bucket, or whatever you soaked your laundry in because there will be a grime or residue.
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