What is laundry stripping? The latest deep-cleaning trend doing the rounds on TikTok

Marie Claire Dorking
·4-min read
Laundry stripping is the new cleaning method taking over TikTok. (Getty Images)
Laundry stripping is the new cleaning method taking over TikTok. (Getty Images)

No one wants to spend more time doing laundry than they have to so, for most of us, tossing our dirty washing into the machine is job done.

But what if our usual wash and dry isn’t getting our laundry really clean?

With germs and hygiene at the front of our minds during the coronavirus pandemic, a deep cleaning method on TikTok has been causing quite the buzz.

Say hello to laundry stripping, the soaking method which aims to remove detergent residue, fabric softener, minerals from hard water, and body oils from textiles.

The deep cleaning method involves soaking your laundry for a few hours in the bath, or other large tub, with a unique cleaning mixture.

It supposedly provides a much more intensive clean than your typical standard wash in the machine.

While it has been gaining traction of late, laundry stripping isn’t actually all that new, but an impressive before-and-after TikTok by MrsLaurenElms kicked off a viral cleaning movement which has seen TikToks with #laundrystripping clocking up more than 20.4 million views.

Read more: Why you should never wash your jeans - and how to keep them clean

The TikTok clips offer a Dr Pimple Popper-like appeal as they reveal bath tubs filled with grimy, brown water after hours of soaking supposedly ‘clean’ laundry, prompting many to question if they’ve been unwittingly using grubby towels and sheets this entire time.

What is laundry stripping?

While your washing machine and tumble dryer give your dirty laundry a fresh wash, washing normally doesn’t always remove the residue left behind from fabric softener, body oils and other general grime.

Laundry stripping offers a solution, removing any residual build-up that may have accumulated on your garments from your laundry routine over time.

It also draws out any minerals in your items from washing in hard water.

Read more: These laundry bags for your delicates spell the end of snagging

How to laundry strip

The experts at PriceYourJob have provided some tips on joining the laundry stripping trend...

  • Fill a bathtub with hot water and a mixture of detergent, laundry booster and sodium carbonate (washing soda).

  • Ensure they dissolve first before adding the towels - the chemical reaction before dissolving could speed up colour change and stain retention.

  • Add the laundry and let it soak for up to four hours.

  • Finish by running the load through a water-only cycle in the washing machine.

Laundry stripping works particularly well on towels. (Getty Images)
Laundry stripping works particularly well on towels. (Getty Images)

Does laundry stripping actually work?

According to Nadeem Abbas, founder & director of Love2Laundry, laundry stripping is an effective method for heavy-duty items like couch cushions and towels to help remove the build-up of grime and odours.

But he has some words of caution before you fill your bath ready for soaking.

“This new viral trend is great for satisfying watching but isn’t always what’s best for your laundry,” he says.

“You should always be careful with more delicate fabrics, as methods like this can prematurely age them. If you have heavily stained delicates, dry cleaning is both highly effective at removing stains and protecting the health of fabrics.”

Read more: Stella McCartney's doesn't always clean her clothes: 'It's better to simply brush the dirt off'

And Abbas has some suggestions of how to remove the need to regularly laundry-strip your garments.

“A lot of what is stripped from the fabric is often excess detergent and fabric softener that cling to fabrics and collect dirt over time, so reducing your detergent in each wash and skipping fabric softener every now and then will help prevent this in the first place,” he explains.

Stripping isn’t the only hack doing the rounds on TikTok right now.

Last week, a user went viral after sharing a trick to rescue T-shirts you’ve accidentally shrunk in the wash.

Meanwhile another TikTok-er shared a method to help you pick out the perfect pair of jeans, without the need to try them on.

And back in June parents expressed their gratitude for a clever pyjama folding trick that helps keep sets together.