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Learn About Laundry Stripping


Laundry stripping is a soaking method designed to deep-clean your laundry, with the intent to remove built-up residue from detergent, hard water, body oils and fabric softener. It is seen as ‘satisfying’ because the water may turn to a brown or gray color from all the gunk being “stripped” away from the linens, giving a fresh, new feeling.

You will need:

  • Borax
  • Washing soda (Sodium Carbonate)
  • Laundry detergent (I prefer to use fragrance-free detergent for sensitive skin, like Arm & Hammer Free and Clear)

The best way to strip wash your laundry is either in a clean bathtub, or in a large bucket with just-washed laundry, either wet or dry.

1. Add a mixture of borax, washing soda, and laundry detergent, follow a 1 to 1 to 2 ratio, adjusting the amounts based on how much water you're using.

2. Once the mixture has dissolved, add your laundry. Let soak until the water has cooled, about 4 hours, stirring the garments occasionally.

3. Finally, wash the stripped laundry once more in the washing machine, on a water-only cycle. Enjoy your ultra-clean bed sheets and bath towels.

Laundry stripping is not always ideal for clothing as it can cause dyes to run. You may want to stick to white bath towels and bed sheets. If you do try the method on colorful clothing, avoid mixing a red shirt with white socks—or else you could end up with accidentally dyed clothing. Don't try this technique on delicate or fragile items. This method requires hot water, so check each item's care label first.

Be careful with the type of items you decide to strip, such as comforters or pillows, as a high pH will strip the oils and make them crack.


Elizabeth Mullans, MD, Board-Certified Dermatologist practicing in Houston, Texas.


  1. I saw this and had to share. My husband and I had to live in a motel for like an entire year during a real low point in our lives. I had to learn to survive. I did the wash in the tub. I did this mix and also scrubbed the stains with Purex Fels Naptha Laundry bar.
    After letting them set the smell was so bad. I just knew the chemicals must me working.
    I had to rinse all this by a load of laundry, by hand. until the water ran clear.
    I have never had cleaner clothing.
    Today I do this with all second hand clothing and bedding I get.
    Wo wants to wear strangers on there body???
    like eew
    Thank you so much for this!


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