The Viral Laundry Stripping Hack Works - And May Make You Queasy

We all have an item or two that always seems dirty, even after a washing cycle. Unfortunately, regularly running soiled items through the washing machine isn't always enough for towels, bed sheets, and certain clothing. So it's no surprise that many homeowners turn to laundry stripping to achieve a deep clean. According to Maytag, this vigorous cleaning technique removes accumulated soil, laundry detergent, and fabric softener using a chemical mixture. It's a method that's often conducted in a bathtub and has become a popular internet trend.

TikTok content creator MrsLaurenElms offers a viral laundry stripping tutorial that currently has over 850,000 likes, 3,500 comments, and 85,000 shares.  However, before you try the technique out for yourself, House Digest conducted a thorough review to reveal how helpful this method actually is. So before you toss out your linens and clothing, take a second to see if this is the solution you've been searching for.  

What you'll need to try the hack

MrsLaurenElms used 1/4 cup of Borax, 1/4 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda, and a scoop of Tide laundry detergent in her laundry stripping tutorial. Instead of the super washing soda and Tide, we opted for pure baking soda and a generic laundry detergent we believe will create the same reaction. Keep in mind, when measuring your Borax, you should avoid using measuring cups used for cooking because the laundry booster can cause nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting if accidentally ingested, per WebMD.

Instead of testing this out on our nice towels, we chose the towels we typically use for wiping up spills or drying off our dogs after a quarrelsome bath. Like in the video, we also chose to pour everything into the bathtub and stir the mixture with the end of a broomstick. Additionally, we had a pair of black rubber gloves on hand when it came time to pull out the towels in order to avoid possible skin irritation from the cleaning solution. 

How our test went

This laundry stripping method was simple to follow. We first filled our bathtub halfway with lukewarm water before pouring in the ingredients listed above. We then dropped each towel in the tub one by one, ensuring they were all completely submerged before we gave them a good stir with the end of a broomstick. Afterward, we allowed the towels to sit in the cleaning solution for five hours, as advised in the viral TikTok video.

Although five hours seemed like a long time to wait, we used the opportunity to complete other chores, such as washing dishes, vacuuming, and dusting. During that time, we periodically checked on the bathtub to see how much dirt, hair, or grime had already been lifted from the towels. To our surprise, the cleaning solution continued to pull out more muck with each passing hour. So although our water never became the satisfying brown color in the video, it became a faint gray. Once the five hours were up, we wrung out the water in the towels and threw them into the washing machine. 

Did the hack live up to the hype?

Once we drained the bathtub water, it revealed a heaping mess of dog hair and dirt. (The above photo doesn't even show all of it.) We had to toss out another large chunk of hair to prevent our drain from clogging. Remember, these towels were used to wipe up the floor and dry off dogs, so this amount of hair makes sense. After we ran the towels through the washing machine, they smelled nice and fresh.

Based on how easy this cleaning hack was and how much dirt and hair it removed, we recommend giving it a try! This is a beneficial technique for items that seem impossible to clean. However, it's not a technique that will replace your washing machine in terms of speed or convenience. Also, since it requires mixing strong chemicals, exercising caution is always a good idea when attempting this viral cleaning hack.