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How to strip towels and other laundry: step by step guide

how to strip towels

Do you think your freshly washed laundry is clean? Then you should take a closer look at the results of the “Laundry Stripping” washing method. Follow these steps for how to strip towels and sheets, and find out how much cleaner your laundry can be.

One wash in the machine and the laundry is clean – at least that’s what we assume. Anyone who looks at the results of the “laundry stripping” method will no longer blindly trust the technology in the future.

How to strip towels and sheets: overview

As soon as the laundry comes out of the machine, it smells so fresh and looks really clean at first glance. At least we think so, because actually there is still a lot of dirt hidden deep in the fibers that cannot be seen with the naked eye. “Laundry stripping” is a trend that first came to everybody’s attnetion on the social media platform TikTok.

Dishwashers and washing machines are a great relief in everyday life. Whereas in the past everything had to be washed individually by hand, today the work is left to the machines. And at first glance, the washing machine also fulfills its purpose: the laundry is clean and smells nice and fresh. What we cannot see with the naked eye, however, is the dirt that is still hidden deep in the fibers. The “laundry stripping” method is intended precisely for this problem.

This is a method in which the freshly washed laundry is treated again with a special washing mixture. What comes out – in the truest sense of the word – is anything but beautiful. If you follow this method for how to strip towels and other laundry, you will notice it releases a lot more dirt than you would have thought was possible.

Why doesn’t the washing machine remove this dirt?

Over the years, microscopic amounts of soap, detergent, fabric softener and body oils build up in the fibers of the towels. These residues stick together and also trap bacteria and small amounts of dirt. Not even a washing machine can loosen these stuck residues.

Over time, the dirt, body oils and other unpleasant sunstances get really ingrained into the towels, and putting them in the washing machine — even regularly and even on the hot water cycle — is not enough to get them truly clean.

However, laundry stripping does work, releasing all the built-up grime that you wouldn’t even know was there, unless you put your towel under a microscope — which will be a truly horrifyng thing for you to see, trust us.

The bonus is that not only are the towels cleaner, but it rejuvenates them. The towels go back to being as fluffy and absorbent as when they were new.

How to strip towels: step by step guide

how to strip towels

Do you just want to try it out yourself? You don’t need anything expensive or complicated for “laundry-stripping”. Try it out with your freshly washed towels, for example. All you need for this method is borax powder, washing soda, and laundry detergent.

Step 1

Fill the bathtub, large wash tub, or large bucket with hot water.

Step 2

Add borax powder, washing soda and detergent in a 1 to 1 to 2 mixture. The exact amount depends on the amount of water – you can adjust the mixture as you feel.

Note: many people do this without borax, and find that it can still work very well to loosen the ingrained dirt and grime from the towels. Some people also prefer to use vinegar instead of borax, but then you have to rinse the towels really — and we mean REALLY — well in order to not have the vinegar smell stay in them. Also, if you use vinegar, make sure it is white vinegar as the brown and malt vinegars can stain the towels or sheets.

Step 3

Wait for the mixture to dissolve and put your laundry (dry or wet) in the water. Use a wooden spoon or large wooden stick to make sure they are fully submerged. Some people even weight them using a tray with a brick or heavy pot on top of it. But this is not strictly necessary, as the water’s capillary action will ensure the entire area of fabric is soaked through anyway.

Step 4

Let soak for about four hours and stir briefly with a wooden spoon or something similar. You will notice how this loosens the dirt. Based on the dirty water, you will notice how much dirt is still hidden in your apparently freshly washed laundry.

Step 5

Finally, rinse the laundry again briefly in the washing machine without detergent.


By the way, you shouldn’t strip delicate fabrics using this method, as it could damage them. You should also particularly avoid colored laundry with this method, as the dyes can leach or run off. You will achieve the best result with cotton and terry fabrics (e.g. towels and bed linen).