We love ourselves a good TikTok life hack. From learning how to effectively reheat rice in the microwave (hint: you’ll need ice!) to more seasonal holiday hacks, like one TikToker’s Easter egg-dying tricks, we can’t get enough. But the hacks that really have our attention are those that not only help us save time on household chores but also give us a jaw-dropping moment. Enter laundry stripping, the most recent viral cleaning method people have been sharing on TikTok that’ll make you want to run to the store to pick up a box of borax.
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“Y’all ready to strip some towels?” asks Lauren Elms in her viral TikTok video, which has been watched more than 7 million times since it was posted last April.
“People were telling me it was a chemical reaction causing the brown color, so I’m going to add in the soap before I throw the towels in,” she says, adding that she stirs every hour or so.
A few seconds after throwing in the towels, the water already starts to turn brown. And after five hours, the water looks absolutely filthy.
“Then, put it in the washer and wash like normal,” Elms says. You don’t need to run it with detergent, though. Simply use a rinse cycle, and dry the laundry as you normally would.
Now that you’ve seen it laundry stripping in action, let’s explain how it works.
Basically, laundry stripping is a soaking method that deep cleans your laundry. The Borax, sodium carbonated and laundry detergent combo helps get rid of leftover detergent, fabric softener, and other build up that’s accumulated over the years, leaving you with clean laundry — and a tub full of funky, brown water. While the brown or gray water may be due to dirt or other undesirable build-up, it’s more likely the color is due to the dyes running off while sitting in extremely hot water for a few hours.
One great tip from Taste of Home is, while laundry stripping may be great for sheets and towels, it’s not ideal for colorful or delicate linens, nor is it recommend you strip clothing, as the dyes may run. Plus, some clothing can’t be washed in hot water, so check labels before tossing stuff in your tub.
Before you go, check out these natural cleaning brands that are safe for families in the gallery below: