‘Laundry stripping’ is a popular new TikTok trend with ugly side effects

TikTok has taught us some pretty cool stuff — how to turn potato chip bags reusable, how to easily put on eyeliner and even how to transform your home into a movie theater.

It’s also taught us about a popular new cleaning method that seems to magically zap dirt out of soiled linens — but like so many other things on the internet, is it too good to be true?

“Laundry stripping” has been around for a while, but TikTok has just caught on to the concept of throwing fabrics into a bathtub and adding a few key ingredients to let it sit there for several hours, stirring it every so often like a stew.

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The most satisfying part of the process is, undoubtedly, seeing how much dirt and grime comes out of the fabrics and into the water — a crucial step you miss when you use a measly washing machine.

To try laundry stripping yourself, you’ll need Borax, powdered laundry detergent, washing soda (sodium bicarbonate) and a bathtub or another large container.

Though the exact measurements differ in each TikTok, here’s the basic formula according to Taste of Home’s Erica Young:

“Add one part Borax, one part washing soda and two parts laundry detergent. For a bathtub, we recommend ¼ cup borax, ¼ cup washing soda and ½ cup detergent,” she wrote in a post.

Young recommends letting your fabrics sit in the mixture for four to five hours before taking them out of the tub and letting them dry. She also noted that articles of clothing are not good candidates for laundry stripping — stick to linen and fabrics.

One two-part series that got over a million likes on TikTok showed the drastic effects laundry stripping had on the fabric that covered a college student’s couch. Here’s the first part:


everyone needs to do this immediately #fyp #cleantok #cleaningtiktok #clean #laundrystriping #boraxchallenge #nasty #voiceeffects

♬ original sound – katie

And the grand reveal:


the reveal from striping our couch cushions! literally soooooo much better now #fyp #cleantok #laundrystriping #gross #cleaningtiktok

♬ original sound – katie

Commenters had a strong reaction to this video in particular.

“I’m scared,” one user wrote.

‘Laundry stripping’ is a popular new TikTok trend with ugly side effects

“You better do that like six more times,” another said.

“Ahhh the forbidden soup,” a third joked.

Another video showed how laundry stripping made old towels look good as new:


Striping our towels: they came up so much brighter and feel so nice #foryou #foryoupage #fyp #laundry #laundrystriping #cleaning #cleaningszn

♬ original sound – mackenzie

Before you try this out on any of your own fabrics, though, consider what experts have to say about it.

Tide senior scientist Jennifer Ahoni told CNN that most of the “grime” you see leftover in the bathtub after laundry stripping is actually residue from the cleaning products, not dirt or even clothing dye.


For personal reasons, I’m going to be throwing my whole couch away


♬ original sound – Sarah

“I would not recommend that people do laundry stripping regularly,” she said. “The hot water temperature can be damaging to fabrics and prematurely age them. It can also cause dye loss on some fabrics.”

There you have it, folks: Laundry stripping is fair game for any fabrics you’d throw away otherwise, but keep your precious linens out of the bathtub.

If you enjoyed this story, read about this $17 board that makes laundry way more satisfying.

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