Closing out month seven of a global pandemic and I found myself itching for another high. I had already ticked off most of the quarantine checkboxes: Tiger King, banana bread, getting in shape followed by getting back out of shape x2. We painted a room, we decluttered a space, there was even that one night I downloaded TikTok and tried to learn a dance. But alas, the itch needed a scratch.

Friends, family, and influencers were stripping laundry, vowing allegiance to @gocleanco and enlisting in the cleaning army, armed with Tide and bleach. Dirty water was popping up all over my social feeds and after my initial revulsion I became intrigued. What was this all about and why can’t I just wash my laundry and let it sit in a basket for three weeks like a normal person?

The answer: we are gross. 

But Didn't I Just Wash These Clothes?! Why You'll Want To Hop on That Laundry Stripping Bandwagon—Like, TODAY.
 
Over time, detergent, fabric softeners, minerals from hard water, and body oil attach themselves to our textiles and don’t let go. Stripping laundry is a lengthy soak in hot, hot water and a special concoction of cleansers to remove all of that nastiness. I was bored enough and had seen enough brown bathtub water to give it a try.

What do you need and how much?

Some of these ingredients can be hard to find, but I promise you, several trips around town to dozens of different grocery stores and a few Amazon orders to procure the goods will be worth it. Don’t cut corners.  

RELATED: Kids Are Gross: Mom Finds More Than She Bargained For in the Laundry

What exactly am I supposed to strip?

Sheets, towels, workout clothes, kitchen dish towels. Any item that gets a lot of wear is perfect. I did my queen-sized comforter, but it’s important to keep in mind that whatever you choose for the process has to fit in the washing machine after its soak. 

How To:

Fill your tub up with the hottest water your faucet will produce, add your chosen articles and your stripping ingredients, give it a slosh until everything is dissolved. You’ll want to let it soak for 4-6 hours, stirring hourly. Once the time is up transfer everything to your washing machine for a regular cycle. Revel for a moment in the filth that was left behind. 
 

But Didn't I Just Wash These Clothes?! Why You'll Want To Hop on That Laundry Stripping Bandwagon—Like, TODAY.Some tips from a laundry stripping addict:

Keep whites and colors separate. Use a large kitchen spoon or a broom handle to stir the clothes, the hot water and cleansers can hurt sensitive skin. Use a storage tub (not a laundry basket) to transfer your stripped goods from the tub to the washing machine, you’ll avoid dripping water through your house this way. 

I had long since given up hope on my running shorts ever smelling fresh again, now I’ll get another 15 years out of them like a proper mom.

RELATED: Homemade Laundry Soap How-To

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Scarlett Longstreet

Scarlett Longstreet is a stay-at-home mom, retired bartender, and wife. She lives in a suburb of Detroit with her husband and girl gang; toddler plus infant twins. You can follow her on Instagram