Stripping: not as exciting as you'd think
Laundry stripping is when you fill a tub with a bunch of cleaners, hot water, and sad, often smelly laundry in order to get the sludge out of the fibers.
When I heard of stripping, my first thought was, "oh great, one more nonsense thing home managers are 'supposed' to do." I thought this was a made up task for the Decant People. You know who I mean, right? They are the ones who pour their red wheat berries into $30 glass jars. They have a second pantry with rattan baskets tagged as "back stock." Their pictures are gorgeous, no doubt. And also, keeping a home is challenging enough without that noise.
However, I do love me a good cleaning hack. So I read through Pinterest and it seemed like this one was solid. This concoction was supposed to get in there and release all the built up sweat, soap, deodorant, and bacteria, so those permanently funky workout pants and those water repellent towels can get fully clean. I was intrigued enough to give it a go.
I don't know where it began to give original credit, but I'll link the Pinterest post I found here.
Here's how it works.
We run the tap until the water is as hot as it will go and start filling up the tub. A storage tub or kitchen sink will work here as well, just make sure it is water tight and that you won't need it for the rest of the day. Also, make sure to adjust the measurements for less water if you go with a smaller vessel.
Then we add in
1/4 cup Borax or grated Fels Naptha
1/4 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 cup powdered Tide
1/4 cup Calgon (optional)
Make sure it all dissolves, then we add in our laundry. It is best to do this in sets, so whites together, sheets together, funky exercise clothes together, and so on.
We stir the laundry every hour, for 4 to 6 hours.
Then wring it out, and put it in the washing machine - don't add soap, it has plenty - and run it through a traditional cycle, adding an extra rinse if that's an option.
As I added in the soaps, the water smelled very nice. After hour two it smelled like wet paint and at the end it smelled really unhappy - maybe a little like cheap rubber?
It clearly did something but my own before and after pictures aren't too drastic. I was a little bummed my after water wasn’t nearly as thrilling as the Pinterest people’s. Why am I disappointed that my laundry wasn't dirty enough? Five star weirdo over here. Maybe our stuff doesn’t get too dirty with just the two of us or maybe our washer does better than average work. Either way, my wash water was definitely greige and smelly.
End result? The towels were noticeably more absorbent and the pit stains were lighter. (For stain removal, I suggest using a Fels Naptha bar directly on the fabric.) I'm excited to report my Turbini is working much better at drying up my hair. This process appears to be worth the time, friends. I'm excited for you to try it if you have troublesome laundry too.
They say to do this every few months but I think we should do it when we notice stubborn smells or ineffective towels. Sticking to a routine is wonderful - and also - let's not add on another day-long project any more than we have to. Right? Right.