How to Strip Laundry

Today you will find out that I am oddly proud of my filth and you should be too! I first learned how to strip laundry in 2019. My instagram handle at the time was peanutbutter_and_proteinshakes and everything was fitness related. I was loving life, going to the gym at 5AM and hitting kickboxing sessions on the weekend. I’m not sure about you but when I workout I sweat and I mean SWEAT. I lived for the days I was a dripping mess getting to the shower! I didn’t feel like I actually worked out unless my sweat was showing through my clothes and I wanted to collapse on the floor afterwards. My life was gym, work, sleep, and repeat. I saw someone laundry strip their towels and immediately thought- I need to do that with my gym clothes! Then I forgot about it until around a year later.

We had gotten married and when we got back from our honeymoon I had a hard time getting myself to the gym. As it turns out within the month I was pregnant for the first time! If you know anything about our story you know we would go on to miscarry that and our next pregnancy. This all overlapped with the days of 2020 when quarantine started and we all switched to working from home. I had changed my handle to becoming_brianna and literally no one was hitting the gyms. My gym clothes turned into my work clothes but they just had a funky aroma that I just couldn’t shake. I washed them constantly but it’s like it just wasn’t ever enough. At first the sweaty gym morning smell made me feel a little nostalgic and I missed the old days with all of my gym family. As the quarantine wore on I was just plain tired of always being smelly.

Enter Laundry Stripping

I did what everyone in quarantine was doing to cure their boredom. I hopped on Amazon to deliver all of the things I would need to tackle this project in the next couple of days. The first time I decided to do all of my workout leggings and tank tops. Look at all the filth that was left in my bathtub afterwards!

A before and after of my workout clothes while laundry stripping them.

The coolest thing about laundry stripping is within about 30 minutes you can already see it starting to work. If you move your clothes around the water already starts getting all gross looking. The longer it sits, the more gross it gets!

The next round was Colin’s work shirts! As a mechanic he was always getting greasy and sweaty so you can imagine these were even worse than mine. 

A before and after of my husband's work clothes during laundry stripping.

The water just looked thick there was so much in it. I won’t lie, I do think some of it is the dye that comes out of the clothes but he and I both agree our clothes just feel so much better after we strip them!

What You Need:

Here is what I used for my process:

½ cup washing soda

¼ cup borax

1 heaping scoop of powdered laundry detergent 

I used Molly’s suds detergent because it was important for me that it be toxin free. A lot of the original posts that I read used powdered Tide so if you are a Tide person that would also work. 

The Process

Learning the process of how to strip laundry is actually really simple. Add your clothes to your bathtub and fill it with hot water. Let them soak as long as you want! I usually started mine in the morning and then pulled them out after work so approx. 8 hours. Some people find it easier to let them soak overnight and pull them out in the morning, whatever works for you! I do go in and stir mine around every few hours or so. I don’t think that this is a mandatory thing that you absolutely must do but it made me feel like I was more evenly distributing the cleaners around to get everything.  

When they are done they just need to go through a rinse cycle in the machine and then they can be dried as normal. Be warned- clothes are surprisingly heavy when they are soaking wet. The first time I did all of our bedding I could barely get the basket to our washer so it’s important to be mindful of that so you don’t hurt yourself.

They will come out smelling so fresh and clean it’ll feel like you have new clothes!

I’ve done my clothes, Colin’s clothes, towels, and sheets. Let me tell you- the sheets were a GAME CHANGER! We have the microfiber sheets and I could not get the smell out of them. I love clean sheets but it can be so frustrating when they don’t actually smell clean. I was finally able to get that clean sheet smell again after laundry stripping them- sheets, duvet covers, and pillow cases. The only thing that would make it even better would be to strip them and have them dry fresh on the clothesline. Just nothing like line dried sheets!

Drew Barrymore

In early 2021 someone from the Drew Barrymore show actually reached out to me and asked me if they could use my pictures on a laundry stripping segment they were going to do on the show. I know you’re thinking this sounds like the biggest scam ever. I was skeptical too! However, I took a shot and told them yes absolutely. They actually really emailed me a photo release which I signed and promptly returned. I also warned my friends and family that I was definitely about to be famous! My pictures are on the 3/24/21 episode of the Drew Barrymore show where Drew learns how to strip laundry! The link will take you to the episode. It’s such a strange thought to think that our dirt and grime has been on TV. That’s all it was, clothes that I had stripped our filth out of.

I guess it’s safe to say I’m very proud of my filth and the fact that it was featured on TV. Don’t be afraid to put yourselves out there guys, remember we all have our own filth in our lives some of us just parade it around a little more than others.

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