How to Strip Your Laundry

Stripping your laundry is useful to remove buildup of minerals, soap or saponified oils, or other buildup that regular laundry routines aren’t able to deal with. It causes some extra wear on your laundry, so if you find yourself stripping items on a regular basis, you should take a look at and make some adjustments to your laundry routines. You can get help with this in our Facebook Group, Laundry Love and Science.

When SHOULD you Strip?
  1. Has the item in question been washed repeatedly in untreated hard water leaving signs of dinginess, smell or loss of absorbency?
  2. Did you buy the item in question used, from someone else who might have washed it repeatedly in untreated hard water?
  3. Have you been using a weak detergent or something that can coat the fabrics? (eg. homemade, Charlie’s, All’s liquid detergent, or frequent use of fabric softener?)
If you answered yes to ANY of those, then stripping MIGHT be for you.
HOW do you Strip Laundry?
  1. Always start with CLEAN items. (They do not have to be dry, just clean. Out of the washer is fine).
  2. Fill your top-loader, bathtub, or container ½ full with HOT water (as hot as you can get it from the tap).
  3. Add in your mineral removal solution and dissolve well.
There are two mineral removing solutions:
A. DIY mix*: This homemade mixture has awesome success. Washing Soda, Borax, and Calgon create this concoction at around $16.28 for it all at Wal-Mart (in the laundry aisle.) 3 Tablespoons of each for one strip = $0.49 per strip. Also, all components can be used for cleaning and laundry boosters post strip.
(Note: If you are unable to get ALL 3 ingredients, you can mix ¼ cup of two of the three ingredients, OR ½ cup of a single ingredient. HOWEVER, the more ingredients you have, the larger the broad spectrum of minerals being targeted will be.)
B. RLR*: $2.99 per pack x 3 for one strip = $9 a strip
**We also suggest that you ADD ½ cup of good strong detergent, preferably with enzymes, to both options. This will improve the effectiveness.**
  1. Soak all your items in the water until it cools (at least 4 hours).
    **The water MAY change colors or become murky. It is also normal for it to smell slightly unpleasant. However, if your water does not change color, that is okay too! There are plenty of gross things that we cannot see. Do not worry!**
  2. Stir the items occasionally (every 45-60 minutes) to help release more minerals from the fabrics.
  3. After the water is cool, drain the tub and squeeze all water from the items.
  4. Complete with a full WATER ONLY wash cycle. This will make sure all the detergent and mineral solution is out of your fabrics.
Now that your items are back to square one, be sure to start fresh with a proper wash routine.
Read More About Hard Water Here:
Testing Your Water Hardness
Dealing with Hard Water and Getting Your Laundry Clean

By Jennifer Brock with an adaptation by Katie Trump