"Laundry Stripping" Is the Latest Viral Cleaning Trend—But Does it Work?
Experts weigh in on whether this TikTok cleaning trend is actually worth the extra time.
If you're an adult, washing your clothes, linens, and other textiles is probably second nature to you. However, in a now-viral video, TikTok user @MrsLaurenElms reveals that the average wash-and-dry routine may not be doing enough to get your laundry clean. Her solution for truly clean laundry? A little thing called laundry stripping.
In the TikTok, the video's creator can be seen pouring a combination of Borax, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, and powdered Tide detergent into a bathtub full of water, followed by a large load of towels. After agitating the towels and leaving them for five hours, she returns to discover the tub full muddy-looking brown water. While she says that many people have claimed that she's simply seeing the result of a chemical reaction, experts say that laundry stripping is the real deal.
"It can remove body oil buildup and gives a fresh, new feeling [to textiles]," explains Elizabeth Mullans, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Houston, Texas. Mullans says that laundry stripping is even a great choice for those with sensitive skin, as the traditional powder detergent used in the TikTok can be swapped out for one that's free of colors and fragrances while ridding your linens of dirt and other substances that could cause a reaction.
If you do choose to strip your laundry, Mullans says that the TikTok recipe is right—a combination of one part Borax, one part washing soda, and two parts your preferred laundry detergent, will do the trick—and a clean bathtub or large bucket are your best bet to do it in, stirring the mixture occasionally over the course of four hours. When this is done, Mullans recommends washing and drying your textiles the way you would normally. And while laundry stripping may be great for getting deep grime out of your sheets and towels, Mullans doesn't recommend it for every garment.
"You may want to stick to white bath towels and bed sheets," says Mullans. "If you do try the method on colorful clothing, avoid mixing a red shirt with white socks—or else you could end up with accidentally dyed clothing." Mullans also notes that doing this with delicate items may damage them.
However, laundry stripping isn't the only viral cleaning hack that really works. Read on to discover what cleaning professionals say you should actually try when you're cleaning your home. And for more great cleaning tips, try these Genius Tricks That Will Cut Your Cleaning Time in Half.
Steam cleaning your microwave
If you're tired of trying to scrub the grime off your microwave, steam cleaning is an easy way to make your workload lighter.
"You need to put a cup of water in a microwavable [dish] and heat it away for a while," says Abe Navas, the general manager of Emily's Maids, a house cleaning service in Dallas, Texas. "The water will evaporate and rehydrate your gunk and filth," making it easy to simply wipe away, he explains. And if you want to make your home safer, start with these Cleaning Tips from the CDC You Need to Follow.
Cleaning ceramic cooktops with Magic Erasers
While there are plenty of kits out there that can help you scrape debris off your electric cooktop with a scouring pad or razor, there's one viral hack that's a whole lot easier, but works just as well: using a Magic Eraser.
Navas says he "totally recommends" this hack, as, unlike some of the tools you can buy to clean a ceramic surface, with a Magic Eraser, "you can use as many as you want and it won't harm [your appliance]." And for more great cleaning tips delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Using a squeegee on carpets and furniture
Looking for an easy way to refresh your carpets without taking them in for a professional cleaning? Benjamin Nguyen, owner of Full Color Cleaners, says that using a household squeegee is a great way to remove pet hair and dirt from your upholstery and carpets without damaging them.
"I suggest testing the squeegee on the carpet or furniture after you vacuum," says Nguyen. "The squeegee lets you see if there's still fur trapped underneath [your carpet's fibers]." And if you want to keep your home spotless, This Is How Often You Should Replace Your Cleaning Supplies.
Cleaning your oven with ammonia
The internet is full of folks who swear up and down that a single dish of ammonia set inside a warm oven is all it takes to clean off years' worth of baked-on gunk—and even experts sing this hack's praises.
Cyrus Bedwyr, the kitchen and oven cleaning specialist at Fantastic Services, says that making this hack work for you is simple: Just heat your oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit and turn it off, set an oven-safe dish of ammonia on its top rack, and place a pan full of boiling water on the rack below. Close the door for eight hours, and by the time you return, the combination of ammonia and steam will have loosened any debris, allowing you to wipe it away easily.
Cleaning Legos in the dishwasher
If your kids' Legos have seen better days, there's an easy way to get them spotless without staying up all night scrubbing them by hand. "Cleaning Legos or other plastic toys in the dishwasher is extremely effective as harmful bacteria and mold are destroyed in the process," explains Ana Andres, co-founder of TidyChoice. However, Andres recommends using a dishwasher basket to ensure those toys don't move around your machine and avoiding putting in anything battery-operated.