How to Strip Laundry with Tide Detergents

If you do laundry on a regular basis, then you probably have more than a few garments or bedding items that, no matter how many times you wash them, always seem to retain a bit of a funky feel or odor, no matter what you do. While there are hundreds of products on the market designed to remove odors and fight stains, sometimes what you need is a more thorough, meticulous approach to fighting the tough laundry issues that occur over time, and that’s where laundry stripping comes in.

15 minutes to read

What is laundry stripping?

Stripping laundry is a method of deep cleaning your garments and fabrics to remove tough residues that collect over time and repeated washings. Many substances, including body oils, deodorants, and hard water can all leave substances behind in fabrics that, over time, compromising their look, feel, and odor.

Body oils, sweat, and deodorants leave residues that build up over repeated use, meaning any fabric that comes in close contact with your bodybenefit from laundry stripping. These include:

During the stripping clothes process, the launderer uses a clean bathtub or bucket filled with water and a mixture of Borax, baking soda, and Tide Powder Laundry Detergent to soak garments for a deep, penetrating clean. Stripping laundry breaks down and lifts away the buildup of residues within the fabric fibers that occur over time. While the stripping process itself takes 4 to 5 hours, rinsing and drying freshly stripped laundry may take an additional 1 to 2 hours

Laundry stripping recipe

Before you strip your laundry, you’ll want to prepare your tub or bucket and gather a few laundry stripping ingredients. Because laundry stripping calls for a clean, large basin that can hold plenty of water for several hours, you may need to spend some time thinking about where you’re going to do your stripping. Ensure that any wash basin you plan to use is thoroughly cleaned and has no residue present. Stripping laundry in a dirty wash basin defeats the entire purpose of doing it in the first place and could leave your fabrics smelling and looking even worse than they did before you treated them.

In terms of the stripping laundry recipe, you may have to adjust amounts based on the size of the basin you’re using and the amount of fabrics you plan to strip. For example, a bathtub holds a lot more water than a 5-gallon bucket or sink, so different amounts of active ingredients will be needed for each. You will need:

  • A clean bathtub, bucket, or basin

  • Borax (sodium borate)

  • Baking soda

  • Tide Ultra Oxi Powder Detergent

  • Hot water (as hot as garment labels allow)

  • A measuring scoop

  • A mixing stick like a broom handle, ladle, or spatula

As a rule of thumb, the ratio for your strip laundry recipe should be 2 parts TIDE POWDER DETERGENT, 1 part baking soda, and 1 part Borax. For most standard bathtubs, you can use ¼ cup of baking soda, ½ cup of Tide Ultra , and ¼ cup Borax.

Laundry stripping recipe

How to strip laundry step-by-step

Follow our handy laundry stripping guide below to learn how to strip laundry effectively and restore the look, feel, and scent of new fabric in your old garments.

Step 1: Gather Fabrics for Stripping

Make your load of laundry to go into the tub, taking care to check the labels of each garment so you know they’re safe for hot water temperature being used. You should separate lights, darks, and colored fabrics just as you would for a regular cycle in the washing machine.

Step 2: Fill Tub

Fill your wash basin approximately one-half to three-quarters full of the hottest water your garments can safely stand to avoid damage, shrinking, or fading.

Step 3: Add Laundry Stripping Recipe

Based on your tub size and the amount of clothing you’re stripping, add your measured amounts of Borax, Tide Powder Detergent, and baking soda. Using your mixing stick, stir the water until the powdered ingredients have dissolved.

Step 4: Add Laundry

Add your laundry to the tub. These clothes should be clean clothes that have already been washed, but it doesn’t matter if they’re damp or dry.

Step 5: Submerge, Sit, and Stir

Using your mixing stick, submerge your garments until they’re fully soaked, swishing them around and making sure they’re completely covered by the water. Let them sit in the tub for 4 to 5 hours, checking them periodically to push items down and stir fabrics so the strip laundry recipe fully penetrates fibers.

Step 6: Remove Items

As you remove your garments from the tub, wring out excess water, then put the garments directly into your washing machine without adding any detergent or fabric softener.

Step 7: Rinse Cycle

After you’ve placed all your stripped laundry in the machine, run a rinse cycle. Use a double rinse setting if your machine has one. This will help pull any remaining residue from your fabrics and wash them away.

Step 8: Dry

Tumble dry the fabrics as you normally would or hang them to air dry. Do not add any dryer sheets or fabric softeners in this process either.

Step 9: Clean Tub

If you’ve stripped in a bathtub or some other basin you use on a regular basis, be sure to thoroughly clean the tub before using again. You don’t want any of the stripping recipe to be left behind in someone’s next bath.

Additionally, you can complete a laundry soak with 9 Elements Purifying Softener that is designed to help purify fabrics from hard water metals and trapped odors and residues without the need for hot water or borax. To use 9 Elements Purifying Softener as a laundry soak, create at least a 1 to 10 mixture of 9 Elements Purifying Softener to room temperature water and soak clothes for 20 minutes, stirring them around every 5 minutes. Then wash clothes in a washing machine cycle using 9 Elements Laundry Detergent and 9 Elements Purifying Softener.