I love a gross before and after. So, when I heard about towel stripping. Part of me was looking forward to seeing just how much grime and gunk came out of our towels. And another part of me was hoping nothing came out of them at all. What have I been letting our family use AFTER they’ve already gotten clean? Are you even clean anymore if you dry off with a dirty towel?

I thought our towels were perfectly clean. They’re almost all white, so I clean with hot water and bleach or bleach alternative every time they get washed. But I did notice that they weren’t nearly as fluffy as they used to be, and they were starting to get a little dingy (possibly even smelly). Every year, I plan on replacing the vast majority of our towels during spring cleaning. But after learning about towel stripping, I thought, maybe I don’t need to throw out our towels. Maybe I just haven’t been cleaning them properly.

The before and after from Instagram that started it all! Doesn’t even do it justice!

Why do you need to strip your towels regularly?

Soft surfaces in our homes absorb a lot of dirt, grime, and oils. Towels harbor dead skin cells, oils, and bacteria that aren’t always thoroughly cleaned in a regular wash, even with hot water and bleach.

This isn’t the first time I’ve stripped my towels, but I did use a new recipe this time because I heard that the results were much more dramatic. And boy, was the internet right about this one! My towels were apparently hanging on to a lot more than I’d care to admit.

What other things in your house should be stripped?

You can strip practically any soft surface in your home. Some things are more obvious than others, and you may not be taking into consideration some of the soft surfaces that are hosting a lot of gross invisible guests, like dust mites. Stripping your soft surfaces is the best way to make a big impact on the overall cleanliness of your home – the results may not always be obvious, but you’re definitely going to notice a difference in smell! Throughout the year, you should periodically strip:

  • Your couch slipcover or cushions
  • Throw pillow covers (and replace the inserts regularly!)
  • Towels
  • Sheets
  • Mattress pads
  • Duvet covers
  • Towels
  • Throw blankets
  • Masks!!!
  • Curtains

Keep in mind that stripping your soft surfaces can have an impact on color, so read your labels carefully, strip in like colors, and focus on your whites.

How do you strip, or deep clean, soft surfaces like towels and sheets?

You can get all the ingredients you need at your local grocery store. I found everything at Food Lion, and I could tell that this particular cleaning task was starting to get trendy, because there was a flashy endcap that happened to house everything I need. Looks like I’m not the only one getting in the spring cleaning mood around these parts! You’ll need:

  • Your regular powdered laundry detergent of choice
  • Borax
  • Sodium Carbonate, also known as washing powder or washing soap

The ratio is mixed 2:1:1 in hot water in the tub, leaving your towels (or whatever else you may be deep cleaning) to soak completely submerged for about 4 hours. For best results, stir frequently to make sure everything gets thoroughly soaked and the dirt and grime doesn’t stay comfortable within the fibers of the towels.

I made this minute tutorial to show you how it’s done. Be careful! The soapy concoction is crazy slippery and will need to be thoroughly cleaned up when the process is over. Watch to make sure you’re properly rinsing the cleaning solution out before drying the towels!

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