How to Strip Your Towels (And Why You Should)

Stripping your towels may sound like an unnecessary step in your household cleaning routine and might seem complicated and time-consuming, but it is something that should be part of everyone’s cleaning routine.

If you try it just once and see the colour of the water that remains in your bathtub or bucket you will likely agree that it’s something you need to add to your list of chores.


What Does Stripping Towels Mean?

washing towels

Stripping your laundry is the process of properly getting rid of any hidden dirt and germs that have built up in the fabric.

This build-up is specifically made up of detergent, soap, oils, and minerals found in hard water areas.

Stripping the towels is taking the cleaning process beyond what can be done with a hot wash in your washing machine. It eradicates the remaining dirt and bacteria, as well as any lingering smells.

Stripping your towels a few times a year (especially if you live in a hard water area) will also greatly lengthen their overall lifespan and will keep them cleaner and fluffier for much longer.


How to Strip Towels

The process of stripping your towels is lengthy but also relatively simple. Many American websites will claim that stripping can only be done with Borax, but this is a product that is not legal to use in the UK.

Luckily there are several equally effective methods!

1. Soda crystals and Borax Substitute

how to strip towels

There is an easily accessible and also highly affordable alternative to borax that can be purchased in the UK. It is conveniently named Borax Substitute.

For this method, you will need to get yourself equipped with both Borax Substitute and soda crystals, as well as your favourite detergent.

The first step is to run your towels through your usual wash in your washing machine. Once they are done you can fill a bathtub or a large bucket with hot water.

Add a ¼ cup of soda crystals, a ¼ cup of Borax Substitute and ½ a cup of your detergent of choice to the water.

Stir the water carefully with a large spoon or stick, and don’t put your hands into it without cleaning gloves on.

Once the ingredients have been mixed in, add your towels to the water and make sure they are fully submerged. Don’t stir them further.

Leave the towels to soak for at least three hours before draining the (now noticeably dirty) water from the bathtub or large bucket and then run the towels through another hot wash in the washing machine.

Dry the towels as you normally would and appreciate their soft fluffiness and lack of damp smells.

2. Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar

stripping towels

If you would prefer to steer clear of the Borax Substitute option, or if you’d rather use products that can already be found in your kitchen cabinets then there is a second method that is also an effective way of stripping your towels.

Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar are classic cleaning partners in crime. When mixed together they will fight germs and bacteria and will eradicate even the toughest of stains. That’s why they’re the perfect choice for stripping your towels as well.

For this method, the procedure is very similar to the method in the first step. Start by running your towels through a normal wash with your favourite detergent and then fill a bath or large bucket with hot water.

Add one cup of vinegar to the hot water, and then add the towels to the mixture. Stir them around a little with your large spoon before pouring around ¾ of the bicarbonate of soda over the towels. Try to spread the powder over as much of the towels as possible.

Leave the towels to soak for as long as you can, overnight if possible before taking them out of the water and running them through a hot wash in your washing machine and then drying them as usual.

This method is an excellent way to strip your towels if you prefer to use no chemicals of any kind and may be slightly less effective but will still tackle those persistent germs and bacteria that may have built up over time in your towels.



clean towels

The process may seem frustrating and arduous, but it only needs to be done a handful of times a year and the results make it more than worth it.

Watching that dirty water drain away at the end and knowing that your towels are now clean and fluffy again will leave you with a true feeling of satisfaction!