• amberwick

Strip Washing, Have You Tried it?

What is the best way to clean something or which is the best washing powder to use are questions that are constantly asked online in forums and Facebook groups and most people do have personal opinions and will freely give their product recommendations or cleaning tips and tricks they have learnt. One Facebook group that I do hang out in is specifically for laundry and cleaning -

"Mum's Who Clean" and these mum's want to clean anything and everything. They want to clean stuff in the home that I had never even considered cleaning ( And I still don't plan on cleaning)

Typical questions in the group that are asked every day revolve around ovens and furniture

"What is the best oven cleaner" OR "What products to use to clean a leather couch"

( Red Star has you covered for both situations with our Red Star Cleaning Paste ) Most of the laundry questions in this group related to "What brand of washing machine to buy" OR "How to clean a washing machine"

But I started noticing a lot of photos relating to a newish clothes washing fad that was sweeping the group with lots of before and after photos of dirty water in bathtubs. One day I stopped to actually read what the post was about and then I started seeing more and more photos in the group with people sharing their dirty bath water photos They called this new washing fad - Strip Washing - And no nakedness is required

So… What exactly is a strip wash?

A strip wash is an intensive soaking method using very hot water and 3 washing ingredients. Then anything and everything is being thrown in to bathtubs or laundry sinks be soaked. From sheets, to cushion covers, to sneakers and even schoolbags

So I decided I better see if this style of washing is something that I should be doing too I decided that my tea towels would be good to trial it - these do get dirty and often have oil and food splatters on them as I often use them to grab hot trays. Many of my tea towels are linen and I scored them from my Gran's cupboard.

Strip Washing Uses 3 ingredients

Washing powder ( or liquid) Borax - Found in the cleaning aisle Washing Soda - found in the laundry aisle probably on the top or bottom shelf I did mine in a laundry tub so I used: 2 tablespoons of Borax 2 tablespoons of Washing Soda

4 tablespoons of Red Star Laundry Powder For a bathtub the recommended amounts are

1/4 cup of Borax,

1/4 cup washing soda and

1/2 cup of washing powder such as Red Star Laundry Powder.

Here is my water before and after photos of the water.

I used super hot water - my laundry gets insanely hot water and I also added a kettle of boiling water too. I left them to soak for 6 hours.

I know that it did some good. My tea towels do feel cleaner. Hot water can make dyes run and fade so I would never do this on a regular basis as it really damages natural fibres. This is a washing process that I would do only occasionally. In saying that though, I would like to try this for my white towels as some of them are looking a little grubby.

Doing this Strip Wash took me back to my childhood I spent a few years living with my grandparents and their home in Perth in the early 70's and they had a washing copper in the laundry room

I can actually remember my grandmother using it to wash clothes and bedding. She would use a long wooden stick to stir the clothes in the boiling hot water. I can also remember our Italian neighbours bottling up tomato sauce and them using their copper to wash all the jars and bottles and they had all their bottles of sauce boiling away in the copper.

Hot water laundry washing
Doing laundry

It is funny what you remember as a child and this forgotten laundry relic is something I vividly remember as a 3 and 4 year old. I found some images of what a Wash copper actually looked like - And ours

kind of looked like one of the enamel ones on legs. Traditionally washing was done on a Monday and washing day was a big day. Products like Rinso and Bluey's were used to wash the clothing and starching was also used for shirts and hankies.

They were original coppers were large pots/tubs that would be placed on or next to hot coals and the the dirty washing would boil away in the pot. In the late 1800's they were added to laundries in brick furnaces with a food fire underneath them. In the 1930's freestanding or portable models became available and these were free standing and had a gas burner ring underneath them. So is Strip Washing a new cleaning technique?

It isn't a new technique as such - But I can see it as a revived technique and these can generate a lot of interest. In the current times ANY technique that can get an extra clean feel or look is always going to be a popular topic and using extra hot water and proper soaking times is something different to try.

Many of us have been using warm or cold water to do their wash as hot water washing is not encouraged with the push to save on energy costs and the wide range of washing powders that are cold water friendly.


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