I found this 3-ingredient laundry hack on Instagram - I'm both disgusted and intrigued

A late-night Instagram search lead me to the ultimate laundry hack -- it's both genius and gross.

3-ingredient laundry hack
(Image credit: Unsplash Free Images)

I didn't learn how to do laundry until my freshman year of college. And since then, I'm still getting the hang of it a little more each year. I rely heavily on the laundry lady across the street from my apartment, who I pay weekly to do my loads. We're on a first-name basis, and she knows how I like my laundry washed, so I consider all of my laundry-related needs covered. Or so, I thought. Amid one of my late-night Instagram scrolls, I stumbled upon @GoCleanCo's account, and since reading their post on "laundry stripping," I've second-guessed everything I once thought I knew about washing my clothes (and sheets). 

Laundry stripping is nothing more than a soaking method to deep-clean any item before adding it to the washing machine. The process will remove any build-up residue from detergents, hard water, body oils, and/or fabric softeners that have accumulated over time. It works overtime to catch any dirt, debris, or "gunk" your washing machine has previously missed. 

Need to clean your machine, too? Check out our list of the best washing machine cleaners

The process: 

Let me be the first to warn you: this soak is both disgusting and satisfying at the same time. It starts off in your tub (or sink) as clear and gradually over time becomes a brownish/gray color. Do not be alarmed! This is normal. What's happening here is, the formula you added is removing all of the dirt, debris, and gunk I previously mentioned. The longer you keep the soak in, the darker the color can (and will) get over time. Just something to keep in mind. 

After experiencing this first-hand, it occurred to me how much my weekly laundry person was missing. As a result, this became my newest hobby. I find myself soaking everything from my sheets and duvet cover, to my pillowcases and even my clothes (Yes, looking at you, gym leggings!), week-after-week. I can't imagine not doing this step before washing any of the items I sleep on regularly. To think how "dirty" those "clean" items were, is something I will never get over to this day. 

If you too are finding this just as fascinating (and alarming), as I did, keep reading. All you need to laundry strip any (or all) your items from the comfort of your own homes, is a tub or sink and the luxury of time. Once, you have both of those figured out, the shopping list is easy and affordable. Add these items to your cart ASAP, and get soaking! 

Things you'll need: 

20 Mule Team Borax detergent booster (pack of 2) l Available for $14 on Amazon

20 Mule Team Borax detergent booster (pack of 2) l Available for $14 on Amazon

I know that the recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of Borax, but I found this pack of 2 to be the best investment. On more than one account, I ended up adding a little extra of this toxin-free detergent to the formula for an added boost. 

Arm & Hammer Super Washing SodaAvailable for $4.12 on Amazon

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda l Available for $4.12 on Amazon

Increase your detergent's cleaning power abilities to get out ground-in dirt and stains, while also cutting through greasy soils that are often hard to reach, with the help of this super washing soda. 

Tide Powder Laundry Detergent l Available for $18.96 on Amazon

Tide Powder Laundry Detergent l Available for $18.96 on Amazon

This powder laundry detergent has 6x the cleaning power in half the time! Its formula includes acti-lift crystals to attack up to 7-day old stains, in one wash! What's better than that? Only this box of Tide that can do up to 102 loads!

Calgon Liquid Water Softener Powder Available for $18.44 on Amazon

Calgon Liquid Water Softener Powder l Available for $18.44 on Amazon

Protect your clothes against the effects hard waters have on them. This water softener works to remove the minerals and residues found in hard water. As a result, users can take full advantage of their detergent's cleaning capabilities. Resulting in brighter, softer colors that last even longer! 


  • Start by filling your bathroom tub (or sink) with extremely hot water 
  • Add your selected item the tub (or sink)
  • Proceed by adding the 1/4 cup of the Borax, 1/4 cup  of Arm & Hammer, 1 large scoop of Tide powder, and 1/4 cup of Calgon water softener
  • Allow your item to seep into the formula for 4 to 6 hours and mixing the contents every hour
  • Transfer your selected items from the tub (or sink), and add them to your washing machine. Make sure to rinse these items on hot water for the best results. 
  • Please note: There is no need to add more detergent into the mix, as you'll notice there will be residual soap already. 
  • Finish off by drying your items normal in your dryer, and don't forget to clean your tub (or sink!) after. 

Additional items you might need: 

Brittany Romano

Brittany Romano is a Shopping Editor, based in New York City. From her start as a fashion market assistant at Marie Claire to building a highly profitable commerce vertical at Us Weekly and AMI brands, Brittany has produced award-winning content covering everything from celebrity beauty hacks to must-have items from online sales. She is a graduate of New England College. When she isn’t writing, you can find Brittany indulging in yet another DIY project or cheering on her beloved Boston Bruins.