TikTok is taking over. The social media platform has seen a huge increase in its user base during 2020, with 500 million monthly active users globally. One unexpected (and oddly satisfying) outcome has been users sharing their laundry ‘hacks’ for cleaner clothes at home.
With more people than ever Hinch-ing their homes, there have been a number of viral trends in laundry that have caught our attention. So, we decided to take a look at a couple of TikTok’s most popular laundry trends and let you know the truth and some of the science behind why they work.
Laundry stripping is capturing people’s attention everywhere as these grossly satisfying videos highlight how much dirt and grime can cling to our laundry, even if we wash it regularly.
The technique for laundry stripping involves 3 household products, a bath or bucket and time.
How To: Laundry Stripping
1. Fill your bathtub or bucket with hot water and a mixture of laundry detergent and sodium carbonate.
2. Add your freshly laundered items (works best for towels or bedding).
3. Leave to soak for four hours.
4. Run on a water-only cycle in your washing machine.
The TikTok videos sharing this trend show a sea of bathtubs filled with grimy, murky water that suggests our laundry carries much more dirt than we expect it to after putting it in the washing machine.
Why it works
When using detergent and fabric softener, these products can leave a film on your laundry that in fact attracts dirt and bacteria and gives them a place to grow on. Over time, this dirt builds up and isn’t removed in a conventional washing machine. Laundry stripping uses stronger cleaning chemicals to shed this layer from your laundry and leave it cleaner and sometimes softer.
What you should look out for
Soaking your laundry in sodium carbonate can be tricky. The combination of chemicals can encourage colour run, prematurely aging your clothes, especially dark fabrics. For this reason, it’s best to avoid stripping your best clothes and using it mainly for towels, bedding and cushions.
A video on TikTok showing users how to stretch their clothes back to size after shrinking them has been viewed more than 14 million times. The simple home hack uses hot water and hair conditioner to ease the fabric of any item so you can stretch it to a better fit or return it to its original size if it’s suffered in the dryer.
How To: Unshrinking Clothes
1. Fill a bucket or sink with hot water – you need enough water to fully submerge the item of clothing.
2. Add a tablespoon of hair condition – avoid colour fast conditioners as these can run the colours of your clothes.
3. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.
4. Rinse the fabric.
5. Pull in all directions in the areas that are too tight.
6. Wash the item to remove any excess product.
7. Let it hang dry.
When your t-shirt is ready to put back on, you should find it’s bigger in the places you pulled.
Why it works
This technique actually draws from a classic dry cleaning process called ‘blocking’.
When clothes are dried at high temperatures, the fibres of the fabric tighten on top of themselves, shrinking the overall garment. The conditioner works the same way it does on our hair and enters the fabric fibre to relax them, allowing them to be manipulated more easily.
What you should look out for
Blocking your clothes in this way is a great idea for those t-shirts that are just a little too snug or to save anything you’ve accidentally shrunk. However, there are some risks to look out for.
The process of blocking isn’t an exact science. Because you’re pulling on your clothes when they’re wet, it’s difficult to know how far to pull them to get the best fit. For this reason, always be careful when pulling your clothes and try to pull them evenly so the finished product doesn’t look too misshapen.
Laundry by the Experts
This kind of ‘extreme’ laundry can be a fun DIY project and will have been especially popular for those in lockdown looking for something to do. Many of us love to take pride in having a clean home and clean clothes, so if you’re stuck for weekend plans, maybe stripping your towels is on the cards.
If you’d rather leave it to the professionals or you don’t have the time to get down and dirty with the sodium carbonate, Love2Laundry’s laundry and dry cleaning services can get you great results regardless of what items you need laundering. For fast, easy results, place an order with Love2Laundry.