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Is the Laundry Stripping Trend Bad for Your Skin?

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Maybe you’re one of the millions of viewers to watch one of the many short clips on TikTok or Reels on the practice of deep cleaning laundry items in a tub. Laundry stripping, as it’s called, involves using a mixture of Borax, washing soda and laundry detergent and let the items soak for hours in order to remove accumulated dirt that washing machine cannot. While the practice is very popular, we wanted to know if it was safe for our skin. Here, experts share what to know before you attempt the deep clean in your bathtub. 

“Remember that old adage about dish pan hands?” asks Miami dermatologist Diane Walder, MD. “Well, that’s what you will get by using this combination. Harsh detergents and hot water strip your skin of its natural protective oils leading to red, irritated, cracked skin. If you still feel the need to bend over a tub of hot sudsy water, a simple solution is to wear gloves,” she advises.

Houston dermatologist Elizabeth Mullans, MD notes to also be careful with the type of items you decide to strip. “A high pH will strip the oils in comforters and pillows and cab make them crack. Laundry stripping requires hot water, so check each item’s care label first and be sure to use a free and clear detergent designed for sensitive skin.”

If hands do chap from the exercise, Dr. Walder says a drugstore lotion can alleviate irritation. “Don’t forget in this time of constant hand washing to liberally apply a good thick hand cream such as CeraVe Moisturizing Cream ($15) or Eucerin Roughness Relief ($12) and really rub it in.” 

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