Laundry Stripping

June 8, 2014

Stripping Detergent Residue


Commercials detergents can leave a residue on your fabrics that attract more dirt and make stain removal difficult. The residue also makes the clothes feel stiffer. Commercial fabric softener only adds to the problem with more chemical residue. When you switch to soap based laundry products, you will get a better result if you strip that residue from your fabrics.


The first step is to clean your washing machine to eliminate any residue that’s inside the machine and dispensers. Distilled white vinegar is an excellent way to clean your machine and remove chemical residue and mineral build-up. This is especially important if you have untreated hard water.

Top Load:

  • Start by setting your washer to its hottest temperature, highest capacity and longest cycle.

  • Add four cups of white vinegar to the hot water, close the lid and allow it to agitate for several minutes.

  • Open the lid (so the machine stops) and allow it to sit for an hour.


While the solution goes to work, it’s time to tackle the exterior of the washer as well as the fabric softener and bleach dispensers. Dip a cloth in the vinegar solution and wring it out. Wipe down the exterior, lid and control panel, taking care to not get it too wet. Carefully remove the bleach dispenser and wipe down around this area where scum and dirt tends to collect. Rinse your cloth and remove the softener reservoir from the agitator and wipe the exterior and interior of it as well. Close the lid and allow the washer to complete its cycle.


Front Load:

  • Select the hot water setting. If your machine does not have a hot water setting, then select a “white” or a “stain” cycle setting.

  • Select the “extra rinse” option if your washer has that choice.

  • Add ¾ cup of white vinegar to the bleach dispenser or fill to its max level.

  • Allow the cycle to run until it has completed.

  • To ensure that no vinegar remains in your washer, manually select an additional rinse cycle if your washer does not have a 2nd rinse cycle selection.


After you have finished washing the interior of the washer, it’s time to clean the bleach and fabric softener dispensers. These can be easily cleaned by simply removing and washing in warm, soapy water to remove any residue. Dry them thoroughly before reinserting them. The rubber seal on the door is a perfect hiding place for mold and mildew. Carefully pull back the gasket and inspect to see if you have mold or mildew. Carefully wipe down the area with white vinegar and a soft, white cleaning cloth. Dry thoroughly with a clean cloth to prevent any moisture build-up.

After cleaning these three zones, you can wipe down the exterior and control panel with a gentle all-purpose cleaning spray to remove any dust and dirt buildup. Maintaining a clean washer and eliminating the stinky laundry issue is easy – be sure to leave the door open to prevent moisture build-up in between loads and clean it inside and out every month.


Fabric Stripping:


  • Fill your washing machine with hot water and add shredded castile soap.

  • Add ½ distilled white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser.

  • Add clothes and let soak for 30 minutes before starting the wash cycle.

  • Observe the final rinse to see if any suds remain. Repeat the rinse cycle (adding vinegar each time) until the final rinse water is clear.


When removing items from the washing machine, they will smell like vinegar. This smell will be gone when the items dry. 


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