The fascinating art of 'stripping' your clothes and other COVID cleaning tips
"Stripping" your clean workout gear in a mixture of Tide, Borax and laundry soda releases layers of build up, body oils and skin cells. (Amber Hooper)
CALGARY -- Pandemic-related isolation has Canadians spending countless hours in their homes — and many people are realizing their living quarters are not nearly as clean as they once thought them to be.
Cue Sarah McAllister, the director of Go Clean Co, who has assumed the role of general in her own cleaning army.
Since pausing the residential cleaning company in mid-March due to COVID-19, the Calgary-based business ramped up its online presence and quickly amassed around 100,000 Instagram followers.
McAllister calls cleaning "a lost art" and she shares her simple deep-cleaning tips to help people feel in control during the pandemic.
Sarah McAllister is the director of Go Clean Co in Calgary. (Submitted by Sarah McAllister)
"The feedback we get from people is that it's helping them stay calm. They can't really control anything right now besides keeping their house and space disinfected and clean, and that makes them feel good," she said.
McAllister offered several tips to kickstart your "quaranclean."
Stripping your laundry
Clean clothes fresh out of the washing machine are secretly hiding deeply embedded layers of dirt, hard water buildup, fabric softener, body oils and skin cells that get stuck in your clothes through washing.
Stripping workout gear starts with putting clean clothes in the tub and adding the stripping mixture. (Amber Hooper)
A multi-hour soaking in a combination of Tide, Borax and laundry soda makes for a fascinating, and horrifying laundry experiment.
"It's magic," McAllister said.
- ¼ cup Borax
- ½ cup Laundry soda (can use baking soda if necessary)
- ¼ cup Calgon laundry soap (optional)
- Generous scoop of Tide powdered laundry detergent
- Hot, hot water.
Sort clothes by colour and soak the loads in the sink or bathtub for four to six hours, stirring every hour. Then drain and wash in a regular washing machine cycle.
Several hours after stripping workout clothes, and the tub is full of nightmares. (Amber Hooper)
"The reason why people don't strip is because you don't have time. It's a long process, it takes a while, but it's actually really fun."
McAllister said stripping also works on bedding, towels, gym clothes, shoes, even hockey equipment.
McAllister is a firm believer in the cleaning power of a simple concoction made up of hot water, bleach and Tide powdered laundry detergent.
The bleach kills bacteria and viruses, while the Tide pulls dirt out.
"That stuff can clean a bathtub, it can clean a shower, it can clean a wall, it can clean countertops, it cleans floors — it's the best floor cleaner we've ever used," she said.
In the time of COVID-19, McAllister said people should be bleaching the high-touch areas of their home every 24 hours.
High touch areas include kitchen handles, light switches, corners of the walls, all door knobs, the handles on your toilet and faucets.
McAllister uses a mixture of one teaspoon each of bleach and Tide and four cups of hot water. She said her concoction recipes are based on recommendations from the Centre for Disease Control.
"To properly disinfect, you have to have a certain dilution process of bleach to make it work … it actually has to sit on surfaces for 10 minutes before it evaporates in order for it to kill anything."
When it comes to groceries, McAllister recommends leaving them in the garage and using the same cleaning concoction to wipe down all of the packaging, letting them sit for 10 minutes while the bleach evaporates before you bring them into your house. If the bleach fully evaporates before the 10-minute time is up, do it again.
"Your groceries are filthy, which is really creepy," she said.
Dirtiest place in your house
The things in your house that help you clean also need to be cleaned too.
"The dirtiest places in your home, hands down, are always your dishwasher and your washing machine," McAllister said.
"That's where you put things to get cleaned, so if you think of the theory behind that, it's disgusting."
The seal of front-loading washing machines need to be cleaned thoroughly as they are prone to moulding. There is also a trap door on the front that contains a hose and filter "where your socks go to die" that needs to be cleaned every month, according to the manual.
"Most dishwashers also have filters that unscrew and those are usually slimy swamps when we clean them in people's houses," she said.
Bleach is the only thing you should use to clean the dishwasher as other cleaning products could foam up during the wash cycle, leaving a mess.
McAllister warns her followers about the dangers of mixing cleaning products, saying bleach shouldn't be mixed with anything other than water.
"Water, bleach and Tide, anything else, I need an ambulance ride," she said.
Home deep clean
McAllister said now is the time people should be deep cleaning their entire homes — clean baseboards, wash walls, clean light fixtures, organize your kitchen and declutter your closets.
"Life is going to start again, so why not set yourself up for success when it does," she said.
Her advice is to tackle things that stress you out, one room at a time, and to know which products are safe to use on the surfaces of your home.
"I might not have a business after this, I'm teaching (my cleaning army) to do all this stuff but I don't care because it makes me really happy to know people's houses are clean."