I Tried 10 TikTok Cleaning Hacks—Here’s What Worked and What Didn’t
Leave it to the #CleanTokkers! Their TikTok cleaning hacks will have your house sparkling in no time.
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You’ve heard of TikTok, but have you heard of #CleanTok, home to millions of TikTok cleaning hacks? Give the hashtag a search for seemingly endless housecleaning tips—you won’t be the only one watching. The #CleanTok hashtag has gotten some 71 billion views. It promises the secret to a cleaner, more organized home, and some of the tips on how to clean really rock (though some are best avoided).
In an ongoing effort to find new and exciting ways to keep my humble abode spotless with a cleaning schedule, I’ve spent endless hours watching delightful and sometimes cringe-worthy TikTok cleaning hacks. I innocently started by looking up how to clean a bathroom, and two hours later had bookmarked 22 new ideas … but hadn’t done much in the way of actual cleaning. Oops.
This week, I decided to put those bookmarked suggestions to the test while doing my much-needed spring cleaning. The tips below are either viral, niche or just plain genius. They may not all apply to you, but after all this research, I’m convinced there’s something in here for everyone. No. 10 is especially exciting around this house. Read on and see.
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Get sparkling cutlery with a ball of foil
The hack: Add a ball of aluminum foil to your cutlery basket in the dishwasher. When you run the load, your forks and knives will come out shinier.
I love my dishwasher and am endlessly pushing it to its limits. (Anything to avoid hand-washing dishes, right?) When I came across a video from Avisha NessAiver (aka @distilledscience) explaining that adding aluminum foil to my dishwasher would make my silverware look even cleaner, I was in.
Does it work? Yes, and I love it. This was so simple and makes a noticeable difference. In an effort to be eco- and cost-conscious, I went with a piece of foil that I’d used and rinsed, and I left one ball in there for three loads before replacing it. During the wash cycle, the foil oxidizes the soap detergents and causes an ion exchange, making the soap work better. That’s the scientific way of saying the reaction lifts tarnish like a charm.
Clean the air fryer the easy way
The hack: Run your air fryer with some water and dish soap—no scrubbing required!
The first time I encountered an air fryer, I was pretty skeptical that I would ever use it. Cut to today, and it’s one of my favorite tools. But wow, oh wow, does it get messy. So when I saw this viral TikTok cleaning hack from @hello_happy_mom, I went right to the machine to try it out. Well, first I heated some pizza, then I tried it. Had to make sure it really needed a cleaning, right?
Does it work? Yes, this not only cleaned my air fryer in minutes but also smelled nice while it was working. If you haven’t tried this yet, go air-fry something, wait until the machine is cool and let the magic begin.
Remove tomato stains
The hack: With a few steps, a few common cleaners and some time, you can lift tomato stains.
Start by removing any remaining bits of tomato (but avoid grinding it in any further). A soft brush or slightly damp cloth works. Lay the fabric on a clean, dry towel and treat the stain with a mixture of one part warm water and one part 5% acidity distilled white vinegar. Add a few drops of dish soap to the mix—Dawn dish detergent is a good choice. Work it into the stain, let it rest for at least 15 minutes (but longer is better) and then wash the item in cold water.
If the stain remains (and it might), spray liberally with Puracy, which contains amylase, an enzyme that breaks down tomato and chocolate stains. Let it sit for at least one hour and up to 24 hours—the longer the better—then wash it again.
If after that you’re still staring at a slight stain, it’s on to step No. 3: Create a solution of OxiClean and hot water in a bucket and soak the item overnight. The next day, wash the item again in cold water.
Remember that pizza I heated up in the air fryer? Well, I also lost a bit of the sauce to my white linen tablecloth, which meant I had to find a way to get that stain out, pronto. I knew everyone’s favorite TikTok dry cleaner, @jeeves_NY, would know a way to save the day. The tablecloth had soaked up that stain in an instant. I did have to use all three steps to get it back to its glory, but it was worth the work. I also might re-think having white linen on the kitchen table. It looks so chic, but this is the price I pay.
Does it work? Let’s be frank: Tomato stains are hard to remove. There isn’t a magical solution, but if you do this, you should have pretty satisfying results. Yes, it took a while, but my tablecloth was saved, and the cost of cleaning it didn’t break the bank.
Say “so long” to soap scum
The hack: Keep a long-handled squeegee in the shower. Use it daily to quickly clean your glass shower doors of moisture and prevent soap scum. It’ll make it easier to keep the sparkle between power cleanings.
If you’re like me and have a glass shower door, this is a simple solution to those unsightly hard-water stains. There are also a lot of cute squeegees out there with a variety of ways to hang them up.
Does it work? I love this logical tip from TikTok cleaning queen Vanessa Amaro. Her page is an absolute gold mine of tips. As for this, it absolutely does make this chore a bit less taxing. Work smarter, not harder.
The hack: Use the heat from a blow-dryer to loosen price stickers on new items.
Do you leave stickers on the bottom of items because it’s a pain to try to remove them? I sure do. I’ve tried soaking and scraping with my nails, and using old-fashioned Goo Gone, and while those do work, they take an eternity to remove the full sticker. If there’s a possibility that I can save time on a frustrating task, you better believe I’m going to break out the blow-dryer and give it a whirl. When I saw this tip from @donniesakmad on my FYP (that’s TikTok speak for “for you page”), I did just that.
I opted to use the dryer on low to start, waving it over the sticker from about six inches away for 30 seconds, or until the sticker was a bit translucent. The most stubborn stickers came off with a light wipe of a lint-free cloth, and there was no residue. Where has this hack been all my life? This worked on glass, dishwasher-safe plastic, a few planters and the sole of a pair of (non-leather) shoes.
Does it work? Yes, but with a caveat: You need to make sure the item you’re blow-drying is heat resistant. If it is, this hack is so much easier than alternative cleaning methods. In the parlance of the site, 10/10.
Clean horizontal blinds
The hack: Secure two sponges to the ends of a pair of tongs, then pinch and swipe across horizontal blinds to clean.
Thankfully, my days of having horizontal blinds are behind me, but I was still intrigued by this idea from @jillcomesclean. So I took some sponges and tongs to a friend’s apartment to try it out. I dutifully sliced into the end of each sponge, wet them, squeezed them out and slid the tongs inside. I was ready to put my cleaning contraption to use. It seemed kind of fun, ya know?
Does it work? Sure, it works. But to be completely honest, this is maybe a little silly. If you don’t have the patience for it, try closing the blinds and just using a cleaning mitt or dust rag to clean, then reversing the direction of the blinds and doing it again.
Steam-clean the sofa
The hack: Add a laundry soap pod to gently simmering water and let it dissolve. Then wrap a clean cloth around a pot lid, dip it in the soapy water and run it over your couch as a homemade steam cleaner.
I’m a bit of a fanatic about keeping my sofa clean. I would absolutely drape it in plastic if that wasn’t so cringe, so this TikTok cleaning hack from @cleaningwithgabie had me heading to the kitchen to get things going. A four-quart pot lid seemed to be best, so I grabbed one and a laundry pod, then got to work.
Does it work? Yes. If your couch is flat and covered in a smooth (or moderately smooth) cloth, this is a dream. You’ll need to keep everyone and everything off it until it’s completely dry, though. And be warned: If your couch has buttons (like mine does) or you have a shedding pet (which I do), this is going to be less effective and more work than using a hand-held vacuum, some Febreze and a lint roller made for pet fur.
Replying to @gypzymike I looked at my team like they were crazy when they suggested potatoes! Apparently potato juices + the abrasiveness of salt make for an EXCELLENT rust removal remedy on steel! And I have to get my armor ready for this weekend’s #imcf #amcf #amcfworldqualifier this weekend in #nashville !!! #buhurt #armoredcombat #knight #knightinrustyarmor #potato #cleaning #rust #swordfighting #rennie #hmb #armor
The hack: Use a potato and some salt as a natural way to scrub rust from anything in your kitchen.
As the author of two cookbooks about cast iron, I feel like I’ve tested every possible method for removing rust. When this new-to-me TikTok cleaning hack popped up, I had to give it a try. Though @demeteorite is cleaning steel in the video, I tested the trick out on a cast-iron pan, a carbon steel knife and the drain in my sink, which is constantly getting a ring of rust. Consider this your reminder to clean your kitchen sink!
Does it work? First, I have to say, please just dry things, and they won’t rust in the first place. But if they do, and if all you have on hand is a potato and some salt, this can make a dent in your problem. Be prepared to spend time—a lot of time—on this, though.
I would rather use my tried-and-true Iron Out Rust Stain Remover on the sink and almost anything else on cast iron. The potato method is too much work. The only time I would opt for this hack is if I wanted to punish the kiddos and didn’t have any silver that needs polishing. (I’m kidding!)
Time your cleaning
The hack: Divide your cleaning chores into 15-minute increments, and make cleaning less intimidating, by setting a timer.
I’m always game to try new things, and this little idea from K.C. Davis (known as @domesticblisters on TikTok) is a clever hack. If you find your home gets a bit out of control at times—or all the time—give it a try. Mind you, this isn’t meant for deep cleans. But it may help when your space is feeling less than tidy.
Set a timer for 15 minutes and just go for it. Pick up, clean up, fold, dust, vacuum—whatever. It’s a way to make things less daunting.
Does it work? This hack didn’t really work for me because I prefer doing things a bit more methodically. That said, it certainly helps with getting organized, and that always feels nice.
Brighten white tennis shoes
The hack: Use Salon Care 40 Volume Creme to clean and brighten the soles of white tennis shoes.
Talk about good timing: I was getting my hair done when I came across what has become one of my favorite TikTok cleaning hacks. Not only that, but I was wearing my favorite (formerly white, then yellow-ish) tennis shoes. My stylist is always game for fun, so after I showed her the TikTok video, she grabbed the Salon Care 40 Volume Creme, and we went to town.
The product is a professional hair lightener—its star ingredient is hydrogen peroxide—which meant my salon had it on hand. But you can easily order it from beauty supply stores. In the TikTok video, @1lonecheeto uses it to clean dingy white kicks.
First I cleaned off the bottom of the shoes with a Clorox wipe. The salon was well ventilated, and my stylist was wearing gloves when we swiped it on in a thick layer with a paper towel. Almost immediately, the shoes were white again. A gentle rinse with a damp white towel, a few minutes of drying and they were good to go. A word to the wise: Take care to get the cream only on the soles. If it does get on the leather, wipe it away with a damp white cloth.
In the TikTok video, she put on three coats with a paintbrush, wrapped the soles of the shoes in plastic, and let them cure in the sun, but that didn’t seem necessary for my shoes. If the yellowing had been worse, a paintbrush would have helped with the application, but for light discoloration, a paper towel works in a flash.
Did it work? A thousand times yes. This was science in action, and it’s the best hack on this list by far. Try it and be amazed. Try it and be amazed at how hydrogen peroxide can not only make you a blonde but can also make your shoes look like new. As a bonus, it removes odors and disinfects.
The fun of TikTok cleaning hacks
Look, nobody is going to say cleaning is their all-time favorite activity. But my takeaway from all this testing is that cleaning can be fun, and the science is pretty fascinating. That could be the gateway to making it more interesting for your kids too.
There will always be someone coming up with new ways to clean, and I’m here for all of them. A cleaner home with less effort? Count me in.