I Did the Top TikTok Cleaning Hack Every Day Last Week. Here's What Happened.
Both my home and TikTok feed have never been cleaner, but not every tip was a winner
As I write this, #CleanTok—a TikTok feed filled with home cleaning tips, hacks, and time-lapse videos—has over 40 billion views. In a recent OnePoll survey of 2,000 U.S. residents, 45 percent of respondents admitted to watching these “oddly satisfying” videos on a weekly basis.
Ice Makes the Garbage Disposal Nice
The hack: Clean out the gunk inside a garbage disposal with nothing but ice. Fill the sink with ice, and stuff it in the garbage disposal. Run the cold water and turn on the disposal. It will appear clogged up and then it’ll spit out what looks like a dirty slushy (presumably all the grossness clinging to the inside of your grinder).
I tried it: Full disclosure, my garbage disposal is pretty new, but I use it often. It seems to have worked, though my garbage disposal wasn’t nearly as nasty as many of the ones I’ve seen on TikTok. It smelled fresher afterward.
CR’s take: I wrote about how to clean your garbage disposal in 2020 and this was more or less the same advice. Add 1 teaspoon of bleach if you want to also sanitize the garbage disposal; just don’t add it along with the ice. “You wouldn’t want any bleach splashing up,” says Larry Ciufo, who oversees CR’s garbage disposal lab testing. “Mix the bleach with water, and pour it into the garbage disposer first. And use a cap or cover over the opening for protection anytime you’re using bleach.” If a smell still haunts you, it’s probably coming from food buildup on the splash guard, so be sure to clean that, too.
Wash Your Shower With a Dishwashing Wand
The hack: Fill a dishwashing wand with Dawn dish soap (and a little vinegar, which is optional). Scrub your shower each day while you shower to maintain cleanliness and prevent soap scum from building up.
I tried it: Easy enough task, and I’m now convinced that there is nothing Dawn can’t clean. Plus, it gives me something to do while I’m waiting for my hair conditioner or face mask to do its thing. I also personally prefer this method over spritzing those special shower-cleaning sprays after each shower because I don’t inadvertently get a cleaning product on my body post-rinse.
CR’s take: You can add the vinegar to the mix if your shower doesn’t have natural stone tiles, such as marble, and grout, both of which can be damaged by abrasive ingredients like vinegar. But the acidic nature of vinegar makes it an excellent descaler—it’ll help keep those pesky white marks on your glass doors at bay.
Scrub the Cooktop With Common Kitchen Ingredients
The hack: To remove burnt food and hard-to-remove marks from cooking on a glass cooktop, sprinkle baking soda on the stain, and drizzle white vinegar on it to make a paste. Rub with a brush or sponge.
I tried it: Honestly, this worked better than the cooktop cleaning spray I have. I used a cooktop-safe scrubber sponge and did these steps twice to remove a baked-on ring from my induction cooktop.
CR’s take: “Baking soda and vinegar are safe to use on most cooktops,” says Tara Casaregola, who leads CR’s range testing. She also advises leaving the paste on for 15 minutes or so before wiping it off so you don’t need to repeat the steps (like I had to). And Casaregola says not to hesitate to do this often. “If you leave residue every time you cook, it’ll just keep building up and make it harder to clean,” she says. That’s especially true for sugar-based foods, such as chocolate and tomato sauce, because their molecules can bond to the glass as they cool, marring the top layer.
Spiff Up the Faucet
The hack: This video, set to the trending audio clip of a sage voice explaining that the best way to keep a clean house is to not have a husband, kids, or pets, shows us a hack for removing water stains from a stainless-steel faucet handle: Soak a microfiber cloth in vinegar and wrap it around a faucet for an hour.
I tried it: Sure, leaving vinegar on my faucet handle for 1 hour removed hard water stains, but so does simply wiping it clean with an all-purpose spray. Living without my husband, kid, and dog, however, worked like a charm and cut my overall cleaning by maybe 92 percent.
CR’s take: This TikTok tip is good if you need to dissolve lime deposits, which often build up on chrome bathroom fittings. But depending on the material of your faucet and countertop, the acidic vinegar could be doing more harm than good. If you have copper, aluminum, or low-grade stainless steel faucets, or natural stone countertops, skip the vinegar and use a commercial descaler instead. Simply cleaning a chrome faucet is a much easier task. Remove marks with a soft cloth or a sponge dipped in water and dishwashing liquid. Dry with a soft, clean cloth to restore the shine.
Prevent Dust Buildup
The hack: Combine 2 cups water, ¼ cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3 drops dish soap, and 6 drops citrus essential oil in a spray bottle. Spritz the solution on a microfiber cloth and wipe down your hard surfaces once a month. The claim is this helps repel dust, but I can’t see how.
I tried it: There is a lot of heavy-duty street construction happening outside my apartment, so things get dusty fast around here. I cleaned off a glass table near the window and applied this concoction to half of it. It left my table streaked, but time will tell if it repels dust.
CR’s take: There’s a reason we don’t use olive oil to maintain wood cutting boards—it turns rancid. And again with the vinegar. The acid could damage your countertops, flooring, and furniture, depending on the material you’re applying this solution to. Do you know what doesn’t, though? An air purifier recommended by CR. Plus, these have been proved in the lab to capture errant dust particles before they have a chance to land on your surfaces.
Steam Clean the Furniture
The hack: In between deep cleaning your upholstered furniture, dampen and heat up a microfiber cloth, spray it with Pine-Sol multi-surface cleaner, and wrap it around a pot lid. Rub it in circles along the fabric to clean it.
I tried it: My sofa is new, so I tried this on a vintage chair that I’ve been meaning to get reupholstered. I don’t think the hack really helped clean the upholstery at all, and the steamed Pine-Sol made me sick—like, really sick.
CR’s take: The Pine-Sol cleaner’s safety data sheet says “exposure to vapor or mist may irritate respiratory tract.” So maybe heating the stuff up isn’t the best idea. (And yes, I should have checked before blindly following a TikTok video.) Some TikTokkers even go so far as to boil the Pine-Sol on the stove first. Please, please, please don’t do this. “I would never use Pine-Sol on upholstery at all,” says Bernie Deitrick, who oversees CR’s testing of upholstery cleaners. “It’s a bit more of an investment, but a portable Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner would actually clean your upholstered furniture.”