Three TikTok Cleaning Hacks You Should Skip—and One Worth Trying

Clean With Me videos are fun to watch, but most of the methods shown are wasteful at best and hazardous at worst. Learn which CleanTok trends you should skip.

The visual nature of ultra-popular video platform TikTok has given rise to a perhaps surprising trend: watching people clean. But these aren't your average cleaning projects! When you click on the #CleanTok hashtag or fall into a "Clean With Me" rabbit hole, you'll see videos featuring steaming hot water, cauldron-like mopping buckets in which cleaning product potions are made, and suds … lots and lots of suds.

These videos can be addicting, but should you actually try the cleaning methods you see on TikTok in your own home? With the help of experts, we analyzed three popular TikTok cleaning trends to avoid—plus one CleanTok method worth trying.

Tools for mopping wood floor
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Skip It: Stylish Laundry Room Displays

The Trend

The laundry-supplies-in-fanciful-apothecary-jars look that was popularized on Pinterest has seen a leveling-up on TikTok, where refill videos are popular for their ASMR and visually pleasing elements.

Why You Should Avoid It

In a word? Safety.

When detergent pods became widely available in 2012, poison control centers saw a significant uptick in calls involving the colorful packs, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a report calling exposure to the detergent in pods "an emerging public health hazard" for children under 6. In response, detergent makers redesigned laundry pod packaging with safety in mind—and you lose that child-proofing when you move the pods to easy-to-open (or even lidless) containers.

"As part of our commitment to safety, we have taken significant action to help make the laundry process safer for your family," says Jennifer Ahoni, a principal scientist on Procter & Gamble's fabric care team. Those safety measures include child-resistant packaging, warning labels, and storage instructions.

"Keeping laundry products in their original containers ensures that these safety measures protect you and your family from accidents," Ahoni says. Laundry product poisoning doesn't just affect children: Seniors, those with cognitive impairments, and pets are at-risk populations as well.

What to Do Instead

Prioritize safety over style or, as the American Cleaning Institute puts it in its laundry room safety campaign, #StoreNotDecor. Store laundry products in their original packaging, in high-up places and, if possible, in locked cabinets. It is also a smart idea to program the number for Poison Control into your phone so you have it if and when it's needed; it is 800-222-1222.

Skip It: Mopping with Detergent Pod "Brew"

The Trend

"Mop With Me" videos, in which elaborate cleaning concoctions involving everything from Tide Pods to Comet are mixed in steaming hot water to create a mopping solution, are wildly popular on TikTok.

Why You Should Avoid It

There are no good reasons to clean your floor this way, and several very good reasons to avoid it. Making a "brew" out of cleaning products designed for laundry, bathroom cleaning, or for use in major household appliances like dishwashers is costly, wasteful, time consuming, and dangerous. It will also ruin your floors.

From a safety perspective, there are two major risks associated with using cleaning products for unintended purposes. The first is that detergent packs are designed only for use in washing machines or dishwashers and contain highly concentrated liquid contents that can be harmful if they come into contact with skin, where it can cause irritation or, worse, be transferred to the eyes or mouth.

The second is that dangerous chemical reactions are common when mixing cleaning products that are not meant to be used together. To put it another way: Tempting though it may be, it is a very bad idea to play scientist with cleaning agents.

Using cleaning products in unintended ways can also cause damage to many surfaces, including and especially flooring. Hardwood and laminate floors should not be cleaned with any of the following: overly hot water, which dulls the finish and damages the wood; excessive or standing water, which can damage the finish and warp the boards; abrasive cleansers, which will scratch and dull the surface; or highly concentrated cleaning solutions, which will leave residue that contributes a dull appearance to the floor and which will attract dirt and dust particles.

Then, there is the issue of cost. Detergent packs cost about $0.30 each; scent beads are also quite costly, averaging upwards of $0.50 per dose. In contrast, premium brand commercial floor cleaners cost about $0.07 per dose. That means you could be spending more than three times as much to use a detergent pack than you would a floor cleaner, even before you've added in anything else.

What to Do Instead

Regular cleaning is the best way to keep hardwood or laminate floors shiny and spotless. Sweep or dry mop daily to clean floors of dust, dirt, and other debris that causes micro-scratching. Vacuum weekly for a deeper clean, being sure to adjust the vacuum's height for hard flooring to avoid damaging the floors. Wet mop high-traffic areas once a week or once every other week, and less trafficked areas once a month, using a commercial floor cleaner or, if you prefer a DIY floor cleaner, with a solution of 1 to 2 tablespoons of dish soap to 1 gallon of water.

Skip It: Putting a Bottle of Fabuloso in the Toilet Tank

The Trend

Slicing a bottle of Fabuloso, or other similar all-purpose cleaner, and placing it inside the toilet tank as an automatic bowl cleaner.

Why You Should Avoid It

No one wants a plumbing disaster.

There are two problems with placing a bottle of Fabuloso (or similar cleaning product) in the toilet tank. The first is a simple matter of displacement: The bottle will displace water that would have been in the tank, resulting in a less powerful flush. Without sufficient water power, especially in newer toilet models, the flush will be too weak to move waste through the pipes.

Using Fabuloso in a toilet tank will also lead to a longer-term plumbing problem. Over time, the chemicals found in Fabuloso and other similar cleaners will corrode plastic and rubber flush valve components, shortening their lifespan. (This is also true of products designed specifically for use in toilet tanks.)

What to Do Instead

Skip in-tank toilet cleaners entirely and use a toilet bowl cleaner and toilet brush to clean the bowl.

Try It: Clean Filters and Vents with a Vacuum

While many TikTok cleaning trends are wasteful at best and unsafe at worst, there are some that are worth adopting in your own home. One such technique is using a vacuum to clean filters and vents. Vacuum attachments for dusting that telescope out to get into hard-to-reach places can make a huge difference in the appearance and air quality in your home, and keeping vents and filters clean will help to reduce energy spending.

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