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Testing viral TikTok cleaning hacks to see if they actually work

Charles the Butler reviews which methods are worth trying!
January 20, 2022 10:01 a.m. EST
January 20, 2022 10:01 a.m. EST

You can find everything on TikTok. Whether you're looking for a delicious but oh so simple recipe to whip up in a flash or seeking out relationship advice, this social media platform has taken the world by storm when it comes to simple, everyday hacks—including cleaning tips. We wanted to put these #CleanTok hacks to the test, so we called upon Charles the Butler for help. Can you clean a burnt baking sheet with a detergent pod? Is it possible to clean your faucet with a plastic bag, vinegar, and a rubber band? Keep reading to see whether these TikTok trends are genius or just not worth your time, and what Charles recommends instead.

Use a dish detergent pod to clean burnt baking sheets

What if you could rejuvenate a baking sheet without any elbow grease? According to a TikTok that recently went viral, you absolutely can — and you probably already have the necessary supplies on hand. In the video, the creator puts a dishwasher detergent pod in the center of a dirty baking sheet, then pours boiling water over it. As the hot, soapy water spreads along with the sheet, they add hydroperoxide, and then oven cleaner, and the baked-on food residue lifts from the baking sheet, rendering it totally clean. So does it work? 

This hack is just way too complicated. For the dishwasher pod, there just isn't enough of that detergent or power to really scrub this sheet clean. Charles recommends using vinegar and baking soda or hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to get the burnt residue off properly. Let the mixture sit on the baking sheet for a few hours, and then scrub it down with a steel pad. 

A "lazy" way to clean your shower

Referred to as "the best cleaning hack of your life," this tip is to keep a scrubbing brush in the shower filled with equal parts dish soap and vinegar. The "genius hack" part comes from storing the brush physically in the shower, pre-filled with her recommended cleaning solution. This way, you can scrub the tub while you’re waiting for your conditioner to set. In the video, this all happens in 30 seconds, and it gives you the very effective impression that that's how long it can take you, too, to clean your shower. 

With this hack, your soap mixture will be ready to go as soon as you step inside, and the brush makes cleaning a breeze. Sure, your tub might not get the deepest clean ever, but this is an awesome way to keep it in shape between deep cleans. Plus, it’ll also delay the necessity of having to get into the nitty-gritty cracks and crevices.

Break down rust in faucets

It looks like the internet has found yet another thing many have been forgetting to clean: the kitchen faucet. The viral TikTok video shows all you need to get your faucet squeaky clean is a plastic bag, vinegar, and a rubber band. Fill the bag with vinegar and dip your faucet in the bag, secure it with a rubber band to let it sit for an hour to break down the calcium, lime, and rust. 

To be honest, this hack is not a great idea. Vinegar is an acid so it could potentially damage the faucet. The first thing you need to do is check with this manufacturer to see if this will work on your faucet without causing any damage. If the calcium and lime build-up is really strong, then Charles recommends a lime-calcium chemical product you can buy in-store to be able to get rid of it completely. Also, using a household item like a toothbrush tends to get rid of grime before it really builds up. So the takeaway here is that if you do it more often, then it's easier to clean and you end up doing less work. 

"Strip" your laundry

TikTok is all about laundry stripping but the concept is actually not new! The idea is to soak dingy or stained textiles or items that have retained an odour even after washing, in laundry detergent, a laundry booster, or a combination of both. In the viral TikTok, the soaking solution consists of a quarter cup of Borax, a quarter cup of baking soda, and one scoop of powder laundry detergent. Borax is a laundry booster that serves to leach out hard water minerals in fabrics, while laundry detergents contain surfactants and enzymes that will break down and remove soils that build up on fabrics. So we put it to the test and the results were not what we expected. 

A satisfyingly dark tub of water in a social media “reveal” is not just a buildup of dirt. It can include dye from the fabrics and even fibres lost during stripping. Also, the washing soda used in stripping can combine with deposits in hard water to create an additional residue on fabrics. Remember: what you put in needs to come out in the wash, so less is more. We say skip this trend and just wash your clothes normally. 

Clean your top-loading washer 

Ever wondered how to check out clean your top-loading washer is? In this viral TikTok, the hack is to pour boiling water in the soap dispenser, and you can see the residue of soap that comes out. 

Here's the truth: you do need to clean it but the mistake in this hack is using boiling water. The hot water could potentially damage the piece because it's not meant for that. Whether you have a top-loading or front-loading machine, soap does build up naturally so the best thing you can do is put the washing machine on, in the hottest cycle, no soap, no clothes and just let it run through. If you're concerned, you can also add some vinegar to it as well. But other than that, leave it alone! 

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