Cleaning is a task that most people have traditionally hated doing. But in 2021, the internet generation have done a complete 180 on their attitudes to cleaning with the weird and unexpected advent of ‘CleanTok’ – the cleaning side of the hugely popular video sharing app TikTok.

As of May 2021, videos tagged with #CleanTok have received a ridiculous 13,600,000,000 views, and this number is only continuing to grow.

What’s the big deal?

The phenomenon of viral cleaning videos may seem to have come out of nowhere, but there is one uniting reason why they hold such a special place in people’s hearts.

Cleaning videos partially owe their success to COVID-19, or more specifically, the multiple lockdowns caused by the pandemic[1]. People, young and old, have been forced to spend a lot more time in their homes, and cleaning is a way to kill time that just… makes sense. Once the surface level tidying, laundry and dusting is done, people have found themselves wanting to do more. And with the ever-growing popularity of TikTok, homeowners, students and even children have decided to document their cleaning journeys for the rest of the world to see.

So, people are basically making these videos because they’re bored.

But that doesn’t explain why people want to watch others de-grease their ovens and limescale treat their toilets. If you end up on CleanTok, you have a 90% chance of landing in a video watching rabbit hole that you’ll only be able to escape after 5 hours, and even then, you’ll only leave to attempt the cleaning hacks you’ve seen. People love to watch others turn make something dirty turn sparkly and shiny because it’s incredibly satisfying.

Watching other people organise soothes the mind and soul, and there is scientific evidence that shows the benefits of keeping clean, tidy and organised.

  • In a 2009 study, researchers found people with cluttered homes showed increased signs of depressive moods[2].
  • A 2011 Princeton University study showed clutter makes it more difficult to concentrate[3].

Watching videos of other people organise and clean is a lazy way to get the same mood boost you’d receive if you did it yourself – with the added instant mental high of watching a TikTok (or 20).

Trend popularity

Cleaning hashtags on TikTok are fit to burst with hundreds of thousands of cleaning videos. These are just some of the top generic cleaning hashtags on TikTok (by number of views).

Top Cleaning Hashtags 2021

These hashtags don’t even consider the popularity of specific trends which people are addicted to watching. For example, #poolcleaning is an insanely popular category of video on the platform, having received over 597.3M views so far.

Bizarrely, people are also obsessed with watching people get their toilets sparkly and clean. The topic #toiletcleaning has gained 95.5M views so far and views are still rocketing. Here are some types of cleaning videos which are currently the most popular in terms of views.

Popular Video Types

Top TikTok cleaning hacks

As you can probably tell by now, cleaning content on TikTok is extremely popular. A large part of this popularity is not only down to the pure satisfaction you can get from watching someone else clean, but it has been spurred on by the hundreds of cleaning hacks, tips and tricks that people are sharing on the platform. From making oven cleaning a breeze to getting stains out of even the highest quality rugs in a flash, if you have something to clean, the CleanTok community has your back.

We’ve scoured the depths of cleaning TikTok to find the top 10 cleaning hacks which you’ll wish you knew years ago.

#1 Laundry stripping

1.8M Likes

Laundry stripping has become a firm favourite on TikTok. It is basically a method of aggressively cleaning fabric items to get rid of deep-set dirt, dust and fabric softener build up.

As demonstrated in the video below, to strip your laundry you’ll need a large container (a bathtub works best) which is filled with warm water. Then, add a mixture of  Borax, washing powder and laundry detergent in a 2:1:1 ratio. Once this concoction has been mixed up, you need to add the items you want to deep-clean. This could be a pillow, towels, rugs, or in this case - hats.

@ericagrem

stripping my dads sweaty hats ? best thing I’ve done in a while #cleaning #laundrystriping #cleaningtiktok #fyp

♬ original sound - Erica Gremminger

You’ll quickly begin to see the water turn a gross shade of brown as excess dirt is lifted from the fabric. Leave it to soak, give it a rinse and repeat if needed.

#2 Getting paint out of your carpet

960K Likes

Carpet cleaning is certainly satisfying to watch, especially when you’re not the one doing it! We’ve all experienced a moment of horror after spilling something on the carpet, and when this TikToker spilt paint, her husband swooped in with the perfect cleaning hack.

All it involves is hot water, a bucket and a shop vac (a wet/dry vacuum cleaner).

This is definitely one that’s worth remembering - especially for when you have an ‘oops’ moment with a tin of paint and your best quality rug.

#3 Cleaning your sinks plughole

3.5M Likes

Over time, sinks can start to give off a strong, disgusting smell. If you’ve tried every drain unblocking hack under the sun and the smell still persists, this might be where you’re going wrong.

It’s a little known fact that the top of most kitchen sink plugholes actually unscrew. And the dirt, grime and food residue that you find lurking underneath can be pretty awful.

@cleanwithmekayleighx

✨ thank you @cleaningwithnaomix for the tip! this was so gross. I was really going to throw up.. #clean #cleaninghacks #schoonmaaktips #FYP #foryou

♬ origineel geluid - Kayleigh Derbyshire ✨?

Once it’s been unscrewed, bleach, The Pink Stuff and a toothbrush are all you’ll need to get it shining and hopefully rid your sink of bad smells.

#4 Cleaning stains off your stovetop

3M Likes

Modern electric and induction stoves certainly look stylish, but they are an absolute pain to keep clean and shiny.

If you’ve ‘burnt’ water onto your stovetop you might think it’s just normal wear and tear, and that you’ll have to live with it forever. But with harsh oven cleaner and some patience, your stovetop has the potential to look brand new.

Remember to be super careful when using oven cleaner and don’t let it touch your skin. Most domestic oven cleaners contain very harmful chemicals.

#5 Make your faucet shiny again

2.3M Likes

Go to your kitchen or bathroom and take a minute to look at your taps – specifically where the water comes out from. If it is white or “calcified”, you might find that no amount of scrubbing can get your taps shiny again.

But with a toothbrush, white vinegar, a Ziploc bag and some patience, your taps can be shiny once more.

This hack is great for removing tough water stains and doesn't involve any harsh chemicals.


[1] https://www.reviewthis.com/house-cleaning-videos/

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19934011/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19934011/