5 Viral Cleaning Hacks That Are Actually Legit, According to Experts
Add them to your must-try list.
They say you shouldn't believe everything you read online, but sometimes the internet actually delivers the goods. Social media, in particular, is rich with cleaning shortcuts, hacks, and tips that you might not have thought of yourself. To help navigate which are legit, we asked three cleaning gurus to weigh in on five cleaning hacks are worth your time.
Using WD40 to Fingerprint-Proof Your Stainless Steel
Stainless steel appliances are notorious for being prone to smudges and fingerprints. Basically, the natural oils produced by your skin adheres to the surface and eventually dulls the shine. Apparently, a little WD40 can solve this woe.
“Since WD40 contains a solvent, it's a great degreaser and breaks down oil buildup. It’s not only good at removing fingerprints from stainless steel, but also works to prevent them,” explains Stapf. “Spray surfaces with a light coating of WD40, then wipe it off in the direction of the steel grain. Use a soft cloth to avoid streaking and leave surfaces sparkling.”
It should remain smudge-proof for about two weeks!
DIYing a Custom-Cut Sponge for Window Tracks
It’s super frustrating to see a dirty spot but not have the ability to get it as clean as you want. Is that not always the case with window tracks? This TikTok hack, which uses an easy, custom-cut sponge technique, seems to have solved the issue.
“Take a basic kitchen sponge, place it on the window track, mark with a marker where each raised part of the track is, cut slits into the sponge with a box cutter, and voila,” says David Flax, vice president of operations at Window Genie. “If your tracks are especially dirty, make two sponges so you can run a damp and then dry sponge over the area for a thorough clean.”
He says you can also add diluted dish soap—or your favorite all-purpose cleaner—to the wet sponge for an extra anti-grime boost.
Salt, Vinegar, and Ice to Clean Your Kettle
Over time, your tea kettle will accumulate mineral deposits in the form of a hard, white, cloudy film coating. It’s technically harmless, but mineral deposits aren’t very pretty to look at and it can even impact the taste of your water. Fortunately, the fix is pretty simple.
TikTok user @carilina.mccauley created a two-ingredient hack that takes basically zero effort on your part. Simply combine about one or two cups of ice with one cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of iodized salt, then let the mixture set for 30 minutes. (If you have a lot of caked-on minerals and limescale, waiting longer will help soften the film.)
“Vinegar is one of the most popular, eco-friendly and versatile cleaning staples around, so vinegar would work to clean surfaces such as the inside of a kettle,” says Stapf. In addition, salt and ice’s mildly abrasive quality helps de-gunk.
Using Ice Cubes to De-Stink a Garbage Disposal
Ever get a whiff of something nasty wafting up from your garbage disposal? It’s a breeding ground for mildew, old food, and dishwashing scum. Even though it’s out of sight, your disposal should get a thorough cleaning about once a week.
There are many hacks out there, but not all deliver. TikTok users found one that does, and it’s super simple: just stuff it with ice, let it run for about 10 seconds, then turn on the hot water until the ice is all dissolved.
“The combination of a lot of ice and hot water while running your garbage disposal will clean stuck-on food and grime from the drain, taking the smell with it,” says Jennie Varney, brand manager of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company. “This is one of those tried-and-true cleaning hacks that can be customized in a few ways. We like the addition of lemon peels to the ice cubes, as lemon is a natural odor fighter and will leave your sink smelling fresh.”
You might have recently seen those deeply satisfying videos of people’s laundry soaking in a tub of murky water. That’d be laundry stripping, a hack made famous by TikTok user @mrslaurenelms that took the world by storm.
“Laundry stripping is a deep-cleaning technique that helps remove remaining residue from clothes, towels, and bed sheets,” says Leanne Stapf, chief marketing officer of The Cleaning Authority. “Essentially, laundry stripping is supposed to get rid of any leftover detergent, fabric softener, minerals from hard water, and natural body oils that have collected on textiles over time.”
To pull it off, fill your bathtub (or a sink or large bucket) with hot water. Add borax, washing soda (sodium carbonate), and laundry detergent in a 1:1:2 ratio and mix well, then submerge your clothes. Sheets, towels, and gym clothes—think stuff that’s really subjected to wear and tear—are a great place to start. Let it soak until the water has cooled, stirring about once an hour to release the buildup on the fabric.
“After, drain the water and then throw your clothes, towels, or sheets through a rinse-only cycle in your washing machine. Finish with a light tumble dry without dryer sheets,” says Stapf.