I’m obsessed with TikTok videos of people cleaning. Since the platform gave birth to a "CleanTok" community, TikTok has been a haven for cleaning enthusiasts or lazy people like me whose actual house is pretty messy, but I still love to watch and share videos of grubby homes being scrubbed to perfection. Is there anything more satisfying?
Clearly, I’m not the only one spending too many hours scrolling through the cleaning community of TikTok, since the #cleaninghacks hashtag has amassed a whopping three billion views, while #cleaningtips rakes in an extra 627.2million. Cleaning TikTok has become so popular, it’s close to replacing google for cleaning how-tos. Just a few days ago, I needed to unblock my sink and found myself asking TikTok before bothering with any search engines.
But not everything on the cleaning subcommunity of TikTok is exactly helpful, or even satisfying to watch. TikTok is filled up with quick cleaning hacks from people who are non-experts. And with that, comes some trouble. Some of the cleaning advice on the app is dangerous and potentially life-threatening, yet it goes unnoticed and is replicated by others who are not aware of the risks.
H2: Watch Out for Flammable Products
A popular cleaning video trend on TikTok is cleaning radiators. I can’t say I’ve ever been conscious of how clean my radiators are, but it’s obviously well sought after since there are 4.4 million views just on the #radiatorclean hashtag.
A tutorial that recently went viral involves using ‘Fabulosa shock can’ to remove the dust trapped inside the grills on their radiator by pouring the freshener inside them. The idea is that, eventually, the dust will fall onto the floor in a wet sludge, where it can be wiped up. But experts have warned that this radiator cleaning hack can cause explosions and serious injuries since the product is made up of flammable components and radiators are hot. It even says on the Fabulosa can that the product should not be used on hot surfaces.
One woman claimed she tried this trend and it created a ‘fireball’ in her home, resulting in an explosion. In a Facebook post, she wrote “Warning! If your thinking of using the shock can to clean out your radiators, DON’T. I did this today and somehow a massive fire ball explosion happened resulting in my windows being blown out and my both of my ankles burnt. PLEASE DONT DO IT, USE MY EXPERIENCE AS A WARNING’
The problem with going wild with heavy products, as tempting as it is to vigorously scrub everything in your house with the contents of the Poundland cleaning aisle, is that a lot of them contain butane, propane and ethanol. These chemicals are all highly flammable and tend to set alight from the smallest amount of heat. So, you can imagine how grim things can get when they’re poured into a radiator. And since radiators are usually underneath windows in the UK, there’s a lot of fallout damage to be had.
H2: Scented Sinks Are Not Worth It
One hack from the influencer and queen of cleaning Mrs Hinch involves pouring Zoflora into the sink and following with boiling water. The idea behind this trend is that it should fill the room with a fresh, floral smell that says ‘just cleaned’.
But experts warned in The Mirror that while there haven’t been any reported deaths or serious injuries related to this hack that we know of, it’s still not necessarily safe. Zoflora has never been tested with boiling water so we can’t be sure what chemical reactions can be born from this mixture.
A spokesperson from Zoflora said to Revyuh, ‘We do not advise using Zoflora with boiling water as this has not been tested.
It could potentially negatively impact the ingredients within Zoflora and the vapour they release.’
It could potentially be harmful (especially as so many Tiktokers are doing this without gloves) so just remember, your safety is more important than your drain being squeaky-clean.
Don’t Mix Harmful Chemicals
There are also a lot of TikTok videos suggesting you make your own cleaning solutions at home using various ingredients when actually, this is the last thing you should do. No matter how credible the content looks, never follow a recommendation to mix chemicals together.
That may provide a stronger cleaning product, but it could also cause chemical burns and sickness if inhaled. Some combinations can even be fatal.
Mixing chemicals is extremely dangerous, especially if you already have an underlying health condition. Just last year, 34-year-old Leah Seymour, who went by the name Celia, had mixed two cleaning products while cleaning her bathroom. Mixing the products sparked a chemical reaction which then produced a dangerous gas. This caused Leah to suffer a severe asthma attack, and she was placed in an induced coma and she died four days later.
As a rule of thumb, don’t mix any chemicals together, but especially not the following pairings:
Bleach + vinegar = chlorine gas (causes coughing, breathing problems, and burning watery eyes)
Bleach + ammonia = chloramine (causes coughing, breathing problems, burning watery eyes, and in more serious cases, coma or death)
Bleach + rubbing alcohol = chloroform (causes shortness of breath and irritation of ears, nose and throat. Inhaling this combination can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness and drowsiness)
Using certain chemicals or taking on tasks where you don’t have the right equipment can be a dangerous game. And even if you do manage to skip injury, you could still end up devaluing your home or creating more DIY problems for yourself later down the line by doing shoddy jobs. There’s a reason why cleaning products are specifically designed and labelled to offer certain results. Trust what it says on the bottle, and don’t trust everything you see on TikTok.