3 worst TikTok cleaning hacks to never try, according to an interiors expert

A mix of cleaning equipment
A mix of cleaning equipment (Image credit: Shutterstock)

TikTok has become a popular platform for sharing handy cleaning “hacks” to make household chores a breeze. Ranging from cleaning baking trays with a dishwasher tablet to deodorizing drains with baking soda, these tips promise to tackle those challenging tasks, and make life easier. So it comes as no surprise that this  ‘Cleantok’ cleaning community has rapidly grown with over 3.7 million videos under the #cleantok tag.

However, an interior expert has revealed that not all cleantok tips are the best course of action, and can actually do more harm to your furniture than good. What’s more, it’s important to use the right products for specific furniture/materials to avoid damage or worse, spending a fortune on costly repairs or replacements!

So before you attempt these popular, viral hacks at home, avoid these worst TikTok cleaning hacks, according to our interior expert.

1. Cleaning tufted upholstery with dish soap 


♬ original sound - Tahira✨DIY Home clean organize

It can often be tricky to clean a tufted sofa, chair or bed frame efficiently. And with its upholstered ‘tufted’, geometric design that consists of indented buttons and stitches, it can be difficult to really get into the ‘dimples’ to tackle a grimy build-up of dirt or dust.

One Tiktok hack from @theaestheticsideofhomes shared how to keep tufted furniture clean by simply using a microfibre cloth and watered-down dish soap to get into the dimples/holes and routinely scrub the fabric. 

However, according to experts, dish soap could be too harsh for fabric fibres or can leave soapy residue stains. It’s advisable to use a specific upholstery cleaner suited for tufted furniture, to avoid any damage. 

“Tufted furniture, often seen in sofas, chairs, and headboards, uses an upholstery technique called tufting to create a chic geometric pattern through stitching or buttoning folds into the fabric,” says Sam Greig, Senior Designer at Swoon, the leading online design-led furniture brand. “This forms a classic and expensive looking piece of furniture — but the indents can act as dust collection holes if not properly maintained. “I would recommend using a specific fabric cleaner in place of dish soap to avoid damage to the fabric’s fibres.”

Plus, if you’re maintaining leather, check out how to clean a leather couch and remove everyday stains. 

2. Dusting furniture with fabric conditioner 

Woman dusting with feather duster

Woman dusting with feather duster (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Dusting can often be a tedious task, especially if you live in a busy household or cluttered space! And so we all want to learn quick and easy hacks to get this job done quickly. 

Another cleaning tip that has gone viral proclaims that wiping your furniture with fabric conditioner will help to repel dust. Simply add a cap-full of fabric softener into a bowl of hot water, to dilute the softener. Then, dip a sponge in and rub the diluted fabric conditioner on fabric furnishings. 

While this might seem like an easy, go-to hack, our expert warns against this, stating that this would actually create more dust — thus defeating the purpose! 

“Fabric conditioners can leave a sticky film on the surface of your furniture, attracting and collecting more dust than its untreated surface would have,” says Greig, “Plus, the additional moisture trapped in the material could potentially lead to mould growth over time – and nobody wants that!

For the quickest and easiest dust removal, firstly go in with a dry cloth or sponge to gather the dust, then follow up with a damp one to collect any remaining specs.”

If you want more top tips, check out how to get rid of dust mites quickly in 7 simple ways. And don’t forget about these 7 places that dust mites are breeding in your home. 

3. Cleaning textiles with a dishwasher tablet and pan lid 


♬ original sound - Fig & Fern

Another time-consuming task is cleaning a fabric sofa easily, without getting out the wet-and-dry vacuum cleaner. 

So when cleaning fanatic, @thehustlinhousewife, demonstrated her different method on TikTok, it quickly became a viral sensation. This involves dissolving a dishwasher tablet in hot water, soaking in a cloth, and then wrapping the cloth around a pan lid. The idea is to create a handy, cleaning tool that you can easily grip while scrubbing dirt and refreshing fabrics.

“Whilst this viral hack might seem handy, it could be doing more damage than it’s worth,” states Grieg, “Dishwasher tablets contain harsh chemicals that can get stuck in the fibres of your textiles using this technique, which can actually attract dust rather than removing and repelling. 

Furthermore, the leftover moisture and residue from this procedure could lead to the growth of mold — which nobody wants to see in their favorite relaxing spot!” Again, always stick to a designated cleaner suited for your fabric sofa like this Resolve 22 fl oz Liquid Multi-Fabric Cleaner and Upholstery Stain Remover ($4, Amazon), to tackle stains. 

So in a nutshell, take caution when following any new and exciting TikTok cleaning hacks and stick to the care guidance that comes with your furniture. If not, there could be a grand price to pay for convenience!

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Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!