We Tried Viral Cleaning Hacks to Find Out Which Actually Work

Every year, when spring rolls around, I get the itch. The intense driving need to throw open the windows, roll up my sleeves, and scrub every square inch of my house. Suddenly, the cozy home that kept me comfortable throughout winter seemed suffocating and grimy, and everything had to go. This year, a deep clean has been extra rewarding since I’ve discovered #cleantok, the side of the social media platform TikTok where cleaning experts share their most satisfying cleaning videos and tried-and-true hacks to make every corner of their home shine. So, I tried a few viral hacks and am sharing which ones worked for me and which were a waste of time. 
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Use Cream of Tartar to Polish Cutlery
My cutlery is embarrassing. Hard water stains cover our silverware, and whenever we have people over, I find myself bent over the knives and trying to make them shine. So when I saw a trick to use cream of tartar and white vinegar to remove those stains, I had to try it. 
Combine equal parts white vinegar and hot water in a bowl. Lay out your silverware on a cloth and sprinkle it with cream of tartar. Dip a microfiber cloth into the vinegar solution and scrub away the cream of tartar. 
Results: I was surprised by how sparkly my cutlery was after using this method. Some of the more stubborn, deep-set stains remained, but in the end, they really did shine. The one downside to this method is that it left my silverware smelling like vinegar, which did go away after airing them out for a few hours, but I wouldn’t recommend trying this method right before company comes over. 
Rating: 4/5 
Put Aluminum Foil in the Dishwasher
Another method for preventing hard water stains starts in the dishwasher. Multiple videos promote balling up some aluminum foil and putting it in the utensil basket before running the dishwasher like normal.

Results: This method worked fine for me. I don’t think I noticed a huge difference, and it certainly didn’t make the cutlery shine the way the cream of tartar did. But there were fewer hard water stains, and the ones that remained were easier to wipe away. The lift level was much easier, though, so I might keep the foil in there for a few washes to see if it improves over time. 

Rating: 3.5/5

Remove Stains from a Baking Sheet with Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda 

I’ve tried numerous methods to remove grease and cooking stains from my baking sheets, and all have failed. So when I saw the before and after results on videos using this hack, I knew I had to try it. 

Sprinkle a baking sheet with baking soda and wet the pan with hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle. Let that mixture sit for four hours, then scrape it clean. 

Results: Alas, this was another method that failed. I let the mixture sit for four hours and scrubbed my pans really hard, but none of the tough stains came out. However, I saw some videos online that recommended eight, so it may need more time. (But who has eight hours to let a pan sit?)

Rating: 0/5  

Remove Oil Stains From Suede
This method was discovered by my husband, who spilled grease on his favorite suede shoes. With his permission, I repeated the experiment on a non-visible side of the shoe to confirm it really did work. 

Create a paste of equal parts cornstarch and baking soda, add a little water, and put the mixture onto the spot. Let it sit for 30 minutes until dry, and then wipe it off. 

Results: Clean suede shoes! Never again do we need to fear dripping oil! 

Rating: 5/5 

Clean Baseboards With a Dryer Sheet 
We don’t use dryer sheets in my house (I find them uneconomic, and I generally don’t love the smell they leave on clothes), but I borrowed a few from my mom to try this one. All you need to do for this hack is run a dryer sheet over your baseboards to capture dust. 
Results: This method worked well but didn’t feel like much more than a glorified duster. The waxy coating on the dryer sheet was great for catching the dust instead of just loosening it, which I liked, but bending over on the floor and rubbing the baseboards by hand was a lot of work. My trusty Swiffer duster does it much faster and has a long handle which lets me go quickly. The dryer sheets do get a bonus for leaving a pleasant smell, but I don’t think I’ll try this one again.  
Rating: 3/5 
Clean Your Oven with Baking Soda and Dish Soap 
My oven was in desperate need of a deep clean. The last time we gave it a good scrub was right after we moved into our home and had an unfortunate incident that involved melting plastic. We used a whole can of oven cleaner, and our house smelled sickly sweet every time we turned the oven on. 
I was interested in a non-chemical method for cleaning the oven, so I found a video that recommended creating a paste made of 1/2 cup dish soap, 1.5 cups baking soda, and 3/4 cup vinegar. Remove the racks, coat the oven with the paste, and let it sit for two hours. Then, scrub hard with a sponge — spraying with water as needed — and wipe it clean with either paper towels or a microfiber cloth. 
Results: The base of my oven was noticeably cleaner after this method, but the interior glass and some of the more stubborn side stains lingered. I will note that I am a weakling not built for vigorous scrubbing, so someone with more upper body strength might find this method more to their liking. Our oven also had the unfortunate side effect of smelling like burning soap when we turned it on afterward, which may indicate that I didn’t clean it off all the way. This method needs refining on my end, so if I do it again, I will need to make some adjustments. 
Rating: 3.5/5

Featured Image Credit: Aygul Bulte/ iStock

Kellie StewartDeputy Managing Editor

Kellie Stewart is a writer, editor, and mediocre cook who hails from sunny Arizona. Thanks to her toddler, she has no spare time, but if she did, you’d find her drinking Diet Coke and reading every book she can get her hands on.

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