From dishwasher tablets in the washing machine to fabric softener in the loo, which cleaning hacks REALLY work

YOU don’t have to scour social media for hours to find surprising cleaning hacks.

TikTok, Instagram and Facebook are full of them including telling us to rinse our washing machine with dishwasher tablets or put fabric softener down the loo.

But which “genius” tips are safe and effective?

Dr Lisa Ackerley, known as the Hygiene Doctor, says: “If you want to try an unusual hack someone suggests on social media, first do your research.

“Look up the pros and cons. It simply being on Instagram doesn’t make it a no-brainer. And it could be unsafe.”

To help you out, Lynsey Hope asks Dr Lisa which of the latest viral cleaning fads get the all-clear from her . . . and which we should scrub off our list for good.


AUSSIE mum-of-SIXTEEN Jeni Bonell stripped her family’s bedsheets and soaked them in the bath for a “deep clean”.

She showed the resulting filthy water on YouTube.

Dr Lisa says: “If you washed your sheets at 90C with a premium powder, the water that comes out of your machine would be just as dirty.

“This seems like a lot of effort and you could end up washing at a much lower temperature, meaning bacteria such as E. coli are not destroyed.

“The chemical cocktail could damage the bath and be harmful to your skin too.

“Wash cotton sheets or towels at 90C once a month to kill bacteria.

“Don’t overload the machine and keep whites with whites.

“Avoid conditioner on towels. It affects their absorbency.”


THIS trick shocked TikTok users after poster @cloverk8 used a lint roller on her carpet and turned up a disgusting pile of debris . . . even after vacuuming.

As she scraped the carpet, piles of hair, dust and worse came up.

Dr Lisa says: “This is a great tip.

“It must be very satisfying getting all that dirt up and research has shown that many carpets are still filthy even after we’ve vacuumed.

“Many vacuum cleaners don’t beat the carpet fibres as they clean, so they only remove superficial dirt.

“Another trick is to wipe a wet rubber glove over your carpets. This will give the same effect, pulling up hair.”


ONE house-proud mum on TikTok wraps her dirty oven trays in foil and puts them in the bath tub.

Then she covers them with hot water, adds a dishwasher tablet and lets them sit for two hours.

She reckons a chemical reaction causes the food and grime to break down, leaving her trays as shiny as new, with no scrubbing required.

Dr Lisa says: “I’d be worried that the metal foil and trays, plus the strong chemical, could damage the surface of the bath tub.

“Follow manufacturers’ instructions about how to clean oven racks.

“My favourite product is Oven Pride (£4, Morrisons).

“Simply put dirty racks in the bag with the specialised cleaning solution and leave overnight.

“Rinse it off in the morning. Job done.”


IN a happy accident, Emma Ramsay, from Essex, washed her sink with hand sanitiser – which left her taps gleaming.

Sharing before-and-after pics on Facebook, she said: “Not only does it come out sparkly clean, it removes rust and limescale.”

Dr Lisa says: “Hand gel won’t do any harm and is high in alcohol, so it disinfects well.

“But it doesn’t contain detergents, so I’m not sure how it would be any more effective than hot water and washing-up liquid.

“That and a bit of elbow grease is the most effective way to clean a sink. Shiny Sinks (£3.68, Amazon) is a great product for stainless steel.”


POSTERS in Facebook group Mums Who Clean used dishwasher tablets to clean their washing machines, putting as many as four in an empty drum before putting it on a hot cycle.

Dr Lisa says: “Be wary of putting anything in a washing machine that doesn’t belong there.

“It could damage the system and invalidate any warranty you might have.

“Instead, do at least one 90C cycle with a premium washing powder every month to kill off any unwanted germs.

“Many modern machines also have a cleaning cycle, which is worth using once a month.

“If you live in a hard-water area, try adding a washing machine limescale remover too to keep everything scale-free.”


ON TikTok, Amelia Mandeville said her loo sparkled and smelled fresh after she cleaned it with fabric softener.

A video of her pouring a mug of Comfort fabric conditioner into the tank has been viewed 1.4million times.

Amelia advised leaving it in the cistern for five minutes before flushing.

Dr Lisa says: “This is a big no-no.

“Fabric softeners are quite fatty and plumbers warn this is not a good idea, as it could lead to a build-up of fatty deposits in the pipes.

“These can harbour microbial biofilm and block your system.

“Stick to products designed and tested for their purpose. Only use toilet cleaners for the toilet.”


AMERICAN Savannah Meyer used loo cleaner on grout after moving into her new home, having seen others try it on TikTok.

She poured it on to blackened grout and left it to soak for ten minutes. After a bit of scrubbing, the grout was white again.

Dr Lisa says: “Never use toilet cleaner on anything other than the toilet.

“It contains very strong chemicals and could damage other surfaces or erode the grout.

“It can be quite brightly coloured and might stain.

“I’d recommend Flash with Bleach (£1, on white grout or a grout cleaner.

“Wear old clothes, rubber gloves and eye protection if cleaning up high.

“Use a scrubbing brush or an old toothbrush. This is very effective.”


DIRTY baking trays are a pain to clean – but one mum sorted hers using a 2p coin. Posting on TikTok, Lucy Dashwood said big-brand products hadn’t shifted the dirt.

So after soaking the trays in hot water and washing liquid, she gently scratched the surface with a coin.

Dr Lisa says: “This would work but it took Lucy half an hour and looks like it would take a lot more effort than a simple wire scourer.

“Soaking in washing-up liquid and hot water first is always a good idea, then gently use a scourer to clean up the tray.

“If the tray has a non-stick finish, you will have to use a non-scratch scourer.

“My advice is to wash your trays regularly so grime doesn’t build up.”


STACIE DOWNS from Shrewsbury, Shrops, posted videos on Facebook showing how she had used fabric softener and washing-up liquid to clean her windows, leaving the glass immaculate and free of streaks.

Dr Lisa says: “It is best not to mix chemicals, as this could cause a reaction that could prove to be harmful.

“Fabric softener is quite fatty too, so it could leave your windows looking smeared if you’re not careful.

“Why not just use glass cleaner, which is cheap and effective, or wipe the odd smear with scrunched-up newspaper?”


ANOTHER TikTok user used washing powder to clean the inside of her radiators.

She started by placing a towel under her gas radiator to avoid puddles, then mixed washing powder with boiling water in a jug and slowly poured it into the radiator. A plastic tray placed underneath collected the water.

Dr Lisa says: “Washing powder is a strong detergent, so this would work well – but it is quite corrosive, so it might damage the radiator and make it leak.

“A sugar soap spray (£2.50, Tesco) is effective at dislodging dust from radiators but always use protective gloves and have lots of old towels underneath to catch the dirty solution coming down. And NEVER use liquids on electric radiators.”


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