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TikTok cleaning hacks that don’t work – Here’s what to try instead 

With spring cleaning season coming into full swing, many Brits will flock to #cleantok, TikTok’s very own cleaning community. Influencers regularly showcase how to get homes spick and span but with minimal effort.  


However, Matt Ayres, an appliance expert at RDO Kitchens & Appliances has revealed that not only do some social media hacks simply not work - but they can actually cause damage to your home.  


Here he shares five viral cleaning hacks you shouldn’t try this spring… 


Baby oil can leave smudges 


Stainless steel appliances are some of the most used in the home, which means they’re often subject to smudges and marks. One popular hack shared on TikTok promises that using baby oil will restore the shine in stainless steel fridges, oven tops and other appliances.  


While it creates a streak-free, like-new surface, baby oil can cause appliances to attract dust and dirt. Baby oil is designed for use on the skin and can leave a greasy residue when applied to surfaces like stainless steel. This residue attracts dust, dirt and crumbs, leaving an overall undesirable appearance on your appliances. Instead, use a clean, dry cloth with a sprinkling of white vinegar to buff out any streaks. 

Sink cleaning hack can cause a hefty plumbing bill 


One TikTok hack promises to clean grime and other build-up in kitchen sink plugholes, making them sparkly like brand new. The ‘hack’ involves removing the plug hole with little effort. In many videos, the ‘gunk’  that influencers are removing is actually the rubber seal, which is meant to prevent leakage in the sink.  


To clean plug hole build up, use a drain unblocker, allow it to sit for an hour, and then follow with boiling water. Keep your plughole and sink fresh by using baking soda and rinsing with boiling water two to three times per week. 

Popular air fryer cleaning hack is a fire hazard 


When cleaning your air fryer, TikTok cleaning influencers recommend filling the air fryer pan up with washing up liquid and hot water, then turning it on as usual. However, this solution could damage your appliance. This cleaning solution can easily damage the internal components of the air fryer. Air fryers are not designed to hold this much water and could easily splash into the internal electrical components. Also, your air fryer could overheat in an attempt to ‘cook’ this much water, resulting in a fire hazard. 


Rather wait until your air fryer is fully cooled, remove any removable trays, and clean each part with warm water and washing-up liquid. Use a sponge or cloth to remove grease buildup, working into the gaps of the basket to ensure it's thoroughly cleaned.


Three-ingredient oven cleaning hack is inefficient  

Well-loved ovens can see a buildup of food and residue, which is why one TikToker shared a hack to clean the appliance with a paste made up of fairy liquid, baking soda and vinegar.  


The cleaning method involves using a large amount of each ingredient to make the paste, which is applied to oven racks, glass, and anywhere else with grease built up inside the oven. This is then left overnight and cleaned off.  


This hack is time-consuming from the offset. Standard oven cleaners and degreasers can get the same results with minimal mess. Also, baking soda is a mild abrasive and shouldn’t be used to clean scratch-proof surfaces like glass. 

Avoid using lemon juice to clean taps and other kitchen surfaces  


If there’s one favourite cleaning ingredient on the social media platform, it’s lemon juice. Praised for their antibacterial properties, lemons remove mould and mildew and can be used to clean cutting boards and glassware and even remove Tupperware stains.  


One viral use that you’re better off avoiding is using lemon juice on chrome fittings and taps. While it may appear that lemon juice brings out the shine in chrome, it can erode the top coating of chrome, reducing the shine and causing rust long term. Instead, use a mixture of soap and water. 

Matt Ayres, Appliance Expert
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