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02 March 2022

Have You Heard of CleanTok?

I am a big fan of TikTok. The combination of the huge amount of content and the great algorithm means you get to see videos you didn’t even know would interest you and there is a good chance your content will get see too, even if you have no followers. Whatever your interests you should check it out, but if you have an interest in cleaning and tidying you will love CleanTok.

a mobile phone with TikTok open and the hashtag cleantok searched for
CleanTok is full of great tips and cleaning motivation

How to Find CleanTok

The TikTok algorithm means if you watch a video of someone cleaning it will recognise this as a potential interest and show you some similar videos soon afterwards. If you watch those and maybe like them too or follow the accounts it realises this is content you like and shows you more of it. An easy way to get started is to search for the hashtag #cleantok and watch some of the videos. Pretty soon you wont need to look for this or any particular hashtags as your feed will be filled with cleaning and organising videos.

If you are completely new to TikTok it won’t know what to show you so you can either teach it by searching for (and even following) relevant hashtags or you can see what it shows you on your For You Page. If they show you content you really don’t want to see then you can press the arrow (or on an iPhone hold down anywhere on the video) and a menu comes up which includes the option “not interested”. It really quickly learns what you like to see though so after a few times on the app the videos will become more interesting to you.

TikTok’s ability to quickly pick up on people’s interests has lead to a huge number of sub areas like CleanTok, but there are niches for a range of interests including Small Businesses, ADHD, CatTok, cooking and many more niches I can’t even think of. While you may see videos saying things like “welcome to CleanTok” it’s not actually a separate section in the app, it’s just that after a while if that’s what interests you cleaning, tidying and organising videos will be the bulk of what you see.

What I love about CleanTok

While some of the videos purely showing people tidying don't interest me, I find lots of the videos inspiring and motivating. They have even lead me to work on cleaning my oven for the first time. While there are lots of people with spotless looking houses who are cleaning surfaces that already look clean, there are plenty of people with real lived in homes like mine. If you want to see really disgusting and grimey homes there are those too (try searching for #depressionclean which is essentially someone working on improving their home after they haven’t felt up to it for a long time).

There are lots of helpful tips, suggestions and hacks. I’ve even crossed over into a bit of DIY tok and home organisation too. There is just so much information and content from professionals and enthusiasts. 

I have found some really friendly people who offer great advice and motivation to get stuff done in my house. I video some of what I do (but not all) and I got 60 followers after a couple months and essentially no effort. Of course if you want a big following you can grow pretty quickly on TikTok with people reaching 1000s of followers within a month. Despite my low follower numbers my videos normally get seen by about 200 people and some have been seen by 1000s (my video yesterday currently has 213 likes). Another nice thing if you post content is that it’s not just about the initial views, if TikTok thinks people want to see your post they will keep pushing it out for weeks and even months later. This is much more rewarding than on Instagram where even if a post is initially popular it might never be seen again.

Since lockdown helped TikTok grow in popularity you don’t need to be young, thin and beautiful to do well on the platform. In fact often more interesting or quirky people grow faster. It’s about being real and raw, a backlash to the perfection often seen on Instagram. An example is Ann Russell who currently has 1.4 million followers. She describes herself in her bio as “Very middle class English old bag”. She is a cleaner and her popularity has grown quickly because she has a huge amount of knowledge about what really works when cleaning. She is also no nonsense and uses her reach to challenge people on a wide range of other areas including politics, but it's the cleaning tips people come for.

What I hate about CleanTok

CleanTok isn't all great though. Remember above where I said that there is lots of information from enthusiasts? Well this can be an issue. Obviously you don’t require any qualifications for posting which means that some of the videos provide information that is inaccurate or even damaging. 

There is a trend of people mixing different cleaning products together eg multiple toilet cleaners because it looks pretty. However most of the people wont have looked at the chemicals in the products let alone understand whether mixing them together might cause a reaction releasing poisonous chemicals. 

Sometimes the advice is less harmful, but still shows a lack of understanding for instance the use of bicarb and vinegar. These are both individually great cleaning products and when you mix them together they produce a great fizz which can have some cleaning value. Once they are mixed together and stop fizzing though the benefits of the individual products cease so when people suggest mixing them into a paste and scrubbing on something any success they have is probably only due to the effort from scrubbing.

The other thing that annoys me is the huge amount of waste involved. People often use far more product than necessary (it looks better on video) and there is generally still a big consumerist and disposable attitude in the niche. An example of this is there are quite a few videos focused on the colour of the bottom of frying pans and saucepans. I honestly don’t care if the bottom of my pans are shiny silver or brown from baked on grease. It doesn’t affect their performance and it doesn’t come into contact with food. In one video someone claimed to be cleaning a friend’s house “to help out” and after they couldn’t get the bottom of the pan clean they chucked it and bought her a new one. The comments were full of how amazing she was (and it may have been a set up rather than a true story) but if my friend did that I would be mad. Firstly at some point they showed the top of the frying pan and the non-stick coating was in great condition. Secondly the pan they replaced it with was not non-stick. What a waste of a decent frying pan. While there are accounts encouraging using and buying less, the hacks and fun product posts seem to get more views.

I have been very lucky that in my time on TikTok with this account and a previous one I haven’t attracted the attention of trolls. There might be people with differing opinions at times or people who are a little blunt, but a lot seem to take the same approach as I do online “be nice or stay quiet”. In fact on the most negative comment I have had on a video I had numerous other people jumping in and defending me. I know from others though there are nasty people on the app and a lot of teens who seem to think it’s funny to be mean, but there is a good chance you will avoid them unless your account gets huge or you post something controversial. The rather creepy men telling me I’m beautiful I am less able to avoid, but they are easy to block.

Come Join CleanTok

So if you are interested in watching other people clean, want great tips or need motivation to tidy I recommend joining TikTok and checking out the cleaning videos. You might also enjoy the renovation videos, home organising and a numerous areas you have never even considered.

If you fancy checking out my account then visit me at @lessofamesss (yes that’s 3 sss, "mess" was already taken).

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