In the world of CleanTok – and why it’s much more than just cleaning your house

I persisted in downloading TikTok for as long as I could – a steadfast refusal that I can’t quite explain, other than the fact that I had no interest in watching teenagers dance to random songs (or learn them, for that matter). I was also a little scared of TikTok’s almighty algorithm and what it might say about me, my interests and my personality.

As it turned out, when I finally downloaded the app, I found out I was interested in… CleanTok. TikTok gave me one compelling video after another of people scrubbing their sinks, organizing their spice racks, decanting bulk items into aesthetic jars, vacuuming their living rooms, making their beds — and I watched them all. I was swept up in the world of CleanTok, and I’m not alone. The hashtag #CleanTok has a whopping 47.3 billion views at the time of writing.

And three CleanTok influencers – Amber Mamian, Niki Stewart and Kaity Dennis – know all about the immense power of cleaning, as a means to an end (the goal is a tidy house), as well as an incredibly satisfying, purifying and therapeutic method. Keep reading to learn more about the content-creating side of CleanTok, what motivates them to clean and their all-time favorite Clorox products.

How did you end up at CleanTok?
“When we downloaded TikTok in early 2020, we had no idea what we were doing. Our teens were the first to do it, and I thought to myself: Oh, I don’t think I belong here. But the teens came up to me and told me to try a hack — like turning a large Ziplock into a snack-sized snack with a heated pen knife — that seemed impossible, but they would work. So maybe there used to be a place for a mom on TikTok. We were originally a family travel account, but when the pandemic hit, we were at home. We have six kids, they were home 24/7, the dishes were piling up in the sink and I just needed more help around the house. I was overwhelmed.

“So we decided to do chore challenges – a weekly game where one winner gets no chores. We filmed them, posted them and parents really liked our content. The biggest compliment I’ve received is the discovery that we help others have inspired them to spend more time with their children, that the teenage years are not something to be afraid of, and it helps for other children to see that our children are doing chores – someone is always cleaning the house – and we have created a way for our followers to get to know our family and do life with us.’

Why do you think CleanTok appeals to so many people?
“With Instagram and Pinterest, everything was perfect for the photo, and they didn’t feel” Real. TikTok has pulled back the curtain. Instead of showing a perfectly made bed – for example, I didn’t know how to make a bed properly – TikTok shows you how to do it. And we learned that people want to be social, to be friends. This platform is about relationships.”

Why is it important for you to maintain a clean space?
“There is a certain feeling that I want in the house – a very welcoming, quiet place – and part of achieving this is by keeping it clean and tidy. It allows many mothers to relax. And it feels good to have people over or have friends of our children in the house – with a clean house you can do that. But for me it’s mostly peace of mind.”

When do you make cleaning a priority?
“Especially when we entertain. And also the back-to-school season: making sure everyone washes their hands when they come in or wipe the counters, because there are so many germs they bring home. And I just want to help keep everyone healthy.”

How do you find the motivation to clean?
“When things pile up too much, it gets harder to deal with. And when there are germs, we all get sick – for a family like ours, we don’t have time to be sick. We couldn’t travel so much or have so much fun. That motivates me to keep doing what I do.”

What is your advice for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed?
“Always start small. Give yourself grace and take one small step at a time. If everything is overwhelming, focus on one area, such as making your bed every day. And once you’ve made that a routine, add something else like tackling the laundry. I think it’s really helpful to have processes and get the family involved.”

What is your favorite cleaning product?
“We use Clorox disinfecting wipes a lot because they are easy to use, fast, and they disinfect hard surfaces in the home (when used as directed).”

How did you end up at CleanTok?
“I’ve always been interested in ‘CleanTok’ before it was even CleanTok. I used to clean my house and post before/after on my personal Instagram account – just for fun. I also liked watching YouTube videos of people cleaning their houses; whenever I felt down, I’d grab a cup of coffee and see how clean they were – it would give me energy and motivation to tackle my tasks.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we moved to Tennessee because of my husband’s job. Schools were closed, so I was in the house all day with three kids, and after a while I felt like I was losing my soul. Everything I did was for my husband and children. I didn’t do anything for myself, and I was really homesick, away from family and friends. So I downloaded TikTok and started posting about my day, before and after, and I noticed how much I enjoyed the content creation aspect – it brought me joy and it helped me through that period when I was a little bit depressed.”

Why do you think CleanTok appeals to so many people?
“Because it inspires people to get their lives in order. It’s very easy for things to get chaotic, for the house to get messy, for things to get out of hand. CleanTok is a way for people to learn new tools, tips and hacks to make their lives more functional. I show what I do specifically for me and my family, and I think that’s what sets me apart from others. I have a true love for streamlining processes, cleaning up and organizing. And it helps others to see how things can run more smoothly in their household.”

Why is it important for you to maintain a clean space?
“When I was younger, cleaning gave me a sense of control and mental clarity. I felt like having an organized space allowed me to focus on my school work. I always cleaned my whole room, cleaned everything and put everything back. Most people in my life thought I was weird, but I like to say I am different. Cleaning is almost like therapy for me, and a clean space also keeps my family safe and healthy.”

When do you make cleaning a priority?
“It’s an everyday act – even if it’s just a small thing – otherwise it can get overwhelming. I like to do a little bit of cleaning every day to keep it manageable. When family comes by, it’s all hands on deck and a thorough cleaning is done.”

How do you find the motivation to clean?
“I constantly get the question: ‘How do you do that? How do you have the energy?’ It’s not that I have energy because I’m a spring chicken. What inspires me to start cleaning is knowing I wouldn’t know what to do when things get chaotic and out of control. I have so much on my plate, so I to have to make my life function properly – and that is what inspires me to start cleaning.”

What is your advice for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed?
“When things get too overwhelming, I tend to freeze. I won’t get involved in it. I procrastinate with a small task that seems more manageable than tackling a mountain of things. So I find that doing a little bit of every task – washing, cleaning the kitchen – keeps things manageable. That is advice I live by.”

What is your favorite cleaning product?
“The Clorox Disinfecting Mist because it cleans porous surfaces, which is innovative – I don’t think there is anything like it on the market. There are disinfectant products for hard surfaces, but I’ve been looking for a product that is good for porous surfaces, like my children’s shoes or backpacks.”

How did you end up at CleanTok?
“When I first downloaded TikTok last January, I was doing random trends like everyone else, but a month later I posted a video of a hack: cutting a hole in the bottom of a floor cleaner bottle and putting it in the toilet tank, so every time you flush it smells great I didn’t like it the next day when I woke up it had 2 million views it kept collecting views and articles were written about it (now it has up to 50 million views).

“But I’ve always had a passion for cleaning – it’s just something I’ve always done. I need to have everything perfect and clean so I thought I could do it on TikTok. I really take the time to make my videos, to make sure they are of the highest quality. I think too much about my videos – everything is a process.”

Why do you think CleanTok appeals to so many people?
“I think a lot of mothers are trying to figure out how to do this or that. Ninety percent of my audience is women or mothers, and I’m a mom too. Sometimes you just need help. I get comments from people thanking me for helping them, trying to remove the stain or clean something. It feels really good that I can help.”

Why is it important for you to maintain a clean space?
“I grew up in a small apartment with five people, and it always felt cluttered. When I finally got my own place, I didn’t want it to be that way. I want my place to be my refuge where I feel peaceful. Ever since I moved, I’ve always been like that.”

When do you make cleaning a priority?
“When people come. I don’t want anyone ever to think Why is her house messy? Why is this around? I just want to make sure things are presentable.”

How do you find the motivation to clean?
“When I come home from a long day, I want to walk in and see that my space is already clean. It minimizes the amount of things I would have had to do if I had things piled up, like the dishes or laundry. I clean every day, but don’t spend hour cleaning – it could be like wiping my countertops, cleaning my stove, making my bed. It’s good to have a routine, and then I have more time for myself.”

What is your advice for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed?
“Make a plan. I’d be lying if I said I never felt overwhelmed with all the tasks I had to do at home. But you make a plan, pick a goal, pick a day, and go through the list of things you want to do.” If you feel like your house is too cluttered, pick up trash bags and decide what you don’t need, I do that all the time: I randomly clean out the closets, pick up the clothes my kid isn’t wearing out what I don’t wear, and I give them away.”

What is your favorite cleaning product?
“Especially Clorox disinfectant wipes because they are super easy to use. Instead of a spray and towel to clean and disinfect my table, I can just grab my Clorox wipes and go.”

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, here?

Leave a Reply