I'm a cleaning & laundry pro – the viral 'hacks' to ditch immediately & why strip washing ruins your favourite items | The Sun

NOTHING beats the smell of clean, freshly laundered washing and there are now tonnes of hacks out there, all promising quick and easy methods to achieve the best results.

But some are more effective than others, and some recommended tips and tricks could actually do more harm than good, according to some experts.

Here cleaning pro Laura Mountford and Laundryheap expert Deyan Dimitrov share the viral 'hacks' they recommend you should avoid, and what you should be doing instead…

Sponge swap

One trend on social media recommends soaking a sponge in fabric conditioner instead of using tumble dryer sheets.

However while it may sound like a clever idea, it might be one that's best avoided.

Laura says: "Tumble dryer sheets are designed to remove the static from your laundry and keep it smelling fresh. 


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"Soaking a sponge in fabric conditioner will coat your dryer in a waxy residue which could stain your clothes, and potentially create a fire risk – so definitely one to avoid."

Laundry stripping

'Laundry stripping' is a technique which usually involves filling a bath tub with water and a concoction of products including Borax or baking soda to remove or 'strip' dirt from laundry.

However, experts have advised this isn't the best way to care for your garments, and can actually cause damage.

Laura adds: "Although it is very satisfying to see how much grime is removed, the same results can be achieved in most modern washing machines using just soda crystals and a quality detergent."

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Dishwasher dilemma

Some social media users have advised using a dishwasher tablet to clean your washing machine.

Laura says: "As much as I love a good cleaning hack, using a dishwasher tablet is not an effective method to clean your washing machine. 

"Dishwasher tablets are designed to lift grease from your dirty dishes so they are unlikely to deep clean your washing machine which requires limescale and soap scum removal. 

"It is likely to cause a foam overflow which could even damage your machine and potentially invalidate the warranty, so worth avoiding. 

"There are some brilliant washing machine deep cleaning products available including Vamoosh and Dettol which do a fantastic job.

"Or a bag of soda crystals in the drum is a really effective natural, traditional way of cleaning it."

Mixing products

One viral trend to definitely avoid is mixing any laundry or cleaning products. 

Laura says : "Mixing chemicals can be extremely dangerous and even fatal especially when using products containing bleach.

"I have recently seen loads of videos on TikTok where people all over the world mix their laundry powder, stain remover and scent boosters into a big plastic storage tub. 

"This may make it more convenient, smell amazing in the tub and last for a long time, but will make it difficult to correctly dose the products, they are likely to start reacting with each other.

"This can cause skin irritation and ultimately won’t be effective or smell as good when you need to use them in the machine."

Deyan adds: "This ‘hack’ can be incredibly expensive and lead to skin irritation over longer periods of time – particularly for those with skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema.

"Additionally, using an excessive amount of product can block your drainage systems, cause mould and mildew to form in your washing machine, and leave cleaning product residue on your clothes. 

"Instead, opt for a small repertoire of cost effective cleaning products.

"When washing your clothes, use minimal detergent and if possible, run an empty washing cycle with a cup of white vinegar every week.

"This will kill off any lurking bacteria and maintain the cleanliness of your washing machine."

Fabric refresh

Another 'top tip' doing the rounds is mixing fabric softener and water in a spray bottle to freshen up soft furnishings.

Deyan says: "Many online users are encouraging others to use a mixture of fabric softener and water to sanitise and scent furniture, such as curtains and sofas. 

"As a highly flammable cleaning product, spraying this mixture around your home can be hazardous.

"Fabric softener is made up of chemicals which, when coated on textile surfaces, can reduce their level of flame resistance.

"Instead, opt for a natural and non-toxic method to freshen up your furniture.

"Mix water with a few drops of essential oils and spritz the item in question.

"This is a much safer alternative, due to the solution being highly diluted.

"With this said, those who have sensitive skin should be cautious when using essential oils – as this could also cause slight irritation.

Washing pod problem

Another current fad sweeping the internet is to dissolve washing machine pods or dishwasher pods in boiling water and to use the concentrated concoction to clean your upholstery.

Deyan says: "Soaking a tea towel in the solution and tying it around a saucepan lid, TikTok users are using this method to clean rugs and sofas.

"Whilst many social media users may think that this method offers a quick fix, the reality is that it can be very harmful.

"The concentrated solution possesses lots of toxins which can cause great irritation if they come into contact with exposed skin, or are inhaled.

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"Instead, to clean soft furnishings, begin by removing any loose covers and wash according to the cleaning instructions.

"For any fixed components you can dab stains with a microfibre towel."


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