Cleaning Products Can Get Dirty, Too. Here's How To Clean Them.

The things that clean your home can actually become dirty themselves. Here's everything you need to clean them.
Affresh washing machine cleaner, distilled white vinegar and citric acid.
Affresh washing machine cleaner, distilled white vinegar and citric acid.

When doing your TikTok-inspired #SundayReset, you probably think of vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing and, if you’re lucky, throwing your laundry and dishes in their dedicated washing appliances.

What you may not think about is cleaning the things that clean. I’m talking vacuums, brushes, rags and appliances: things that get a lot of use, and likely, not a lot of cleaning.

To help you keep your sanitation supplies sanitized, I took to the cleaning topic of TikTok — also known as #cleantok — to ask about the best ways to scrub your scrubbers.

“I upkeep [my cleaning appliances] monthly to prevent a buildup of germs and maintain the efficiency of the machines!” said Sharon Garcia, who shares cleaning tips via Instagram and TikTok to thousands of followers. “I do like to wipe them down weekly because the outside needs to look as clean as the rest of my home!”

Garcia added that getting into a recurring routine of maintaining your appliances and cleaning supplies can make cleaning a little bit easier. When you don’t have to deal with gross and grimy supplies, it will be easier and quicker to give your home a wipe-down.

Meg Agan, whose cleaning videos have earned her over 500,000 followers on TikTok, added that the frequency and depth of cleaning your cleaning supplies and appliances “depends on how often you use them and how dirty the items are [that] you’re putting in regularly!” I.e, If you wash a ton of super sweat gym clothes or sauce-covered plates, your machines do need a little extra TLC.

To keep your cleaning things clean, Garcia, Agan and more names from #cleantok break down all the supplies you need.

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Washing Machine:

Wipe it down
"Clean clothes start with a clean machine!" said Sharon Garcia, a professional cleaner and cleaning content creator at Sharoncleanseverything. "Start by giving it a wipe down once a week is essential to avoid dust buildup!"

While you could use your favorite all-purpose cleaner and a rag or paper towel, this set of watching machine cleaners and wipes has a 4.7 rating on Amazon and a heavenly lemon smell. Each cleaning packet, which is powered by citric acid, will remove buildup, grime and hard water stains from inside the machine when you pour it in and run a cycle, and the wipes will remove residue and dust.
Affresh cleaners for washing machines (and dishwashers)
For keeping your washing machine and dishwasher in tiptop shape, TikTok user Meg Agan recommends Affresh cleaners, though she urges you to ensure it's compatible with your home machines.

"Pop one in and run the cleaning cycle on the machine!" Agan said. "Some machines also have easily accessible drains that can be cleaned. Sometimes items can get stuck in there and cause a stench!"
Tide with Oxi washing machine cleaner
Garcia also recommends these Tide packets for maintaining your washing machine.

"I like to add a washing machine cleaner by Tide with Oxi once a month to remove odors and any residue left behind by laundry detergent or softener," she said. "It’s perfect for both front and top loaders and it leaves a long-lasting fresh scent!"


Finish dishwasher deep cleaner
Per Agan, most newer dishwashers "have a filter that can be easily taken out, emptied of any food particles and then rinsed," which she recommends doing twice a year. "There are also tablets you can use to clean the dishwasher from brands like Finish that may help with any foul odors."
Dishwasher pods for running an empty cycle
"Dishwashers collect two kinds of residue, limescale and grease, and they can be removed with different detergents," said Auri Katariina, a cleaning influencer with 9.2 million TikTok followers. "First, you need to remove the grease, so wash the filters, then use the hottest program on an empty machine, with a dishwasher pod."

Katariina and Agan agree running an otherwise empty dishwasher with a dishwasher pod is also a great time to add sponges and scrub brushes so they can be cleaned, too.
Citric Acid
For tackling limescale, Katariina runs an empty dishwasher on its hottest setting with citric acid, noting that you can't remove grease and limescale at the same time. She said alkaline products and cleaning tabs tackle grease, while combatting limescale requires acidic tabs or actual citric acid.

GE recommends adding 3-4 ounces of citric acid to the dishwasher for a cleaning cycle.
Scrub Daddy
A pre-emptive way to clean your dishwasher: Wash your dishes before they go in, saidGarcia.

"My favorite sponges are Scrub Daddy sponges because they don’t hold any odors," she said. "And they have a smile [on them] to remember to smile while cleaning. Keeping a clean home helps you focus on your family; your mental health will thank you later."
Distilled white vinegar
Garcia also suggests giving your dishes a good scrub before putting them in the dishwasher, though she knows people don't always have the time and energy. If you tend to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, she recommends frequently cleaning its filter, so you're not inadvertently soaking your dishes in gross food-water when you run a cycle.

"I like to pour distilled white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe cup — I usually use a two-cup Pyrex measuring cup — and place the cup upright on an empty dishwasher's top rack," she said. "I like to also spray it down with vinegar to ensure it all gets washed evenly."


A little bit of soap
If you have a shedding pet, little ones or just tent to vacuum a lot, Agan said, you should clean your vacuum filter pretty regularly, too. "I clean my vacuum filter at least once a month," she said. "Just soap and warm water and leaving it out to completely dry does the trick. If your vacuum has bristles, clean those out after every use depending on how dirty the area is you just cleaned."

Garcia also said to to empty your vacuum after every use. "Most vacuums get dusty after cleaning so a quick wipe down after each use is essential to avoid dust buildup and germs," she said.

Rags, mop heads, gloves and aprons:

A little bit of bleach
The best tip for cleaning your rags, mop heads, gloves and aprons? All the cleaning experts agreed: Wash them after every use, but separately from your regular laundry.
"Gloves, aprons and sponges should be cleaned after each use to avoid any germ buildup and maintaining your tools is essential to stay clean!" Garcia said.

The best way to wash? According to Agan, it's hot water and a small amount of detergent and bleach.
Separate rags for every area
Another trick for keeping your rags clean? Color coding them for different surfaces. "Rags are used for one surface each," Agan said. "I do not cross-contaminate!"

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