A little more than 12 minutes after the start of the video “Disaster Clean With Me 2021”, Becky Moss holds the suction cup of her vacuum cleaner in front of the camera for inspection. It’s filled with a powdery mound of gray dust and a swirl of animal hair. The volume of material – two or three cups, at first glance – seems excessive for a room. And yet the build-up is so satisfying to see.
“My husband is like, ‘This is so disgusting. How can you film that? Said Ms Moss, a 26-year-old YouTuber in Oxford, Mich., Who launched her channel in May 2020. “I always tell her, ‘This is what people want to see.’ “
Videos like hers abound on YouTube, where legions of renovating influencers post time-lapse recordings of their tasks. Their “Clean with me” downloads inspire people to tackle their own mess, big or small. In 2020, the number of “clean up with me” videos on YouTube increased by 50%, according to the company, and the number of “organize with me” videos nearly doubled.
During the lockdown, the deep cleaning phenomenon spilled over to TikTok – and turned into something more grotesque. Users post videos revealing vile filth in forgotten corners and crevices of their homes. The footage found a captive audience during the pandemic, a time marked for many by more time spent at home, a strong urge to nest and obsessive disinfection.
In total, TikTok videos that include the hashtag #cleaning accounted for some 7.6 billion views; the company said it saw a spike in engagement in December after a user posted a video inventing the “CleanTok” coat rack. These videos tend to be hyper-focused: Rather than tidying up entire rooms, the creators unscrewed their moldy dishwasher filters and scratched fur pens from their shower drains, sparing any slimy details.
With TikTok’s “duo” feature, people can duplicate those dirty jobs side by side with original “how-to” videos. The videos also reinforce the cult supporters behind brands like Scrub Daddy, Fabuloso, and Dawn (as well as the classic baking soda and vinegar combo). TikTok has also worked with companies like Bounty and Lysol on hashtag campaigns.
In all of these cleaning videos, some trends have emerged. One, known as ‘laundry stripping’, involves pouring Borax and laundry detergent into your tub, creating a deep soak for old linens, sweat-stained shirts and even sofa cushions. university. After hours of soaking, the bath water looks brown.
Editors have shared similar content for years on Oddly Satisfying: a center for slime, kinetic sand, soap cutting, pressure washing, and upholstery cleaning.
Mitchell Creed, a 35-year-old neurology resident at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, created the subreddit in 2013 to capture the inexplicable euphoria in small perfections. “When we have cleaning videos, it kind of comes down to this simplicity of life and things that are just neat and tidy,” he said.
And in a year of worsening crises, the ability to make sense of the mess has reassured people. “The best way to deal with anxiety is to find something that you can control,” said Alicia Clark, psychologist and author of “Hack Your Anxiety”. “Our immediate surroundings and their cleansing are right in front of us.”
While TikTok’s 60-second format can create a fantasy by removing most of the elbow grease – “It’s like Disney, the ‘happy ever after’ house project,” Dr Clark said – it could be very motivating for those who struggle with where to start. “I can’t help but think it’s constructive,” said Dr Clark. Some videos, on the other hand, only show the mess, leaving viewers wondering if they should even entertain the idea of a deep clean.
Videos also have their heartwarming moments. A trend on TikTok involves family members or friends tidying up a loved one’s space, often by surprise.
Allison Nelson, 29, a cleaning professional from Denver, loves reading her viewers’ comments on TikTok. “One of my favorites that I get all the time is writing, uploading videos and duos my videos and photos of my tips and tricks that they applied to their own home and that they love. Said Nelson. She said the app has also helped her business, Allisonscleanin Service, which now has a waiting list.
On YouTube, Ms Moss experienced similar luck. “It’s not just a hobby anymore,” she says. “It allowed me to contribute financially to my family.”
As captivating as the videos are, there is nothing more satisfying than doing the cleanup yourself. After all, when was the last time you looked at your baseboards?