TikTok has given birth to a “CleanTok” community that has garnered more than 16 billion views on the video-sharing app, and some creators are leading the charge in the spotless home movement.
Chantel Mila, a mother of two from Melbourne, Australia, started her Mama_Mila_ TikTok account in April 2020 and has watched her audience grow to more than 325,100 people thanks to her cleaning, styling and DIY videos.
Between sharing unconventional cleaning hacks like using newspaper as a liner to help with dusting or using shaving cream to defog mirrors, Mila’s content regularly gets thousands of views every time she posts. And so far, she’s earned well over 5.6 million likes from people who enjoy her content.
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“My followers have had a really positive reaction to the cleaning and organizing videos I share across my channel. Many followers have mentioned that my cleaning hacks have allowed them to spend less time cleaning, and more time with their family and doing the things they love,” Mila told FOX News via email.
Mila said her content has helped others through pandemic stay-at-home orders by creating spaces of “retreat and relaxation.”
It also doesn’t hurt that the videos can be satisfying to watch, Mila added.
“It’s great motivation to keep posting,” she said.
Meanwhile, third-generation janitor and “clean freak” Brandon Pleshek – the force behind the popular TikTok page Clean That Up, agrees that the COVID-19 lockdowns largely contributed to the CleanTok phenomenon.
He joined TikTok in August 2019 and has seen his audience grow to more than 910,600 followers through his “cleaning tips, tricks and hacks. He said he saw demand for cleaning video spike as the pandemic was declared in March 2020.
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Pleshek, of Appleton, Wisconsin, told FOX News that he comes from a family that has 40 years of professional cleaning experience.
When the pandemic hit and he had to put a pause on running his business – Pioneer Professional Carpet Care – he upped his casual TikTok usage to create daily content to minimize the “anxiety and nervous energy” he felt from not being able to work. Little did he know, he said, he’d get more than 18.1 million likes for his carpet and home cleaning videos.
“I started sharing those via TikTok and it was super helpful, and I started to realize that, ‘Hey, this is something that people want to learn about or have questions about and I can use my knowledge to help,’” Pleshek said in a phone interview.
He went on, “There’s a lot of [people who] are just getting their first homes or their apartments and things, and frankly kind of turn to the internet to learn how to scrub a toilet.”
Pleshek says some of his most successful videos have been about cutting down on cleaning time.
In terms of viewership, his videos tend to be watched by TikTok users who are in their mid-thirties, Pleshek said, but he also has a growing following among TikTok users outside the millennial age range, which is anyone born between 1981 and 1996, according to the Pew Research Center.
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Roughly 1,300 miles southwest of Pleshek is Vanesa Amaro of Austin, Texas, a professional housekeeper who made a slight career shift into being a full-time content creator.
She describes herself as the “queen of cleaning,” and with more than 4.1 million followers on her English vanesamaro91 account and more than 4.3 million followers on her Spanish account vanesaamaro1, Amaro has cemented her place as one of TikTok’s most-followed creators in the cleaning space.
Combining the likes she’s received from both her accounts thus far puts her well over 155 million likes threshold for her cleaning TikToks alone, an impressive feat considering she made her two accounts in June and December 2020.
With seven years of housekeeping experience, Amaro thinks it’s important to know how to clean and disinfect surfaces, especially with COVID-19 still around.
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“Cleaning videos became huge when the pandemic hit and I feel like it’s here to stay because we as a society have changed the way we clean,” Amaro told FOX News. “This virus is not going anywhere. We’re just going to have to learn how to deal with it. And along with it comes new viruses. So I think people have changed the way they clean forever.”
Amaro’s videos range from teaching people how to properly sanitize their homes and which cleaning chemicals shouldn’t be mixed to cleaning commonly overlooked areas like high-up light fixtures or shower curtain rods.
A large size of her audience are college students or have moved into their own homes, but are lost when it comes down to cleaning and home maintenance.
Amaro has also received messages from TikTok users who say her videos have either inspired them to tidy up or helped pull them out of a dark place.
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Baruch Labunski, the CEO at Rank Secure – a digital analytics firm – tells FOX News that cleaning videos are a testament to the success of authentic marketing.
“Viewers tune in to see the nitty-gritty. They don’t expect polished, scripted content. They want to see regular people tackling regular chores. Bonus points for kids and pets who interrupt…just like real life,” Labunski said. “It’s the same for marketing; if you let your authentic self shine through, customers will feel a genuine connection.”