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The internet’s favourite cleaning hacks, revealed

With so many tips and tricks out there to speed up the chore of cleaning, there are some unconventional approaches that might surprise you.

While most cleaning hacks can be safe, you should always approach them with caution. That's because if anything were to go wrong, you may need to make a claim on your home insurance.

Person holding a cleaning cloth and spray

We’ve put 50 online lists, featuring a total of 1,153 hacks, under the microscope to reveal the UK’s favourite cleaning hacks.


What are the most popular ingredients for household cleaning?

Top 5 of the most popular ingredients for household cleaning

Keeping on top of cleaning is essential to maintaining a healthy living space. Not to mention the mental benefits of a sparkling home. “Tidy house, tidy mind”, as the saying goes… when it comes to finding the best cleaning hacks, it seems that the internet is your best friend. A simple search reveals a vast library of hacks, tips and guides to make sprucing up the home less of a chore.

To make life even easier, there’re so many DIY cleaning hacks out there. Between household items in the back of your cupboards and common ingredients rolling around the fridge, your spring-clean saviour could be right under your nose. Raiding your cupboards and fridge for suitable items can be a great alternative to costly cleaning products.

A recent study scoured the web for the ingredients that cropped up the most in hack lists.

The most popular cleaning hacks opt for a more natural approach. According to the data, vinegar has the most mentions, appearing in 11.5% of the lists. Similar foodstuffs take up their fair share of space too. Baking soda appears in 7.8% of lists, lemon in 5.3%, and oil in 3.9%, while salt (2.8%) completes the top 5.

Ingredient Number of hacks found
Baking soda

With an ingredients list that’s accessible for many, there could be temptation to try some unconventional approaches out for yourself. But there’s always the risk that some approaches could cause damage in your home. This could result in having to claim on your home insurance, so you should always approach with caution and do your research first.


The most popular cleaning hacks

Top 3 of the internet's favourite cleaning hacks

Hands up if you’ve ever put housework off to the very last minute. Sometimes, a night on the sofa can be more appealing than picking up the rubber gloves and feather duster. So when it’s time to give in and get cleaning, you could end up looking for shortcuts. And according to the volume of cleaning hack lists, the internet says you’re not alone.

If you’re short on time, online cleaning hacks could help you to eliminate grime and dust quickly. And there’s the potential to save on money, too. Research reveals a number of top tips that the online community love, earning repeat mentions across several lists of the best cleaning hacks.

We’ve also enlisted the help of cleaning experts Steph and Jade, who run Stade Clean, to offer their top cleaning tips. Without further ado, here are the most popular cleaning hacks according to the internet and how you can use them in your home.


1. Combine baking soda and water to combat stains

According to the internet, baking soda and water form a lethal stain-removal combination. This duo can apparently target all manner of stains, from spilt red wine to grass marks, and everything in between. A household wonder, hacks reveal that the mixture can also tackle upholstery and fabric stains. It’s even said that baking soda is a deodoriser, leaving a fresh odour in its wake as an added bonus.

Steph and Jade suggest how to use baking soda and water for the best results:

“The combination of baking soda and water for cleaning is an eco-friendly alternative, so it saves against the fumes of cleaning products. It’s also relatively cheap to buy. Together, they act as a paste, which substitutes the use of cream cleaner, and you can use it on tough marks or stains. This is best usedwith a damp cloth, but you should avoid any marbled surfaces. Make sure to always do a patch test on any appliance/surface before you begin.

“Our best tip is to pour some baking soda down your sink plug hole followed by boiled kettle water. This will help to fight any nasty odours. You can also add in a few drops of your favourite essential oil to add some scent in there and you’ll have the freshest plug hole around!”


2. Wrap a plastic bag around shower heads to clean limescale

Limescale build-up on your shower head is inevitable, given its close contact with hard water over time. If left unaddressed, it can cause blockages and hinder the hygiene of shower water. Some of the most popular online cleaning hacks suggest that all you need for a deep clean is a plastic bag and some vinegar.

Steph and Jade suggest the best way to use this method when cleaning shower heads:

“Half-fill your plastic bag with vinegar and place it over the shower head until it’s fully submerged. Tie it in place with an elastic band and leave it to soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Remove the bag, flush out any leftover residue and you’ll now have a squeaky-clean shower head.”


3. Clean a microwave with lemon and water

Microwaves can be difficult to keep clean. Anyone who’s shared a microwave in the family kitchen will attest to having to pinch their nose at lingering odours. If you couple that with splattered food stains that are proving hard to remove, new cleaning hacks for your microwave could become a necessity.

If you don’t like to use chemical-rich products around where you heat food, lemon and water could be the ultimate natural cleaning hack. That’s according to the latest research.

Steph and Jade suggest:

“The best way to tackle unwanted smells and bacteria from a microwave is to fill a microwaveable bowl halfway with water and half a lemon. Heat on high for 3-5 minutes until boiling and leave the steam to work its magic. Once it’s cooled, wipe out with a microfibre cloth.

“Lemons contain citric acid, which is one of the best natural cleaners and antibacterial ingredients. The antibacterial properties of lemon juice make it the perfect cleaning agent.”


What are Brits struggling to clean?

Remember life before search engines? When the answers to all our questions weren’t at our fingertips? In the distant past, if you wanted to know how to clean a fridge, you’d have to consult your parents, rather than Google. Data shows that thousands of people in the UK are searching the internet each month to find the answers to their cleaning problems.

To get a sense of the biggest nationwide housework woes, we looked at UK monthly search data to discover which appliances people are struggling to clean the most. This was based on ‘how to clean X’ Google searches, following the pattern of appliances that came up more often than the rest.

By some distance, Brits seek tips on cleaning washing machines the most, according to the data. With 18.1k monthly searches, the term ‘how to clean a washing machine’ is much more popular than the second most searched term, which attracts 10k less monthly searches.

The top 5 most heavily searched cleaning queries in the UK:

Search term Monthly volume search
How to clean a washing machine
How to clean a mattress
How to clean an oven
How to clean a dishwasher
How to clean a microwave

Steph and Jade suggest using vinegar to clean the washing machine. They say:

“Washing machines can build up grime rapidly depending on usage. You can prevent this by adding two cups of white vinegar to your washing machine detergent drawer. Then, run on a hot wash to conquer the grime build up.

“For optimal cleaning power, add half a cup of baking soda in the drum and again run on a hot wash. This will neutralise any odours within the drum and fight bacterial build-up around the seal. Once the cycle has finished, wipe out the drum and drawer with a microfibre cloth. This should leave your washing machine fresh and grime free!”

Although cleaning hacks are clearly a popular choice for many, you should still approach them with caution. Jessica Willock, home insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:

“The internet is the perfect place to find unusual yet effective cleaning hacks. You may not have considered using vinegar to clean your washing machine or baking soda to remove stains, but the internet says you can. Research reveals that many hacks could be possible with just a few items that you would find in your kitchen cupboard.

“Although some online cleaning hacks may save time and money, you should be cautious when using them on your household items. That's because you might accidentally damage more than you bargained for. For example, if you try to remove a stain from your coffee table, you could end up damaging your carpet in the process. As a result, you might have to claim on your home insurance to repair or replace it. That’s why you should always weigh up the risk factor and be mindful before trying unconventional approaches.”