TikTok Wants You to Use Dryer Sheets to Clean Your Toilets — Here’s a Better Alternative

published May 17, 2022
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If there’s one chore I put off longer than others, it’s cleaning the outside of my toilet. Something about getting on my hands and knees with my face so close to the place where — well, you know — feels especially gross. So when it comes to bathroom-cleaning hacks that make this necessary job faster, I’m all ears, all the time. 

Not surprisingly, TikTok has me covered. In February, the creator Amanda Kay Sheppard posted a toilet-cleaning trick that went instantly viral. Ready for it? She recommends using a dryer sheet to pick up pesky debris from the outside of your toilet before you actually wash it. 

In the video, which now has close to 7 million views, Sheppard swipes the dryer sheet across the part of the toilet between the bowl and tank to pick up dust, and it appears to work beautifully. Hundreds of commenters chimed in, sharing how well the hack works on the toilet (and anywhere you need to quickly clean up dust and hair). Some even shared their own hacks, such as getting bugs off your car during the summer (gross, but smart) and wiping out the inside of a dryer’s lint trap (simply genius). 

The idea is, apparently, dryer sheets absorb static, which also helps them pick up dust. As useful as these sheets are in the laundry and around the house, I couldn’t stop thinking about the waste aspect — it’s like using a single paper towel once and throwing it away afterward. Not great for the planet or your pocketbook. 

Scrolling through the comments for an alternative, I discovered a few eco-friendlier ways to achieve a similar result on the toilet. One commenter suggested re-using a dryer sheet you’ve already used (if you’re going to use them anyway, you may as well get two uses out of them — that approach saves money, too). 

Another person suggested using Windex on a piece of toilet paper, which is probably less wasteful and expensive than using a brand-new dryer sheet, but still not totally sustainable. If you’d rather not waste precious TP, you could also try Windex on a cloth (or honestly, any type of all-purpose cleaner or even water). 

The best eco-friendly way around this, in my very humble opinion? If you’re not a dryer sheet person, use a damp microfiber cloth, with or without any particular cleaner, to clear dust and debris from your toilet before scrubbing it down.

Why? Well, there’s science to it. Microfiber, a synthetic material often used in cleaning, has more fibers than your average cloth — which means it’s much more absorbent. According to the University of California-San Francisco, microfiber is also positively charged, so it can easily pick up negatively charged particles, such as dirt and dust. Again, it’s not a perfect solution (microfiber is a major source of plastic pollution), but if you continually reuse your cloth, it eliminates the single-use issue.

Just get the cloth wet, fold it in thirds, and swipe it across the dusty toilet surface. The microfiber should contain the dust, but to avoid spreading dust or germs around your bathroom, you can fold the cloth another way or rinse it out. Another quick watchout: If I were using a microfiber cloth to clean a toilet, I’d make sure to implement a color-coding system to avoid spreading bathroom germs to the kitchen. Another alternative is to wash your microfiber cloth right away before using it again in another area of your home.

There are plenty of other uses for microfiber cloths — I use mine as much as I can in place of paper towels or cotton rags — so I’d recommend investing in a pack of them and keeping a few in or near your bathroom. No matter how you end up using your cleaning cloths, rest assured: You’ve found an effective, affordable, and more earth-friendly solution for pretty much any wipe-down job in your home, including the areas you’d rather not clean in the first place. 

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: A Better Alternative to that TikTok Dryer Sheet Hack for Cleaning Toilets