I Tried Using Powdered Tide to Clean My Home — And I Highly Recommend It (for Certain Things)

updated Apr 1, 2021
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Modern and bright Loft kitchen
Credit: Hinterhaus Productions | Getty Images

Along with, apparently, well over a million and a half others, I’m obsessed with Go Clean Co on Instagram. If downloading their Cleaning Army Handbook and settling in for some good viewing when a bunch of their stories pop up means I’m part of the Cleaning Army, I am.

Guess what else I have in my possession, not for laundry but for cleaning? Yep, a big box of powdered Tide. If you’re among the uninitiated, Go Clean Co founder Sarah McAllister’s motto is “bleach, pray, love,” and the secret sauce formula she’s famous for is made of bleach, powdered Tide, and the hottest water you can get into your bucket.

(And yes, it’s safe to mix bleach and powdered Tide — that’s what happens in your laundry sometimes! Otherwise, always trust that don’t-mix-cleaners-with-bleach instinct of yours!)

Go Clean Co’s feed is a compelling one and it wasn’t long before I took the plunge into cleaning with their Tide-and-bleach mixture to see what all the fuss was about. I grabbed a cleaning bin, a scrub brush, and rag, and had at it.

Between that first time and now, I’ve tried the Tide solution many places all over the house, and I’ve come to know where and how using it serves me best.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

First, A Few Things to Keep In Mind As You Clean with Powdered Tide and Bleach

It’s not the best cleaner for every task. But here’s what I’ve learned about using this mixture effectively.

1. It’s a great solution for all-day cleaning, but not on-the-go spot-cleaning.

This solution, when used as directed, requires mixing and hauling a bin or bucket around. It’s not always convenient to mix a solution when you want to clean one small area or one thing.

And you can’t pre-mix it in advance: Bleach should always be diluted for cleaning, and bleach in any solution can’t stay mixed for long if you want to maintain its effectiveness. So if you’re using bleach in your Tide solution, it has to be mixed directly before cleaning, every time.

2. You don’t necessarily need the bleach — powdered Tide mix works well on its own.

I don’t always use bleach when I “Go Clean,” and it should be pointed out that neither do they. They clearly state in their handbook, “If you are confused about when to use bleach, we add it when it is time to disinfect.”

When you go to make your solution, consider what you’ll be cleaning and decide whether to include bleach in your solution or not. If you’re cleaning shower interiors or disinfecting the bathroom, bleach it is. If you’re wiping down other surfaces, such as baseboards, walls, or door frames, there’s no need for bleach.

3. It’s ok to eyeball it, but err on the side of more water, less cleaners.

If you buy the handbook, which I personally find quite helpful, recipes are included for both a large batch and a small batch of the bleach/Tide/water solution. However, I confess that I rarely measure accurately. Should I know where the gallon “line” is on my bucket or mark one? Yes. Have I figured that out? No. So I eyeball it: One gallon of water, with a third of a cup of bleach, and teaspoon of Tide for the large batch. For the small batch, it’s 4 cups of water, 4 teaspoons of bleach, and a half-teaspoon of Tide.

It hasn’t been a problem to guesstimate how much Tide and bleach I put in my solution, as long as I mix with an awareness of not overdoing either the bleach or the Tide. It’s especially tempting to mix in more Tide than called for. More soap feels like a it would lead to a stronger clean, but really it just leads to more cleaning you have to do. If you use too much Tide, you’ll end up with a film that needs rinsing and I for one could do without that extra step.

3 Times I Like to Clean With Powdered Tide

Whether it’s the full three-ingredient formulation or just a mix of hot water and Tide, here’s what I’ve learned and where I’ll continue using it.

1. For a big all-day deep clean.

When I’m doing a regular quick cleaning of any area in my home, I still reach for my favorite all-purpose cleaners or the specialty cleaners I use for surfaces like glass or stainless steel. But when I’m in cleaning mode and doing a deeper clean of a room or a space at home, that’s when I turn to either bleach, Tide, water or just a Tide-and-water solution.

Bleach is an inexpensive disinfectant, and Tide works very well, smells really nice and clean, and one box will last a long, long time. I enjoy using it, and I will any time it feels worth my time to mix it up, haul it around, and change the water (and mix more) as necessary.

2. For spot-cleaning that happens in a big batch, all over the house.

It doesn’t make sense to mix a batch for one small area, but if I’m going all around the house concentrating my effort on one category that needs to be cleaned, I’ll make a Tide and water solution. I love using it for doors and door frames and for baseboards, for example. It’s also great for cleaning off desktop and worktop surfaces, and even floors.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. In the bathroom — especially on grout.

I always include bleach when I want to disinfect a bathroom, or go to tackle shower interiors and the grout involved. The combination of Tide, bleach, and water applied to filthy grout with a scrub brush is what the most mesmerizing before and afters of the Go Clean Co account are made of. I love experiencing the cleaning magic in my own space with my own two hands.

The sound, sight, and feel of the solution scrubbing away shower slime and grout muck are incredibly satisfying. Writing about it makes me want to go do it right now! Seriously, a previously discouraging and thankless task has become one of my favorite chores.

Even if I don’t use it as often as I might have thought I would, the box of powdered Tide in my cabinet is getting dipped into regularly as a welcome addition to my personal cleaning stockpile.