A viral-couch cleaning hack that actually works

Social media is full of “life hacks” designed to make everyday tasks quicker and easier, and as someone who truly dislikes cleaning, I love finding ways to keep my home tidy and sanitary with minimal effort. So when I stumbled across a viral TikTok video featuring a cool couch-cleaning technique, I was definitely intrigued.

This cleaning method is unconventional, relying on a laundry detergent pod and pan lid, of all things. The video has racked up more than 3 million likes—but is it effective? I tested it on my own couch to find out.

How Does It Work?

If you haven’t watched the video on TikTok, here’s what this couch-cleaning hack entails:

  1. Start by vacuuming your couch to remove loose dirt, dust, and pet hair.
  2. Place a laundry detergent pod in a bowl, then pour over boiling water to dissolve it.
  3. Wrap a microfiber cloth around a pot lid, tying the opposite corners together, to use as an oversized scrub brush.
  4. Dip the lid into the detergent solution, then use it to scrub your couch cushions and frame.
  5. Rinse the cloth and repeat the scrubbing process using clean water to remove any residue.
  6. Let the couch dry, and voila! Good as new.

While this video has racked up millions of likes, a lot of people in the comments are skeptical: “Don’t do that, it will leave soap residue and will only make dirt and grease attracted to it,” writes one commenter. Other people suggested washing the cushion covers in the washing machine as an easier and more effective solution, but my chenille couch fabric isn’t machine-washable.

Of course, there are certain types of material, such as leather, that require special cleaning solutions, so you should be sure to check your sofa’s care guidelines before you dive in and try this hack.

Here’s What Happened When I Tried It

I wanted to see if this viral hack was as good as it seems—or if the naysayers were wise to doubt it—so I gathered a laundry detergent pod (my friend was kind enough to donate one for the cause, as I use liquid detergent), a pot lid, and a cotton towel, which I prefer to microfiber. I put the pod into a glass pan, poured a few cups of boiling water over it, and swished everything around until it was fully dissolved.

After vacuuming my couch, which was the most time-consuming step in the whole process, I wrapped the lid in the towel. (My towel wasn’t quite big enough to tie the corners together tightly, so I did have to stop and retie it a few times while I was cleaning.) From there, all that was left to do was start scrubbing!

Once I dipped the towel-wrapped lid into the detergent solution, I scrubbed back and forth across the seat cushions, as well as the arms and back of the sofa. The surface was a little damp after each pass, but not soaked. I was surprised at how much dirt the towel picked up, and I was even able to lift a small blood stain left behind by one of my pets.

When I was done cleaning, I set up a fan to make sure the cushions dried completely. The couch definitely looked cleaner, and when I sent a picture to my mom, she was impressed by the results, too.

Is This Couch-Cleaning Hack Worth A Try?

To sum up my experience, here are the answers the people’s most common questions/concerns about this cleaning hack:

  • Did it leave my couch looking cleaner? Yes, and it smelled good, too.
  • Did it remove stains? Yes!
  • Was it easier than using an upholstery cleaner? Yup, it was much more convenient than lugging my full-size carpet cleaner around.
  • How long did it take? Around 30 minutes from start to finish, including vacuuming.
  • Was the fabric crusty or sticky when it dried? Nope, it was still soft.
  • Would I use this technique again? Definitely. I don’t think I’d use it on a regular basis, but I think it’s a great hack for a quick refresh a few times a year.

I’ve also learned that you can use different cleaning solutions with the same lid-and-towel technique. Some people use liquid laundry detergent, diluted vinegar, or other cleaning products, and I’ve also seen the technique applied to mattresses and area rugs. It’s definitely a convenient option if you don’t have access to a carpet cleaner, and I imagine it would go even more quickly if you used a larger pan lid.


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