TikTok’s latest ad campaign is all about how useful the video-sharing app is for learning new tricks, hacks, and skills—and it is, for the most part. When users aren’t opening TikTok to increase their knowledge, they’re usually looking for entertainment or ASMR. For some time now, one toilet-cleaning trend known as the “overload” method has been hitting both sweet spots by providing a supposed hack and some satisfying sensory stimulation. The problem, though, is that it’s not a good cleaning strategy and you shouldn’t do it, no matter how beautiful it might look.
What is the “overload” trend?
The “Overload” method involves absolutely filling your toilet bowl up with as many cleaning products as you possibly can. This leads to rainbow effects and all kinds of bubbles and textures, which are weirdly nice to look at. These videos have been going strong since at least early 2021 and are so popular that YouTubers make compilations of some of the best overloads.
Once the bowl is completely brimming with products—literally, full of liquids and powders all the way to the rim—the TikTokker behind the camera swirls it all around, scrubs a little, and flushes it away, leaving nothing but shiny ceramic behind in one final, satisfying move.
What’s the problem here?
You might think using 10 or 20 products at once will make your toilet 10 or 20 times cleaner than if you just gave it a scrub with your standard tools, but it’s useless in reality. Sure, it probably smells nice and looks cool, but this is totally unnecessary—and potentially bad for your plumbing.
One expert told Express, “This can cause erosion and damage to the pipes, not to mention flooding if you are filling your toilet to the brim before flushing it.” Yes, you could be damaging your pipes with all that bleach, baking soda, and colorful cleaning liquid. No pretty visual is worth the very un-pretty result of a damaged plumbing system.
Plus, this can be hazardous to your health. In a review of overload TikToks, Express noted they saw at least one creator say she got sick after using an entire bottle of Kaboom spray during filming. Good Housekeeping pointed out that mixing chemicals is a huge no-no for the average person and poison control centers already field calls every day from people who experience adverse reactions after mixing cleaning supplies, “often innocently and with fewer cleaners in question.”
Actual toilet-cleaning tools
To clean your toilet, simply pick one product and use tried-and-true methods. Here are some great options that won’t sicken you, weaken your plumbing, or cost a ton of unnecessary cash.
Grab 30 automatic toilet cleaning tablets ($27.99) that clean with every flush and require shockingly little effort on your part to use.You can’t go wrong with basic Lysol toilet-cleaning gel ($2.67) as long as you’re using it as intended, on its own.If you are looking for something satisfying to fill the void that toilet-overloading left, try the Clorox ToiletWand ($11.98), which features a disposable head you can click off into the trash.In the event it was the pretty colors or novelty that attracted you to overloading, may we interest you in some unorthodox toilet brushes? This one ($21.99) looks like a potted flower when the brush is in its holding container, this one ($18.99) is shaped like a giant cherry, and, hell, here’s one that looks like former president Donald Trump ($15.99).
How can you clean a toilet without major risk?
Depending on what’s going on with your toilet, there are loads of ways to clean it. You can just pick up a cleaner like the ones above like a normal person. If you have major hard water stains, you can use vinegar and baking soda or other methods we outline here.
If you’re dead set on enjoying some kind of aesthetic pleasures while cleaning your porcelain throne, you can use mouthwash or Alka-Seltzer. Here’s a video on how to do that. It’s not as visually stunning as dumping a bunch of products down there, but it’s much more reasonable.
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