How to do laundry better, according to a TikTok cleaning queen

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Laundry is one of the most essential – and hated – tasks of maintaining a home. And while there are a multitude of opinions on how to do it right, we wanted to know how one woman in particular approaches her dull whites and delicates: Ann Russell, also known as TikTok Auntie, has amassed 2, 3 million followers on the social media platform for her handy cleaning tips, delivered in refreshing, no-frills videos. Among her most popular laundry articles: tips on saving a shrunken sweater (4.6 million views) and why she doesn’t like fabric softener (2.3 million views).

The 59-year-old, who lives in a small village in the south of England, says her TikTok stardom was “a complete accident”. She joined only to follow her niece, but decided on a whim to post a video of her dog, Holly, reacting to fireworks. Then a simple explanation she made on how to use a bay leaf took off. “I went from eight people watching a video to 60,000 watching it…and it just happened slowly and inexorably from there,” she says.

She posted the Bay Leaf video in the fall of 2020, back when she was self-employed as a professional housekeeper. Last September, she published her first book, “How to Clean Everything.” Russell says she could never have imagined being here. She insists she’s “absolutely crap” on social media – she still doesn’t know how to add captions to her videos – and attributes her success to being “very, very lucky”.

However, his nearly two decades of cleaning experience surely has something to do with it. Just like his low-pressure approach: “It’s laundry. This is not the end of the world. If everything goes wrong, it really doesn’t matter. (Even so, we still wanted his advice!)

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