Don’t trust everything you see on TikTok – this viral hack just got debunked by appliance and cleaning experts

Have you been putting a tea towel in your dishwasher? Experts debunk this viral TikTok hack

An open dishwasher in a light grey kitchen with silver hardware
(Image credit: Future PLC)

We love clever TikTok cleaning advice as much as the next person. Some are pretty ingenious, but others risk ruining your best dishwasher. All we’re saying is take them with a pinch of salt and do your research before you dive head first into the next viral TikTok hack. And it’s not just us saying this, it’s cleaning and appliance experts too.

The latest hack that’s come under fire is placing a tea towel on top of a dishwasher door at the end of the cycle to absorb remaining steam and moisture. The comment section is a battleground of praise and criticism. So we have consulted our appliance and cleaning experts to give us some professional insight on the matter to understand what’s wrong with this potential dishwasher mistake. All we can say is consider this hack debunked.

Dishwasher tea towel TikTok hack gets debunked by experts

An open dishwasher in a dark blue kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Parmiter)

The below video by TikToker known as @laylaypearle has amassed 2.3 million views to date. And it’s not the only one of its kind as there are several going around the social media platform recommending the same method. 

‘The idea behind it is to use a dish towel to absorb the excess steam inside the dishwasher after the washing cycle is complete but your dishes aren’t dry,’ explains Petya Holevich, a cleaning expert at Fantastic Services. ‘This happens because steam can prevent dishes from drying properly, and by placing a clean, dry dish towel on the dishwasher door while it's still warm and steamy, the towel can absorb the moisture, helping to dry the dishes more effectively.’


♬ original sound - Laylay Pearle

An open dishwasher in a natural wood-finish kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC/Caroline Foster)

However, she disagrees with the hack described in the video. ‘I’d highly advise against using this dishwasher drying hack and only resorting to it as a temporary solution. It could create a humid environment within your dishwasher, which may lead to mould or mildew problems over time,’ she warns.

Petya also points out that dishwashers should dry your dishes effectively without the need of any additional steps. And if you are struggling with wet dishes or too much moisture at the end of the washing cycle, then a call to the manufacturer or servicing by a professional might be a better solution.

an open empty dishwasher in a klitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Matt Ayres, appliance expert at kitchen appliance online store RDO, chimes in, ‘Fans of this hack should use it with caution. The rubber seal on the inside of the door is the number one place where mould and bacteria collect and leaving a tea towel on top of each wash could worsen this.’ And it’s not just the growth of mould and bacteria. Covering and potentially damaging the dishwasher seal can actually interfere with your dishwasher’s proper functioning and poor cleaning and drying performance.

So we recommend avoiding this one as there are better ways to deal with the issue, as outlined by Matt. ‘Try choosing a different cycle or using a rinse aid. Rinse aid is not designed to rinse dishes, but to help promote drying and water drainage after the final rinse cycle.’

We hope that helps! 

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.