Laundry is one of the most essential — and loathed — tasks of keeping a home. And while there are multitudes of opinions about how to do it correctly, we wanted to know how one woman in particular approaches her dingy whites and delicates: Ann Russell, also known as TikTok Auntie, has amassed 2.3 million followers on the social media platform for her practical cleaning hacks, delivered in refreshingly frills-free videos. Among her most popular laundry posts: tips for rescuing 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 southern 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 explainer she made about how to use a bay leaf took off. “I went from having eight people watching a video to having 60,000 watch it … and it just kind of rolled on slowly and inexorably from there,” she says.
She published the bay leaf video in autumn 2020, back when she was self-employed as a professional cleaner. This past September, she published her first book, “How to Clean Everything.” Russell says she never could’ve imagined winding up here. She insists she’s “absolutely rubbish” at social media — she still isn’t certain how to add captions to her videos — and chalks up her success to being “very, very lucky.”
Her nearly two decades of cleaning experience, though, surely have something to do with it. As does her low-pressure approach: “It’s laundry. It’s not the end of the world. If it all goes wrong, it really doesn’t matter.” (Even so, we still wanted her tips!)