Don’t believe everything you see on TikTok

Person reaching into dishwasher to load and unload dishes
Photo: Alberto Incrocci (Getty Images)

We saw some chatter on the internet this week about a TikTok life hack that had users reeling. I mean, just listen to this headline: “TikTok users blown away by woman’s ‘game-changing’ dish-washing hack: ‘What kind of voodoo is this?’”

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“Blown away”? “Game-changing”? Of course we took it for a spin.

In the video posted by TikTok user jasminegazelle, a POV camera angle shows hands placing a fluffy towel (one that appears to be between the size of a large hand towel and small bath towel) on the door of a freshly used, still steamy dishwasher. Draping a small bit over the exterior-facing side of the door, the rest of the towel gets shut inside the dishwasher with the drying dishes.

“Do you get annoyed by all the extra water even after the ‘dry’ cycle?” reads the caption on the video. “Grab a towel. Hang it halfway in the dishwasher. Close the door and leave it for 20 minutes. It absorbs all the extra moisture and your dishes will be bone dry!”

I happened to read this as I had a dishwasher load going on speed wash, so I was excited to test it out for myself. I located a nubby, absorbent towel closest to what I saw in the TikTok video, tucked it halfway into the steamy chamber, and set a timer for 20 minutes.

You know what was bone dry when I opened the dishwasher again? The towel. The dishes, meanwhile, still had water collecting in all the areas where the water usually settles: in the ridges of plastic takeout containers, in the small bowl at the base of each upturned coffee mug, and in the bottom edge of the wine glass that can never quite sit at a steep enough pitch inside the dishwasher to get the water to run off. I laid the towel out so that more of it covered the interior side of the door. I set the timer for 10 more minutes. But the towel did not suddenly begin acting like a dishwasher dehumidifier.

In my experience, the only thing that can really mitigate the pooling of water in your clean dishes is opening the door to let the steam out once the cycle is complete, and strategically tilting all the dishes inside so that there’s little opportunity for water to pool in the first place. Jaunty cups, slanted Tupperware lids, and well-spaced plates are the name of the game. And I pull the bottom rack out and remove everything from that first, so that the wet stuff on the top rack doesn’t slosh excess water all over it.

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If you actually got this trick to work, by all means, let me know what I’ve done wrong. After all, TikTok seemed so enamored with this “magic” that it feels premature to debunk it. At the very least, I’ve learned to take TikTok wisdom with a grain of salt.

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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Don’t believe everything you see on TikTok