Exclusive: TikTok Clean Queen Vanesa Amaro on Finding Strength in Second Chances
Cleaning and decluttering can feel daunting, especially if you feel underequipped for the task. Spring cleaning, in all its glory, can be a transformative process for the mind, body, soul and home.
TikTok's Queen of Clean, Vanesa Amaro, knows just how revolutionary a clean home can be. That's why the Mexico-born Latina has teamed up with Clorox Scentiva to build awareness of the power of cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing.
Amaro tells People Chica, "You know, [there are several] steps: cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting [and] sterilizing. Whatever it is that you are trying to achieve, you can achieve it with Clorox products, which gives me peace of mind that I am actually getting to work."
In an exclusive interview with People Chica, Amaro dives into how she created new opportunities for herself and her family through cleaning, why TikTok was the most logical medium for her cleaning empire and the kind of music that helps her get into a cleaning mood.
You always hear of folks doing their deep clean during the springtime. Why is it important to do a deep cleaning once a year? Why do it during the springtime versus the summer?
Well, I think a lot of us are trying to start fresh in the spring, you know what I mean? But overall, I feel like it's not really important when you do it, as long as you do it. At least for me, that's the key part. It's not really when you do it, but that you do it.
Within the Latino community, Clorox products have always been associated with complete cleanliness. Folks everywhere have grown up hearing, "a house isn't clean until it smells like Clorox." Why do you love using Clorox, and more specifically, the Clorox Scentiva products?
Honestly, it just gives me peace of mind to know that I'm cleaning with something that is actually [cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing]. You know, [there are several] steps: cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting [and] sterilizing. Whatever it is that you are trying to achieve, you can achieve it with Clorox products, which gives me peace of mind that I am actually getting to work.
I'm not just like messing around or playing around. There's a lot of cleaners out there that are just cleaners, so they're not going to sanitize. They're not going to disinfect. But when it comes to the Clorox Scentiva products, they smell amazing. I mean, it's almost like I want to wear it as a perfume. We're not going to wear it as a perfume, but they smell so good. It makes you feel good about using a product that is actually cleaning [and] disinfecting, so it's like a two-in-one. You're using the best of the best. Plus, it smells amazing. [So,] yes, sign me up.
You're known as the Queen of Clean on TikTok. What was it drew you to TikTok as a medium versus Instagram?
Well, to be honest, it was the middle of the pandemic. I was bored inside my house and I had watched all the Netflix movies you can think of. I had gone through [Amazon] Prime Video, HBO Max—the whole nine yards—and my sister kept sending me TikToks. I didn't even have the app downloaded until she kept on sending me TikTok after TikTok. And I'm like, "You know what? Fine, I'll cave in." I downloaded it and I realized that, sure, there [were] a lot of teenagers dancing [but] there was also a lot of people just talking about what they did for work. [They were like], "Hey, this is what my specialty is or this is what I know how to do, and I do it very, very well. So let me teach you. Let me show you."
I love the fact that it was just videos, no pictures, and that in a video of like 15 seconds, you could literally rile up millions of people watching your stuff. It was just like. It was so easy to go viral that I'm like, "Why not," you know? On Instagram, unless you have a big following, it's going to take you years to get discovered [or go] viral. It takes so much time. I have known creators that have been on Instagram for like five years and they're still at like 200 [or] 300K. On TikTok, you can get to that number in like a month, so it's a huge difference.
People often see cleaning as a chore, one of those necessary evils that need to get done. But, you make cleaning look fun and engaging. When did you know that you wanted to dedicate your life to cleaning and to helping others find their path to a clean home?
I don't think it was ever my plan to get into cleaning until my husband lost his job. And then it was like, "Well, you got to do what you got to do to stay afloat. You want to eat, you want to have a roof on top of your head. You've got to work. Your husband's been laid off. You lost your job as well. You got to do whatever there's out there."
So prior to this whole thing happening, I had cleaned houses before, so I knew how to clean. I loved cleaning. I'm a huge clean freak. So I was like, "Why not start again?" It's something that I know how to do, [it] is something that I know [is] fast money [and] I know how to do it very well. So, I trained my husband and we got to work. Then a few years later I started on TikTok, and now we clean houses for free for people that need it. To be honest, I don't think I was pursuing cleaning, I think cleaning found me, and I'm very happy that I did.
So, in addition to the smell of the Clorox Scentiva line of products, what's another smell that kind of is synonymous for clean for you?
For me, it's either peppermint or eucalyptus. For some reason, when you walk into a spa, it's one of the first things you smell. Maybe it's just me, but I walk into a spa into [or] a luxurious space, and to me, [it] just smells fresh, clean, but also a little earthy. To me, that eucalyptus or peppermint [scent] just smells like you want to relax in this space.
What's your favorite kind of music to listen to when you clean?
It has to be the cumbia [or anything like] Selena [Quintanilla], Los Angeles Azules—you know all of that. I am 100% Mexican, so all the Latino music: the salsa, cumbia, merengue. Just give it to me. You know, I need my hype music to get cleaning, otherwise, I'm not cleaning.
What is the longest it's taken you to clean a space?
I would have to say months. So, I got this client because of TikTok. So, her daughter actually contacted me and she's like, "Well, we are borderline hoarders and we need help. We are ready to make a change in our lives. Our mom is ready." Her mom actually has cancer, and they were ready. My client wanted to leave her house to her children before she passed in a state that was usable, that was doable and that was livable. So, she was like, "We're ready to make a change." So I went, and when I walked through the door, I was like, "What did I just get myself into?"
That was the biggest project of my life. I thought, "There's no way I'm going to finish this in one day." And of course, we didn't. So, we went one day a week and for the next three months. We decluttered her entire house, and as we were decluttering, we were also cleaning each bedroom. But we went bedroom by bedroom, corner by corner, step by step. So, I would have to say that it was that house.
What's your favorite room to clean first and why?
So, I need to say that those are two different answers. As a professional housekeeper, I know that I need to start from the furthest bedroom from the entrance. I need to start from the furthest bedroom so that I can finish at the entrance of the house so that I don't leave any footsteps [or] any products behind. You always start all the way from the back, and work your way towards the entrance.
However, if we're talking about my favorite and the room that I give the most attention to and the one that I feel makes the biggest difference when cleaning the house, it has to be the kitchen. My mom always said, "Vanessa, the kitchen is the heart of the home." That's where everybody gathers and we all kind of meet eventually in the kitchen. Whether it is because you're hungry or you're just there because you're nosy, whatever it is, everybody kind of meets in the kitchen.
So, it tends to get to be the space that gets very dirty, very cluttered. Everybody kind of sort of leaves their jackets and their makeup in the kitchen and everything kind of ends up in the kitchen. I feel like when you clean the kitchen, it's like, "Oh my God, it made such a huge difference." I always say that you're cleaning a space so that that space can be of service to you and your family, not the other way around. So whatever room you use the most in your house, clean it first because it will allow that space to keep on servicing you and your family.
You spoke about how you found yourself in the wonderful world of cleaning because you were in a position of having to start over again. Do you have any advice for women that find themselves in a similar position?
My first advice is, whatever the reason is that you have to start again, allow yourself to grieve. Whether that was a relationship, a job, an opportunity, your life, a family member—whatever it is that made you start over, allow yourself to grieve first. You have to be there first before you can be there physically and emotionally. So, allow yourself to go through whatever you need to through, to cry, to scream, whatever you need to do, then pick yourself up.
Don't be afraid to do whatever it is to start over. You know, I was never afraid of cleaning. People around me almost always made me feel like cleaning was a very degrading job. So in a way, [in] the beginning, I was very ashamed. I was ashamed to say I was a housekeeper. I hid it for the longest time [from] a lot of my extended family, my friends, my neighbors [and] people that knew me. I was ashamed to say that I was a housekeeper, but I will always be proud of the fact that I was not afraid to do whatever it took to feed [myself] and my family. So whatever that is, just do it. No job is to small or degrading or shameful. Just get up and do it.
As Latinos, we understand the need for community. What is the best advice you've been told by someone that you've applied to your life and to your work?
One of the best pieces of advice was, "don't put it down, put it away." I know that sounds so simple, but when you think about it, for the most part of our day, we're always putting stuff down, but we're not putting it away. I feel like part of having a clean house is having an organized house. Because if your house is clean but it's not organized, it's never going to look right. So, I would say put it away and not put it down.
The other thing is something that my mom told me which was, "Vanessa, you still have to do your chores and your work. That's not something that is a choice. But what you can choose is the attitude you have while doing those things." And that has made the biggest difference in my life because it applies to doing whatever you're doing.