On TikTok, an auto detailer plops a vinyl floor mat on the ground. A pressure washer begins rinsing away dirt as a voice entices the viewer: “Watch how easily this floor mat becomes brand new!”
A hand moves the nozzle back and forth as dirt and grime are methodically washed away. Then, the detailer used a scrub brush attached to a power drill to attack the dirt in the mat's groves. The pressure washer gives one final rinse, and in 45 seconds, a dirt covered mat has become sparkling new. The creator, WD Detailing, has almost 800,000 followers on TikTok, as well as a YouTube channel with a cleaning video that has been viewed 13 million times.
For many people, it’s satisfying to watch sinks get scrubbed or carpets become clean. Apps like TikTok even have designated hashtags — like the insanely-popular #CleanTok, which has almost 50 billion views — so users can quickly find content. Research into this sensory phenomenon is barely a decade old, but already scientists are learning why this content can be so satisfying.