Ileana Cabrera, Aka MoreThanCleaning, Shares Advice Gleaned From Her CleanTok Success

Photo credit: Tomko91/Shutterstock Ileana Cabrera (Licensed) by Caterina Cox

We’re reaching out to some popular creators to get their best tips and tricks for success and better understand the ups and downs of life as a trailblazer on the internet.

Latinx creators constantly break barriers, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they have to work extremely hard in order to do so. Los Angeles-based Ileana Cabrera (@morethancleaning), a creator with over 1.4 million followers across TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, certainly put in the work. In her channels, she provides actionable cleaning life hacks, talks about helpful cleaning habits, and does ASMR cleaning—not to mention, she does it all in both English and Spanish.

Cabrera has long run a successful cleaning business, but her social media platform allowed her to choose her clients more selectively and share her field of expertise with a new generation in a family-friendly, approachable way.

Though many Latinx immigrants work as cleaners and janitors, film and media have long depicted Latinx characters who do only this type of work, creating a stigma around cleaning and tidiness. Additionally, class stereotypes surrounding cleaning can have a harmful effect on young Latinx children. But Cabrera is fighting those stereotypes one day at a time, making #CleanTok fun, approachable, and informative for young viewers.

Cabrera’s TikTok success exploded in recent years. In 2022, Cabrera received TikTok’s Latinx Creatives grant. The grant was for a total of $50,000 and included coaching sessions from Macro and Unbelievable Entertainment, whose owner happens to be Eva Longoria. Cabrera is also a resident video producer on Buzzfeed’s craft and DIY channel Nifty

In an interview with Passionfruit, Cabrera shared tips and tricks for being a better content creator, dealing with and shattering stereotypes, and handling audiences in two languages. 

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

A lot of multilingual creators choose to focus on one language. What made you decide to do English and Spanish, and how do you handle two slightly different audiences that sometimes intersect? 

I originally wanted to do two different channels. I actually did [at first], but I realized I was doing very different content for the Spanish-language [channel]. I did a couple of videos and realized it was too much work. …  I think I did a live asking my followers what they would prefer. A lot of my followers said one channel is easier. I thought about it as, Why am I stressing myself out? Let’s work smarter, not harder. I’m just gonna produce the same exact content.” 

It gets tricky [making content] when I have to show my face. For videos where I’m not showing my face, I just have to do the voiceovers in both English and Spanish.

A lot of Spanish speakers or people who want to send [my videos] to their parents are thankful. I appreciate it. People that don’t even speak Spanish are happy and say they want to learn [the language] by watching my videos. I love reading comments like that.

You’re present on many platforms. When do you decide to remix and recycle content, versus creating something just for that platform? 

I originally started on TikTok. That’s like my baby. I post a lot of content there that I don’t post anywhere else. I feel freer there, but I make content with intention. I really wanted to take [content creation] more seriously and make money on it.

I repurpose a lot of the content for Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube Shorts. I’m starting to try Pinterest, and eventually, I want to branch out to Snapchat. 

On Instagram, I [feel like I] have to [meet] certain criteria aesthetically. I was very intimidated at first and I just didn’t go ham on it.

How long have you had your channels, and how have you handled their growth? 

I started on TikTok first, in mid-April 2021, but it was for something else. I had about 1000 followers and deleted everything. 

I repurposed my Instagram and revamped it, but I wouldn’t really post too much. Then one day [I decided] I’m just gonna start really taking it seriously and then one of the videos went viral. That’s when I started really posting on Instagram. I just started [posting on Facebook about] three months ago, and one of the videos went viral there. 

With viral videos, you get love and you also get hate. It can be hard but also exciting. Now, I’m a resident producer for Buzzfeed—something that I would have never been able to do had I not started my platform.

Do you have any tips for people who want to create content as a hobby or full-time? 

Consistency. There are days when I don’t want to do anything, and my views will reflect that when I come back. 

You have to like whatever you’re posting because if you don’t like it, you’re not gonna want to do it. So for me, that’s why I’m so thankful that my page isn’t just about cleaning. If it was just about cleaning, I think it would be very exhausting. 

Have [your content] be something that you’re enjoying because that way when you’re making content, you’re having fun. If you’re not having fun, then you’re not gonna want to work. If you’re not working, you’re not earning money.

What software, hardware, or apps to use when you create content?

I’m in love with CapCut. It’s just easier for me. I’ve tried with new TikTok features and they always freeze on me. 

How do you engage with your followers?

I don’t go live as much as I want to but I try to reply to comments as much as I can. People comment in both English and Spanish. I love that.

Being a cleaner has a lot of stigma in the Latinx community. How long have you been a professional cleaner, and what do you think of #CleanTok more generally? 

My mom started cleaning when she got [to the US at age] 18. The following day, she went to work. She’s been cleaning all my life. … Once I became a teenage mom, having a minimum-wage job, working long hours, and going to school wasn’t ideal for me. I started cleaning houses because that’s what I knew. It was easy money.

I wanted my degree and to work in my field. I have a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics, which has nothing to do with what I am currently doing with now. Having my degree has helped me be able to communicate with bigger companies as well as understand the companies that I am working with now. 

[But,] I earn so much more now cleaning houses, and I love it. I was so miserable working in an office because I’m such a hard worker. I give so much, and companies will always take advantage of that. 

It’s hard mentally though because like you say, [there’s] stigma: “You’re a Hispanic, and you’re a cleaner.” … I remember one time with my mom there was a lady and [we had as a client] who was well-off. We were late and she screamed at us. It was so awful I cried. Now there’s more respect. 

As I’ve gotten more popular on the platform, the clients we have now are so happy to have us. 

As Latinas, we’re often seen as responsible for representing our many cultures. How do you handle this and what advice do you have for Latinx creators? 

I don’t speak perfect Spanish. I get a lot of hate in the comments because [of that]. But [don’t] be afraid even if [some people] consider [imperfect Spanish speakers to be] “no sabo” kids. I think I’ll never be Hispanic “enough.” 

I don’t let that stop me because I saw, and I keep seeing racism and injustices that have happened to my mom. If we have a voice, we can potentially stop that.

What past life lessons have helped you become a better content creator? 

Learning. If you’re not consistently learning and willing to take the time to make your content better, it’s never gonna flourish. I take a lot of courses on anything that’s open. 

I am currently taking TikTok boot camp courses which have been my favorite because they teach us all of the ways to master content creation. I have so much fun creating content but [I’m amazed] to be able to learn all of the ways to properly use lights, sound, editing apps, and even storytelling to take my content to the next level.  

Content for Creators.

News, tips, and tricks delivered to your inbox twice a week.

Newsletter Signup

Top Stories