Cleaning woman shares harrowing video of bathroom where accident occurred: 'Spontaneously combusted'

·4-min read

A TikTok user is blowing people’s minds with videos of the messes she encounters at her job as a professional cleaner. 

Katie K. (@katesgreats), a 36-year-old woman from Central Pennsylvania who owns her own cleaning company, shared a now-viral video explaining one of the most serious messes she was commissioned to make disappear: a client’s bathroom in the aftermath of an apparent laptop explosion.

In the clip, which has been viewed over 2.9 million times, Katie reenacted a conversation with a client named Jessica, who at first was reluctant to reveal the extent of the damage to the master bathroom. 

 “Did they tell you [the townhouse] is really dirty?” Jessica, whose dialogue was acted out by Katie, asked.

“Yeah, that’s no problem, I’ll take care of it,” Katie replied. 

After an awkward silence, the client finally admitted that “a laptop exploded in the master bathroom.”

Katie then revealed footage of the bathroom in question … and true to Jessica’s word, it was really dirty.

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Panning her cellphone camera around the bathroom, Katie revealed a bathtub and toilet covered in a gray, ash-like substance. 

In a second video of the same mess, Katie showed the floors and walls were also covered in the thick soot, which had somehow even made its way into the medicine cabinet above the sink.

TikTokers were horrified by the aftermath, which Katie says took over nine hours in total to scrub from the second floor of the townhouse.

“I don’t think I knew a laptop could explode until today,” one user commented on the video.

“Is this considered hazardous?” wrote another.

“You did NOT get paid enough for that,” commented a third. 

Katie told In The Know she got her start in the cleaning industry working as an hourly employee at a company when she first got clean after a 10 year battle with addiction. She still occasionally subcontracts through that same company but is now self-employed. 

A majority of the stories Katie shares on her TikTok are from jobs past. However, the laptop explosion actually happened a few weeks ago.

“I was told there was a small fire, but everything was repaired,” she explained. “I went to pick up the key to the townhouse that morning, and that’s when they dropped the bomb on me. I was told a teenager’s laptop was left in the bathroom and caught on fire in the middle of the night.”

“They used the term ‘spontaneously combusted,'” she added, noting that the local fire department conducted a full investigation into the incident before reaching that conclusion. “The entire second floor was a mess, every window and even the other bathroom was covered in black soot. I used a strong, industrial degreaser to break through the soot and lots of scrubbing. I finished with bleach and a magic eraser to make it sparkle!”

Although they are statistically unlikely, laptop explosions can and do happen. According to the Houston Chronicle, when a laptop’s battery “overheats to the point where a component reaches its ignition point,” a lithium-ion battery can combust. 

In order to decrease the odds of such an incident, the outlet recommends replacing lithium-ion batteries after two to three years of use and avoiding storing a laptop in any place that can reach temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter (such as a hot car trunk). 

Following proper protocol is worth the extra care, considering the mess and potential property damage or even personal injury an exploding laptop can cause. 

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Although she said she has always loved the “before-and-after” aspect of looking back at her more “challenging” jobs — the infamous laptop video, for example — Katie added that residential cleaning was never her “favorite.” 

Still, after years in the cleaning industry documenting such head-turning messes, she knew she “had some good stories to tell” and figured TikTok was the perfect place to do it.  

“I saw other people sharing their customer service experiences, but there was never any cleaning/subcontractor stories so I knew there was a hole to fill,” she explained. “I figured other cleaners were going to relate.”

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Now, Katie posts storytimes on the regular for her over 265,000 and counting followers. The job may seem dirty and occasionally thankless through the lens of her TikTok account, but Katie assures that she very much loves her career. 

“I hope people don’t see my videos and assume I don’t like my job,” she told In The Know. “I absolutely love my job. I earn a great living that allows me to support my kids and I love the challenging jobs more than anything. And 97% of my customer experiences have been super positive.”

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