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My bag is dirtier than I thought — it only took this tiny cleaning ball to find out

It really couldn't be more simple.
Courtesy Kara Quill / Courtesy Jannely Espinal

We all have that one tote bag that we rarely leave the house without. You know the one I'm talking about — it's likely your grocery bag, errand companion and a catch-all place for everything including receipts, wrappers and in my case, shiny threads.

If you're asking, "But why is your bag full of thread?" — let me explain. A few weeks ago I headed out on a weekend trip for a bachelorette party and, of course, my trusty tote bag had to come along for the flight. As with any bachelorette party, there was a good deal of party favors — including a fabric lei that wreaked havoc on my bag. With that, along with the sunscreen bottles I had to tote around and traveling in general, my bag really took a beating.

Once I got back home, I knew my tote needed a good cleaning, but who has the time to pick tiny threads out of canvas? Definitely not me. Luckily, I found the TikTok (and Shop TODAY)-loved The Clean Ball.

Sauberkugel The Clean Ball

How does The Clean Ball work?

The hashtag for the brand name, #sauberkugel has 17.2 million views — and it's easy to see why. The amount of dirt and crumbs the videos show it picking up is seriously impressive. Plus, the brand says all you have to do is place it in "any purse or bag" and let it get to work.

The tool comes in a hard plastic shell with a sticky, soft ball inside that picks up all the crumbs and dirt in your bag as it rolls around.

Courtesy Kara Quill / Courtesy Jannely Espinal

I tossed it into my tote along with the usual things I carry, including my wallet, a book and keys, and went about my life. A few days later, I fished out the cleaning tool and inspected what it was able to grab from the bottom of my bag. While it didn't pick up the larger pieces of thread, it did attract dirt, dust, crumbs and other particles I didn't even know were there. I was hooked.

My 'pro tip' for bigger messes

However, I still had to deal with the pieces of thread that were too big to get through the outside shell. My pro tip? Open the cage by squeezing the middle and take out the sticky ball. I emptied my tote, and simply rolled the ball back and forth and into the corners where a lot of debris had accumulated. The result? A virtually clean bag for little to no work on my end.

Courtesy Kara Quill / Courtesy Jannely Espinal

To clean your Clean Ball, all you have to do is run it under water. I even used a little dish soap to get off everything it picked up. Then I put it back in the cage and just tossed it back in my bag (so it never gets that dirty again). Simple!

Don't just take my word for it

While I could sing the praises of this cleaning hack all day, you don't have to take my word for it. The tool has an average 4.5-star rating on Amazon with nearly perfect reviews from over 2,500 shoppers. The comment section is also full of happy customers like me.

"These are THE BEST," one verified reviewer wrote. "They collect so much dirt and dust from my tote bag and keep everything clean. Super small and easy to clean as well!"

Plus, our very own Shop TODAY editorial director Adrianna Brach also used The Clean Ball to keep her bag spotless.

"I love The Clean Ball because it does all the work for you and it's so easy to clean," she said. "I keep one in my bag for work and in my daughter's diaper bag. People always ask me about it when they see it because it's truly a hidden gem."

At the end of the day, this hack takes a task off my to-do list, keeps my bag and my things clean and couldn't be easier to use. I'm definitely going to put one in each of my purses from now on.