Blame Social Media. Before Social Media, we had the likes of ‘Kim & Aggie’ – a professional cleaner/housekeeper and a bacterial specialist. Visiting grimy homes of the UK, they educated us with their cleaning tips and harmful bug analysis. The end results were a tidy, sparkly home, a happy resident and our relatives from a previous generation delighting in reminding us that they were right and all we needed was a ‘bit of elbow grease’ and to ‘put our back into it’.
Fast forward to 2020 and what do we have now? Life-hacks for cleaning in the newspapers, beautifully lettered cleaning schedules for our journals on Pinterest and bloody ‘celebrities’ (most of whom are younger than my best comfy bra) telling me how to clean my kitchen.
And some of them aren’t even celebrities (a word used when there is not one to describe their actual talent), but instead have been elevated to the dizzy heights of stardom for merely stating the bleeding obvious on Facebook!
I don’t mind the likes of Good Housekeeping magazine offering me tips on how to remove turmeric stains. Rightfully placed, these are genuinely useful. But a ‘celeb’ on Instagram showing me how to organise my hairdryer cord with a toilet roll tube, or hang bags of crisps from a rail in a cupboard with shower curtain clips? Really?
Then there is their obsession with the colour grey and things that sparkle. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a candle with a bit of glitter on it and a grey feature wall in my bathroom. But when they share endless images of their monochrome homes and their chopped cushions (when did that become a thing?), I think my mobile or tablet is on the blink. There is nothing wrong with a bit of colour!
These celebs will share their stories, telling us all about their endless cleaning schedules. The photo of them that goes with it, however, tells a completely different story and shows a woman who has been spending hours on perfect hair and makeup, not doing her daily chores. None of us look and dress like that to do the cleaning. After I have whipped round with a duster and the hoover, my hair is plastered to my face, I’ve got a sweat on that rivals a spinning class and I’m desperate for a shower.
I’m a normal working woman – my home gets dirty and untidy. The family make a mess and the dogs leave nose art on the windows. If you come round for a meal or party, the house will be spotless because I will spend the day cleaning and tidying before you arrive. But if you arrive unannounced you will find a wet towel drying on the landing, dirty crockery in the kitchen, water marks on the chrome bathroom fittings and dog hair on the carpet.
Nobody would ever describe me or my home as dirty – I’m actually quite house-proud. But I guarantee you this, the old-lady-me of the future will tell you that she never regretted sitting in the sun or being out with her dogs when she could have been cleaning and ironing.
So no, I’m not going to download a celeb-endorsed cleaning schedule to ‘make my home sparkle’. I’m not going to tape a ‘life-hack’ or bullet list of cleaning chores to my fridge door. I’m not going to get up at 5am to polish my taps with the juice of Sicilian lemons that are only picked on a Tuesday. And no, you will not find a Minky cloth or unhealthy Zoflora obsession in my house.
It’s a home. Not a museum. Bollocks to it.
If you read this in the hope of getting some cleaning tips and feel really let down, try Molly Maid – they’ve got plenty. I’m off for a nice gin!