Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Housework Myths and Truths with Vorwerk

Graphic of a Mop and Bucket, with Title OverlaidI got involved in a conversation over on Facebook yesterday, about how often people actually change their sheets. According to Mumsnet, this task should be done weekly, and it's one of those situations where a lot of us probably feel we are the only ones who fail to do this and the rest of the world has freshly laundered and ironed sheets every Monday. I can assure you that, according to some of the answers I read, many of us don't make this imaginary deadline at all, and it left me wondering how many other household tasks we probably 'should' be tackling more often. One thing I do know, is that I am always perfectly happy with the state of my house until I know we are having guests to visit.

In Association with Vorwerk

It's a strange phenomenon that, the second an invite is accepted, I start seeing fingerprints, and cobwebs and other telltale signs of life that I swear weren't there before. The guest visit clean up is such a powerful thing, I've even started imagining I have people visiting to ensure I do a better job of the housework, how weird is that?! I don't know what it is, but I think I clean fine, then I start digging a bit deeper, and I'm cleaning the storage jars for coffee and sugar, or vacuuming the cutlery drawer. Last time my parents visited, I even descaled the kettle! Why? I actually have no idea. It's like everything I clean makes something else look dirty. It's lovely though, when it's done. I actually really enjoy cleaning. I'm not sure that's true; I enjoy things being clean, would probably be more accurate. I love a cleaning gadget, though, that always makes it more fun. I have lots of them, and have reviewed quite a few too. As I write this, I think I may be sounding more eccentric by the minute. I may have to change the title to 'Confessions of a Housework Weirdo'!

Inforgraphic illustrating that  20% of UK adults worry about their parent's opinions of their home.

Here's the funny part, though. Jade has been living away from home at university for a couple of months now, and I am really enjoying being on the other side of the Parent Visit. We have been to see her a few times and I can tell that she has been frantically titivating and polishing before we got there. I love that she is house proud, even if it is potentially only when we visit, it's still a good start. I think the years helping me out when I was a cleaner have stood her in good stead and she knows all the best cleaning tips, as well as a few shortcuts too! There are two things I always wanted my children to leave home able to do; cook and keep things clean. It's not as easy or 'natural' as some might think and some people definitely find it easier than others. So, I am reassured that she has already mastered a thorough 'parent clean' so early on!

Infographic showing that 52% clean for one or two hours before guest arrive.

Vorwerk, who produce some pretty impressive cleaning gadgets themselves, asked me to take part in their Season’s Cleanings campaign, designed to reveal the lengths people go to when it comes to impressing guests. They commissioned a survey, based around the idea that we clean more when we are expecting company. The results were really interesting. What surprised me most, was that, of the 2,000 adults surveyed, only 9% worried about their in-laws' impressions of their home, compared to 20% who were concerned about what their own parents thought. I always thought it would be the other way around, I tend to worry more the less well I know the person. My own parents are used to me, they probably remember my bedroom from when I was younger! It turns out that 52% of us spend between 1-2 hours cleaning before the arrival of guests and 28% spend even more, with only 20% adopting a more relaxed approach and spending less than an hour. How I envy those guys! It's good to know, though, that 52% of people also find things to clean that they didn't know were dirty! Here's how the housework spreads out for the pre-guest spruce up:

Infographic showing how much time we spend on different cleaning tasks

I really am surprised that washing up came bottom, below dusting. As much as dusting does make the place look properly spruced, it is also the thing that notices the least, if you have to make choices due to lack of time. Perhaps those surveyed are hoping their guests won't wander into the kitchen at any point! Sometimes it's possible to fake a spick'n'span home, by cutting a few corners, something I am especially good at. For example, you can make a bathroom look newly cleaned, with a quick wipe round using a microfibre cloth. Obviously, this is not to be done in place of general cleaning, but it is a good tip when people turn up at the worst moment and catch you off-guard.

The majority (72%) of us turn to shortcuts to help us keep up our clean and tidy appearances. These are the top five shortcut clean-up tactics from those surveyed:

1. Hide things in the junk room (29%)

2. Light a scented candle (17%)

3. Hide things under the beds (15%)

4. Hide items in the garage (12%)

5. Hide things in the dishwasher (8%)

I'm not sure hiding things in the dishwasher counts as a shortcut, isn't that what it's for? Also, I'm surprised no one added 'spray some polish into the air, for that just-dusted smell' as I may have done that one once or twice myself! I'd love to hear your shortcuts to a quick clean, I hope I'm not the only one who does this in emergencies! To finish, here are some tips from Lynsey, Queen of Clean, who offers much better advice for getting your home guest-ready. You'll be impressing the in-laws in no time, just hope they don't ask you to do theirs, as you're so good at it!

Lynsey Queen of Clean’s Top Tips for Getting your Home Guest Ready

1. Start off by clearing the entrance of your home so guests don’t fall clutter when they walk in. Make sure your door mat is clean by giving it a shake and sweep away any dirt.

2. Next, clean the kitchen. Put any dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher and make sure your tea towels are clean. Spray a damp microfiber cloth with all-purpose spray and use it to wipe over kitchen surfaces and brush crumbs onto the floor, then vacuum the room.

3. Guests are likely to spend a lot of time in your living room. Tidy away clutter such as books and magazines, and if you have a pet, rub your furniture with a damp rubber glove to remove pet hair. Spray your sofas with a fabric freshener and turn your cushions over instead of vacuuming them to save time.

4. The bathroom is an area in your home where your guests will spend time alone and will make judgements about how clean it is! If you only have a minute, do these three things: 1. Get an antibacterial wipe and wipe down the sink, the toilet seat (with a new one) and underneath the base of the toilet. 2. Scrub the inside of the toilet. 3. Get a new fresh hand towel.

5. Lastly, if there’s a room in your home that you don’t want guests to enter, simply closing the door will make them less likely to go in.


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