Normally I’d be relaxing in front of the TV with my husband Sam, 32, but this week I’m following the lead of Instagram sensation Mrs Hinch, who shares evangelical Insta Stories about cleaning – or “Hinching” as she’s dubbed it.
Since starting her account in March 2018, hairdresser Sophie Hinchliffe, 28 – AKA @Mrshinchhome – has gained 1.4 million followers hooked on snaps of the pristine Essex home she shares with her husband Jamie, plus her domestic goddess tips.
I first came across Mrs Hinch when she appeared on This Morning last year, and was sceptical of her “cleaning is fun” ethos, as I find it so boring.
At home, Sam and I share the chores – I do most of the cleaning and cooking and he does the washing-up and sorts the bins – but we could never call ourselves clean freaks.
And surely this fervent celebration of domesticity is setting feminism back 50 years – shouldn’t we all be smashing the glass ceiling, not discussing how to polish it?
But intrigued by Mrs Hinch’s claim that cleaning can be relaxing, I decide to adopt her schedule – 30 minutes a day, plus a deep-clean at the weekend – for one week, to see if I can learn to enjoy it.
First, I need the gear. Mrs Hinch shares her cleaning “hauls” on Insta so I place an online order, ranging from her fave Minky sponges to a Vileda mop. I’m surprisingly disappointed when I can’t get the exact scent of Zoflora disinfectant she recommends (Mountain Air, FYI).
I immediately regret starting the experiment on a Monday when I get home post-gym at 8.30pm and realise I have to tackle the bathroom.
Rather than my usual simple squirt of bleach on every surface, I follow Mrs Hinch’s advice and use different products to scrub purple shampoo stains from the bath and polish the taps. Although I can’t say it’s enjoyable, I do feel a flash of pride afterwards.
On Tuesday and Wednesday I seriously hit the kitchen, rather than giving it a superficial once-over with a cloth. I use one of Mrs Hinch’s favourite products, The Pink Stuff, to remove greasy stains from the hob, and take everything out of my cupboards to disinfect them with diluted Zoflora.
I also vacuum the entire flat and dust all the surfaces. Mrs Hinch is a big fan of listening to music while you work, so I whack on Abba’s Dancing Queen.
I also try a few Hinch hacks, such as pouring de-gunking soda crystals down the kitchen plughole and diluting a capful of Lenor to create a DIY upholstery spray that leaves my sofa fragrant. Before long, every sparkling surface feels like a victory.
Thursday, however, is a failure. I leave the house at 6.30am and get home late after an evening with friends. I really don’t want to clean – plus my flat already looks spotless – so I give it a swerve (don’t tell Mrs Hinch!).
The next day, when the neighbour’s cat stomps fox poo through our shared hallway, I rush down with my cleaning kit. I’m disgusted by the stench, but secretly pleased I’ve put my new skills to the test.
I tackle Mrs Hinch’s weekly deep-clean on Saturday, and on top of the usual tasks, I have to disinfect handles, clean the microwave, install toilet bowl tabs and de-fluff the sofa. It takes nearly two hours, but afterwards my flat is so sparkling even my mother would approve.
When friends visit that evening, they’re impressed, although not all are Mrs Hinch fans. “It puts pressure on women to have amazingly clean homes, on top of everything else,” complains one.
But another says she finds it therapeutic. “It’s not about being the perfect housewife for my partner,” she explains. “I want to create a nice home for myself.”
I’ve found Mrs Hinch’s videos a world away from the boastful content you often see on Insta and actually really useful.
According to consumer behaviour expert Lucie Greene from JWT Innovation Group, this is the reason for her popularity. “We’re sick of frivolous pictures and want content to provide some kind of service,” she explains.
I may not have totally stuck to Mrs Hinch’s schedule, but I’ve found that doing things little and often means I’m never faced with a mountain of chores – and Sam definitely isn’t complaining about how clean the flat is! In fact, it’s fair to say that the Hinch Army definitely has a new recruit.
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