Mind you, this craze really does take the biscuit. If you had told us a couple of years ago that a glamorous 29-year-old Essex woman would be doing for bacterial pads what Delia did for omelette pans, we would have been very surprised, having only ever experienced sinking feelings in relation to cleaning and a longing to “outsource” all aspects of it.
Still, on reflection, this might be a generational issue. Those of us who were made to scrub the school loos for punishment were never likely to see the fun side of wielding Toilet Duck in later life.
Anyone who lives in an old house with inaccessible nooks and crannies, where there are no smooth veneer floors, no immaculate granite work surfaces – just creaky, flaky, scuffed and awkward-to-reach corners – is a lot less disposed to getting out the spray mop (nothing looks clean even when it is!). And some of us just feel that cleaning takes up a lot of time that could be better spent doing anything else.
Clearly we are not all Hinchers, and many of us belong to the following cleaning tribes.
We know people are coming over in a few hours, so we really get cracking – not Hinch-style cracking, which involves eight products, six hours and another hour for airing, but a blitz designed to create the appearance of a clean house in the areas that will be on show.
We do the washing-up, and put it away; rub the ring marks off the side tables, or try; plump up the cushions; hide a lot of things in drawers; give the downstairs toilet a once-over, shove some smelly flowers in there, a clean hand towel, and then hope for the best.
If our guests start wandering off piste, we take evasive action and shout something like, “Oh, don’t go in there, wet paint! Sleeping teenager! Your surprise birthday present!” Seems to work.
This is when you have some shiny surface (for instance, a chrome cooker or zinc worktop) that positively gleams and sparkles after the slightest intervention with a buffy cloth, so you quite enjoy working up a shine. Can’t vouch for this personally, but I do remember when our kitchen was first fitted that wiping the new sink was sort of fun, and a quick rub-a-dub-dub of the mirror could be satisfying. Up to a point.
Only ever happens late at night. You’ve had a few sharpeners and you get high-energy speedy and busy, busy, busy, and possibly to avoid dancing to Kate Bush/having an argument about … anything, you start sponging down everything in sight. Then you get the brush out and start washing the glasses, individually, and hand-drying them as if your life depended on it.
Sometimes you can’t resist the product that promises to shine up your stained brown decanter or refresh your dishwasher, so you unleash your miracle cleaning products, dunk your wedding ring in blue goo …
But that’s a one-off thrill. Twice in a lifetime, maximum.
Or you just get a cleaner.