The world can be divided into those who watch YouTube videos of limescale removal to relax and those who are quite enjoying watching the abstract sculpture forming inside their dirty shower, thank you very much.
But can an ordinary, busy person learn to enjoy cleaning? Even, perhaps, to find it genuinely restorative?
The answer might lie with ‘conscious cleaning’, a concept dreamed up by eco-cleaning brand Colt & Willow. With the right mindset and beautiful products, so the theory goes, cleaning can become a treat rather than a chore.
Putting cynicism aside, the idea taps into a broader movement, one in which people are making efforts to level up their domestic life and enjoy the ordinary. The pandemic has caused us to re-evaluate both how we live and our relationship with our home.
Never mind the unattainable fetishisation of order and cleanliness that you find on social media, this is simply about giving your everyday life a lift wherever possible.
The idea goes hand in hand with the eco-friendly ethos of buying less but buying better. This doesn’t need to involve spending more but it does mean making sure that everything in your home — from toilet brush to sink plunger — is something you rather like.
It’s fair to say my house is a teeny bit filthy these days and this fact depresses me. I used to keep it (sort of) shipshape and shiny clean but life as a working mum to a boisterous 16-month-old is another level of ‘that will have to wait… probably forever’.
What’s more, it feels like every time I turn around I find a proud toddler spooning yoghurt into a cupboard or scribbling on the floor with chalk. Under such circumstances, conscious cleaning sounds like a sick joke.
However, the new green, subscription model cleaning products by brands such as Colt & Willow, Raindrop Clean and Kinn Living aim to bring joy to the mundanity of housework.
Not only do they smell good, they also come in chic refillable bottles that wouldn’t look out of place in an upmarket hotel. Furthermore, research shows cleaning can be a boost for mental health.
As a physical activity with instantly tangible and satisfying results, it can help to lift our mood.
A study by the University of Connecticut found that repetitive activities such as cleaning can help give us a sense of control during difficult times. If meditation leaves you cold, taking five minutes to disconnect during a cleaning task could be an alternative.
‘I love activities like washing-up and hoovering,’ says neuro-linguistic therapist Andy Coley.
‘By focusing your attention on an activity, it occupies your conscious attention, which allows your subconscious to wander. Becoming mindful and focused on the task in hand allows us to slow our breathing, which in turn triggers our parasympathetic nervous system and helps us calm down.’
‘When I have a big decision to make or a problem to solve, I clean,’ agrees Elle Baldry, who runs a consultancy firm. ‘It helps manage the stress and gives me time to think things through.’
I decide to give it a try, starting with a squirt of Colt & Willow’s rhubarb washing-up liquid (£12 from Colt and Willow).
It smells sweet and nostalgic, like old-school sweets, and as I soap a Fireman Sam plate for approximately the millionth time, the scent transports me to an English country garden.
Realising I only have about five minutes of toddler-watching Peppa Pig time left, I snap out of my reverie and test the Geranium Leaf all-purpose cleaner (£12, from Colt and Willow).
The botanical scent is so deliciously sharp and almost spicy that I find myself getting a bit fast and loose with my spritzing, rubbing at the countertops until they take on a muted shine.
I also use a cute lobster-print eco-dishcloth from Love Liga (£7.50) — you can clean them in the dishwasher and they’re fully compostable. Call me sad but the sight of it lifts my spirits. Conscious cleaning? I’m sold!
After all, perhaps Mary Poppins had a point: in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. And while it can be hard to find that fun when you’re scrubbing the carpet after a 12-hour shift and wrangling the kids to bed, adopting a conscious-cleaning mindset might just be the best way to try.
Nevertheless, while the products I’ve tried seem well-priced for their quality, they cost far more than I usually spend. Taking a thrifty tip from my mum, I also try using my son’s grown-out babygros as dusters.
I enjoy using them, quietly contemplating just how tiny he used to be. Until, that is, I step back on to a squishy old bit of malt loaf.
Ah well, it was nice being a conscious cleaner while it lasted.
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.
MORE : Family of seven transform 119-year-old church into gorgeous home complete with a slide
MORE : Ikea opens Hammersmith store with smaller home furnishings and meatballs
The Key Newsletter
Not convinced? Find out more »Share this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy linkShare this article via commentShare this article via facebookShare this article via whatsappMORECleaningInteriorsMetro newspaperProperty