One in five of your friends and neighbours make up their mind about whether your home is clean within 15 seconds of stepping in the door, new research reveals.
Spurred on by online cleaning icons such as Mrs Hinch, and TV’s Aggie MacKenzie, best known for How Clean Is Your House, the survey of more than 2,000 people found that we’re quick to judge the cleanliness of other people’s homes.
While the fastidious fifth take just a quarter of a minute to jump to their conclusion, the typical visitor takes around 293 seconds, almost five minutes, to cast their verdict on the state of a property.
Meanwhile, an audacious third of visitors have even clandestinely swept a finger along a worktop or mantelpiece to check for dust in another person’s home, according to the study commissioned by INEOS Hygienics.
An interest in the cleanliness of our homes has been encourage by online cleaning icons such Sophie Hinch (pictured) – who is known as Mrs Hinch, and whose Instagram features popular cleaning tips
What do you check for? The poll asked people what things they looked at to judge a home’s clean and tidy status
The study went on to suggest that a typical visitor to your home is going to be keeping an eye out for out for things such as sticky door handles, dirty work tops, spillage stains on carpets and furniture, as well as stains in the lavatory.
Dusty surfaces, dishes in the sink, coats slung over banisters and fingerprints on doors and walls are also in their minds on arrival.
Towels on radiators, empty cups or glasses left on surfaces, and childrens’ toys on the floor will also count against you.
It suggested that the pandemic has also dramatically heightened awareness of the importance of hygiene with 30 per cent of adults admitting they’re more judgemental of others’ homes.
In addition, 28 per cent said they became even more concerned about hygiene once the new Covid Omicron variant began to spread.
The pandemic has also dramatically heightened awareness of the importance of hygiene in our homes
The study found that 17 per cent believe that they have a friend or neighbour whose home ‘could do with a clean’, while 11 per cent went as far as admitting that they know someone whose house is ‘dirty’.
Catherine Merrett, of Richmond estate agents Antony Roberts, said: ‘We always advise clients who are putting their homes on the market to declutter, rent a storage unit if necessary and give the house a thorough spring clean.
‘Covid or no Covid, it is important that the house is sparkling clean but potential buyers are perhaps even more sensitive to this now.
‘We may also advise whether a bit of maintenance is required, such as touching up scuffed paint or re-grouting. You don’t have to spend a fortune redoing the bathroom or kitchen; even the little things can make a huge difference.’
Cleaning queen: TV’s Aggie MacKenzie (pictured) is best known for the TV series How Clean Is Your House
George Ratcliffe, of INEOS Hygienics, said: ‘After the past 24 months we’ve become more tuned into cleanliness. Naturally, people want to feel safe and secure when visiting other people’s homes, especially now we’re in winter.
‘We live busy lives and can have a lot going on, so it can be easy for standards to slip sometimes.’
The study also found those who admit to judging others aren’t shy about passing on their displeasure to friends or colleagues, with 73 per cent admitting they have been unable to stop themselves making a comment as soon as they have left the property.
A typical visitor takes around 293 seconds, just under five minutes to cast their verdict on the state of a property
|1||Stains in the toilet||33.50%|
|2||Unclean work surfaces||30.94%|
|4||Spillage stains on carpets/ furniture||24.66%|
|6||Dishes in the sink||23.18%|
|7||Food left out||23.18%|
|9||Sticky door handles||20.53%|
|10||Empty cups left on surfaces||20.24%|
|11||The state of the garden||18.27%|
|12||Fingerprints on doors and the walls||15.03%|
|13||Clothes on furniture||14.05%|
|14||Footprints on the floors||13.75%|
|15||State of the lawn||12.77%|
|16||Bikes left in the front garden||10.51%|
|17||Not having hand sanitisers around for people to use||10.12%|
|18||Kids toys on the floor||9.63%|
|19||Quality of soft furnishings||9.63%|
|20||Coats slung over banisters||9.53%|
|Source: INEOS Hygienics|
But things may not be all they seem when it comes to household cleanliness, as overall, the average Brit rates the cleanliness and tidiness of their own home at just 6.5 out of ten.
And 27 per cent gave their home just a five out of ten or below.
Furthermore, 79 per cent said they felt the need to frantically clean up their house on hearing visitors were on their way.
It also emerged around two in three – at 59 per cent – have arrived at someone else’s home only to be greeted by a suspicious odour.
While the whiff of dog is the most likely unpleasant smell at 36 per cent, other pungent aromas we are frequently confronted by are lingering cooking at 22 per cent and bins at 20 per cent.
The smell of babies, air freshener, garlic and fish are also common.
Being invited to an unhygienic or untidy home can be an unsettling experience, according to the data, with 18 per cent admitting it made them feel uncomfortable.
Another 64 per cent said they always sanitise before visiting another house, while 60 per cent said they did so while they were there.