–   Study also finds Brits regularly cut corners to avoid cleaning properly

–  Gender gap closing, but women still spend more time cooking and doing laundry

After a wet and miserable winter, many people may be thinking of refreshing their homes with a spring clean to welcome the warmer weather and longer, lighter days. But while Brits are reaching for the marigolds, a new survey has revealed that we’ll spend an average of 10 years of our life on mundane everyday tasks such as maintaining the house and car, cleaning and tidying, preparing meals, cleaning up after pets, helping kids with homework and managing household finances.

A study of 2,000 British adults conducted by OnePoll on behalf of MOLLY MAID, the UK’s leading professional domestic cleaning service, found that the average British adult spends 26 hours a week doing household chores. The survey found that the most commonly despised cleaning chore around the house is cleaning the bathroom, with 45% of respondents identifying this as their least favourite task. Cleaning the kitchen was also found to be hugely unpopular as one in five (21%) declared this their most hated job.

Interestingly, the survey revealed that the gender gap is closing more than ever when it comes to helping out around the house, with women spending on average 8.14 hours a week on cleaning tasks alone, and men 7.21 hours a week. This shift towards the balancing of gender roles in the home could be further explained by the study’s finding that 6% of Brits have a professional cleaner to help around the house. It may not be surprising that in London this rises to 11%, closely followed by 9% of those in the West Midlands.

The survey found that British adults generally spend slightly less time on household chores than they do having fun (30 hours per week). When asked how they would like to spend their free time instead of cleaning, Brits prefer to read (15%), go to the gym (11%), relax in front of the TV (10%), go out with friends (13%), or spend quality time with the family (21%). However, more than a third of the respondents (34%) would prefer to spend any extra free time they could get on themselves.

Pam Bader OBE, Chief Executive of MOLLY MAID, commented: “This survey is a real insight into the day-to-day lifestyle and habits of the British public, and the results have proved to be very interesting. With most of us spending ten years of our life on day to day household upkeep, it is unsurprising that many of us cut corners when cleaning to try to preserve our precious free time and maintain a good quality of life. The results reflect a shift in priorities for many British families that has directly impacted our business – in the last 12 months alone we have seen an increase of almost 5% in the number of cleans to more than a quarter of a million – as a greater number of households opt to use a professional cleaning service to allow for more ‘me time’.

“As a nation, now is the time we traditionally refresh our homes with a spring clean. Hiring in outside help to get on top of the housework could be the perfect solution for many families who would rather make the most of their spare time outside of work, and still make sure their homes are in tip top condition.”

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Cutting corners to win back precious free time

Many Brits admit to cutting corners when cleaning around the house, avoiding thorough cleaning in order to squeeze in more free time.

  • One in two Brits dust around objects instead of picking them up
  • One in four admit to picking clothes up off the floor and stuffing them back into the wardrobe
  • 40% have confessed to squirting bleach down the toilet instead of cleaning it properly
  • 41% regularly skip vacuuming in favour of picking the most noticeable bits off the floor
  • One in five admit to spraying air freshener instead of cleaning properly

More hands make light work

  • More than one in three British parents (36%) encourage their children to get involved with the cleaning
  • Seven in ten of these parents offer pocket money of £3.71 on average per child for each cleaning task
  • 45% of these parents would only offer their children money if they had done a good job
  • Children in London benefit most from helping out around the house, earning an average of £4.42, closely followed by £4.20 in the Midlands
  • Kids in Wales and the South West have to work harder for their pocket money, earning on average just £3.13 and £3.16 respectively

Closing of the gender gap

The survey also highlights some interesting differences in gender roles when it comes to household cleaning. Women are still doing the lioness’ share of the cleaning, but men are increasingly doing their bit with certain chores.

  • The female respondents surveyed work an average of 28 hours a week, compared to 32 hours a week for men
  • 71% of the women surveyed said they spend between 1 and 2 hours a week dusting
  • 30% of the men never dust, compared to 16% of women
  • 6% of men never clean the bathroom, but less than 0.5% of women confess to the same
  • However, 10% of women clean the bathroom on a daily basis, with 9% of men revealing they do the same
  • Women spend more time doing laundry (3.2 hours) than their male counterparts (2.2 hours)
  • Women spend 8.14 hours a week on average cleaning the house, compared to 7.21 hours a week for men
  • Women spend more time preparing dinner than men (4.17 hours compared to 3.25 hours)
  • Other tasks were more evenly matched: including cleaning the toilet (women 1.75 hours, men 1.62 hours), vacuuming (1.99 hours for women, 1.78 for men) and dusting (1.68 hours for women, 1.46 for men)
  • Men spend more time paying bills and managing household finances (1.7 hours for men, 1.56 hours for women)
  • 22% of the women surveyed and 19% of men would prefer to spend more free time with their families
  • Second choice for men is watching TV or playing computer games (14%), while only 6% of women would choose this activity
  • 16% of women would rather spend time with friends, compared to just 10% of men

Regional differences

Regionally, the results also show fascinating differences in attitudes towards home cleanliness across the UK, and how Brits in different areas of the country like to spend their free time.

  • People in Wales spend on average 1.75 hours a week dusting compared to 1.45 in Scotland
  • The Northern Irish spend half an hour a week longer with the vacuum compared to the Scots
  • It seems Londoners are also house-proud, spending 2.06 hours a week cleaning the toilet compared to 1.46 hours in Yorkshire and The Humber
  • 19% of people in Northern Ireland confess their homes are ‘never’ clean or tidy whereas just 8% of those in the West Midlands admit the same thing
  • More than one in three (35%) in the North East would consider their homes ‘spotless’, compared to just one in five from the South East (21%)
  • Instead of cleaning, one in five of those in Scotland and East Anglia would prefer to spend their free time reading (21% and 20%) rather than be with family (18% and 17%)
  • Londoners prefer to be sociable, with 18% wishing they could spend more time with family and 16% with friends

Ends

*Data collected by OnePoll on 10 March 2014 from a survey of 2,000 participants

For more information please contact Charlotte Sefton at HPS Jardine:

Tel – +44 (0)1628 894 827 / +44 (0)7980 862 723; Email – Charlotte.Sefton@HPSJardine.com 

Notes to editors:

MOLLY MAID is one of the world’s largest professional domestic cleaning services, carrying out 1.8 million home cleans every year worldwide. Initially founded in Canada in 1979, MOLLY MAID currently trades in Canada, USA, Japan, Portugal, and the UK.

MOLLY MAID offers a 100 per cent guaranteed, flexible and affordable domestic cleaning service. Staff are fully insured, work in teams of two and arrive in MOLLY MAID branded cars, bringing with them all the necessary cleaning equipment and supplies.

MOLLY MAID came to the UK in 1984 and has grown from a standing start to 68 Franchise Owners nationwide and a current annual turnover of over £16.5 million in 2013, from over a quarter of a million cleans.