Once upon a time cleaning was a very straightforward affair. You just got on with it. Everyday had a ‘to do’ list and a time attached to it, usually the same jobs done on the same day of the week, every week.Soaps cropped up on tv largely due to the advertising targeted at the ‘housewives’ who would watch the programmes on tv. Have things changed? Very much so. With the arrival of new channels and cable tv in the 90s this influx of new channels provided more than the Radio Times could cope with – thus changing the face of advertising forever.
Tv celebrity cleaners became as much of a fixture as Delia Smith cookery shows, with the increase a TV channels’ programming took on a whole new level of the ‘Yuk’ factor. People loved to be disgusted by other people’s mess. The addiction has grown. The rise of reality tv in the mid noughties saw the need for more and more glimpses of real life.
The rise of social media has seen these hot takes swoop in quite a dramatically different direction. Over time we have all but forgotten about Kim Woodburn and her fluffy marigolds, we now have Mrs. Hinch who has a social media following of millions and has done wonders for Minky cloths and Zoflora.
This has also brought about a whole new demographic to the cleaning sphere. It is no longer the old school housewives watching tv but a whole new generation of men and women. Not only are they keen on cleaning but have social media status, blogs and pages dedicated to certain products, tips and hacks. There is a whole army of male and female ‘Hinchers’ who are carving a career with the household chores.
If it isn’t on the gram, did you even clean it?!
What does this mean for brands? The new Gen Cleaners are not all talking about the latest eco products on the market but also the new cleaning trend has given rise to a number of cult products such as Zoflora, Elbow Grease, and Rug Doctor. This has clearly been reflected on their own social platforms, the marketing teams have got on board with the influencers and their campaigns. Rug Doctor has floated their home delivery solutions to the rental market as well as updating their products and also hold an annual ‘Influencer Event’, Astonish have had influencers visit their factory and so it goes on…
It’s not just the rise of the cleaning products, but the household items and the stores they come from – we are not talking about high-end fashion houses anymore. It’s high street, supermarket and bargain stores. B&M – the Woolworths for millennials, has up to 1 million followers on Instagram alone. Pretending that you have spent loads of money or bought it from John Lewis is not even a thing anymore. The influencer accounts are scattered with positive affirmations, chunky knit throws, perfectly vacuumed grey carpets (yes, this is a fact) and plenty of sparkle. Shrewd spending and pride in a sparkling home smack back to the 1950s but this can only be a positive thing for this new wave, right?
But also, with the accounts comes an illusion of real life. Where are the kids’ toys? Why do you not have crayon scribbles across your fridge? Does your dog walk on tiptoes? Image after image of perfection. On the flip side, this also begs the question, why would anyone want to see the reality? We live it every day ourselves, so to look through a rose-tinted window of perfection is exactly what is needed.
Watching footage of someone else tidying a mess can be good therapy. Prior to lockdown, self-care was a word not often touted around, now self-care is a buzzword for many during lockdown; cleaning gives you something to focus on when the natural world order has seemingly become something offiction. Cleanliness used to be next to Godliness, now its cleanliness equates to a healthy mind. The leaning is now towards the less religious but instead to the new Church of Hinch.
So, beyond the positive affirmations, the new wave of ‘cleanfluencers’ has got a huge following from many who have experienced issues themselves. There is a definite social community around cleaning accounts and beneath the cooing over a new softener scent and the comments on the posts ‘Love your cushions!’ ‘How do you get this so shiny?’ there is the definite vibe of ‘You okay, hon?’
Mindfulness is practiced by watching cleaning videos, stories, YouTubes and blogs. They seem to offer relaxation and there is a lot to be said for the end result. A calmness. As 2021 has again thrown the world into disarray, perhaps the coping mechanism is a definite need for order to deal with uncertainty?
However, there is one overriding element of the rise of social media influencers; if there’s one thing that is omnipresent in their posts it’s the positivity that spews out from them like rainbow coloured unicorn puke. The remaining fact is, they’re happy and if you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ with the rest of them.