Has Social Media caused a cultural shift with cleaning
Cleaning is a chore. It’s the Saturday mornings spent staring into a toilet, bleach-in-hand. It’s the frantic Sunday nights ironing a shirt for work. It’s lugging the unwieldly hoover up the stairs with frustration. And until now, we’ve tried to avoid it. We put off doing the washing up until the next morning. We invent sprays that clean are clothes without laundering. (Some of us) even hire professionals to do the job in our place. Until now.
Whatever style of cleaning you favor, it seems there’s an Instagram account that you should be following. You might be after meticulous organization skills. Maybe you want to learn about how managing clutter can give you peace of mind. In every instance, there are profiles providing hacks, tips or inspiration that suit you.
The most famous of these is Mrs Hinch, a 28-year-old woman based in Essex, whose Instagram stories and posts of these pristine creations have attracted more than a million followers. Her fans – or rather, as they term themselves, the ‘Hinch Army’ – pore over pictures of her sparklingly home, and admire the rather ordinary cleaning techniques that made it so.
Mrs Hinch has become an Instagram cleaning sensation overnight (Source: Hello magazine)
What has struck us as most interesting about Mrs Hinch and her ‘hinching’ (yes, she’s also a verb) is just how mundane it all is. Sensationalist, extremist visions of cleaning are long gone (we think nostalgically to Kim and Aggie’s How Clean Is Your House?) and in its place is a woman who is doing her washing up with Fairy liquid, cleaning her toilet with Duck and scrubbing her surfaces with a jay cloth. Ground-breaking it is not. Viral it absolutely is.
Kim and Aggie pose for their noughties show ‘How Clean Is Your House? (Source: Entertainment Daily)
We’ve begun to wonder if this growing investment in cleanliness, in minimizing clutter, in managing your physical environment, exists in inverse proportions to the level of perceived control we have over our lives more broadly. As our political universe feels unbearably unstable, as solutions to the ecological condition seem to spiral out of reach, perhaps it is no surprise that people are taking such great pleasure in those little instances where people can exert influence on their local environments.
Cleaning is more than the elimination of dirt. It’s become an activity where people pursue control in order to oppose their loss of hold over other parts of their worlds. We look forward to see what will next emerge from social media to feed this collective feeling of instability and whether any brands will strive to meet this increasing human need.
Find out more about our Human & Cultural Insights
Kantar Consulting’s experts explore the interplay of culture and human experience, and what this means for brands. Click below to see how we can help you unlock growth by creating greater relevance, meaning and shareability in people’s lives and in culture