We'd rather hide our mess: cleaning hits the dust

29 July 2015

  • A quarter of homeowners (25%) do an hour or less of cleaning each week
  • The spare room is the favourite place for hiding clutter in a rush
  • Nearly one in eight people (12%) think the bedroom is least important to clean

Homeowners today would rather hide their mess as new research from The Co-operative Insurance* reveals that cleaning is dying out, with a quarter of modern households struggling to manage an hour of cleaning each week (25%).

Today’s home-makers no longer see cleaning as a priority with those aged (45-54 years) most likely to keep abreast of their chores, cleaning for an average of five hours and four minutes per week compared to those aged 25-34, who only manage three hours and 58 minutes.

In addition to struggling with the housework, the findings reveal that almost half of homeowners (49%) have a specific hiding place for clutter to keep it out of view when visitors drop by.  The top spot for hoarding junk was in the spare room (39%) with the loft a near second (31%). 

Other popular locations for dumping rubbish in included in the garage (19%), or shed (14%).  More than one in 10 questioned admitted stashing their jumble anywhere it would fit (11%) and a small number confessed to hiding belongings behind armchairs (4%) in their children’s room (2%) or in their car boot (3%).

Despite housing the family junk, the loft was seen as the least important room in the house to keep tidy, with almost half of those questioned (47%) giving it the lowest cleaning priority.  And while the bedroom is often seen as a sanctuary from the hassles of the day, almost one in eight (12%) felt that this was the least important room to keep fresh and dirt-free. 

The kitchen topped the list of places likely to be kept the most hygienic with more than half (57%) saying it was the most important room to keep on top of, yet almost one in 10 (9%) were least concerned about making sure their utility room was spotless, even though this is often just an extension of the kitchen.

Of those that rarely clean, one in five preferred to pay someone else to do it (20%) and 19% said they didn’t keep things spic and span because they didn’t want to use cleaning products.

Caroline Hunter, Head of Home Insurance at The Co-operative Insurance, said:

“The research shows that a people are hiding their rubbish away, but over filling areas such as a loft or bolier cupboard is a potential cause of fires.  Having too much stuff could also hide other problems, such as mould or leaking pipes.  It is vital to make sure that your property, including outbuildings such as sheds and garages is properly maintained. Gradually occurring damage caused by lack of general maintenance can result in a claim not being covered.

"We sometimes deal with claims for accidental damage to ceilings caused by a misplaced foot in the loft as a result of trying to find suitcases for the holidays.  Whilst cleaning and tidying isn’t everyone’s idea of fun,   there is a serious side to keeping on top of general clutter. Items obstructing stairways, halls and doors could be a hazard if you and your family need to leave the house quickly in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or flood.”


Biggest cleaning bugbears:

1 Not putting items away
2 Hoarding
3 Leaving dirty cups or glasses around the house
4 Not throwing rubbish away
5 Not putting shoes, bags and coats away when coming home
6 Leaving the kitchen in a mess
7 Having no organisation in cupboards
8 Letting bins overflow
9 Leaving out of date product in cupboards
10 Not cleaning out the fridge

*Research conducted among 2,000 homeowners across the UK online by One Poll on behalf of The Co-operative Insurance.  


About the Co-operative Insurance

With more than 1.18m customers, The Co-operative Insurance, part of The Co-operative Group, is committed to ‘Doing the Right thing’ and always strives to treat customers and members fairly.
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest co-operative business, whose purpose is “Championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities.” Owned by over eight million members, The Co-operative Group operates a total of 4,500 outlets, with around 87,000 employees and has an annual turnover of £11 billion with interests across food, funerals, insurance and legal services.

The Group operates across two core divisions of Retail and Consumer Services. The Consumer Services Division includes Funeralcare, the UK’s number one funeral services provider, Co-operative Insurance, a major UK general insurer and CLS, The Group’s legal services operation. Co-operative Insurance offers business, home, motor and pet insurance products.


For further information contact:

Alex Wilson – Press & Media Relations Manager 
The Co-operative Group
0161 767 4281/07540 641368