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Survey shows Brits spend 10 years of their life doing household chores

09 April 2014

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 professional domestic cleaning service MOLLY MAID 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.

Many Brits admit to cutting corners when cleaning around the house, avoiding thorough cleaning in order to squeeze in more free time. For example, 41% of the survey's respondents admitted that they regularly skip vacuuming in favour of picking the most noticeable bits off the floor. 40% confessed to squirting bleach down the toilet instead of cleaning it properly.

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, said: "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.”