A MUM who spends up to five hours a day cleaning says it’s helped her beat depression and claims she’s one of Mrs Hinch’s biggest fans.
Army wife Andrea Brown has styled herself as Belfast’s answer to Mrs Hinch, sharing tips, tricks and cleaning videos on her own Instagram page.
From the moment she wakes up, around 7am, she does housework every hour until she sits down for the evening at 7pm.
Andrea, 26, spends around £30 each week on cleaning products, scouring Home Bargains and B&M for the best deals.
She’s even had an air hostess friend bring hard-to-find cult products back from flights to America.
She hoovers five times a day, cleans her two toilets every morning and makes a colour-coded lists of chores to get through alongside caring for her two-year-old son Baby George.
“If you add it all up, I reckon I spend 4-5 hours each day cleaning,” she says.
“I do a bit of something every hour. It might be cleaning the oven while Baby George is playing, wiping sticky finger marks off the furniture in the living room or giving the kitchen a blitz.
“I never sit down, I like to be busy. Every time I get five minutes to myself I clean something.”
Andrea likes to copy Mrs Hinch by setting herself daily focuses, such as ‘Freshen Up Fridays’.
She explains: “The idea is to pick a couple of rooms and choose jobs that you might not have got done during the week, such as cleaning the washing machine or the skirting boards.
“Then your house is extra nice for the weekend.”
She keeps all her cleaning products in itemized order in a treasure trove under-stairs cupboard and tries to maintain a supply of two of everything so she never runs out of her favourites.
Products Andrea always has in stock include Fairy Liquid, because it’s great for de-greasing and she even uses it to clean the oven.
She recommends Stardrops White Vinegar to get rid of mold and mildew on the shower screen, windows and washing machine.
She’s also a big fan of the Astonish range, which she says she affordable and gentle enough to use around young families.
“I spend about £30 a week on cleaning products,” Andrea admits. “I love trying new things and sharing my verdict on my Instagram.
“I’m really pleased that Downy Unstoppables Fresh is now available in the UK. It’s like gold dust to the cleaning community – a couple of squirts to the curtains makes the whole room smell fragrant.
“It’s made by an American company so it used to be really hard to get hold of. Luckily I have a friend who I actually met through Instagram, who’s an air hostess so she offered to bring it back for me in her luggage from flights to Orlando.
When you get into the zone, all your troubles fade away. It’s like a mindfulness exercise
“Some women collect make-up or handbags, I collect cleaning products.”
Andrea has always been a tidy person – even chastising her siblings for not making their beds properly when they were children.
“When I did my GCSEs and A-levels all my revision folders were so neat and colour-coded,” she says. “Honestly my best presents would be cleaning products or stationary.”
But there’s a very serious side to her hobby. She credits cleaning with helping lift her from anxiety and depression, after finding herself a lonely new mum on an army barracks.
When Andrea first met her now-husband George, 30, a soldier, she says he was very neat and kept his barracks room spick and span.
The pair married in 2017 and moved into one of the barracks homes for couples, but when Baby George came along she felt isolated and low.
Her GP prescribed medication, but the thing she found most helpful was cleaning.
“When you get into the zone, all your troubles fade away,” she says. “It’s like a mindfulness exercise.
“There’s nothing I like more than cleaning the house from top to bottom, then lighting a wax melt, sitting down and thinking ‘I did that.’
“My favourite room to clean is the kitchen, I love my worktops to be clear. It’s a case of clear worktops… clear mind.”
Andrea has gathered over 17k followers on her Instagram @letshinchandbehappy and has even received gifts and personally-signed notes from Mrs Hinch herself.
Andrea’s top cleaning tip is simple… enjoy yourself!
“I clean because I enjoy it and it helps my mental health,” she says. “But I realise it’s not for everybody.
“When I go to friends’ houses they say ‘Oh don’t look at the state of my house’ but I’m there to see them – not their housework.
“Don’t turn cleaning into a chore. Find enjoyment in it, lose yourself in it and take pride in it. That’s my motto.”
In other cleaning news, this fan raved about using mayonnaise as a wonder cleaning product.
And Mrs Hinch shows how to clean a washing machine with 55p vinegar and a cheap sponge.
Meanwhile this woman completely transforms dirty pots using 89p cleaning spray which Mrs Hinch loves.
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