Great Britain

I spray my bloke with Dettol and strip him before he’s allowed in the house to keep safe from Covid

WITH Dettol sales rising 60 per cent since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we are cleaning more than ever before.  

But how far would you go to keep your home germ-free?

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Home decontamination stations complete with disposable suits, school bags kept in sealed boxes, disinfecting the post and thousands of hours spent scrubbing surfaces.

These are just some of the lengths these three women (and two very industrious twin girls) are willing to go to in their battle against the bugs.

So pull on your Marigolds, fetch a Minky cloth and step inside the cleanest homes in town.

Visitors had to wash hands and change clothes

FORMER bar worker Imogen Brooke, 29, lives in Southampton with her partner Nigel Powney, 27, who works in a cafe. She says:

"As soon as my partner Nigel gets home from work, he knows exactly what he has to do: stand in the decontamination zone I’ve created outside our front door, wash and sanitise his hands, and take off his shoes.

"Then I spray him and his clothes with pink disinfecting Dettol spray, before he strips off in the hallway and changes into either clean clothes, or a disposable, paper decontamination suit if he wants to have a shower first.

"Meanwhile, I bag up his dirty clothes wearing rubber gloves, and immediately put them on a boil wash. 

"I’m a big Mrs Hinch fan and I’ve always prided myself on having a clean house, but I would never have called myself obsessive.

"Pre-Covid, I used to spend an hour every day cleaning my one-bedroom flat, then lockdown hit, and I was laid off from a job in catering at a bar. 

"Overnight, the world had turned into a terrifying, unpredictable place – but keeping our home as clean as possible was one thing I could control.

"I stockpiled every type of cleaning product imaginable, from bleach to wipes, and would get up at 6am and spend five-and-a half hours cleaning each day.  

"I also set up our decontamination zone in July, as Nigel was still working in the cafe. I’d seen the disposable suits on Facebook and thought they were a great idea, even if at £20 for two they were quite pricey.

"Nigel did think I was being a bit excessive, but he knew it made me feel safer so was happy just to go along with it.

I clean all groceries as soon as they come into the house, disinfect the post, deep-clean my keys and boil-wash my Marigolds every day

Imogen Brooke

"Even when the first lockdown was eased, I didn’t let up.

"I kept up my cleaning regime, and any visitors had to wash their hands and face in our decontamination zone, remove their shoes and change into clean clothes, which I’d ask them to bring.

"After they left, I’d always deep clean any areas where they’d been.

"Thankfully no one ever refused – though I could tell some people thought I was being too paranoid. 

"Now, I’m still cleaning for six hours a day and I don’t plan on letting up any time soon.

"I clean all groceries as soon as they come into the house, disinfect the post, deep-clean my keys and boil-wash my Marigolds every day.

"When I change the bedsheets, I even spray them with Dettol fabric cleaner, as I love the smell. 

"I know it may all sound OTT, but it pays to be careful. I can sleep at night knowing I’m doing everything I can to keep us safe."

I couldn't live in such a disaster zone any more

RADIO host Michelle Davey, 35, lives in Norwich with husband Michael, 32, a tradesman, and their children, Alice, eight, Louie, seven, and BB, three.  She says:

"When I think back to how messy our house was before Covid, I cringe.

"Between juggling my job on local radio and presenting podcasts plus ferrying the kids around their various clubs and play-dates, I never seemed to have enough hours in the day.

"There were always massive piles of laundry, mountains of toys, shoes tossed everywhere, dishes in the sink, counters covered in shopping and clothes scattered in places they shouldn’t be.

"Any time visitors were coming, I’d frantically shove all the mess under beds and in drawers, but I’d still see some relatives tutting in disapproval, which left me mortified.

"When we went into lockdown last March, I’d just started following Mrs Hinch on Instagram, and I decided we couldn’t live in such a disaster zone any more – for one thing, the mess would drive us all mad stuck at home.

"But more importantly, the thought of one of the kids or my husband Michael getting sick was terrifying. It was time to up my game.

"So, in April, I bought Mrs Hinch’s book and over the following month I spent 300 hours – up to 10 hours a day – deep-cleaning and sorting out the house on top of producing podcasts from home and home-schooling the children.

"I insisted the kitchen and bathroom be totally redone, so we ripped out and replaced the old cupboards and flooring, then each room was cleaned, disinfected, hoovered, tidied and polished to perfection.

"I also installed Covid cleaning kits containing antibacterial Minky wipes, Dettol spray, scrubbing brushes, wipes and gloves in almost every room.

The sense of peace and calm was amazing, as well as the knowledge that I was doing everything I could to Covid-proof our home

Michelle Davey

"Needless to say, Michael and the kids were gobsmacked at my transformation, but once the house was sorted out, it made being stuck there so much nicer.

"The sense of peace and calm was amazing, as well as the knowledge that I was doing everything I could to Covid-proof our home.

"Now, I spend five to six hours cleaning each day.

"I’ve also set up special anti-Covid cleaning stations at the back door and in the garden shed – if Michael or I have been anywhere, we go there to change before going inside.

"We also disinfect our hands there and bag up our dirty clothes, while the kids have their very own decontamination stations at the front door, where they can leave their school bags, shoes and coats.

"Not so long ago, I didn’t even know what a Minky was; now I’m the Queen of Covid Clean. Mrs H would be proud."

Girls are quick to point out if I've missed a bit

NAIL technician Hayley-Louise ­Salvati, 36, lives in Witham, Essex, with her IT worker ­husband Nico, 35, and four-year-old twins Sofia and Scarlett. She says:

"Polish in hand, my four-year-old daughter Sofia sprays the table before her twin sister Scarlett energetically wipes it off.

"While most children can’t be dragged off their tablets, my two love helping with the housework.

"They’re my miniature Mrs Hinches, and together we’re the ultimate anti-Covid cleaning machine.

"It’s fair to say the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. I’ve always been very house proud, and when quarantine hit, I introduced a new routine, disinfecting the house from top to bottom every day.

"It takes six hours, and I’ve spent a whopping 2,000 hours at it since I stopped working in March.

"Before the first lockdown, my girls were more interested in dolls and dancing, but during quarantine they started copying and helping me.

"Of course, they still did all their baking, playing, and watching cartoons, but they genuinely loved cleaning with me, making a game of it and giggling the whole time.

"It helped fill the long days and gave them a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.  

Sofia, Scarlett and I love nothing more than spending our Saturday cleaning the house

Hayley-Louise ­Salvati

"Since the girls started school in September, I’ve spent my days cleaning solo. I start upstairs, vacuuming and steaming the floors, then I change the beds.

"Next, I tidy the cupboards, before bleaching the bathroom then attacking downstairs.

"Each room has its own cleaning kit to prevent cross-contamination, and I disinfect door handles religiously.

"When the girls get home from school, they know to use hand sanitiser immediately, while I spray their coats and hang them outside.

"Bags and lunchboxes, meanwhile, go in a special plastic box with a sealable lid. After relaxing or watching telly for a while, they ask what they can do to help.

"I give one a microfibre cloth and the other organic spray, and they start cleaning together.

"They also have small brooms to sweep up, empty the dryer, and put their clothes in the washing machine, as well as tidying away their toys.

"I always make sure we have only child-friendly cleaners for them, and they never go near bleach.

"Nico is thrilled they love helping out and thinks it’s amazing they’re so engaged.

"Whereas before, weekends would have been spent on days out, now, Sofia, Scarlett and I love nothing more than spending our Saturday cleaning the house.

"If I ever miss a bit, the girls are quick to point it out – they think they’re even better at it than I am."

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