Tuesday 17 August 2021

Why are British houses so dirty?

This is a question my son was asked in school in South Africa.

I'm hoping the teacher meant 'cluttered' rather than dirty. However since returning to live full time in the UK, I can sort of understand why he was asked this question.

There is dust and dirt everywhere. I can't seem to clean our house fast enough. there is dust everywhere. not just dust, but bits of insects and damp and things that look dirty.

To be fair, our house was rented for the past 10 years and we had 2 sets of tenants who did not look after the house at all and on both occasions, a deep clean and many repairs have been needed. Every surface looks like this, this is 2 days after I'd cleaned the kitchen windowsill. Door frames, skirting boards and rails are covered in dust, as well as the sinks and window sills. I've been back in the house over a year now and I just can't get it clean. 

The houses in South Africa and in Dubai were open plan with tiled floors, there was more space to put things, everyone had maids (we didn't) but if I'm honest the number of times I saw a maid use the same water for the bathroom floor then the kitchen made me even more determined to do my own cleaning. In Dubai I spent most of my time sweeping up sand, not just from our feet, but from creeping in from key holes and frames.

Since returning to the UK, we have found the house small and cluttered. It's taken a while to unpack and arrange everything so it doesn't look so 'busy'. The carpets are hiding all the cat and dog hair now, but we bought a Shark, pet/hair picker upper vacuum cleaner to deal with that. Once we get the new kitchen, things will improve even more. 

But for now, we've discovered 'pink' and we can't get enough of it, and hoovering daily and dusting daily and getting rid of bits of dead insects that seem to be everywhere.

I don't tend to notice the dirt in other people's houses though, I assume they don't notice it in mine, but I notice it and off it must go.


  1. I wonder if the amount of humidity plays a role. We recently visited the dry southwest U.S., and returning home to 97% humidity here in the east, my house feels icky.

  2. I do love the pink stuff x #pocolo

  3. It’s because of the poor airflow in UK homes, you’ll find they’re also prone to developing mould and mildew in the winter. Keeping window trickle vents open can help a little but I’m getting an air purifier for my home - I’m Aussie and used to tiled open plan homes too, no house of mine ever had a dust problem until I moved to the UK.