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2000 National Cleaning Survey

A 2000 national survey by Opinion Research Corporation for The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) looked at the cleaning differences between parents and children and the changes in cleaning habits over time. The survey found that what and how we clean have changed significantly over the years, thanks in part to the introduction of several new product categories that have made cleaning easier and more convenient than ever.

High-Tech Cleaning Products Make Housework Easier Than Ever
Product Innovations Are Changing What and How We Clean, SDA Survey Finds

SDA National Cleaning Survey 2000
Key Findings

The survey also found that housework is becoming more of a shared family responsibility -- but not enough for the many moms who'd like the housework vacation that they enjoy on Mother's Day to happen more often. Relationship expert Sandra Beckwith suggests giving mom more days off with a Vacation from Housework Certificate, and SDA has a cleaning "cheat sheet" for kids and spouses to use when mom is "on vacation."

Mothers Come Clean About Their Special Day
New Survey Reveals a One-Day Vacation from Housework Just Isn't Enough

How to Help Out Mom on Her Vacation Days
"Cheat sheet" gives some basic tips to smart cleaning

Vacation from Housework Certificate
Good for 10 days off

While dads are pitching in more with the cleaning, the survey found that their contribution isn't registering with their children. Parenting expert Kate Kelly says that the Cleaning Basics guidelines can empower dads to show how the household runs more smoothly when housework isn't a one-person chore.

Dads Win Admiration from Kids This Father's Day . . . For Their Ability to Avoid Housework

Cleaning Basics


High-Tech Cleaning Products Make Housework Easier Than Ever
Product Innovations Are Changing What and How We Clean, SDA Survey Finds

New York, March 6, 2000 - Today's high-tech cleaning products are a far cry from the products Mom used to do the housework. In the last five years alone, several new product categories have come onto the market that make caring for clothes, cleaning our homes and personal hygiene easier and more convenient than ever. But, has this new product activity had an impact on consumer cleaning habits?

A new survey by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA) shows that what and how we clean have changed significantly over the years. While 87% of Americans say that they learned how to clean from their mothers, 32% are not like them at all when it comes to cleaning. And only 11% report that they resemble their parents in terms of the products they use.

"Cleaning products evolve as society changes and new technology becomes available," says Janet Donohue, spokesperson for The Soap and Detergent Association. "Today's consumers recognize the benefits of cleanliness and are able to choose products that provide those benefits and that fit into their busy lives."

Built-in Laundry Helpers

Mom might have found it relaxing to iron but fewer Americans share her sentiment today. That doesn't mean we pay less attention to how our clothes look, according to the SDA National Cleaning Survey 2000. In fact, while 35% of survey respondents don't iron, and the same percentage don't wash delicate laundry by hand, 43% say they do a better job of keeping clothes looking newer, longer.

"Together with easy-care wardrobes, innovations in fabric care products have made it easier to maintain the appearance of our clothes," says Donohue. These innovations include laundry detergents that help preserve colors in textiles and remove the "fuzzies" from cotton; stain pre-treatment products in spray, stick and gel forms; fabric refreshers that permanently remove odors; laundry detergents for use in front-loading washers; and at-home fabric care systems for cleaning and freshening lightly-soiled "dry clean only" garments.

Fingerprints Get Overlooked

Fingerprints may be overlooked more often, given the time pressures on today's families, but greater effort is put into protecting against germs and allergens. Fully 50% of SDA survey respondents believe that they do more than their parents to guard against germs, and 39% are more active in getting rid of allergens in their homes.

"We have a better understanding today," says Donohue, "of how germs like foodborne bacteria can make us sick and how common indoor allergens can trigger asthma symptoms. What's popular with consumers are cleaning products that make it easier for them to help reduce these health threats."

New disinfectant and antibacterial cleaners can remove soil from kitchen and bathroom surfaces, as well as kill some common germs like Salmonella and problem allergens like mold and mildew. Other recent product innovations include daily shower sprays that can prevent mildew from growing on shower curtains, doors and walls, and dusting systems designed to remove allergens like dust mites from ceilings, floors and furniture.

The fact that consumers are purchasing and using these new products with confidence in their time-saving, user-friendly features is clear. According to the SDA survey, nearly half (46%) of Americans feel they do more than their parents to select the right cleaning product for the job.

Some Things Never Change

"Clean up your bedroom!" remains parents' most common cleaning-related reminder, according to almost half (49%) of Americans. Parental nagging about washing hands after using the bathroom lags far behind, with only 12% reporting that handwashing was what their parents got on them most about. Of SDA survey respondents with children, just 16% nag them most often about washing their hands.

"As parents we may see a greater benefit - and less aggravation - by putting more emphasis on good handwashing habits and less on keeping a neat bedroom," says Donohue. "Children need those constant reminders that washing their hands regularly with soap and water is one of the most important ways to stop the spread of germs that can make us sick." New antibacterial soaps provide extra germ-fighting protection. And antibacterial gels and hand sanitizers are particularly convenient for getting rid of germs on hands when soap and water aren't available.

Progress on Another Front

Times are also changing - albeit more slowly - when it comes to who does the cleaning. Almost 57% of SDA survey respondents report that their mother did most of the housework when they were growing up. Today, cleaning is solely a female's responsibility in less than half (46%) of households.

"Product innovations with built-in elbow grease make it easier to keep our homes and belongings clean - for whoever is doing the job," says Donohue. And with products doing more of the actual work, the satisfaction they get from having a clean home is sure to remain the way in which parents and children are most alike.

The 2000 SDA National Cleaning Survey, which included telephone interviews with a national sample of approximately 1,003 adults, 18 years and older, was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation International.

 

Cleaning Then & Now

Key Findings

A new survey conducted Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of The Soap and Detergent Association looked at the cleaning differences between parents and children and the changes in cleaning habits over time.

Specifically, the survey revealed that:

I'll Do It My Way
  • 87% of Americans learned how to clean from their mothers, but 32% are not like mom at all when it comes to cleaning.
  • Only 11% are similar to their parents in terms of what cleaning products they use.
  • Among Americans who have children living at home, 22% say their offspring are complete opposites when it comes to cleaning.
  • When asked about the cleaning jobs their moms did but that they themselves don't do, Americans primarily selected ironing (35%) and hand washing delicate items (35%).
  • About one-quarter (27%) don't scrub floors today and 22% don't wash windows or woodwork, even though their mothers did.
  • Nearly half of Americans believe they put more effort into protecting against germs and allergens (50%) and selecting the right cleaning product for the job (46%) than their parents did.
Some Things like Parental Nagging Never Change - Or Do They?
  • 49% of Americans say they were nagged most often by their parents to keep their bedroom neat. Just about the same percentage of parents who have children living at home nag their own kids most about this task.
  • Parental reminders about washing hands after using the bathroom are on the rise. 12% of adults recall having their parents nag them about handwashing, while 16% say they emphasize personal hygiene over a neat bedroom.
Is the Mom-Only Cleaning Force on the Way Out?
  • 57% of Americans say their mother did most of the housework in their childhood home.
  • Just 46% of all Americans report that a woman is doing the majority of the cleaning in their current household.
  • Males are more likely than females to claim that everybody helps with the housework (41% vs. 27%).

The SDA National Cleaning Survey 2000, which included telephone interviews with a national sample of approximately 1,003 adults, 18 years and older, was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation International.