Research Article

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CLEANING CONUNDRUMS

North Olmsted, Ohio...Most of us (87 percent, in fact) don't enjoy it, but it's something that has to be done... cleaning the house. So, how do today's homeowners deal with this dirty deed? The Consumer Market and Insights group at Moen, the number one faucet brand in North America, recently surveyed hundreds of consumers to determine who, how and how often the household chore of cleaning gets accomplished, as well as explore the many different goals for achieving a clean home. While it was surprising how the definition of "clean" can vary -- it was no shock to hear that the chore of cleaning is on a long to-do list... and homeowners are all looking for easier ways to conquer this often-dreaded task.

Battle of the Sexes
Think housekeeping is only woman's work? Well, that might be a matter of perception. According to those surveyed, 46 percent (mostly women) claimed, "I clean my home entirely myself," while 42 percent (mostly men) reported that "I share cleaning responsibilities with a spouse or significant other." The age-old battle of Mars vs. Venus...are the ladies taking all the credit...or do they feel perhaps that they do a better job than the guys?

While it may be a game of "he said, she said" on who's doing the brunt of the cleaning -- we do know the majority of the time it's someone within the household. Only 12 percent of consumers use an outside service to clean their homes. Why? Most (68 percent) say it's too expensive; while many (36 percent) don't want strangers entering their home. And, 16 percent say, "Why hire someone when you can do it better yourself?"

Goodbye Happy Housewife... Hello Hectic Housework
With hectic schedules, we often wonder where our time goes. According to Moen's survey, almost six hours of our week is spent cleaning -- but that doesn't necessarily mean all at once. With a 256 percent increase of women in the workforce from 1950 to 2000,* gone are the days of the stay-at-home housewife, spot-cleaning the home every day. Now, household cleaning jobs are often fit in before and after a full work day. On average, 30 minutes of each weekday are spent cleaning -- usually in the morning or evening; while on weekends, we spend between one to two hours each day on these chores.

So, how do we pass the time cleaning? Many of us might be caught dancing with a broom or vacuum, since the number one pastime while cleaning is listening to music (84 percent). Rounding out the top activities include catching up on TV (54 percent), talking with someone else who is home (36 percent), or singing (30 percent).

Definition of Clean
Not surprisingly, 58 percent of homeowners learned how to clean from their mothers, while 35 percent taught themselves. And the definition of "clean" varies quite a bit -- from those who simply clear the clutter... to those who battle bacteria.

Clear the Clutter
For many consumers, cleaning doesn't have to involve mops, brooms and rags. In fact, the goal for 46 percent of those surveyed was to simply "free the area of clutter."

In the bath, one of the smallest rooms in the home, Moen offers a variety of bathroom accessories to help conquer clutter with style. From traditional accessories, such as towel bars, shelves and robe hooks... to innovative products like hair dryer holders, double curved shower rods and towel bar hooks, consumers can find the perfect solution to add a bit of organization with sophistication.

Make it Shine
While organization is often the first step in the cleaning process, nearly 1/3 of consumers take it the next step further, with the end goal of making everything sparkle and shine. And, what are they using to make their homes look shiny and new? For kitchens and baths, paper towels and store-bought cleaners and detergents topped the list. Eco-friendly products are used at least sometimes (68 percent) -- but the expense (41 percent) or perception that they don't work as well (28 percent) has deterred buyers.

Wouldn't it be even better if kitchen and bath fixtures could stay looking clean? Moen has the answer with its exclusive Spot Resist™ Stainless and Brushed Nickel finishes, which actually resist fingerprints and water spots, helping homeowners maintain a fresh, brilliant faucet finish.

Conquer Germs
Finally, while only 11 percent of consumers state their main cleaning goal is to kill as many germs as possible, anti-bacterial wipes and sprays ranked high with 62 percent of consumers using them in the kitchen and 54 percent using them in the bathroom.

"It's no wonder that people are worried about disinfecting surfaces," said Maribeth Kwasniewski, director of retail marketing, Moen. "High moisture areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms, are hot spots for the growth of microbes. For example, on an unprotected surface, bacteria can double in number every 20 minutes."

To help inhibit the growth of stain- and odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew, Moen offers several bath and kitchen faucets that feature Microban* antimicrobial protection added into the faucet finishes to keep the faucet finish cleaner, longer. Additionally, Moen offers kitchen faucets with MotionSense® hands-free technology, which virtually eliminates the need to touch the faucet, helping to reduce the spread of germs.

Seasons Cleanings
Spring cleaning. We all hear about it each year -- but only 14 percent of respondents actually do a big spring cleaning each year. So, if not spring, then when? Sixteen percent of those surveyed are overachievers, doing a whole-house cleaning every season, while one quarter (24 percent) reported doing a thorough cleaning before the holidays when they are expecting family and friends. Still, nearly half (46 percent) don't do any seasonal cleaning.

The Dirt on Cleaning
"In the end, there aren't any rules when it comes to cleaning. So, no matter who, when or how it gets done -- it's a dirty deed that every homeowner faces," said Kwasniewski. "Luckily with a bit of organization and the right products, homeowners can help create an environment that is easier to keep to their individual standards of clean."

For more information contact:

Email Address: media@moen.com

Courtney Yerega or Colleen O'Neill

Falls Communications

Phone: 1-216-696-0229

Email Address: coneill@fallscommunications.com or cyerega@fallscommunications.com