Mrs Hinch, real name Sophie Hinchliffe, started posting about her cleaning routines on social media after discovering that setting to with a mop and bucket or cloths and disinfectant helped to calm her anxiety
She’s the former Essex hairdresser whose infectious enthusiasm for cleaning and down-to-earth personality have made her an Instagram — and publishing — star.
Mrs Hinch, real name Sophie Hinchliffe, started posting about her cleaning routines on social media after discovering that setting to with a mop and bucket or cloths and disinfectant helped to calm her anxiety.
But people loved her tips — as well as her habit of giving her favourite tools and products their own nicknames — so much she now has 3.2 million Instagram followers, called ‘Hinchers’, and her books are huge best-sellers.
Married to Jamie Hinchliffe, and now mum to baby Ronnie, Sophie, 30, is also doting owner to cocker spaniel Henry.
Whether you’re concerned about keeping coronavirus at bay or are having to do without your weekly cleaner, while we’re under Government orders to stay safe at home, there has never been a better time for a spring clean.
So starting today, and for three days next week, follow Mrs Hinch’s brilliant tips for a sparkling home — and a lot of fun, too.
Today, she introduces her hinching ‘team’ and tackles the kitchen…
I don’t ever tell people what they have to clean every day, week or month. The truth is . . . I don’t have a set routine.
I want to enjoy it and I certainly don’t want to put the pressure of an every-day cleaning routine on myself.
Ideally I like to hoover, dust with Dave, clean the floors, pine [disinfect] my toilets and wipe over all kitchen surfaces daily, and as an example, I do a deep bathroom clean, wash out the bin and change the beds once a week.
The microwave, oven and fridge get cleaned every one to two weeks, and the washing machine and inside the kitchen cupboards get a going-over every month.
I also turn and freshen my mattress every month, and every six months I clear my wardrobe out, vacuum pack and store away what I don’t need.
A lot of my Hinchers ask me where I get all of my energy to hinch as much as I do.
What motivates me most is picturing the end result and the sense of achievement I feel once I’ve finished cleaning. I always find that doing something I love, and doing it well, gives me a real boost.
But it’s not always easy to get up and get going. If I’m having a day when I’m feeling particularly unmotivated, I will do whatever I feel up to around the house – no matter how big or how small – and write it down after I’ve completed it.
You’ll be surprised how much you are getting done without even realising it. So remember to give yourself credit. It’s so important!
I’m not a professional cleaner. I’ve never claimed to be. But I hope I can help to make the whole process fun for people.
What motivates me most is picturing the end result and the sense of achievement I feel once I’ve finished cleaning
Meet one of my life’s loves… Zoflora!
As everyone knows, I love Zoflora disinfectants. Springtime is my number one, closely followed by Mountain Air, Lavender Escape, Country Garden and Linen Fresh.
It’s just an amazing product, with many uses, and from £1 a bottle you can’t go wrong! Here are some of my favourite ways to use Zoflora:
As everyone knows, I love Zoflora disinfectants. Springtime is my number one, closely followed by Mountain Air, Lavender Escape, Country Garden and Linen Fresh
Dilute your favourite Zoflora fragrance into a spray bottle containing water, then spray directly on to the area and wipe over with a cloth (I love Pinkeh for this!).
The Zoflora fragrances will eliminate any cooking odours and freshen the whole room.
(Always carry out a patch test on an inconspicuous area before using Zoflora and remember it should not come into contact with polished wood).
Drains and plugholes
Use Zoflora straight from the bottle to fight nasty odours in your drains and plugholes.
Once you’ve cleaned your bin, you can give the outside a wipe with a piece of kitchen roll which has been sprayed with Zoflora to disinfect it and leave it with a fresh smell.
I also like to pour a capful of Zoflora on to a piece of kitchen towel and place the soaked paper towel at the bottom of my bin before I replace the bag, to help eliminate any unwanted odours.
How to Hinch your fridge
- Empty everything out of the fridge. Make sure there’s no out-of-date food. That’s the worst!
- If you have any baskets in your fridge, for things like sauces and cheese, empty those too, and fill them with Fairy Platinum and warm water and leave to soak.
- Take the fridge shelves, liners, racks and drawers out and pop them in the sink to soak, or if you have an oven rack soaking tray, then pop them in there instead.
- Again Fairy Platinum works so well for a bubbly cleaning solution. Avoid using neat disinfectants or kitchen cleaners in the fridge as they may contain chemicals that could cause contamination.
- I fill my large vegetable drawer, which is usually sat at the bottom of the fridge, with Fairy Platinum and warm water. Then I chuck Minkeh in there, squeeze him out and get to work on the inside of the fridge. It works just as well as a huge washing-up bowl would and helps keep the area free from water spilling everywhere.
- There are often marks at the very back of the fridge where labels get stuck or things spill, so I’ll put some Pink Stuff on my Minkeh and scrub them away.
- Wipe down the baskets, liners, shelves, drawers and racks after they’ve been soaked and simply leave them to air-dry.
- Wait until everything is completely dry before putting it all back together. · Last but not least, put the food back. What a pretty sight that is! PS Freezers don’t need hinching that often. Whenever I fill the freezer up I’ll naturally look through what’s already in there and throw out anything that has gone out of date. I’ll also move the older food to the front so I know to use that first. Beware of unnecessary boxes because they can take up so much room. If you’ve got a huge box of ice lollies and your kids eat them all, you may only have one left and yet you’ve got this giant box taking up a ton of freezer space. In that instance, take the contents out, recycle the packaging and write the use-by date on the plastic packet of the actual food with a Sharpie. I also find that ice-cube bags take up so much less space than trays.
Take the fridge shelves, liners, racks and drawers out and pop them in the sink to soak, or if you have an oven rack soaking tray, then pop them in there instead
Tackle mess under the sink
It’s so weird that under-sink cupboards are where most of us store our cleaning products, but they can be some of the dirtiest and most disorganised cupboards of all.
People often forget to clean under there because they think, ‘Oh, it’s just cleaning stuff, how dirty could it possibly be?’ but I give mine a good going-over every few weeks.
If you overload a cupboard and it’s a mess you almost don’t want to use it. If I look and there are things falling over each other or there’s grime on the floor it will put me in a bit of a bad mood.
As my hinchers know, baskets are a must-have. I also have many self-adhesive hooks, along with the magical tea towel clips that hang our cloth babies and are easily found on eBay.
Honestly, those things can take minutes to do and the payoff will be that lovely feeling of cupboard happiness when you open the door, which is so worth it. Especially as I open mine on average 20 times a day!
An oven like new
I don’t have Jamie Oliver quaking in his boots when it comes to cooking. But that doesn’t mean I don’t give it a go sometimes, so my oven does need cleaning.
I find a quick oven clean regularly is more enjoyable than a serious deep oven workout every month. Little and often is key . . .
- Take the oven racks out, fill up the sink with warm, soapy water, and spray the racks with Fairy Power spray. Leave them to soak. This particular spray is fab for removing grease spills and stains.
- Remove your oven liner if you have one (if you don’t, I really recommend you buy one — cheap but works a treat). Spray this also with Fairy Power spray and leave to do its thing. n You’ll then need to use something more abrasive! I use Pink Stuff, but, of course, there are many alternatives. Now get a sponge and start working the paste into the stubborn spots. I like to use the Scrub Daddy for this.
- If you would rather not use a paste cleaner, you could always sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the stubborn burned spots. Next, spritz some white vinegar over the baking soda. Sit back and watch the mini science project that’ll appear in your oven! Let this bubble for a while, maybe 30 minutes or so.
- Pop an old tea towel on the floor in front of the oven door to protect your floor from that gooey oven juice (yuck).
- Once the stubborn spots have been removed or loosened, rinse and wipe away with a cloth and a bowl of warm water mixed with Fairy Platinum liquid.
- You may need to rinse and wipe thoroughly a few times. I advise investing in an oven/hob scraper for those tougher burnt-on stains n While this is air-drying from the inside out, get back to your racks! Rub them down with your choice of sponge. Lift them out of the sink to air-dry.
- Don’t forget to dry the rubber door seal with some kitchen roll, too! That builds up dirt like you wouldn’t believe.
- Spray the outside of your oven door with a multi-purpose spray and wipe away.
- Then spray your glass door with your favourite glass cleaner and buff it up with some dry kitchen roll or even Kermit, if you have him.
- When both the racks and the liner are dry, slip them back into the oven and that’s it! You’re ready to whip up a five-course gourmet meal (or stick a ready- meal in, of course).
I don’t have Jamie Oliver quaking in his boots when it comes to cooking. But that doesn’t mean I don’t give it a go sometimes, so my oven does need cleaning [File photo]
I find music so motivational to hinch to. If I’m listening to a song and I’ve got a room to finish cleaning, the beat of that song will drive me on to give a little bit more.
Put a Beyoncé track on for me and I’ll be dancing around the room with Vera and singing into her handle as if it’s a mic (don’t judge).
Spring clean your washing machine
I hinch my washing machine regularly. Come on, it takes care of our clothes so we should take care of it back. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be boring — I quite enjoy it!
- All washing machine drawers, where we put the liquid, powder and fabric softener, should slide out, and will definitely need a clean to remove all the build-up. Spray down with your favourite multi-purpose cleaner and leave to soak while you tackle the rest of the machine.
- Spray your chosen washing machine cleaner or similar inside the drawer. You’ll be surprised how much builds up in there. I also use my electric SonicScrubber at this point to get right inside the hard-to-reach places!
- Pull back the rim on the front of the washing machine and spray down. Again, you’ll be surprised by what you find in there.
- Get a moppet sponge (Pinkeh) and wipe out deep inside the rubber rim — it hides the most dirt!
- You then want to give the washing machine window a nice shine, so any glass cleaner works really well for this. Rinse and dry your washing machine drawer and fit it back in place.
- Now it’s time to clean out your poor washing machine’s insides! Add three tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda to the drawer and a cupful of white vinegar to the drum of the machine and run the machine on a 90˚ wash. This helps remove mould and mildew, detergent build-up and any unwanted odours. (Don’t forget to chuck the Pinkeh and any floor tea towel you’ve just used in the drum, too, while you’re at it.)
- Give the front of the washing machine itself a little spritz of diluted Zoflora spray just because we can!
- Don’t forget, hinchers, you need to check your washing machine filter. This needs to be done only every three months or so, but try to keep on top of it because it will make a huge difference to your laundry. You’ll be shocked with what you find in there.
- On the subject of filters. When you open the tumble dryer there is usually a little handle inside the door. If you lift your handle up you’ll find the filter, and I bet you it’s full of fluff and fibres from towels and clothes. I empty the tumble dryer filter after each use.
Heart your hob
If you cook every day, it’ll need this little clean every day. I like the winning combo of Cif Original Cream Cleaner and my Minkeh for my hob! It’s never let me down and I’m in love with the after-shine.
I like the winning combo of Cif Original Cream Cleaner and my Minkeh for my hob!
My favourite combo for cleaning the toaster is the Brian cloth and some Elbow Grease
Please remember always to unplug your toaster before hinching it!
My favourite combo for cleaning the toaster is the Brian cloth and some Elbow Grease.
- Wipe away any visible surface crumbs with a damp cloth.
- Take the little tray out of the bottom and tip the crumbs into the bin or use Shelley to vacuum them up, if you have her.
- Wash the tray and, while you’re working on the rest of the toaster, leave to air-dry.
- Spray Elbow Grease straight onto your cloth and never into the toaster. At the end of the day, your food is going to go in there.
- Using the cloth, wipe away all marks, smudges and smears from the toaster.
- Once dry, re-assemble by putting the crumb-collecting tray back.
Spray the sink all over and use damp Minkeh’s white belly to scrub the product into the surface area
For a quick, everyday hinch of your stainless steel sink use a multi-purpose spray, like Flash Multipurpose with Bicarb, or a cream cleaner like Cif, and our Minkeh.
Spray the sink all over and use damp Minkeh’s white belly to scrub the product into the surface area. Don’t forget to give Minkeh a good squeeze to release any soaked up product.
Once you’ve rinsed the product away, use Minkeh’s green side to soak up any excess. I love to go in the direction of the draining board slats. I just find it so satisfying! Then out comes the star of the shiny sink show!
Stainless steel spray, aka Cliff the Cif. Spray Cliff all over the sink and leave him for a few minutes to work his magic. Use Buddy to buff the stainless steel spray into the sink. And then stand back and admire that shine.
Butler or Belfast sinks are usually ceramic and if you’ve got one of these you’ll want to keep it looking beaut, so that the glaze doesn’t craze, chip or scratch.
1) Scrub with Derek the Dishmatic and warm, soapy water or a Cif cream cleaner.
2) Use Minkeh to wash the suds away.
3) Make sure you’ve got a mat or plastic washing-up bowl to protect the surface.
Fairy Liquid and Minkeh are all you need for the everyday care of your enamel sink.
Granite and composite
Use hot, but not boiling, soapy water, and, of course, your Minkeh to clean this surface. To lift stains, use a nylon brush and a 50/50 solution of hot water and white vinegar. Then rinse and dry once the stain has gone.
- Boil your kettle.
- Pour three-quarters of a cupful of soda crystals down the plughole and leave for two to three minutes.
- Fill a cup full of white vinegar and pour this down also. It’ll fizz up like a mini potion but that’s the best part! Leave it for ten minutes.
- Then pour down a neat capful of Zoflora and leave for one minute.
- Last, pour the whole kettle’s worth of boiling water down the plughole to wash it all away.
- Your plugholes will never smell dodgy again!
Spray the sink all over and use damp Minkeh’s white belly to scrub the product into the surface area. Don’t forget to give Minkeh a good squeeze to release any soaked up product
The tricks of perfectly organised cupboards
It’s easy to forget about those cupboards that we use to house the things we really don’t need (you know, like cake tins and the juicer we’ve used once).
I was so shocked when I went through my cupboard of doom. I had no idea how much stuff I was storing, and none of it was anything I needed.
Who needs old Tupperware with no lids or a cheese grater that doesn’t work properly? I ditched all the stuff I didn’t need, and it felt amazing.
I hinched it by filling it back up with the stuff I did want to keep, and organising it so it looked lovely.
- Take everything out of the cupboards and push it all to one side of the worktop.
- Check the sell-by dates of everything and throw out anything that’s out of date. n Spray a generous amount of disinfectant inside the cupboards, and wipe it around with the white side of a Minkeh and allow it to air-dry. This is so quick and easy to do with Minkeh. Another reason why I’m in love with the little man so much.
- Another brilliant thing I’ve bought is an extendable shelf organiser from Lakeland (above), and it’s amazing. You stack your tinned food on each of the three shelves so you can see what you’ve got really quickly and easily.
- Put the items that have the longer shelf life at the back, and the ones that need to be used sooner at the front. Always works for me!
- Always put your mugs and glasses away in the cupboards with their bottoms in the air, so dust doesn’t settle inside. Or, if you have them, hang them up by their mug hooks that we all purchased from eBay. They work a treat and they’re an amazing space-saver.
I was so shocked when I went through my cupboard of doom. I had no idea how much stuff I was storing, and none of it was anything I needed. Who needs old Tupperware with no lids or a cheese grater that doesn’t work properly?
Give knives and forks a little care
I clean out my cutlery drawer once a fortnight because one day it will look fine and the next I’ll be like: ‘What the hell is that in there?’ It seems to be a haven for crumbs.
I’ll take all the cutlery out, whack it in the sink in some Fairy Liquid and warm water and, while they’re soaking, I’ll use my worktop vacuum cleaner to get all the bits out of the corners.
Then I’ll disinfect it and put everything back in once it’s dry.
I clean out my cutlery drawer once a fortnight because one day it will look fine and the next I’ll be like: ‘What the hell is that in there?’
P.S. Don’t forget your cloths
Don’t forget to wash your cloths regularly. The cloths are our babies! You can imagine the germs and dirt that gathers after they’ve been working hard for you.
You can put them through a 60° or 90° wash (cloth type dependent) with washing gel only (no softener) or:
- Pour a neat capful of Zoflora into your sink and fill with boiling water.
- Chuck your cloths in and leave overnight.
- In the morning, squeeze them out.
- The smell fills the room, too! Try it if you haven’t already, and thank me later.
Picture research: Claire Cisotti
Extracted from Hinch Yourself Happy: All The Best Cleaning Tips To Shine Your Sink And Soothe Your Soul, published in hardback by Michael Joseph, priced £12.99.
© Mrs Hinch, 2019. Mrs Hinch: The Little Book of Lists is out now, published by Michael Joseph, priced £12.99.