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Dirty Business: an economic guide to the worst house chores


Everyone thinks they’re the right amount of clean, and everyone’s personal standard of clean varies drastically from the others.

At Coreco, we know the importance of cleanliness when making a house a home, or when trying to sell a home. In that spirit, we’ve picked our top ten nasty house chores and how to handle them.

Especially convenient if you’re looking to send a passive aggressive article to your adult kids, in the hope they sort their own place out.

A disgusting toilet

The toilet – privacy; solace; sanctuary. For some, a home from home. OK, obviously I’m exaggerating (kind of) but there’s no denying the toilet is a household necessity. A clean toilet is a welcoming throne among a serene oasis, while a dirty toilet feels like you’re entering a haunted cabin in a forbidden forest. It’s recommended that you use acidic toilet cleaner for really dirty scenes, but be wary of mixing acidic and alkaline products. If there are some stains that just won’t go, you can use a pumice stone. They take away pretty much anything but can scratch vitreous china, the enamel coating to ceramics.

Cleaning the fridge

There’s nothing worse than discovering things in your fridge have gone green, or worse, if they were green to begin with and are now something else entirely… If there’s mould in there, you’re going to want to bathe all the removable parts in warm water and baking soda for a while, and wipe the inside with pure white vinegar. Wipe again with ¼ cup of baking soda in two pints of water – this should clear up any lingering smells and stains.

The dishes

According to Good Housekeeping, if you dread washing the dishes then it means you’re the creative type. Hopefully that’s a consolation to you, but it doesn’t get you out of washing the dishes. You’re going to run out of cutlery. If you’re really not enjoying it, perhaps you’re missing one of these washing up tips, and you could be making it easier on yourself? Put some music on, sing along and imagine you’re in Risky Business (underwear optional).


Apparently, a real thing to clean, and not just what TV servant archetypes pretend to do in the background. Dust isn’t to be taken too lightly, however, because it can become toxic when present in excessive amounts. That’s not to mention the dust mites – tiny eight-legged creatures known also as HDM. If you need some help with dusting to make it easier, Reader’s Digest provided these helpful titbits.

Pet mess

Pets are like having kids except pets don’t have societal expectations to stop being gross as they grow up. They leave all sorts of ‘mess’ from different orifices. For most ‘mess’ they leave behind, you’ll need to let it dry, scrape up the excess and wipe with warm water and vinegar. Drop some baking soda over it and leave it for a while to help remove any scents, vacuum it up and you should be mess-free (for now).


Washing machine. Easy. Whack the clothes in the drum, aimlessly apply detergent to wherever and press the ‘on’ button. Right? Well it turns out this attitude will shorten the life of your machine. If you’re piling all your clothes in and overloading the drum, you could be wearing down your machine – not to mention that the water and detergent won’t clean thoroughly. Buzzfeed wrote a list of laundry shortcuts and tips, too, such as a teaspoon of salt to stop your clothes colour from running.

Oven cleaning

Another one of those things that, since it’s hidden behind a door, is easy to ignore. This was proven by a 2015 survey that showed oven cleaning is the UK’s most hated chore. However, a dirty oven is likely to smoke a lot more, which is not only unhealthy but might set off the smoke alarm every time you make a pasta bake. To prevent a dirty oven, be sure to clean any mess before it has time to bake on and consider getting an oven liner to catch drips and food. If you’re looking for a natural approach to clean your oven, you can spray a baking soda/water mix all around the oven and leave overnight so the grease deposits become unstuck. Don’t forget to make sure the oven is off, but then that should probably be apparent when you reach inside.

The shower and bath

You’d have thought that – since it’s where you clean yourself every day – your shower or bath would be pretty clean, but nope! It’s like how you need to clean your bath towel even though you only ever use it on your clean body. Cleaning the bath with all its mouldy areas requires a lot of scrubbing to clean up that mildew etc. Go to any store and you’ll find oodles of products to help you clean your bath and shower, but if you’re looking for an alternative method that might utilise what you already have in your house, then try laundry detergent – preferably the powder. Mix it into a paste with a small amount of water and apply to the screen doors. Give it a good rinse once you’re done and you’ve saved yourself some dosh!


Not to be confused with dusting, vacuuming is especially disliked when dealing with stairs (you win this round, bungalow owners). There are a few tips to make it less frustrating though. For instance, when your vacuum cleaner nozzle doesn’t fit into an area, you could get a toilet roll cardboard tube and attach it to the end of the nozzle. Now you can bend the cardboard to whatever shape you need. Or, if you’re hoovering areas that can’t be thrown in the washing machine (such as a mattress), first sprinkle some baking soda and leave it for 30 minutes. Baking soda is useful for absorbing odours, and then you can suck it up with any other dirt.

Clearing out the drain

Don’t forget everyone’s favourite chore! I’m being facetious of course; clearing the drain out is among the least favourite chores in the UK. Eventually your baths or showers will be overflowing too quickly and something has to be done. Unblocking a drain is one thing, but that’s just chemicals down a hole (although be careful which chemicals you mix with what). Cleaning a drain by clearing out the mess is a job to be done with fingers, so get those gloves on, think about how it’s not as gross as it feels/looks/smells/definitely is, and curse others/yourself for having long hair.


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Andrew Montlake

Written by Andrew Montlake

Andrew Montlake, better known as Monty, began his journey with an Hons degree in Economics & Politics before starting in the mortgage industry in February 1994. As a main founder of Coreco in 2009, he successfully grew the brand, marketing, and communications, and was made MD in 2019 focussing on the overall vision, strategy, and culture of the company. As Coreco’s media spokesperson, Andrew can often be seen or heard on TV and radio as well as regularly commenting in the national, local, and trade press. He is the author of this acclaimed Mortgage Blog and is well-known for his social media, podcasts, and public speaking. Andrew is now proud to serve as Chairman of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, (AMI) as a cheerleader for the Mortgage Industry as a whole and continues to work at the coal face, writing mortgage business and advising clients.

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