A anti-clean campaign

I've had it with the media's promotion of cleanliness. These unrealistic images of tidiness in our media are pushing people to become insecure and anxious and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders are at epidemic numbers. Situation comedies, dramas, even shows for children promote these shiny scenes of germ-less organization and model a standard than no normal family can maintain.

This false sanitation of our society has to end. Unthinking teachers are pressing students to wash their hands over and over - even holding less clean children up to public ridicule. We even have medical professionals in on this, spreading fear and threatening to appeal the Five Second Rule and other traditional values. There is stigmatization of the sloppy and cluttered, and bullying of the rumpled is on the rise.

The standards portrayed in the media are not realistic. The number of people who die from germs on doorknobs has been exaggerated. Most families have a "junk drawer" and 67% of the population in a recent study were found to cough into their hands and not their sleeves 67% of the time. Yet our society is healthier and more robust than ever. We know, from scientific studies, that overuse of antibiotics is creating super-germs and a too clean environment can lead to later allergies in babies.

I call on the media to end these images of perfection and take a stand against Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. Consumers: just say no to media portrayals of homes with no toys on the floor and boycott hyped up cleaning products. Leave hand sanitizers to doctors and politicians and stand up for a world of responsible use of clean images.


  1. Hi Laura,

    I never thought of my house as an act of protest, but now I know it's a protest against the media's unrealistic expectations! Since I have no intention of changing my ways (and having a super-clean house), I'm going to embrace my messiness.

    I have a close friend who is an obsessive cleaner. She knows she has OCD, but she values the cleanliness and feels she's positively channeled her OCD. I have had years to think over my lack of obsessive cleaning (we've been friends a long time) and I'm perfectly comfortable with it. I don't want to spend all my free time cleaning. After dinner and my evening obligations are over, I want to rest.


  2. Oh Laura - You again bring up a topic that is relevant and interesting. Just last night I was watching a commercial that really disturbed me. A mother said that her family's stains were all she could see. So instead of seeing her kids, she saw two juice boxes running out the door. Instead of seeing her husband in the passenger seat of the car, she saw a dirty sneaker. But then she got some sort of stain removal contraption! And everything was suddenly better again! It disturbed me. I thought, "What's the big deal about a couple of stains?" I will confess that I'm not the tidiest housekeeper in the world. But if I cleaned as much as the people on the TV told me I should clean, I'd be doing little else. It's maddening. In fact, you've inspired me to start working on a little blog about this issue (I'll link your post as inspiration, if that's alright?) Thanks for another awesome post. Reading your blog is a breath of fresh air in a Lysol scented world.

  3. Should I call you "Laura Swift" now? :)

    Great satire- I love it! For me, media information fed the OCD (the AIDS hysteria of the early to mid 90s) but it hardly caused my issues.

  4. I cleaned my house once. It's over rated! My house is cluttered, or shall I say interesting, but people friendly.
    If I cough into my hands I do wash them. Just feels like the right thing to do.
    As far as I know no one has died from touching our door knobs but I might be wrong.

  5. Great satire. Perhaps that's where I went wrong with my family - I'm still trying to introduce a modicum of cleanliness but it doesn't seem to be working.

    Thunder the tortoise whose 83rd birthday we celebrated yesterday (no idea how old she really is, she's probably older than 83 or when her real birthday is, we just treat her like the Queen and celebrate her birthday at the same time) says cleanliness is much over-rated. She likes a good bit of dirt. She also doesn't think much of exercise, or avoiding sunlight, but then she's a tortoise (turtle) not a human, so I guess she's more sensible than we are.

  6. Hand sanitizers *are* useful for moms who are out and about with small kids though. I'm not talking about obsessive use of it, but for those times when one's toddler decides to handle goose feces or whatever...


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