NOWADAYS, there are social media influencers dedicated to just about every topic you could imagine, such as make-up, sport, video games – and even cleaning.

Or, as it’s become known within the online cleaning community, ‘hinching’.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term that has swept the internet in recent years, you’ll probably also be unfamiliar with the person it originated from.

Sophie Hinchcliffe, a 31-year-old mum from Essex, is better known by her online username, ‘Mrs. Hinch’.

After creating an Instagram account back in 2018 dedicated to sharing her picture-perfect home, she began posting her top tips for keeping her house pristinely clean.

Before long, her handy money-saving cleaning hacks had made her massively popular, and soon, Mrs. Hinch became a household name and she now boasts more than four million followers online.

She’s since released numerous bestselling books and partnered with some of the biggest home and cleaning brand names in the country.

Products she promotes have been known to promptly fly off the shelves, and as a result, she is now rumoured to be worth more than £1 million.

Her popularity and cult-like following, nicknamed ‘the Hinch Army’, have sparked a tsunami wave of cleaning-related content popping across the internet, with more and more everyday homebodies turning their hand to ‘hinching’ and posting their own tips and progress on social media.

But as the young mum skyrocketed to popularity, she also gained her fair share of nay-sayers.

I have to admit, I was a bit bewildered by her following at first. Logging on to watch a fashion blogger as they style an outfit, or a beauty influencer review the newest make-up products – I can easily see the entertainment value in those.

But do people really enjoy watching other people clean?

Don’t most of us find cleaning to be a chore in the first place?

Why would anybody really want to watch somebody else mop their floors or scrub their shower tray?

Some more passionate opposers of ‘hinching’ made the point that the Mrs. Hinch movement was perhaps not the best sign for Feminism, and accused her of sending the message that it’s womens’s jobs to break their backs scrubbing and cleaning the house, as well as putting pressure on modern day women to maintain an immaculate home alongside the many other responsibilities they juggle.

Others questioned whether it was just yet another way for people to engage in hyper-consumerism, with Mrs. Hinch’s shopping ‘hauls’ where she would show off the extensive amounts of cleaning products she had stocked up on in stores inspiring her followers to do the same, purchasing bagfuls of scourers, cleaning cloths and sprays.

And besides her haters, it wasn’t long until Mrs. Hinch landed herself in some hot water with her cleaning methods.

She’s often been accused of mixing too many harsh chemicals in her cleaning, which can be incredibly harmful not only to our water systems and the environment, but also dangerous to your health.

Certain cleaning chemicals – especially bleach – when mixed with other cleaners such as vinegar or ammonia can create toxic fumes that can seriously damage your airways if inhaled, or cause burns or irritation if the mixture comes into contact with the skin.

However, despite warnings, the internet is awash with videos of cleaning influencers pouring two, three or sometimes more various cleaning products down their toilets, plugholes or into their mop buckets.

So what is the appeal of watching other people clean?

Well, for many, it may simply be a great way to find about the best products and methods that help make the slog of cleaning their home a little easier.

But something tells me that for many of Mrs. Hinch’s passionate followers and fellow cleaning influencers, it’s so much more than that.

My theory is that, with the current world we live in where it’s a uphill trek to even start thinking about ever owning your own home for most of the younger generation, every aspect of home ownership is romanticised to within an inch of its life – even cleaning.

Paired with Covid lockdowns, making home the best possible place it can be has become increasingly important with us spending all of our time there, alongside the mass uncertainty the younger generation are coming of age into.

Cleaning is just one way that many people may be finding they can take back a small bit of control in their lives.

Or maybe I’m wrong, and they just really love cleaning!

But at the end of the day, I say, ‘each to their own’. If adding a bit of fun, glamour and community to your cleaning routine can make one dreaded household chore just a bit more bearable, then all power to you.

As the title of the cleaning queen’s first book says, ‘Hinch yourself happy’!