‘Men are from Mars’ author helps solve couples’ cleaning battles


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Remember the good old days in sleep-away camp when you just looked up your chore on the cleaning wheel? Everyone got their turn on the bathroom, the floors, cubby duty and bed straightening. But with those camp days eons behind us, splitting housekeeping duties between the sexes has become a chore in and of itself.

The best way to handle the Great Cleaning Dilemma? Communication.

According to the second annual Scrubbing Bubbles Dirty Work Index survey, only one out of three couples (35%) discuss and divide cleaning responsibilities. Lucky for the other 65% of you — and just in time for spring cleaning — relationship expert and author of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" John Gray has teamed with Scrubbing Bubbles to help couples negotiate cleaning duties.

"The fact that only one out of three couples discuss and divide cleaning responsibilities shows there is a huge communication gap occurring in relationships," Gray said. "In order to ensure household chores don't become a source of tension, couples should discuss roles and responsibilities early and often and make expectations clear. The burden should not fall on one member of a team."

The national Scrubbing Bubbles Dirty Work Index survey found that although men and women differ in respect to how they approach home cleaning, both genders agree that a clean home is important. And while men are contributing more than they used to, women are still in charge. In fact, the survey discovered that about one-third of women delegates chores, and only one in five women waits to see who cleans something first as opposed to just doing it themselves.

Want some peace and fairness when it comes to cleaning your home. Gray recommends the following:

• Work as a team, assign roles and communicate.
• Use a friendly tone when voicing your expectations.
• Take responsibility for specific chores. For example, about 70% of women do the laundry, while three-quarters of men take out the garbage.
• Find out what motivates your partner. The study found that 96% of men and 97% of women say that eliminating dust, dirt and grime are top motivators for cleaning. According to research from the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), men are more motivated when their home starts to smell, they are told to clean or someone comments about their home’s lack of cleanliness — Ladies, take note.
• Explain to your partner what "clean" means you. If each person has wildly different visions, create a cleaning checklist.
• Divide and conquer. Men and women clean the house at least once a week (71%) and spot clean at least once a week (96%). Choose one person to spot clean daily and have the other deep clean weekly.