The power of the internet never ceases to amaze me.
Thanks to the Instagram account of Sophie Hinchcliffe or, as we all know her, Mrs Hinch, I went from someone who did cleaning out of necessity, to someone who wanted to throw Zoflora on every surface in my house, stuff my pillows with dryer sheets soaked in fabric conditioner and buy a sonic cleaning brush. I don’t know what happened. One day I just found myself watching her stories and suddenly I was hooked.
And I’m certainly not alone. Dubbed “The Hinch Army”, her following has grown at an absolutely incredible rate (a rate that I for one am very jealous of) and she is quickly approaching the big 1 milli!
I don’t think it’s hard to see why. Her enthusiasm for scrubbing the loo is infectious beyond belief and the tips she shares actually make housework fun. Or at least a hell of a lot more bearable. That’s why I think Mrs Hinch is bloody glorious. I’ve loved seeing her success and I have absolutely no doubts that her career as an influencer is just beginning. However, I do have my problems with this new online movement. But don’t jump in the comments to shout at me; I promise I’m not just a #HinchHater.
I love Hinch. I love Henry. I love the hysteria over the fact that nobody can get their hands on a very specific type of cleaning cloth. What I don’t love though, is some of the products our lovely Mrs Hinch uses and the vast amounts of them that are being purchased as a result of her astounding influence.
My first issue with the products she promotes is the masses of waste that a lot of them create. The truth of the matter is that unless your job is talking about cleaning, nobody needs to buy such huge amounts of product for their personal use. Yet, because she’s so charismatic, we’re all following her lead. Even I, someone who blogs about ethical and eco-friendly living, got sucked into the hype and bought myself a pot of The Pink Stuff and all of the pine-scented products I could get my cleaning hands on. However, as much as I would love to continue buying and create my own gigantic Narnia (cleaning cupboard), the amount of plastic doesn’t sit right with me. Nor does the rate with which Mrs Hinch and her followers go through it. Trust me, you don’t need to put Zoflora down your drain every few days and pollute the earth with that one extra bottle. You don’t need to buy ten different types of anti-bac wipes, some of which won’t biodegrade for in excess of 100 years. Stick with your “Minkehs”, any other reusable cloths and a multi-purpose disinfectant instead.
Aside from the packaging, the contents itself concerns me a little too. Sure, they might make your toilet bowl smell fresh, but even after treatment the potentially damaging chemicals can still make their way into our water systems in small quantities. Many of the cleaning products she uses contain ingredients that are not biodegradable or that could damage marine life, among other things.
And that’s without even going into the potentially damaging effects that those chemicals floating about in the air could have on your health.
Finally, very, very few of Hinch’s favourites are cruelty free. In fact, she’s even received huge PR packages from the likes of Unilever and Proctor and Gamble (P&G), both of which are known to conduct animal testing as they sell in mainland China where it is required by law. Animals shouldn’t be mistreated for the sake of human gain at all, but the idea of harming them for the sake of a shiny tap or a nice smelling carpet is particularly discomforting.
Listen, I’m not expecting anybody to be perfect. I recognise that trying to make ethical choices in daily life is a bit of a juggling act. I for one am constantly trying to find the balance between products that are eco-friendly, animal-friendly and wallet-friendly. Only a matter of weeks ago I wrote a post about cheap cruelty-free cleaning products and that list contained non-eco brands. Sometimes you can’t tick all of the boxes at once. However, if it is within your budget and is something that you can physically do, I would always encourage you to research and buy cleaning products that are cruelty free and use a formula and packaging that is as minimally damaging to the environment as possible. If the Hinch Army can sell out the Minky sponge within minutes, imagine what we can do if we focus that energy on eco-friendly and ethical products.
As I’ve said a hundred times before on this blog: As a consumer, your money is a vote for the things that you care about. Whilst shopping, try to remember that and not get sucked in by all of the unnecessary Hinching “must haves”.