HOW clean is your home?
The chances are, your dusty windowsills pale in comparison to what professional cleaner Michelle Middleton has witnessed.
The 45 year old from West Yorkshire has been sprucing up Britain’s homes for 14 years and there’s not much she hasn’t witnessed behind closed doors.
From filthy bedsits to mammoth mansions, she’s ready to dish the dirt on our worst habits – and the saucy dramas she’d rather forget.
“You won’t believe the things I’ve seen in my career,” she teases. “From scary spirits to sordid affairs and butt-naked blokes – it’s all part of the job.”
Michelle charges about £20 an hour for big jobs – and boy can they be big.
Over the years she’s gutted hoarder’s homes, tackled huge office blocks and dusted the most decadent properties with living rooms bigger than her entire house.
“I’ve witnessed the craziest things,” she confesses. “I’ve cleaned haunted houses full of ghosts and had to take a dead pet to the vet in the boot of my car.”
The grime is bad enough, but she’ll never forget getting caught up in a husband’s sordid affair.
“Years ago I cleaned a flat for a posh couple who used it as a weekend home. I turned up assuming the place was empty but heard giggling upstairs.
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“Suddenly a stark naked man appeared on the landing. I’d caught the husband in the act.
That night I had a phone call from his wife asking if he’d been alone in the flat. I had to tell the truth, poor woman. I felt too awkward to clean that flat again.”
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Michelle’s seen a string of naked people in her career, and they’re not just cheaters.
“I once walked in on a guy stuck in his underwear,” she laughs. “He rushed to put his pants on and got his foot stuck. He fell forward and I saw the whole shabang from behind. It’s a sight I’ll never unsee.
“I often see women walking around their homes in the nude, or making coffee in their lacy lingerie. It’s not unusual – I guess they just feel comfortable in my company and it’s their house, they can do what they want.”
People assume single men are the dirtiest of the lot but Michelle has revealed the shocking truth.
“One of the worst clients I ever had was a cleaner. Their house was completely chaotic,” she recalls. “There were piles of rubbish and random belongings all over the place. I’d find used pants and all sorts of grime festering on the floor.
“I’d blitz the whole house and leave it spotless but when I came back a week later, it was like I’d never been at all.”
Michelle treats every client with the utmost respect, but there’s some nasty habits she can’t abide and some homes are so disgusting she refuses to return.
“I remember turning up to an old bloke’s house to find strange rocks piled up on the carpet. I spent hours picking them up off the floor, only to discover they were actually chunks of hard skin from his feet.
“I felt like bleaching my hands after that, but that wasn’t the end of it.
“I’d spend hours trying to polish what I thought was varnished furniture. But the truth made me want to vomit. The guy would cough his guts up into his hand and slap it on the nearest chair or table.
“I never went back to that house and I feel sorry for anyone who did.”
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Whether it’s stacked up dirty dishes or bursting bin bags, every cleaner has a bugbear. For Michelle, it’s the whingers who won’t pay.
“Rich people are so nice to me. It’s poorer people that treat me badly. I’ve had clients who scraped cash together for a cleaner, then whinged about my efforts.
“If people moan at me I just tell them ‘if you’re not happy with my work, you can do it’.
“What I’ve learned from my job is that dirty people are a breed of their own. Being rich or poor doesn’t matter – it’s all about their character. If they’re happy in their own filth, no one will be able to change their mind.”
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