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Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners TX: 20 Mar 2013, Week 12

CorporatePortal

Episode 6/6, 20/03/2013, 8pm, Channel 4

Over half a million of us Brits wash our bed linen just three times a year. Yet there is a group of Britons who wage a constant war on dirt and order.

This series follows Brits who - by their own admission - are so obsessed with cleaning they can’t relax if there is a spot on a tap or a rain mark on the windows. In this final episode more compulsive cleaners will be carefully matched with someone whose home is in dire need of a major spring clean.

The first volunteer is 37-year-old James , a full time house husband who cleans his home for about four hours each day. James sweeps up to 10 times a day and even vacuums the beams on his ceilings. His mother went to work and was too tired to clean when he was younger, so aged 14, James could be found mopping the kitchen floor at 2am.

James doesn’t enjoy being in dirty environments. He hated the toilets in his local pub so much he asked the landlord if he could clean them and then took his mop and bucket to swab them down.

James will be going to Nantwich to meet 36-year-old Jodi and her husband Roger. Jodi is originally from Adelaide, Australia. She has two small children aged two and four. She is so busy with the children that she doesn’t get time to clean. There are overflowing toy boxes and the back of the sofa hasn’t been excavated for over a year.

The kitchen is another hotspot. The inside of Jodi’s oven hasn’t been cleaned in the six years she’s lived in the house and the hob hasn’t been cleaned in several months. Jodi dislikes chemicals and cleaning products, especially bleach because they give her migraines, so she has avoided these kinds of jobs and left them to husband Roger. But with Roger tired out from work, he doesn’t do it either.

The second volunteer is Kristy, 36, from Orpington, Kent. A mum of two teenage boys, Kristy runs a dating agency website and cleans for nearly three hours every day. Her nickname is Dettol Queen because she thinks it smells better than any perfume and she leaves a bowl of it in the sink overnight to make the house smell nice.

Kristy is so obsessive about grime and germs that her engineer husband has to take down his trousers at lunchtime so his work clothes don’t make the sofas dirty. Kristy’s obsession extends to her hobbies – she will vacuum and dust the local gym where she works out.

Kristy is going to Kettering to meet 59-year-old Kay and 60-year-old Dilip who used to run a corner shop from their home. Kay started collecting things after their shop closed. She would take a daily walk for exercise but soon got bored and changed her route to take her past the local charity shops.

Now the collactables have filled the entire shop space and the former snooker room. It’s comprised of bags, videos, dolls, bric-a-brac, furniture and ornaments - anything Kay thinks is decorative or beautiful that she can’t bear going to waste or not being appreciated.

It’s not just Kay and Dilip whose outlook changes from the visit as Kirsty also has a revelation about her own cleaning obsession.

Linda Dykes is joining up with obsessive cleaners to help scrub Britain’s filthy public spaces too. This week she is going to Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park to sort out the fly tipping, graffiti and litter problems affecting the 33 acre park. With only one fulltime member of staff to look after the entire area it’s not surprising that the park is suffering from low level vandalism, which is putting off other park users from enjoying its facilities.

Joining Linda is 27-year-old mum-of-three Hayley who was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder in 2007. Also joining the clean team is Richard, 37, who runs an audio-visual company. Richard is obsessed with order and tidiness and can’t relax if a cushion or bedspread is out of place.

Episode 5/6, 13/03/2013, 8pm, Channel 4

Over half a million of us Brits wash our bed linen just three times a year. Yet there is a group of Britons who wage a constant war on dirt and order.

This series follows Brits who - by their own admission - are so obsessed with cleaning they can’t relax if there is a spot on a tap or a rain mark on the windows. In this third episode more compulsive cleaners will be carefully matched with someone whose home is in dire need of a major spring clean.

The first volunteer is 58-year-old American Cynthia a former opera singer and pianist living in Fitzrovia, London. Growing up Cynthia suffered from glandular fever and was sick for a year. She is also hyper-allergic and reacts badly to pollen, mould, mildew, dairy, soy and aloe as well as suffering from asthma. Her childhood illness has given her a life-long fear of germs and bacteria.

Cynthia spends up to 30 hours a month sterilising her penthouse apartment and washes her fruit in vinegar to kill the bacteria. Cynthia won’t touch public toilets, handrails, plane seats and elevator buttons as she believes they are a breeding ground for germs.

This week Cynthia is going to the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire to help Daphne, 75, who has lost control of the clutter in the cottage she has lived in for the last 46 years.

Daphne has been campaigning to save British otters for the past 33 years, she shares her country home with otters and travels across the UK and abroad with her otters to exhibit them and drive awareness. Daphne loves the otters so much they often come into the house to eat and play, so the cottage is far from being in an immaculate condition.

In addition to the otters, Daphne has a hoard in the attic that has been acquiring for years comprised of mementos of her work as an actress and her three daughters’ childhood clothes, school and horse souvenirs. Her attic is also where she stores the piles of otter equipment that she needs to tour them safely.

The next volunteer is 40-year-old single mum of five kids Claire from Surrey. Claire spends around six hours a day cleaning as well as working as a minibus driver. She says she split up with her last partner because he was a slob and she couldn’t deal with his mess.

Claire can’t sleep at night if the washing up isn’t done. She wipes down the toilet and uses toilet cleaner every time someone uses the loo. She mops her wood floors up to 10 times a day and hates clutter and ornaments because they attract dust and smears.

Claire is going to help Suzie, 42, and Phil, 45, also from Surrey and who have five children. With five kids aged between four and 15, it doesn’t take long for things to get messy. But as both Suzie and Phil are unwell - she gets migraines and he has type 2 diabetes - neither parent feels able to cope with the clearing up.

Phil gets very stressed by the mess and tends to cover it up with blankets. But that only hides the mess for a short while; it doesn’t make it go away. The legions of animals don’t help either as the Higgs have six cats, a dog and a pet hedgehog.

Cleaner Linda Dykes is not only keen about cleaning private homes, she wants to clear up Britain’s public spaces too. Britain’s 10 million dogs drop around 1,000 tonnes of dog waste every day on our streets and parks. Not only is dog mess a hazard to the environment, if ingested it can cause toxocariasis, which is harmful to human health, and can cause blindness, with young children particularly at risk of infection.

So Linda and the clean team are heading to Allesley Park in Coventry. Originally a deer park in the 13th century, Allesley Park currently enjoys Green Flag status. But dog waste has become a problem. Joining Linda to clear up the dog mess is Richard Searle, 37, from Sandhurst who loves order and tidiness and bleach-addict Hayley Burford, 27, who was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder in 2007. One of Hayley’s biggest fears is faeces of any variety so this dog poo pick- up will be one of her greatest challenges.

Episode 4/6, 06/03/2013, 8pm, Channel 4

Over half a million of us Brits wash our bed linen just three times a year. Yet there is a group of Britons who wage a constant war on dirt and order.

This series follows Brits who - by their own admission - are so obsessed with cleaning they can’t relax if there is a spot on a tap or a rain mark on the windows. In this third episode more compulsive cleaners will be carefully matched with someone whose home is in dire need of a major spring clean.

Linda Dykes is a compulsive cleaner who cleans around the clock. Obsessed with shine, she spends one month of every year just making sure her taps sparkle. She loves cleaning so much she is teaming up with an army of compulsive cleaners to help her tackle Britain’s dirty homes and filthy public spaces.

This week Linda’s first volunteer is 27 year old mum of three, Hayley Burford, who was diagnosed with OCD in 2007.

Hayley can spend up to 19 hours a day cleaning her house. Hayley won’t clean her bath with a sponge - so instead uses a mop to clean to keep a distance from all the dead skin cells. She only wears a pair of rubber gloves once and then bins them for fear of contamination.

Hayley has a serious love of bleach, she bleaches her fridge inside and out daily, and the toilet is bleached countless times a day. Bleach is her safety net from contamination – if she uses bleach on something, ‘no germs are going to get through that’.

This week Hayley is going to Plumstead to help 39 year old library assistant Shereen Baig who last cleaned her flat a year ago. Her cleaning routine can be summed up in a line; washing up a plate if she can’t find a clean one to eat off and Shereen’s mum won’t visit her because the flat is so messy.

Linda’s next volunteer is 44 year old estate agent Penny from Chippenham. Married with two kids Penny has not been diagnosed with OCD. She just loves cleaning. So much so, that she wanted to take her hoover on a camping holiday but had to settle for a dustpan and brush.

Penny often spends four hours a day cleaning on top of her sales job and has a particular penchant for folding her toilet roll. Penny even enjoys cleaning for her friends. When her friend went away she offered to give her house a good clean and spent 52 hours cleaning it. When her friend came back from holiday she had even laid the table.

Penny is going to spend four days helping clean and de-clutter the two bed home of Paul and Elaine from Surrey. Paul is a self-confessed shopaholic who collects memorabilia for his kids to pass on as their inheritance. Elaine is worried there is so much clutter in the house she is in danger of tripping and falling over. Paul and Elaine have two grown up children but when they come to stay they have to sleep in the caravan on the drive because there is no room in the house.

Episode 3/6, 27/02/2013, 8pm, Channel 4

Over half a million of us Brits wash our bed linen just three times a year. Yet there is a group of Britons who wage a constant war on dirt and order.

This series follows Brits who - by their own admission - are so obsessed with cleaning they can’t relax if there is a spot on a tap or a rain mark on the windows. In this third episode more compulsive cleaners will be carefully matched with someone whose home is in dire need of a major spring clean.

Linda Dykes is a compulsive cleaner who cleans around the clock. Obsessed with shine, she spends one month of every year just making sure her taps sparkle. She loves cleaning so much she is teaming up with an army of compulsive cleaners to help her tackle Britain’s dirty homes and filthy public spaces.

This week Linda’s first team mate is 45-year-old Mark from Hampshire. Mark has a particular obsession with curtains and spends over an hour a day just getting the pleats to hang symmetrically. He can clean his sink up to 50 times a day and spends over 50 hours a week cleaning. At work Mark is just as fastidious, continually arranging the weights and the equipment in the gym he manages.

Mark visits Colne in Lancashire to meet single mum of two, Julie Arkwright, 48. Hoarding runs in Julie’s family, her grandmother was a hoarder and so is her mother. But now her three bedroom house is so overrun with childhood mementos and clothes from charity shops, that her youngest daughter is embarrassed to have her friends come round.

Also joining the team is 29-year-old mum of two, Cheyza Burch from Cambridge. When Cheyza was pregnant with her first child she became ill and ever since has been worried about germs and dirt. Now Cheyza washes her hands up to 60 times a day and cleans around the clock.

Cheyza travels to Oxfordshire to help nature lover and shopaholic Amanda. Amanda, 39, worships nature so much that she wants the outdoors to come indoors. Her love of nature extends to spiders and she purposely does not dust away the cobwebs from her cluttered two bedroom house.

Linda is also concerned about Britain’s filthy public spaces. So she teams up with two more compulsive cleaners to help her. Richard, 37, from Sandhurst is obsessed with order, organisation and tidiness and Hayley, 27, from East Grinstead, who was diagnosed with OCD in 2007.

Linda and the cleaning gang are heading to Wirksworth in Derbyshire where a community run swimming pool is suffering from a shortage of funding and can’t afford a cleaner. The décor is looking tired and the place needs a good scrub. If Linda and the team can impress the local Rotary Club with their clean-up then more funds might become available.

Episode 2/6, 20/02/2013, 8pm, Channel 4

(NB For biographies of those featured in the programme, please scroll down the page)

In episode two more compulsive cleaners will be carefully matched with someone whose home is in dire need of a major spring clean.

Linda Dykes is a compulsive cleaner who cleans around the clock. Obsessed with shine, she spends one month of every year just making sure her taps sparkle. She loves cleaning so much she is gathering together a team of compulsive cleaners to help her tackle Britain’s dirty homes and filthy public spaces.

Joining the team is Denise, 44, from Richmond who was officially diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder in 2002. Denise continually polishes, tidies and cleans. She spends up to three hours a day dusting.

Denise is taking four days out of her own cleaning regime to help retired 82-year-old retired British Aerospace engineer Frank from Chipping Sodbury. Since his wife died nine years ago his three bedroom house is gradually disappearing beneath piles of clutter. With a passion for physics, among Frank’s piled up possessions are pieces of complex scientific equipment.

Another team member is hairdresser Adam, 22, who is obsessed with symmetry and balance. He prefers clean, clear surfaces and any objects must be precisely positioned and exactly aligned. He can spend up to 30 hours a month tweaking objects in his house.

Adam is heading to Buckinghamshire to help Helen, 62, who lives with her dog and two cats. Over the years she has hoarded piles of clutter – from old clothes to paperwork and a vast collection of antique horse accessories. She feels that if she carries on collecting the clutter for much longer she will go past the point of help and lose control.

Linda and her team of helpers also bring their expertise to some of Britain’s filthy public spaces. They take on the challenge of sprucing up an underpass in Redhill, Surrey, which is in dire need of a makeover. She is helped by mum of two, Cheyza, who is so hygiene obsessed that she washes her hands up to 60 times a day and Michele who has such a fear of germs that she cleans her house for up to eight hours a day. Along with a team of volunteers they scrub the bricks in the Victorian underpass, remove the litter and get rid of the graffiti.

Episode 1/6, 13/02/2013, 8pm, Channel 4

(NB For biographies of those featured in the programme, please scroll down the page)

Half a million of us Brits change our bed linen just three times a year. Yet there is a group of Britons who wage a constant war on dirt and order. This brand new series follows Brits who - by their own admission - are so obsessed with cleaning they can't relax if there is a spot on a tap or a rain mark on the windows.

Linda Dykes is a compulsive cleaner from North Wales who cleans around the clock, day and night. She loves cleaning so much she's set up her own cleaning agency.

Linda, 47, believes that compulsive cleaners have a special set of skills for cleaning that could change the habits of the nation. So she's teamed up with a group of compulsive cleaners to help clean Britain's dirty homes and filthy public spaces. In each of the six episodes, these compulsive cleaners will be carefully matched with a contributor whose home is in dire need of a major ‘spring clean'.

Joining the team is 31-year-old Richard Searle from Sandhurst. Richard runs his own audio-visual company and is obsessed with order, organisation and tidiness. He spends two entire months a year simply cleaning and tidying.

Richard is going to Bradford-Upon-Avon to meet Christopher Sylvester, a retired antiques dealer whose stone Victorian cottage has been overwhelmed by 15 years' worth of collectibles and bric-a-brac. Christopher's house is so bad he can barely get in the front door never mind cook in his kitchen or sleep on his bed.

Another team member is 52-year-old germaphobe Michele Murray from Borehamwood, a single mum who cleans up to eight hours every day. Michele has a particular obsession with cleaning windows. She will clean her windows twice a day minimum and even more times if it rains.

Michele is heading to Milton Keynes to meet Richard Pugh, a 30-year-old telephone advisor - who hasn't cleaned his flat since he moved in four years ago. It's so filthy that his parents have refused to visit him and he's desperate for help.

Linda is also concerned about Britain's filthy public spaces. So she has headhunted two more obsessive compulsive cleaners to help her; construction worker Michael Devine, 44, from Newcastle who even vacuums his bed every day, and Hayley Burford, 27, from East Grinstead, who was diagnosed with OCD in 2007.

750,000 people in Britain suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder and many of them follow strict cleaning rituals in an attempt to control their stress and anxiety levels.

Linda and her cleaning gang are heading to Leatherhead to help The Pitstop, a drop-in centre for the vulnerable and the homeless, which serves 200 free hot meals a day. With scarce resources and short of manpower, The Pitstop staff desperately need help cleaning up their kitchen, their men's toilets and their lounge area. And with a food inspector coming to visit in 24 hours Linda and her obsessive compulsive clean team have no time to lose. Armed with their well-honed skills, can the team of compulsive cleaners pull this off?

Contributor biographies

Linda Dykes, 47, Abergele, North Wales

Linda Dykes describes herself as, ‘a right scrubber'. This woman is obsessed with cleaning - if she sees a crumb or grease on a table, she will itch to get rid of it - she can't be in or around mess. Her obsession has got so bad that she won't let her teenage son cook in her kitchen, ‘because he doesn't do it right'.

Linda loves cleaning so much she has started her own cleaning agency, Diamond Cleaning. She describes her home as her calling card - and certainly her shelves in her cleaning cupboard look better than the ones you find at the supermarket. She won't sleep at night unless her house is pristine and left in an immaculate condition. At 5.30am you will find her shining and polishing her taps and glassware.

Linda thinks that standards are falling and that Britain is becoming dirtier and people don't seem to have noticed this. She believes her compulsive cleaning behaviour is in fact a skill that she can share with other people, to help make Britain a better and cleaner place to live.

Richard Searle, 35, Sandhurst, Berkshire

Audio Visual Company Director Richard lives in a world of order and structure. This minimalist has no picture frames, paintings or ornaments on his walls or on any surface. Everything in his house is streamlined and he sees ‘no need for unnecessary items'.

Richard's obsession with order manifests itself in his everyday life. When he goes to the supermarket, he obsessively rearranges the tin cans to all face the front. His remote controls must be set at a right angle and all the lines of his bed must be straight. Richard won't relax until everything is in its right place.

Nor can Richard stand dirt - dirt is disorder. If dust is on skirting board - that's disorder.

Even his wife and stepkids think he's taking things to extreme and despair at his cleaning antics.

Christopher Sylvester, 64, Wiltshire

Christopher describes himself, ‘As the most interesting person you'll ever meet'.

This retired antiques collectors impressive stone built Victorian house is full floor to ceiling with antiques and paraphernalia. The problem is that he has too much stuff - and it's taken over his home. The possessions he once viewed as invaluable as making his home look like a garage sale.

64-year-old Christopher has only let a handful of people into his house in the last Ten years. He has never cleaned or dusted his house in the 16 years he has lived there due to a dust allergy. His electricity was cut off due to company error and it took two years to get it switched on again - so anything in his fridge or freezer could be potentially hazardous. The issue for him is the home he loves so dearly has become more like a storage facility for his things.

Christopher feels his house has now become barely habitable, so desperately needs a change in order to make his house a home again.

Richard Pugh, 30, Milton Keynes

NHS worker Richard Pugh's one bedroom bedsit in Milton Keynes has not been cleaned since he moved in four years ago. Richard is single but definitely wouldn't bring a girl back, ‘they'd run a mile'.

The flat is filthy, with faeces on the toilet and grime everywhere. The cooker has never been cleaned, the surfaces are greasy and his cat Sweetpea's hair is encrusted into the carpet and all over the furniture.

The place became chaotic due to Richard suffering a serious bout of depression. Now that's subsided he feels this is the time to get his home back in order.

Richard's parents constantly used to nag him about the state of the place. His ‘clean freak' Mum especially couldn't understand how he could live like this. With his parents moving from Milton Keynes - he is determined to show them he can keep a nice home.

Michele Murray, 52, Borehamwood, Herts

Jewish mother Michele describes her home as very ‘bling bling' - everything has to sparkle and shine. When she says everything must shine, she means everything. She spends eight hours a day cleaning her home - that adds up to four months of an entire year spent cleaning.

Michele has a particular obsession with her windows. She cleans them twice a day, and if it rains, no matter how many times, she always cleans them afterwards: inside and out. She must vacuum in lines and even though Michelle has two dogs she would be devastated if anyone could smell a trace of them in her house.

Michele is very worried about contamination and so when she uses a shopping trolley, will only use the palms of her hands. When she brings home the shopping, she will wash the tins and jars in hot, soapy water before she will even consider putting them in her cupboards.

Past TX Information

OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE CLEANERS 4/6
23 Feb 2014, 19:55
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