Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners
The Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners are back. This brand new series follows people who, by their own admission, cannot stop cleaning and carefully matches them with someone whose home is in dire need of a spring clean. Together these people with such contrasting compulsions will explore how their different behaviour affects their lives.
Whether it’s scrubbing an oven with a toothbrush for six hours, sleeping on the floor for fear of creasing pristine bed sheets or trimming the edges of the lawn with a pair of scissors, the cleaners will go to almost any length to make sure their homes are immaculate.
At the other end of the scale are those that live surrounded by clutter and mess. From the woman who shares her home with six goats to the lady who has filled her partner’s home with 40 years’ worth of belongings including a collection of replica baby dolls – they won’t throw anything away and it’s impossible to keep their houses clean.
The series also features a new strand, The Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners Guide to…in which a team of obsessive cleaners, led by OCD diagnosed 27-year-old bleach fan Hayley, reveal their fears and phobias about everyday places and objects. Whether it’s a trip to the supermarket, a train journey, using a public toilet or visiting a café, the cleaners carry out a range of tasks, swabbing surfaces and objects along the way, pushing their boundaries and uncovering the bacteria hotspots we all come into contact with on a daily basis.
Episode 1/8, Tuesday 29th October, 8pm, Channel 4
Among the cleaning volunteers in this first episode are mother and daughter Lesley and Tuesday, from Bridgend, who live a germ and clutter free existence. Lesley, who cleans for up to 16 hours a day, is worried that daughter Tuesday’s obsessions will debilitate her. Tuesday is a student, works part time in a clothes shop and also finds time to clean for up to six hours a day.
Lesley, 56, is obsessed with order and keeping clutter at a minimum and daughter Tuesday, 23, is a germaphobe who washes her hands 40 to 50 times a day. Lesley dedicates up to two thirds of every year scrubbing, bleaching and dusting her immaculate home. She doesn’t like having people in the house because they will sit on the furniture and touch the walls and doors.
They are taking time out of their stringent routines and will confront their biggest fears to help someone they have never met. They are going to the home of single mother Sonia, 47, in Farnham, Hampshire.
Sonia’s home is filled with 20 years’ worth of clutter and she has reached a point where she feels suffocated by the belongings taking over her home. She hasn’t cleared a single item out of her house for two years and can’t even shut her bathroom door because there are too many things in the way.
Also waging a war on dirt is gym owner and fitness instructor Vinny, 51, from Sheffield, who spends up to three entire months of every year cleaning and tidying and uses antibacterial lotion on his hands up to 100 times a day. Vinny is obsessed with hair and shaves his body daily to keep it hygienic and clean. In his gym each piece of equipment has its place and he sprays his machines with antibacterial spray because he doesn’t like sweat to dry on them.
Vinny is heading to Margate to meet dog lover Robin, 50, who hasn’t cleaned his house properly since he moved in five years ago. It’s so filthy that his partner Kevin refuses to spend more than one day a fortnight at the home he co owns. Robin, who runs a charity shop, shares his home with six dogs. Even though the dogs sleep in the bedroom Robin hasn’t given it a proper clean in the past five years.
Episode 2/8, Tuesday 5th November, 8pm, Channel 4
In programme two the first cleaning volunteer is mum-of-two Jade, 33, from St Austell in Cornwall. Jade cleans uninterrupted for six hours every day, during which she won’t even answer the phone.
Diagnosed with OCD over a year ago, Jade is the only person who is allowed to open the curtains in her house. She is so obsessed with hygiene that she will also go to extreme lengths to avoid her pet hates – grease and animal hair and mess.
The compulsion to avoid contact with grease has got so bad that Jade will put sandwich bags on her hands so she doesn’t have to touch it, but will also only ever wipe a surface or the floor once before having to rinse her cloth for another swipe.
Jade is heading to Dunstable to meet 48-year-old Deborah, known locally as goat lady. Deborah’s three bedroom house has been overrun by her six goats including a 27 stone goat named Skippy. They are free to roam almost everywhere; in the conservatory, the kitchen and they even trot along the kitchen work surfaces.
Deborah puts the goats before herself and her home and all her time and effort goes into making sure that they are fed, watered and well looked after. The house is covered in goat droppings and urine and as soon as Deborah manages to clean it up the goats have produced even more mess.
The situation has now got so out of hand she is embarrassed to have anyone over to the house, but understands that it’s just not sustainable to keep them inside any longer, and her needs must now come before theirs. She needs help to banish the goats from her house into the garden and to reclaim her home.
In Peterborough mum-of-three and self-confessed control freak Lynsey is also prepared to confront her biggest fear head on and help someone she has never met before.
Lynsey, 35, is seriously fanatical about her cleaning and can vacuum up to 20 times a day. She is so obsessed with keeping not only her home in spotless order, but managing everyone and everything within it, that she will dedicate up to five hours of each day to clean it.
She doesn’t understand why people do not live the same way as her and is concerned that there are too many germs in the world.
Lynsey is going to the home of newly married couple Scott and Faith who live in Blackpool. Scott met Faith online two years ago. He has amassed a large amount of electrical items and the constant collecting has got so out of hand that every single room in their three bedroom terraced house is full to bursting point.
The couple don’t have a proper kitchen since Scott ripped it out three and a half years ago and hasn’t got round to replacing it. Instead they use a kettle and toaster in the bedroom and a microwave and halogen cooker in the dining room. Since Faith moved into the house, their relationship is at a crossroads and Faith’s frustration with his nonstop stockpiling is beginning to show.
Episode 3/8, Tuesday 12th November, 8pm, Channel 4
In programme three the first cleaning volunteer is OCD diagnosed Ben, 32, who works as a foot health care practitioner. He spends up to two hours each day cleaning his hob despite the fact he has only used it once in the nine months since he moved in. He can’t bear the thought of dust settling and cracks open the antibacterial wipes every morning. He doesn’t even sleep in his bed – for fear of creasing the sheets, opting instead to use a campbed mattress in the corner of the room. Worst of all, he can’t have his children to stay over as he worries about the mess they would make.
Ben will be heading to Guildford to meet upholsterer and craft enthusiast Gerri, 53. A keen environmentalist, she’s spent three years amassing stacks of materials she’s planning to up-cycle and re-purpose. The trouble is she has more ideas and projects on the go than she can finish and the house is now full to bursting with furniture, crockery and fabrics.
Moths have taken hold of metres of valuable upholstering fabric and clothes. Much to her own shame and disappointment her granddaughter has never stayed over because her spare room is too full and the bed isn’t even visible under the piles of clutter.
Also waging a war on dirt is mum of two Sarah, 25, from Bedfordshire who became obsessed with cleaning when she had her first baby and wanted to ensure the house was completely germ free. Now she spends 40 hours a week making sure it’s immaculate and often asks her husband to refrain from using the toilet if she has just cleaned it.
Sarah will be heading off to help brothers Andy, 23, and Mikki, 25, in Coventry, Their mum Jannette left them in charge of her house when she moved out to live with her partner two years ago. Since then the boys have turned the house into an unruly dump, using the living room as a junkyard for all their stuff and the wall as a dart board. The boys are also adverse to emptying bins and the kitchen is a germ filled playground stuffed with old takeaways and a microwave full of grease and bits of food. The boys need a proper wake-up call if they are going to hold on to their home, and stop their mum, who is at the end of her tether, from kicking them out.
Episode 4/8, Tuesday 19th November, 8pm, Channel 4
In programme four, the first cleaning volunteer is 46-year-old former air steward Richard from Hastings. Richard bleaches and cleans his fridge four times a week and plumps his cushions daily. Even his wardrobe is arranged in colour order and his dog is groomed every two weeks to keep smells at bay. Richard will be helping out dog minder Linda, 43, from Brentwood, Essex. She can have up to 10 dogs in her home at any one time and would rather spend time with her canine companions than cleaning her house. Linda hasn’t had a relationship in the six years since she last vacuumed her bedroom and is desperate to make a change.
The second volunteer is civil servant Louise, 34, from Wiltshire who cleans her sink 18 times a day, going through 17 bottles of bleach every week. The mum of three’s need for perfection began when she was an RAF corporal and she now ensures that her home is run with the same military precision. She will be helping hoarder Michelle, 63, from Swindon. She lives in her partner Michael’s three bed semi which she has filled with four lorry loads of her belongings, including her collection of lifelike baby dolls. But getting Michelle to let go of the past is not going to be as straightforward as Louise had hoped.
Episode 5/8, Tuesday 26th November, 8pm, Channel 4
In programme five the first cleaning volunteer is sales rep Louise, 32, who spends up to 30 hours a week cleaning her two bed house. Louise, from Darwen, Lancashire, gets through two and a half litres of bleach a day and insists on a clutter free home which includes regular clear outs of her four-year-old daughter’s soft toys.
Louise is travelling to Portsmouth to help Tim, 65, who works at a holiday camp as a professional cleaner. Since separating from his wife seven years ago Tim has been living an extreme bachelor existence. Despite working part time as a cleaner he only gives his kitchen a proper wipe down at Easter and Christmas when his family visit.
Also putting on the rubber gloves in this episode is 75-year-old Victoria from Southend who racks up more than 40 hours of cleaning a week to keep her house immaculate. In almost 60 years of cleaning she has developed some unusual methods – including standing in the shower while wearing her underwear or swimsuit to give it a through once over and emptying the water out of the toilet pan so she can properly scrub it.
Victoria is putting her household chores to one side to help computer technician Lesley, 56, who hasn’t given her three bed flat a proper clean since she moved in 19 years ago. Lesley suffers from a variety of health problems which has pushed cleaning down the list of priorities but she wants to do something about her it as her daughter Christine is uncomfortable about letting the grandchildren visit.
Episode 6/8, Tuesday 3rd December, 8pm, Channel 4
In programme six, the first cleaning volunteer is payroll administrator Glen, from Watford, who spends thirteen hours each week cleaning his one bedroom flat and never cooks because it makes a mess. He is obsessed with tidiness and precision and uses a ruler to space his ornaments and a spirit level to make sure his pictures are straight. Glen, 30, will be visiting a former hotel on the Isle of Wight which is owned by 48-year-old David. David’s twelve-roomed home is full of his collections including an estimated 300,000 books, ten African masks, a strait jacket, three parachutes, twenty-five military uniforms and a range of magician’s props.
The next cleaning volunteer is obsessive organiser Zahra, 42, from Kent who spends three hours a day making sure her home achieves show home standards. Zahra, who vacuums eight times a day, ensures every area of her home is immaculate and only allows her eight-year-old daughter Izzy to play with one toy at a time, operating a strict one in one out policy.
Zahra will be heading to Bridgend to meet shop owner Jo, 37, whose compulsive shopping habits mean every inch of her son’s bedroom floor is full, occupied by 200 sets of clothes, 50 soft toys and 100 children’s games. She’s formed a sentimental attachment to not only her own but also her children’s belongings and realises she needs help to declutter.
Episode 7/8, Tuesday 10th December, 8pm, Channel 4
Vintage stall owner Sarah, 58, from Ely has so much clutter that she has filled sheds, a gazebo and her house with her hoard. Things have got so out of control that she has slept on the sofa in the living room for almost two years because there’s no room in her bedroom. Sarah has even created a small path to navigate her way round the clutter. She has reached the point where she fears it could get even more out of control if she doesn't take charge.
Volunteering to help her is OCD diagnosed Louise, 39, from Cambridgeshire, who cleans daily for eight hours and wipes the door handles in her house up to 200 times a day. Nothing makes her happier than her two sons, aged six and seven, leaving the toilet seat up – because they won’t have to touch it and transfer germs.
Also volunteering is forecast analyst Adam, 32, from Essex who is obsessed with order and spends three hours a day cleaning his flat. Adam has to have his picture frames an inch and a half apart and everything needs to be at a right angle.
He will be helping out single mother of two Lara, 38, from Rochester, Kent, who loves to salvage not only her own objects but everyone else's and spends 'bin day' looking to see if anyone has anything of use. Lara's house hasn’t had a deep clean in 12 years and Adam is in for a few unexpected surprises – including two dead mice which he finds behind the sofa.
The series also features The Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners Guide to…in which a
team of obsessive cleaners, led by OCD diagnosed 28-year-old bleach fanatic Hayley, reveal their fears and phobias about everyday places and objects. Whether it’s a shopping trip, a train journey or using a public toilet, the cleaners carry out a range of tasks, swabbing surfaces and objects along the way, pushing their boundaries and uncovering the bacteria hotspots we all come into contact with on a daily basis. This week the team visit a nail bar and the hairdressers.
Episode 8/8, Tuesday 17th December, 8pm, Channel 4
The first cleaning volunteer is mum of six Alison, 45, from Morton, Lincolnshire, who was diagnosed with OCD six years ago and spends more than 30 hours a week keeping her five bedroom home immaculate.
Alison is going to Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire to help confirmed bachelor and cowboy Dusty Rhodes, 61. Over the past three decades his passion for the Wild West has overtaken everything and his terraced house hasn’t been deep cleaned for over ten years.
Also waging a war on dirt is mum of two Helen, 36, from East Sussex who spends five hours a day keeping her 4,000 square foot mansion in perfect order. Helen’s need for perfection goes hand in hand with an even bigger obsession for order. Every item in her 500-piece wardrobe is catalogued in a phone app so she can choose her daily outfits in advance.
Helen will be heading off to Luton to help single mother Janet, 50, whose passion for haberdashery has taken over the house. On top of her passion for crafts she’s also a keen collector of more than 800 items of clothing.
In the series, the cleaners include:
Ben, 31, is a foot health care practitioner who was diagnosed with OCD after his divorce. To keep his Scunthorpe home pristine he will sit on a beanbag rather than the sofa and sleeps on a mattress on the floor rather than creasing his pristine sheets. He also showers at his mum’s house because he doesn’t want to build up limescale on his showerhead. Ben’s cleaning obsession is having a negative impact on his life and he feels unable to have his children to stay as he is worried they would make a mess – instead he takes them for days out.
Mother and daughter Lesley, 56, and Tuesday, 23, from Bridgend, are locked into a never ending cleaning cycle where their contrasting rituals fuel each other. Lesley describes herself as a minimalist and Tuesday as a germaphobe. Lesley spends between eight and 16 hours a day cleaning her home and she cuts the edges of her immaculate lawn with a pair of scissors. Tuesday is fiercely protective of her wardrobe - every hanger must be spaced two fingers’ width apart and if anyone touches them she has to empty out the entire wardrobe and wash all her clothes again. She washes her hands 40—50 times a day. The pair never cuddle or kiss for fear of spreading germs. Tuesday and Lesley also feature in The Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners Guide to…
Vinny, 51, is a gym owner and fitness instructor who lives with his youngest son Reuben,18, in Sheffield. Vinny regards taking care of himself and his surroundings as of the utmost importance. He spends on average 6-10 hours a day cleaning. It can take him two hours to get ready to go out and if he’s not satisfied at the end of his routine he’ll start all over again. As a personal trainer he has a disciplined approach and will often tell his clients off if they don’t clean and put the equipment back the right way. He uses antibacterial lotion on his hands around 100 times a day. He cleans his oven with a toothbrush and his shower has to be wiped and dried down after every use. He believes his obsession stems from a time he spent living on the streets at the age of 16.
Jade, 33, is a mum of two from Cornwall who has been diagnosed with OCD. While she is not proud of it, she loves it when her children are at school as she then has six hours of interrupted cleaning. She goes to extreme lengths, including wearing plastic bags on her hands, to avoid her two pet hates – grease and animals. When she leaves the house Jade is paranoid about touching door handles, she cleans cutlery in restaurants and if she has to use a public toilet she will put toilet roll on the seat to ensure there’s no chance she will make contact with it.
Zahra, 46, lives with her daughter Issy in Kent. She has a show home with show beds and show pillows – she even thinks her sofa is there to be seen, not sat on. Her show towels in the bathroom are for display only and if anyone uses them they are put in a cupboard and are no longer show towels. Issy calls her mum Mrs Fussy Pants but she is already showing the same traits when it comes to cleaning and tells her friends not to mess up her room.
In The Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners Guide to…are:
Hayley, 28, who heads up The Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners Guide to…and also featured in series one, was diagnosed with OCD in 2007. The mum-of-three from East Grinstead spends between four and five hours a day cleaning her house. The day before her wedding she spent 19 hours cleaning. She won’t clean her bath with a sponge - so instead uses a mop to keep her distance from all the dead skin cells. She only wears a pair of rubber gloves once and then bins them for fear of contamination. She has a serious love of bleach, she bleaches her fridge inside and out daily, and the toilet is bleached countless times a day.
Richard, 37, featured in series one of Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners. Richard makes sure he lives in a world of order and structure. He 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.
Mark, a 46-year-old gym owner, competitive bodybuilder and personal trainer, first graced our screens last series using his skills of organisation and cleanliness to help bring order to a chaotic home. Mark is known by his co-workers to vacuum the gym up to 20 times a day and wipe the front desk 30 times a day. He is obsessed with symmetry and organisation (things being in lines and in the correct place) and can spend up to an hour every day organising the pleats of his curtains.
The contributors include:
Deborah, 48, is known as ‘goat lady’ in her local area of Dunstable as she shares her three bedroom semi with six goats. Deborah puts the goats before herself and spends all her money on making sure they are fed, watered and given regular health check-ups. The house is covered in goat droppings and urine and as soon as she cleans it up the goats produce even more mess. Following the death of her partner, Deborah started to rescue and re-home animals. The goats used to live in a shed in the back garden but have now moved indoors with three in the conservatory (including a 27 stone goat called Skippy) and two smaller goats having free reign of the rest of the house – including the kitchen worktops.
Scott, 36, and Faith, 30, tied the knot after meeting online. Scott was mortified when he finally built up the courage to show her his home in Blackpool – he has been collecting electrical items and anything he can take apart since the age of nine. When he moved into the house four years ago he ripped out the old kitchen and planned to put in new cupboards but he still hasn’t got round to it and the couple use a kettle and toaster in the bedroom and a microwave and halogen cooker in the dining room which are kept next to a quad bike. Scott knows he needs to change for the sake of his relationship.
Michelle, 62, grew up in a series of pristine houses and describes her mother as OCD. Her father was in the RAF and they moved house every two years when all her belongings, apart from her clothes, would be given away. Michelle, from Swindon, began to accumulate things when she got married, including a collection of lifelike dolls which she keeps in cribs in her spare room. She collected so many items that she had to pay for a storage unit and reckons she has spent more on that than the value of her belongings.
Robin, 50, is a dog lover. But with six 'hairy house-guests' taking over his four bedroom home in Margate, the house has gone to the dogs - literally. Robin lives with his partner Kevin, who spends just one day a fortnight at the home, which he co-owns, due to its state. But the dogs aren't the only issue in this home – Robin, who runs a charity shop, is also a chronic collector and with more than 30 years’ worth of paraphernalia piled up floor to ceiling this is a mammoth task. Robin knows that now is the time for action.