The White Glove Test

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Cinderella had it rough. Having to put up with a wicked stepmother and stepsisters who never helped with the dishes could not have been easy. Fortunately, most of us had a better role model for cleaning house than did that legendary belle of the ball. According to a study conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Soap and Detergent Association, a vast majority of Americans (87 percent) say they got their cleaning smarts by watching their own mom. But between conference calls and shuttling the kids to their play dates, many adults today have had to cut corners. In fact, over a third of adults today say that they don't iron and 1 in 5 don't do windows or scrub floors, even though their moms did. Then there is the opposite extreme. Researchers estimate that as many as 6 million Americans suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and of those, half suffer cleaning or washing compulsions or have obsessions with contamination.* But you don't have to be diagnosable to fear germs. A recent survey conducted by London-based Mintel found that more than a quarter of young adults (ages 18 to 24) look for the antibacterial label when shopping for cleaning products, a trait they are likely to pass on to their own kids. After all, scrubbing the commode isn't just hygienic, it's genetic!

*Rasmussen and Eisen, 1992

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