Home Cleaning During World War II in Fleet: A Historical Perspective

World War II brought significant changes to daily life in the United Kingdom. While the war effort dominated headlines, people continued to maintain their homes despite challenges. In this article, we’ll explore how home cleaning evolved during this tumultuous period, with a special focus on Fleet, Hampshire.

Rationing and Resource Constraints

 Food and Fuel Rationing

Food and fuel shortages impacted every aspect of life, including home cleaning. Families had to adapt to limited resources. Bacon, ham, butter, and sugar were among the first foods to be rationed in January 1940, followed by meat in March 19401. As a result, households had to be more frugal with cleaning supplies and energy.

Soap and Shampoo Rationing

Bathroom products like soap and shampoo were also rationed from 19421. Families had to make do with less, emphasising practicality over luxury. The 1940s house had both an indoor toilet and bathroom, but many still relied on tin baths in the kitchen for weekly baths1.

The Role of Home Cleaners

  1. Employment of Home Cleaners in Fleet

Despite the challenges, some families continued to employ home cleaners during the war. Men returning from military service expected the same level of sanitation they experienced before they left. As a result, there was a demand for clean facilities after the war2.


  1. “Make Do and Mend”

The phrase “Make do and Mend” became a mantra during the war. With clothes rationing introduced in June 1941, families repaired and reused clothing rather than discarding it. This resourcefulness extended to cleaning as well. People found innovative ways to keep their homes tidy without wasting precious supplies.


Home cleaning during World War II was a delicate balance between necessity and scarcity. Families in Fleet and across the UK adapted, finding ways to maintain cleanliness despite rationing and resource constraints. As we reflect on this historical period, we appreciate the resilience and ingenuity of those who kept their homes tidy even amidst adversity.

Remember, even in challenging times, a clean home contributes to well-being and comfort. Whether it’s 1940 or today, the importance of a tidy living space remains timeless.

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