Making ‘shiny’ or avoiding ‘sticky’: a cross-cultural comparison of household bathroom cleaning practices

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Gabriel Henrique Pimenta Isboli Universidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná, Brazil

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Lucie Middlemiss University of Leeds, UK

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Olga Maria Coutinho Pépece Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Brazil

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This article examines how people’s life course and cultural backgrounds impact their consumption practices, particularly in the use, disposal and treatment of water in bathroom cleaning. We explore this through 12 oral histories from Brazilian and English residents, including locals, migrants and cross-national couples. Our findings provide an account of cleaning routines in two cultural contexts, offering insights for those addressing sustainability, consumer behaviour and water governance. Our research suggests that culture, upbringing, expectations of cleanliness, and social and material contexts all shape how people clean bathrooms, and when contexts change, material elements become particularly influential.

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Gabriel Henrique Pimenta Isboli Universidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná, Brazil

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Lucie Middlemiss University of Leeds, UK

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Olga Maria Coutinho Pépece Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Brazil

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