A quarter claiming they took greater pride in their homes than their parents did at the same age. Picture: Af Mil

London - It may seem self-defeating, but two thirds of householders admit they tidy their home before the cleaner comes.

The figure is even higher for those with children, of whom 80 percent are too ashamed to let the hired help see the state of their home, a poll reveals.

But the worst group are Britons in their forties, with 93 percent sprucing things up first.

In fact, Britain is fast becoming a nation of Hyacinth Buckets, with 95 percent of those quizzed saying they were house-proud, and a quarter claiming they took greater pride in their homes than their parents did at the same age.

A spokesperson for kitchen retailer Magnet, which commissioned the survey, said: "In times of economic uncertainty, people want a home they can not only see as a haven they can relax and de-stress in, but also show off to friends and visitors as a marker of what they work hard for."