Cleaning Your Home: The Effects on Your Mind and Body

Don't wait for spring
Don't wait for spring

In the day to day hustle and bustle, it can be easy to let your home grow messy. Between a full-time job, outside responsibilities, catching up with friends, taking care of your body, family functions, and raising your children (if you have them), it can be easy to neglect the smaller chores such as tidying up your house. However, that small task has more impact than you may think. As your house grows neglected, the dirtiness can start to pile up in the background, without you even noticing. For instance, carpets can hold up to an entire pound of dirt in a square yard before you start to notice. That being said, the cleanliness of your home can drastically affect different parts of your life, from your brain to your body.

Mind

While sitting down after cleaning your home is possibly one of the most satisfying feelings in life, having a clean home provides you more than just that rush of dopamine. One of the benefits being decreased fatigue and stress. Dr. Rian Rowles, a psychiatrist from the Advocate Christ Medical Center says that, “When you live in a messy home, you are subconsciously reminded of work that needs to be finished and visually, your eyes do not have a place to rest. Too much clutter can cause tremendous stress and fatigue. When things take longer to find, or can’t be found, stress levels rise, and so does your risk for illness.”

When constantly reminded that there’s work left unfinished, it can distract you from the tasks that you need to focus on. This feeling can compound, and it’s easy to go down a spiral from there. From the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a study was published that measured the way 60 people talked about their homes. Those who described their home as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more likely to experience depression and fatigue compared to those who used words like “restful” and “restorative.”

Body

On top of the physiological responses to stress, a clean home can help both your health and fitness. Not only can certain chores burn up to 100 calories each, but it turns out that a tidy house can lead you to make healthier food choices and can be a great indicator of your activity levels. A study from Cornell University found that people in a cluttered kitchen consume twice the amount calories in sweets compared to those in a clean, organized environment.

On top of this, those who keep their house clean and tidy are generally healthier and more active than those who don’t. It even turns out that a clean house is a better indicator of health than measuring those who take walks. Speaking of heath, keep in mind that going for a bike ride can do wonders for you, as the British Medical Association found that those who cycled for 20 miles a week were 50% less likely to have coronary heart disease.

Finally, keeping your home clean of dust and dander can help with things like allergies and colds. The HVAC (heating and cooling systems) of your house re-circulate particles such as dander, dust, and chemicals anywhere from five to seven times per day. This recirculation can eventually cause buildup in your house’s ducts, which can become a health risk. On top of posing a risk to your health, this buildup can greatly affect your house’s efficiency, and thus your wallet. This buildup can end up causing a 42% decrease in efficiency.

For the sake of both your mind and body, spend an extra few minutes to tidy and clean up around your house. It doesn’t have to wait till spring!