When Better Homes and Gardens asked its readers to rank their least favorite household chores, cleaning did not come out well. A whopping seven out of the top 10 were a cleaning activity, whether it be vacuuming, dusting, or cleaning the toilet. Most of us don’t enjoy cleaning and see it as something we have to do. Maybe if we understood the ways in which cleaning benefits our physical and mental health, we’d be less hard on it.
It Reduces Allergens
You’ll notice that dusting and vacuuming made it to that list, but do you understand why you put so much effort into getting rid of dust? It’s not just because it looks a bit gross (although it definitely does). Household dust is harmful to our bodies in a variety of ways, and it can often contain allergens that make your home a nightmare for anyone sensitive to them.
And it’s not just dust. Cleaning your bathroom and kitchen regularly is one of the best ways to prevent mold, which is another dangerous contaminant. It is important to know how to spot a mold problem and to know what products can get rid of it.
It Gets Rid of Toxins in the Home
To some extent, dust and mold are natural occurrences and are easy to spot and get rid of. However, you also need to watch out for the airborne chemicals and toxins that can contaminate your air and which are much harder to notice. VOCs (volatile organic compounds), pesticides, and phthalates are all common in American homes, and the best way to fight all of them is to keep your home clean and well-ventilated.
It’s Good Exercise
While it’s not likely to become an Olympic sport anytime soon, cleaning chores actually burn a surprising number of calories. A half-hour cleaning windows can burn about 167 calories, while a mere 15 minutes on the tub can burn a respectable 90 calories. It’s not enough for a complete body transformation, but a few hours of cleaning once a week can help you stay in shape without leaving the house — and in your comfiest clothes.
If you want to boost your exercise levels during your cleaning, there are a few simple ways to do that. From doing lunges while you vacuum to blasting loud music to keep you in rhythm, treating your chores as a workout can actually help make the whole process a lot more fun.
It Helps Us Relax
This may be hard to believe for someone who’s just spent their Sunday morning scrubbing a bathtub, but cleaning is actually a great stress reliever. Some people find the process itself relaxing — if this is the case for you, congrats! A study has found that you are likely to be 25 percent happier than those who hate it.
However, don’t worry if that’s not you. You can still benefit hugely from a clean home, even if you don’t enjoy it while you are doing it. A messy home is inherently stressful since it is a permanent visual reminder of all the things you still have to do. Once your home is tidy, you are likely to be in a much better mental state. Think about it — don’t you always feel great after a thorough spring clean?
It may be time to stop giving cleaning such a hard time. Sure, it’s not always the most fun way to spend a weekend, but it keeps us and our homes healthy. What’s more, there is a wonderful paradox to it: the more regularly you do it, the easier it will be to maintain everything and the less grueling and time-consuming it will become. In other words, the more you clean, the less you have to clean.