Mom Was Right—Cleaning Really Can Make You Happier
Do you dread spring cleaning, but once it’s done, you feel great? Science confirms it's not all in your head. Cleaning really can cheer you up!
Deep cleaning might be trendy now—thanks, Marie Kondo!—but spring cleaning has been around for generations. In recent years, however, scientists have tried to pinpoint the effect of cleaning on our mood. And it turns out, even the most daunting cleaning tasks can make us happier in the long run.
Big cleaning companies like Mr. Clean and Clorox recently commissioned studies to learn more about the emotions connected with cleaning. A Mr. Clean study measured physiological responses like heart rate to cleaning. Researchers concluded that cleaning sparks a level of excitement and enthusiasm, almost like a mini adrenaline rush. All 62 participants agreed that cleaning gave them peace of mind, while 81 percent of participants agreed they felt accomplished and in control after a deep clean.
Meanwhile, a Clorox study from last year found that a mere extra hour of cleaning per week can increase reported levels of happiness by 53 percent—a huge number. The study also found that maintaining a clean space is associated with all kinds of benefits: better sleep, increased productivity, and even better focus.
It's well reported that a cluttered home can inhibit productivity. A 2011 Princeton study, for example, found that visual clutter, like a messy home, can interfere with your ability to concentrate on productive tasks. Keeping an orderly house is even associated with healthy eating choices and generosity.
Spring cleaning—whether it's one big day of decluttering or a few extra minutes of cleaning time to your daily schedule—looks to be good not just for your house, but also for your mental well-being.