10 Things to Know About the Psychology of House Cleaning

Keeping a clean house could keep your brain clean. Does that sound outrageous to you? Perhaps it makes perfect sense to you. As individuals, we are all carry out different routines, maintain different home lives, and have varying psychological needs. However, even if we don’t personally practice this, psychological and scientific studies have proven that cleaning and organizing can be extremely beneficial for our mental health. 

Some individuals may book a massage or a yoga class when they’re feeling anxious. Some may break out the broom and mop. Some may be struggling to find balance in their lives. Some may credit their daily house cleaning for their stress managed life. Let’s learn how cleaning our house can make us smile and more on how it is linked to our inner mental state. Here are 10 things to know about the psychology of house cleaning.

A messy home can negatively affect our mental health.

While the act of cleaning is beneficial for us, so is the end goal. Clutter and mess in our home can have a serious impact on our mental health. According to many psychological studies over the years, clutter and mess can contribute to mental states such as:

  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Decreased focus 
  • Confusion
  • Tension 


A clean home can positively affect our mental health.

When we work to maintain a tidy and organized home, we are seeing the positive impacts of cleaning. Research has proven that with a decluttered and clean home we can feel mental health benefits such as:

  • Improved moods
  • Increased focus
  • A sense of control over our environment
  • Physical health benefits

The act of cleaning can reduce anxiety and overall happiness.

A clean and organized home can have many psychological benefits. Does the physical act of cleaning have benefits as well? Yes, it absolutely does, according to Dr. Swatti Mittal, a consulting psychiatrist, 

“Cleaning a home burns calories and is also good for our body because it releases endorphins or feel-good chemicals within the brain. Therefore activities like cleaning, de-cluttering and organizing the home reduce anxiety and has a positive effect on our mental health. Additionally, it is a therapeutic activity because it reduces screen time by keeping you away from the TV or mobile and allows you to spend more time with yourself.”

Living with someone who doesn’t clean can be difficult. 

While some people prefer to live alone, many people share a home with one or several people. This could be

  • roommates
  • spouses
  • romantic partners
  • children
  • siblings
  • parents, etc.

Unfortunately, we don’t always think and do things the same way as the people around us. So what is this living situation like when you prefer a clean and tidy home and your roommate hardly ever cleans a pasta pot? It can be difficult to live with someone who doesn’t clean and it can lead to tension and resentment in the home. It’s important to state your concerns and needs in order to maintain positive mental health. 

Cleaning and setting a morning for routine can have many psychological benefits. 

It may come as no surprise that having a morning routine can be very beneficial for your mental health. This includes:

  • starting your day early
  • making to do lists
  • drinking water, etc

But what if you add cleaning to this morning routine? Studies have shown that cleaning in the morning, whether it be tidying up the bathroom after showering , or cleaning the kitchen right after coffee and breakfast, can have many psychological benefits. Why not get the day started right? 

Minimalism can improve mental health. 

While minimalism isn’t cleaning, the two experiences are related. Minimalism refers to living a life of:

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  • intentionally
  • clarity
  • purpose

A minimalist’s home only includes things that are deemed necessary for living or that promote joy. Their lifestyle is based around removing distractions in their home and only including things of value. 

Having fewer things inevitably leads to a home that is:

  • cleaner
  • tidier
  • more organized

When there is no clutter, there is hardly ever a mess to clean. When there is no clutter or mess, we are able to lead happier and healthier lives. 

Smaller homes may make us happier. 

The American dream has always been to work hard, buy a big house, and grow a beautiful family in it. But it turns out there may be some flaws in that dream. As more and more research is done, it’s becoming more evident that great things come in small packages. Studies are showing that smaller spaces are actually bringing more joy and happiness to families around the world.

A smaller home of course means less clutter and less space to clean. It also means bringing families closer together and encouraging bonding time in shared communal spaces. 

We develop a lot of our cleaning habits from childhood.

As with most things, we develop our cleaning habits from a young age. From our parents or guardians, we learn how:

  • a house operates
  • how things are meant to be done
  • where things go
  • what is important to do each day and what is not

As children, we are blank canvases and we learn everything we know from our environment. Of course, this can be good or bad. Some individuals learn healthy and productive cleaning habits that will last them a lifetime. Some people may have to ditch the old ways and learn better habits as they become adults.


Keeping a house clean and organized can be difficult.

For some people, cleaning may feel like a never ending merry go round that you just can’t seem to get off of. There are many factors that can make it hard to maintain a tidy home. There are also some easy solutions to problems that often make the task of keeping a tidy home more difficult. Some solutions that can improve mental health include:

  • Reducing how much stuff you have
  • Giving items a designated place
  • Reading clean guides or books on where to start and what to do
  • Carving out a set cleaning time in your weekly schedule
  • Making sure all household members are contributing and pitching
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself, no one needs a perfect home

People with clean houses may be happier than those with dirty houses.

In a study from last year, Clorox found increased levels of happiness in those who regularly cleaned. The study reported that just one extra hour of cleaning per week can increase happiness by 53%.  That’s a pretty big number! We aren’t outright saying that messy people aren’t happy people. However, they likely are not harnessing all of the potential that cleaning holds. People who keep a clean home are:

  • happier
  • more focused
  • more relaxed

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