Who said you have to wait until spring to do a thorough housecleaning? Tidying up your living space does more than keep your cheeks from turning red with embarrassment when unexpected guests appear at your door. It can also improve your physical and mental health.
It might sound like an unusual concept today, but human ancestors quickly recognized the link between cleanliness and fewer illnesses. It’s a nearly universal reaction to recoil from substances like rotten food and feces, making some scientists conjecture that the feeling of disgust evolved to promote hygiene as critical to survival. It’s not like the first humans had mom scolding them to clean up their rooms.
Fortunately, instinct served humans well then and still can today. Here’s why cleaning your home is good for your health.
1. It Reduces Allergens
You might sleep through the night without waking up with a stuffy nose if you haul all your bedding off to the laundromat. Why? While there’s no foolproof method of ridding yourself of all dust mites, the right treatments can reduce their numbers and let you sleep through the night without your partner nudging you awake over your snoring.
Why should you trust professional cleaners? While your home washer and dryer might be fine for a sheet set, washing pillows and comforters takes special oversized equipment that reaches the right temperature to kill mites without risking a fire. What if severe allergies warrant frequent washes? Many such centers have customer loyalty programs that net you a discount. It’s less expensive than investing in a complete laundry room overhaul.
Your bed isn’t the only place allergens lurk. Do you have pets? While the standard advice says to vacuum once a week, you might want to get yours out more frequently to keep down dander.
2. It Decreases Germs
Unlike human ancestors, you know that disease stems not from dirt itself but from bacteria and viruses. However, these microscopic critters proliferate in filth, and the dirtier your home is, the germier it will likely be.
COVID-19 collectively reminded humanity that germs can linger on surfaces for days, sometimes even weeks. You’re less likely to contract an illness if you regularly wipe down those in your home. Please pay extra attention to these often-overlooked items that see a lot of finger traffic:
- Your computer keyboard
- Your phone
- Your remote
- Light switches
- Toilet handles
- Toothbrush holders
- Your kitchen sink
While scrubbing your kitchen, swap out your sponge — at least every week or two. Change your air filters, too, as germs can fester in filthy HVAC systems. Do so every three months or more often if you have pets or smokers impacting your indoor air.
3. It Keeps Your Little Ones Safer
Babies and tiny tots love to roll around on the floor and crawl to their heart’s content. Then, they stick their fingers (and sometimes toes) right in their wee mouths. Hello, germs.
Regularly cleaning your home can keep your little ones safer. If nothing else, it reduces choking risk — that Trivial Pursuit pie you accidentally dropped under the couch months ago looks like candy to a baby. It can also prevent slip-and-fall injuries among fawn-kneed toddlers and adults alike. While it stinks to step on a Lego, it’s downright disastrous if it sends you or your child tumbling down the stairs.
4. It Prevents Food-Borne Illness
You probably wouldn’t dream of preparing dinner on top of your toilet seat, even with the lid closed. A filthy kitchen can harbor even more germs — especially if novice chefs occasionally leave raw chicken on your countertops or the top refrigerator shelf, dripping on everything below.
Pay attention to the insides of your appliances. For example, the heat lingering inside your microwave provides an ideal breeding ground for pathogens. Use an “Angry Mama” or a coffee mug filled with water to loosen dried-on food bits and wipe with your favorite non-toxic cleaner.
Then, give your loved ones a little crash course in food safety, just in case your 5-year-old hasn’t yet worked in the restaurant industry. Consider using labels to mark your top shelf for ready-to-eat foods like milk and leftovers, reserving the bottom row for raw meats in sealed containers and fresh vegetables in a designated crisper drawer.
5. It Improves Your Mental and Emotional State
Do you arrive home from hectic office days only to feel more overwhelmed when you walk in your door? Your reaction is normal. A dirty home can adversely impact your mental health. Why? Clutter creates excess visual stimuli that bombard your senses like a neverending to-do list.
Conversely, think about how good you felt the last time you tidied up. You might have even called your partner or kids to come and witness your newly organized pantry or sparkling bathroom tile. Use that energy as fuel to propel you to repeat your efforts. You’ll gain a sense of satisfaction and agency — the inner belief that your actions make a difference — for your efforts.
Why Cleaning Your Home Is Good for Your Health
Do you want to feel healthier mentally and physically? If so, it might be time to get out the mop and bucket.
Now that you know why cleaning your home is good for your health, make your chore list today. Get the gang in the spirit by singing the “clean up” song and create an abode that makes coming home feel good.