6 Health Benefits of Cleaning Backed by Science
Everyone likes to have a clean home, but did you know there are quantifiable health benefits to keeping things tidy? Numerous academic studies point to the advantages of cleanliness, from being healthier to having a happier marriage. Here’s some of the surprising health benefits of a clean home you might not have considered.
Clean homes are healthier homes. The American Lung Association warns of the dangers of accumulated dust and pet dander, both of which can trigger allergies and asthma leading to reduced lung function and respiratory tract distress.
The CDC estimates at least 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, which are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. Regular cleaning and dusting eliminates allergens from your home, and also helps you spot leaks and problem areas where mold can grow before it gets out of control.
With one in six Americans suffering from allergy symptoms, from hay fever and runny noses to rashes, eczema and sinusitis, allergens cost in excess of $18 billion to treat every year. You can reduce allergen symptoms in your home, feel healthier and save money on over the counter treatments and medical care by keeping your home clean and dust-free.
A 2009 study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that women who lived in cluttered homes had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who lived in clean, tidy homes. Cortisol works to regulate and balance the body after a stressful event, but too much cortisol can impact the brain’s ability to function. Stress literally kills brain cells, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, the center of memory and learning.
Cortisol doesn’t just affect your brain. The hormone also controls blood sugar and blood pressure, reduces inflammation, and regulates your metabolism. As well as causing difficulty concentrating and remembering, high cortisol levels are responsible for weight gain, acne, fatigue, muscle weakness, high blood sugar and high blood pressure. It can also affect your mood, making you irritable.
Having a clean, tidy home was found in the study to be a determining factor in cortisol levels, meaning that keeping your house in order could have an immediate positive impact on your physical and mental health.
Improve Your Diet
It might seem implausible, but research has shown that people who live in tidy houses eat a better diet. In a study by Cornell University, when stressed individuals were offered cookies, those in a cluttered environment consumed on average three times the calories of those in a tidy environment.
According to Dr. Rian Rowles, a psychiatrist at the Institute of Neurobehavioral Services, messy or disorganized spaces can have a detrimental impact on the brain. “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.”
High-stress situations have many people diving for comfort foods that feel good but are bad for our health. The American Psychological Association found that a quarter of Americans rate their stress levels at an eight or higher on a ten-point scale. Escaping everyday stress by creating a calm, clean oasis at home not only makes you feels better, it will help improve your diet.
The National Sleep Foundation conducted a study of American sleep habits and found a strong correlation between having a tidy bedroom and getting a good night’s rest.
Over 75 percent of people surveyed agreed they slept better on clean sheets, and even more said they were excited to go to bed and had more quality sleep in a room with a fresh scent. Even if your sheets aren’t freshly changed, if you make your bed each morning the study shows you’re almost 20 percent more likely to get more restful sleep.
Sleep deprivation affects every part of your body, from slowing your thinking and memory, to raising blood pressure and increasing your risk of everything from heart disease and diabetes to car accidents and other injuries. Taking five minutes in the morning to make your bed, and ensuring your bedroom is regularly cleaned and freshened, will help you sleep well and live better.
Cleaning your house might not be your idea of fun, but it’s a great form of exercise. Scrubbing the bathroom can be as effective as equal time spent walking on a treadmill, and you can burn 100 calories just by spending half an hour mowing the lawn or an hour vacuuming.
In a study by researchers from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, people with increased risk of heart disease were found to be healthier if they had clean houses. The study showed that this held true even accounting for other factors such as neighborhood walkability. “The interior condition of their house seemed to be the only thing affecting their physical activity,” lead researcher NiCole R. Keith, Ph.D., said. “If you spend your day dusting, cleaning, doing laundry, you’re active.”
And rather than tiring you out, getting active by cleaning will make you feel more relaxed. A study by the scientific journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that people with cluttered homes described themselves as fatigued or depressed more frequently than those with clean homes, who reported a “restful” and “restorative” atmosphere.
Want the benefits of a clean home, but don’t have the time to make it happen? “Buying time” by investing in help from home cleaning companies has been shown to be just as beneficial to your physical and mental health as doing the work yourself.
Researchers at Harvard and the University of British Columbia discovered that “disagreements about housework” were cited as reason couples split in 25 percent of divorces. Their study found that couples who invested in time-saving purchases were likely to be happier than those who didn’t, and this held true across all socio-economic groups. In fact, people from lower income groups often reported greater satisfaction when buying services that saved them time.
Whoever cleans your house, you’ll reap the benefits. In 2011, Princeton University researchers found that people have difficulty focusing in cluttered environments and struggle to complete specific tasks. So not only will you get the benefit of a clean, fresh home when you employ a cleaning company, it will make you more productive and able to focus in your daily life.
Ready to make the change in your home? At Pro Housekeepers, we’re the home cleaning experts and know how to take the stress out of mess. Our house cleaning Pros have the tools and know-how to get your home sparkling clean, meaning you can enjoy living a cleaner, happier, healthier life in no time.