Why is Cleaning So Therapeutic?

Discover why cleaning can be so therapeutic, from reducing stress and boosting mental clarity to providing physical exercise and fostering social connections.


Cleaning often feels like a chore, but for many, it’s an activity that brings a surprising amount of satisfaction and peace. Whether it’s organizing a cluttered closet, scrubbing the kitchen until it shines, or simply making the bed in the morning, cleaning can be a deeply therapeutic activity. But why is cleaning so therapeutic?

This article will explore why cleaning is therapeutic and how it can benefit our overall health and happiness.

The Satisfaction of Accomplishment

One of the primary reasons why cleaning is therapeutic is the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies the endeavor. Every time we can tackle a filled space and turn it into something neat and planned, we get to experience a feeling of pride and fulfillment. This sense of accomplishment helps to boost self-esteem further and gives us a sense of control over our surroundings.

Also, cleaning the house can be a kind of workout. While cleaning, endorphins are released, which help us feel better in addition to lowering our stress level. Repetitive motion, such as scrubbing, sweeping, and dusting, is meditative; it helps us be present without many distracting thoughts in our heads.

Making Order from Chaos

Clutter and disorganization can be overwhelming and add to anxiety and pressure if the clutter and disarray become too much. On the other hand, cleanliness and some organization tend to bring about a sense of control and order in our living spaces. This way, the mind will be calmer, the clutter will be reduced, and we will be able to think clearly.

Emma Smith, owner of a cleaning company named Sparkly Maid Austin, says, “When our surroundings are clean and organized, it’s easier to find what we need. This saves time and reduces stress, making us more efficient and productive.”

A Sense of Rejuvenation

Cleaning also inspires a new beginning and a fresh start. When we clean, we remove the unnecessary things in life and that enables us to be our best. We also let the rest of the new opportunities and experiences in our lives come through. This can also symbolize letting go of what happened in the past and living in the moment. Cleaning can also be self-care. By taking time to clean up your own living space, you are living with dignity, respect, and care for your well-being.

Incorporating Cleaning into Your Routine

To optimally benefit therapeutically from cleaning, one has to approach the process mindfully. Whereas, for actual therapeutic benefits from cleaning, the activity must not be discounted as just another chore but should be approached with great joy in the act of being able to bring about order and beauty around oneself.

For instance, include cleaning in your daily or weekly planning, and then create a specific time for each. That way, you do not have clutter build up, and it reduces the workload. But if you have trouble keeping a clean and organized living space, you can always consider hiring a cleaning service. Professionals may be able to take your space to a level where it’s genuinely homey and therapeutic.

The Psychological Benefits of Cleaning

a. Sense of Accomplishment

One of the primary reasons cleaning feels therapeutic is the sense of accomplishment it brings. Completing a cleaning task, no matter how small, provides a tangible result that offers immediate gratification. This sense of achievement can boost self-esteem and provide a sense of control over one’s environment.

b. Stress Reduction

Cleaning can significantly reduce stress. According to a study published in the journal Mindfulness, individuals who engaged in mindful dishwashing—focusing on the smell of the soap, the feel of the dishes, and the temperature of the water—experienced a 27% reduction in nervousness and a 25% improvement in mental inspiration. Engaging in a repetitive task like cleaning can help shift focus away from stressors, allowing the mind to rest and reset.

c. Mental Clarity

A clean and organized space can lead to improved mental clarity. Clutter can be visually distracting and overwhelming, leading to feelings of anxiety and helplessness. By organizing and decluttering, individuals often find they can think more clearly and focus better on tasks at hand. This enhanced focus can be particularly beneficial for those working from home or students who need a conducive environment for studying.

The Physiological Benefits of Cleaning

a. Physical Exercise

Cleaning is a form of physical activity. Tasks like vacuuming, mopping, and scrubbing require movement and effort, which can contribute to physical fitness. Regular cleaning can help burn calories and improve cardiovascular health. According to the American Heart Association, activities such as vacuuming can burn around 100 calories per half-hour for a person weighing 150 pounds.

b. Improved Sleep

A clean environment can promote better sleep. The National Sleep Foundation found that people who make their beds every morning are 19% more likely to report getting a good night’s sleep. A tidy, uncluttered bedroom can create a relaxing atmosphere conducive to rest, while clean sheets and a made bed can enhance comfort.

c. Allergen Reduction

Regular cleaning can also reduce allergens in the home. Dust, pet dander, and mold can accumulate and trigger allergies or asthma. By keeping living spaces clean, individuals can improve indoor air quality, which can lead to better respiratory health and overall well-being.

The Emotional and Social Benefits of Cleaning

a. Emotional Release

Cleaning can serve as a form of emotional release. Engaging in physical activity can help release endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. This release can improve mood and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, the act of cleaning can be meditative, providing a chance to process thoughts and emotions in a productive manner.

b. Sense of Control

In times of chaos or uncertainty, cleaning can provide a sense of control. Organizing and tidying up one’s living space can be empowering, giving individuals a way to exert influence over their immediate environment when other aspects of life may feel uncontrollable. This can be particularly therapeutic during stressful periods such as moving, starting a new job, or experiencing a significant life change.

c. Social Connection

Cleaning can also enhance social connections. A tidy home is more inviting, making it easier to host friends and family. Additionally, sharing cleaning tasks with others, such as family members or roommates, can foster teamwork and cooperation. Engaging in a shared activity can strengthen relationships and create a sense of community.

Practical Tips for Therapeutic Cleaning

a. Start Small

For those new to using cleaning as a therapeutic tool, it’s important to start small. Tackling a whole house can be overwhelming, but focusing on a single area, like a desk or a closet, can provide a manageable and rewarding experience.

b. Set Goals

Setting specific, achievable goals can enhance the sense of accomplishment. For example, aim to clean for 15 minutes a day or to organize one drawer each week. These small, consistent efforts can add up to significant improvements over time.

c. Use Pleasant Scents

Incorporating pleasant scents, such as lavender or citrus, can make cleaning more enjoyable. Aromatherapy has been shown to have calming effects, which can enhance the therapeutic experience of cleaning.

d. Play Music or Listen to Podcasts

Playing music or listening to podcasts can make cleaning more enjoyable and less tedious. Music can uplift the spirit and energize the body, while podcasts can provide intellectual stimulation, making the cleaning process feel more like leisure than labor.

e. Involve Others

Involving family members or roommates in cleaning can make the activity more social and less burdensome. Sharing tasks can also reduce the workload and create a sense of teamwork.

In Conclusion

Cleaning is more than just a necessary household task; it’s an activity that can offer significant therapeutic benefits. From reducing stress and improving mental clarity to providing physical exercise and fostering social connections, the act of cleaning can enhance overall well-being.

By incorporating mindfulness, setting achievable goals, and creating pleasant cleaning environments, individuals can transform this routine chore into a rewarding and therapeutic practice. Whether you’re looking to boost your mood, gain a sense of control, or simply enjoy a tidier living space, cleaning can be a powerful tool for improving your quality of life.

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