6 Health Benefits of a Clean Home
You have a sense that you should keep your house clean. Maybe your parents instilled it in you, or maybe societal pressure has you feeling like you need to pull out the mop. But does it really matter if you let your home slip into a mess? Actually, yes. There are some scientifically backed health benefits of a clean home. Conversely, letting your home get dirty and/or disorganized can negatively affect your mental and physical well-being. So what are you waiting for?
Sometimes, you need a little push to help yourself start building good habits. And we’ve got you covered with a handful of compelling reasons to keep things neat and tidy. Here are six of the top health benefits of a clean home.
1. You’ll feel less stressed
Visual clutter leads to mental clutter. You might think you’ve learned to live with your various piles, but they’re most likely affecting you more deeply than you realize. A 2010 study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin revealed that women with messier homes have higher levels of cortisol than those with tidy houses. What does that mean? Your stress levels are linked to your space. Tackling those outstanding to-dos and getting your house in order can help you manage stress. And couldn’t we all benefit from meaningful ways to reduce stress in our busy lives?
2. Reducing allergy and asthma symptoms
Not staying tidy in areas with carpeting, upholstery or bedding, or in areas that are naturally damp, such as basements and garages, can worsen allergies and asthma.
Dust mites, pet dander and mold lurk in physical possessions, which can trigger allergic reactions, decrease air quality and increase potential asthma problems, says Dr. Uma Gavani, an allergy and asthma specialist on staff at Christ Medical Center.
“The more stuff you have in your home, the harder it is to clean,” Dr. Gavani says. “Messy areas increase the potential for dust, pet dander and mold to accumulate in closets, on surfaces and in crevices.”
3. You’ll be more productive
When you have a task you don’t want to start, do you ever find yourself scanning the room for a distraction? Disorganization makes it easy to spot something you can use to procrastinate. When everything is in order, on the other hand, your mind finds it easier to get stuff done. Don’t believe that your space directly impacts your productivity? Check out this 2011 study on the way visual stimuli compete for your attention.
4. Improving safety
“Falls and fires are two leading causes of injuries and deaths inside the home,” says Gary Bettenhausen, Bureau Chief of EMS from the Oak Lawn Fire Department. “Tripping over objects and slipping on slick surfaces can cause head injuries and broken and sprained limbs, which can result in a trip to the hospital emergency room.”
Anyhing that blocks doorways and hallways is also a fire hazard. “Clutter can easily hasten the spread of fire and hinder your ability to escape or to be rescued,” Bettenhausen says.
It’s important to keep your home picked up and free from spills to make your environment physically safer.
5. You’ll sleep better
Isn’t it easier to drift off to sleep when you don’t have any leftover to-dos nagging at your brain? When your home is clean, you can look around before you go to bed without spotting any should-dos that could keep your gears turning even when you put your head on your pillow. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey that revealed that just making your bed in the morning boosts your chances of getting a good night’s rest by almost 20 percent.
6. You’ll get sick less frequently
A clean home leaves fewer places for germs and bacteria to hide. Plus, dust and allergens build up in carpeting, bedding and upholstery over time, contributing to worsened allergies and asthma. In short, the health benefits of a clean home are obvious. If you want to keep yourself and your family healthy, cleaning on a regular basis is a must. Don’t just vacuum and dust, either. Think about decluttering your surfaces. The more items you have, the harder it is to dust and sanitize. A streamlined aesthetic makes it easier to keep everything truly clean, helping your health. If you’re ready to get started, here are the nine germiest areas in your home to tackle ASAP.