Many of us don't look forward to cleaning the home, but studies have actually found that it can make us happier!
Cleaning companies Mr. Clean and Clorox both commissioned studies that looked into the emotions associated with the act of cleaning. First, the Mr. Clean study gathered 62 adults between the ages 25 and 45 years old and had them perform various cleaning tasks in a kitchen. Each participant was given a wearable device called a Shimmer, which measured their involuntary bodily responses — particularly galvanic skin response (GSR) and heart rate (HR) — as being influenced by factors like excitement and emotional enthusiasm while they were cleaning.
The researchers found that all the participants agreed to gaining peace of mind and a sense of control over their environment while they were cleaning. After finishing their tasks, the participants also reported feeling “more determined, inspired and proud, and less jittery, nervous and hostile.” 81% of the group gained a sense of accomplishment after finishing their chores.
What’s more, 66% of the participants said they would often do more cleaning than they had originally planned due to the rush they felt while cleaning, and during the study, 82% of the group agreed to cleaning a sticky kitchen mess that wasn’t originally included in their list of tasks.
Meanwhile, the Clorox study, conducted in 2018, consisted of two components. The first one involved an online survey of 2,000 American adults. This survey found that people who enjoyed the act of cleaning were 25% happier than people who did not.
Among the participants who cleaned their homes frequently, there was a 53% increase in the happiness they felt for every extra hour they put into cleaning per week. The act of cleaning regularly was also found to be associated with positive health outcomes such as improved relaxation, enhanced focus, higher productivity, and even better sleep.
Participants in the study who were also parents were given an additional set of questions which revolved around how they believed their kids benefited from cleaning their rooms. Nearly 60% claimed that their children studied better when their rooms were tidy, and 49% claimed that there was a significant improvement in the behavior of their children when their rooms were clean.
There also seemed to be favorable outcomes for children who were encouraged to be clean from a young age. According to the findings, children whose chores included cleaning were 60% more likely to practice empathy, and 60% more willing to extend help to people in their community as adults.
For the second component of the Clorox study, which was conducted to validate the initial results of the research, 20 participants were asked to enter two nearly identical rooms; the only difference was that one room was clean, while the other one was dirty. Each participant was equipped with biometric sensors and filmed, to measure how each room affects their physiological responses and to see how these responses translated into emotions.
The researchers found that in the clean room, the participants exhibited a 45% increase in liking and a 44% increase in attraction, factors which are both correlated with improved happiness. They also experienced a 20% improvement in their critical thinking ability, a factor which is correlated with productivity, and a 127% decrease in disgust, which is correlated with stress.
Cleaning may not always be fun, but it is undeniably a very important task to do every day, not only because it helps us maintain a safe and healthy home, but also because it has a positive impact on our well-being. Instead of seeing it as a boring task, maybe try looking at cleaning as a productive way to de-stress!