How Does Cleaning Help Reduce Stress?

Cleaning can reduce stress. Its impact of clean and tidy spaces on mental health has even become a topic of study. In turn, clutter is linked to confusion and tension
How Does Cleaning Help Reduce Stress?
Maria Fatima Seppi Vinuales

Written and verified by the psychologist Maria Fatima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 12 October, 2023

Just imagine: You arrive home, see crumbs from breakfast on the table, then you want to lie down on the bed and you can’t find a place because the clothes you were going to wear are left with yesterday’s clothes. Then you want to answer some emails, but there are so many papers on your desk you can’t even set out your computer. What a pain!

And although we rarely think about it, chaos at home has a negative impact on other areas of life, especially on an emotional level. What are its consequences? How to improve it? Here are the details.

The consequences of clutter on your mind

How many times have you wasted time trying to find something you thought was in one place and it wasn’t? What was the feeling? Frustration, anger, anxiety? Surely it must have happened to you sometime, or several times. However, the lack of cleanliness and tidiness has these effects. Let’s take a look at some of them.

  • Anxiety: This is because it also causes a feeling of loss of control.
  • Decreased concentration: This happens because the brain constantly receives a lot of stimuli when faced with overloaded places. This results in an inability to concentrate.
  • Difficulty relaxing or sleeping: In relation to the previous point, the mind also doesn’t find a space to rest. For example, a space full of things often ends up overwhelming us and reminding us of everything that’s left on our to-do lists.
  • Waste: Poor organization also leads to waste. For example, finding expired cans of canned food because they had been left at the bottom of everything leads to food waste.
  • Unnecessary accumulation: We must also think about our unnecessary attachment to certain objects. Often we do not throw things away, donate them, or recycle them when we really should be using them. Accumulation isn’t healthy.
  • Relationship problems: Clutter also affects coexistence and interpersonal relationships. Living in a clean and tidy home makes life easier for all its inhabitants.
Cleaning can relieve stress.
Clutter in the home has mental and emotional consequences. It can decrease performance and trigger stress.

How cleaning helps reduce stress

You already know the effects. Now let’s take a look at how cleaning can help you reduce stress.

  • Having your things in order will help you find them more easily to use when you need them. This way, you will be able to manage your time better.
  • Cleaning also helps you feel a sense of control, which reduces stress.
  • Another benefit has to do with the feeling of accomplishment, of starting a task and being able to finish it, especially with a positive outcome that relates to greater well-being and enjoyment of your home.
  • Having your things at hand will also help you reduce your consumption. Many people end up buying something they think they need but already had lying somewhere around their homes.
  • Your concentration and productivity will start to improve.

The psychology behind cleanliness

Health care in general – and mental health in particular – has a lot to do with the conditions of the environment in which a person lives. Thus, untidy places generate a feeling of being overwhelmed, discomfort, and discomfort.

That is why there are many recommendations when it comes to looking after your spaces. Some branches of psychology have even proposed focusing on cleaning with mindfulness, which is the practice of mindfulness in the present moment (here and now).

In this way, by concentrating on a precise and specific task, the person reduces anxiety and negative or anxious thoughts about the future. Of course, this has a positive impact by improving their mood.

5 tips for cleaning and reducing stress

Seeing cleaning as an obligation is a way of predisposing oneself to the negative. However, if the idea is to eliminate clutter, start implementing more regular cleaning routines. So, how can you take advantage of these tasks to reduce stress?

  1. Try to choose a day to do it, coordinating with the rest of the people in the household if you live with someone. It’s important that everyone takes responsibility and that it doesn’t just become an individual thing.
  2. Don’t plan on an impossible task or sacrifice other plans just to clean. If Saturday is a day of rest, don’t plan to get up early just for cleaning. Try to start the day relaxed, with a good breakfast, and then include this household chore.
  3. Remember that it has to be something difficult or unpleasant. You can play our favorite playlist or whatever you want while cleaning so that it’s more entertaining.
  4. Open the windows and let the air circulate. Not only will it make you feel better, but you’ll also be taking care of your health by preventing allergies this way.
  5. Choose to use organizers. They serve to classify objects and make it easier to find them when you need them.
Consejos para hacer limpieza y reducir el estrés
The time spent cleaning the home can be the time to practice mindfulness.

It’s time to think about stress and your cleaning habits

You may think that stress is something that’s due to your personality or something purely psychological. That is, you limit it to the realm of the individual. However, it’s also present in simple things, such as wasting time looking for a pair of shoes before going to work.

Because of this, it’s necessary to think about the way you’re living. If it’s true that the order of the house is a reflection of the order of the mind, that’s all the more reason to prioritize “cleansing” these spaces.

Meanwhile, wow about implementing minimalism? This is a lifestyle that aims to simplify the way you inhabit spaces. The goal is that you can consciously choose what things you want to be surrounded by instead of simply accumulating things.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Sandín, Bonifacio (2003). El estrés: un análisis basado en el papelde los factores sociales. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 3(1),141-157.[fecha de Consulta 7 de Julio de 2021]. ISSN: 1697-2600. Disponible en:
  • BEDARD, M., FELTEAU, M., MAZMANIAN, D., FEDYK, K., KLEIN, R., RICHARDSON, J., PARKINSON,W., & MINTHORN-BIGGS, W. (2003). Pilot evaluation of a mindfulness-based intervention to improve quality of life among individuals who sustained traumatic brain injuries. Disability and Rehabilitation, 25(13), 722-731.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.