Spring cleaning. Some do it because it is a tradition, others do it in preparation for barbecues and other get-togethers, while others do it to simply because their mothers told them to. For whatever reason, 91% of Americans will engage in some form of spring cleaning, a practice that can be traced back to biblical times. But for all the reasons you might consider dusting off the tops of the china hutch, we wanted to offer you yet another—cleaning can be good for your health.
Cleaning Reduces the Presence of Allergens
Spring cleaning isn’t the only tradition linked to the season. For about 50 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies, it can also mean the arrival of a runny nose, itchy eyes, or other unpleasant symptoms. And while there are a plethora of over-the-counter medications that can help address the symptoms of an allergic response, there’s nothing better than avoiding contact with the offending agent from the outset.
For that reason, spring cleaning can be an important method of preventive care. A rigorous dusting and vacuuming can reduce the amount of dust, mites, and pet dander upstairs while cleaning out the basement can reduce the likelihood for mold to develop in dark and damp places downstairs. No matter what the allergen may be, a good spring cleaning is likely to make an impact on its presence in your home in some way. Clean now, and use fewer tissues out of the box later.
Cleaning Will Get You Outside and Active
It’s not just the indoors that need your attention - after a cold and wet winter, there will be places outside of your home that require attention, too. Getting on the roof and cleaning out the gutters, pulling weeds out of the patio, getting a garden ready - they are all necessary tasks, and have the side health benefit of getting you out, active, and moving.
Having an active mindset is more than just making sure to set aside 30 minutes at the gym - it’s about taking small steps to be more active every day. And although it may not be the first thing you have in mind when you resolve to mulch the flower beds, many household chores will contribute to the amount of light-to-moderate exercise your body requires to be healthy. Additionally, being outside will have another added benefit in getting you a little vitamin D—simply by standing in the sun, you will be slowly decreasing your chances of developing osteoporosis later in life.
Cleaning Helps Reduce Stress
For some, even the thought of cleaning the house can seem like a stressor on its own. Studies have shown, however, that cleaning is an effective tool in reducing stress. The cleaner one’s home, the more likely they are to view it as a restorative place rather than a stressful one. And there is no shortage to the list of reasons why reduced stress is better for one’s overall health.
Chronic stress has been linked to all sorts of medical problems, including mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, cardiovascular disease, obesity and other eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, hair loss… In nearly every imaginable case, stress is going to be bad for your physical and mental health. Anything you can to help manage your stress is going to be sound medical advice.
For a variety of health reasons, there seems to wisdom in taking up the dust-buster once the winter gives way to spring. Whether you're looking to reduce stress, soak up some sunlight and vitamin D, increase your overall activity or just make sure there aren't any dust bunnies to choke on in the evenings, it's safe to say that cleaning is likely to be more helpful than harmful to your health.