We all understand the importance of personal hygiene and know it’s critical to our physical and mental health. But have you ever found yourself thinking about why cleanliness may be important? There are several benefits of prioritizing cleanliness that you may not be aware of so let’s examine its overall importance and how you may be able to improve it.
Better Physical Health
It is unrealistic to believe that you can protect your family from every disease or illness in the world. However, the importance of cleanliness in our life should not be underestimated. There is ample evidence that suggests that a dirty home can negatively affect your health - whether that home1 has mold, animal hair, or other potentially harmful particles.
Consider, too, that a National Sleep Foundation survey found that those who live in a clean home often get better sleep2. This is significant when you consider that sleep deprivation can affect so many aspects of your life - from blood pressure to cognitive ability. Chronic sleep deprivation can even lead3 to obesity, depression, and a lower sex drive.
An Indiana University study concluded that the inside of subject’s homes correlated with a higher physical activity4 level than many other elements (sidewalks, lighting) of their neighborhood. The study shows why cleanliness is important: it could potentially drive you to become more active! You may not be consciously aware of the importance of cleanliness in your surroundings with respect to how active you are, but there are clearly studies that prove a certain level of correlation.
A 2013 study even revealed that those who live in a more organized home may end up making healthier choices regarding food5. Specifically, those who lived in a cleaner home were more likely to choose an apple over a chocolate bar.
Improved Mental Health
While it might be easy to think about the benefits of cleanliness from a physical standpoint, what about the ways that it can improve your mental health? First of all, a clean and organized home could help reduce stress because it is much easier to find belongings or objects that you might need.
This could also improve your overall productivity since you won’t be wasting time trying to find items and getting frustrated at the lack of organization in your home. This is an example of the importance of cleanliness in our surroundings and how it can play a role in our overall mental health. The benefits of cleanliness mean that you may be saving more time than ever before because of your organizational skills, which allows you to remain more productive.
In a 2010 study6, it was revealed that those who described their homes as cluttered or disorganized were more likely to be both fatigued and depressed5. Women with higher “stressful home scores” had flatter slopes of cortisol, while those with higher “restorative home scores” had steeper cortisol slopes.
Those with higher “stressful home scores” had increased depressed mood throughout the day, while those with higher “restorative home scores” had decreased depressed mood throughout the day. These home scores were calculated through linguistic analysis software that analyzed the words used during self-guided home tours, and the results were controlled for both neuroticism and marital satisfaction.
Steps to Improving Cleanliness
What are some small steps you can take that can help you explore the benefits of cleanliness? First, get in the routine of cleaning your house at least once a week. It could help keep your family from getting sick and prevent allergies. A dirty kitchen, for example, can be a breeding ground for bacteria and disease of all kinds.
If you are hoping to improve the cleanliness of your home, you also might want to think about purchasing an air purifier. An air purifier can help in various ways, and it can do more than just improve air quality. It can also neutralize odors in your home and relieve asthma symptoms.
A device disinfector can help kill viruses and bacteria living on your smartphone and other belongings, as well. Smartphones, glasses, and high-touch items are frequently covered with more germs than you might expect.
While it might be difficult to nail every aspect of your daily cleaning routine, consider getting the entire family involved and establishing a system of some kind. Make a point to create a “cleanliness checklist” that you can check every night before bed. Many of the items on your cleanliness checklist may already be a part of your daily routine. Consider building your checklist around some simple items like these:
- Get rid of extra clutter. Reducing the extra items in your living and workspaces, not only frees the room of items you no longer need, but also minimizes the number of surfaces collecting dust.
- Wipe down surfaces. Surfaces like tables and countertops can accumulate crumbs and debris and become home to all sorts of germs. Giving these surfaces a quick once over at the end of each day, can help you start the next day fresh.
- Clean dirty dishes. Whether you wash used dishes by hand or rely on a dishwasher, cleaning dish on a daily basis can help to reduce bacteria and avoid odors associated food scraps.
- Sanitize your bathroom. Bathrooms are home to many germs. Sanitizing sinks, showers, and toilets regularly can help keep these germs from building up.
- Take out the trash. Though it is not a popular chore, taking out the trash consistently prevents odors and keeps your space feeling clean.
Start with just one or two changes to your routine and introduce more over time. Taking steps toward improved cleanliness is important for both your physical and mental well-being.