Spring is finally here and while that means we can all go outside and enjoy the sunshine, it also means one more thing we probably weren’t waiting for with such anticipation—it’s officially time for spring cleaning.
If you hate the dust bunnies, but sometimes think staring at them is better than having to put in the effort to send them packing, you’re not alone. On behalf of Clorox, Ketchum Global Research & Analytics recently conducted a survey to find out, among other things, are we all in this anti-spring cleaning thing together?
The survey was conducted online among 1,015 U.S. adults, ages 18+, in February 2017. The majority of respondents—66 percent—participate in spring cleaning, but 54 percent of those respondents also find it hard to get motivated and figure out where to begin. (We’re right there with you, survey-takers!) In fact, the survey found just getting started is the number-one spring cleaning challenge.
Forty percent said they also struggle to find the time to clean, while 39 percent cite the physical effort needed for cleaning to be their greatest challenge. Interesting to note: Women were more likely than men to mention physical effort (44 percent to 33 percent).
“I sympathize with the fact that more than half of respondents (54%) said it was difficult to work up the motivation to begin spring cleaning, which means that physicians need to do a better job of educating people about the health benefits it provides,” said Dr. Tanya Altmann, pediatrician, best-selling author, founder of Calabasas Pediatrics and Clorox spokesperson.
“I think that keeping your home and family healthy is a good incentive to get cleaning! Many people are unaware of the importance cleaning holds with regards to our health.”
Despite these challenges, once the motivation is there, most people find that spring cleaning leads to a sense of accomplishment and respondents feel rejuvenated after clearing out all the clutter.
Thirty-eight percent say they like checking the annual chore off the to-do list, with 26 percent saying spring cleaning offers a chance at a fresh start. Nineteen percent do say the cleaning feels overwhelming, but only seven and six percent, respectively, say it is inefficient or dreadful. (“Dreadful” might be a bit harsh, but we totally get that feeling of “Why bother? I’ll just have to do it again anyway!”)
Regardless, 37 percent say they feel like they can relax when all the cleaning is done. Men are more likely to say they can relax (40 percent to 33 percent), while women are more inclined to feel accomplished (22 percent to 15 percent).
The ability to kick back and relax for a bit, or the feeling of accomplishment, is likely still not enough to get most of us to tear apart our house and deep clean, so why do we do take on such a lofty goal? For most of the respondents, it’s for their mental health. It’s true that mess causes stress, so it’s no surprise that 37 percent said they spring clean for their sanity.
Close behind, 32 percent say it’s to get rid of old things (to make room for new finds, of course!). Fourteen percent consider it a ritual, while nine percent actually enjoy it. Side note: Four percent say they clean because of, get this, peer pressure! They simply don’t want their house to be the messiest among their friends.
“Spring cleaning is not just about making your home more presentable—it’s also an important step to take in keeping yourself and your family healthy,” Altmann said. “For one, a good, thorough dusting can help rid your home of allergens and prevent allergy-related irritation and discomfort. Remember to dust any air vents or filters in your home so that you aren’t effectively recirculating allergens.”
Back to the topic of who’s messiest, most respondents were pretty honest, saying they are in fact the messiest person in the house. Twenty-seven percent blame themselves for the mess, followed by 21 percent for their children.
Pets and spouses tied at 16 percent, but men are more likely than women (33 percent to 22 percent) to first blame themselves. Women are also more likely to say their children are the messiest (24 percent to 17 percent).
What if we need a break in between all this cleaning? The most common way to kick back is to watch TV, followed by chowing down on a snack or meal. Listening to music, checking email and spending some time on social media also made the list.
Other interesting finds from the survey:
- Spring cleaning is a multi-day process, with 25 percent spending at least two days finishing the chores, while 28 percent say it takes three to five days.
- Bedrooms/bedroom closets top the list for clutter hot spots, but they’re also the first to get the spring-cleaning treatment. Twenty-seven percent say they clean the bedrooms first, followed by common rooms like the living room. Perhaps starting with your least favorite area is the way to stay motivated!
- The bathroom tends to be the room that gets the most thorough clean (62 percent), followed by the kitchen at 60 percent. Bedrooms are close behind at 58 percent.
- No surprise here, but if there is one chore Americans would prefer to skip—it’s scrubbing the toilet. Seventeen percent would prefer to never do it again, while cleaning kitchen appliances is next at 12 percent. The area to clean that doesn’t really bother anyone? Disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces in the kitchen—only 2 percent like that the least.
Most people wish they could also “spring clean” other areas of their life. Thirty-two percent want to clean up their finances, while 21 percent said friendships, 20 percent said love life and career and 15 percent said their social media presence. (How about combining friendship and social media and going on a “deleting binge”? That always feels nice!)
One final note—Altmann says it is crucial to not only clean your home, but also disinfect it. “Using a disinfectant helps rid your home of harmful germs and bacteria,” she said. “I recommend disinfecting as often as you can to help maintain a healthy home and family.”
What do you think? Do you agree with the survey results? What is your least favorite spring cleaning chore? For more tips on spring cleaning (and a really neat calendar to keep you on track!), visit SeasonOfClean.com.