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article imageOp-Ed: Cleaner homes lead to better physical and mental health

By Elizabeth Brown     Mar 9, 2016 in Health
Clean living really does lead to better health according to multiple studies on the effects of tidiness on both physical and mental well-being.
The increased health benefits of living in a cleaner environment are about more than just reducing the presence of germs and bacteria in the home. It turns out that living in a well-organized space free of clutter can reduce the instances of some of the deadliest and most costly diseases affecting Americans today.
Physical benefits of cleanliness
Heart disease was the number one killer of people in the United States in 2011, taking 787,000 lives annually and affecting a disproportionately large number of African Americans. A study by Indiana University that focused on African Americans in St. Louis, Missouri between the ages of 49 and 65 showed that the only correlative factor for increased physical activity among people in the study was that they lived in a cleaner home. Lack of regular physical activity is considered one of the highest risk factors for developing heart disease, so living in a cleaner home appears to be a significant aspect of harm reduction in this area.
Living and working in cleaner environments has been shown to lead to better health choices all around. A 2013 study in Psychological Science showed that those who worked in a clean space for 10 minutes were twice as likely to choose an apple instead of chocolate than those who were tested in a messy work environment.
Mental health benefits
Mental health also appears to be profoundly affected by the level of cleanliness in the home. A study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin showed that women who lived in homes that were considered “cluttered” showed higher levels of depression, fatigue, and the stress hormone Cortisol.
What’s a slob to do?
For those managing a hectic schedule that precludes them from maintaining their home’s cleanliness or others who have a natural tendency towards disorganization or an aversion to the cleaning process, hiring a professional cleaning service may be well worth the price.
When it comes to mental health, the cost of hiring a cleaning service seems comparatively small considering that it is estimated that lost productivity due to depression costs the United States $83 billion annually due to lost productivity in the workplace. Those dealing with depression or anxiety who seek treatment on their own may find that the cost of psychotherapeutic medication or regular psychotherapy can quickly add up to more than the cost of hiring professional help in the cleanliness department.
When it comes to physical health, the cost benefits are even more obvious. Emergency treatment of heart disease can include costs for an ambulance, emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, surgery, and long term medication and maintenance.
Dealing with chronic health conditions can be a dirty business. Maintaining a clean living and working environment can help individuals with chronic health problems stay healthier and happier longer.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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