Every Disgusting Thing That Happens When You Stop Cleaning Your House

Anyone who’s ever scrubbed a kitchen floor on hands and knees has probably had the same fantasy: What if you just stopped cleaning your house?

That means no vacuuming, no dusting, no sweeping, no sheet-changing. Think of all the hours of time you’d free up if you weren’t worried about clearing countertops or wiping fingerprints from the mirrors. It can be tempting to imagine a life without house cleaning.

But wait! Before you commit to a life without cleaning, stop to consider all the negative things that could happen if you actually stopped doing housework (and didn’t hire anyone to do it for you).

Ahead, check out every disgusting thing that happens when you stop cleaning your house.

1. Dust mites multiply

Dust mites
Dust mites | selvanegra/iStock/Getty Images

Dust mites are microscopic white bugs that feed on the skin cells people shed throughout the day. They live in furniture, carpets, bedding, and stuffed animals, and they can become a real problem for anyone with allergies or asthma. They may be microscopic, but you’ll surely notice them if you don’t clean your house.

Next: This happens in the shower.

2. Mold can grow in moist places

mold in a bathroom
Mold in a bathroom | nadisja/iStock/Getty Images

It seems like your shower should be self-cleaning, right? But unfortunately, unless you scrub your tile, you’re likely to get mold buildup.

Mold is a fungus that has sprouts with tiny spores. The most common bathroom mold you’ll find creeping along your grout and tile is mildew, which thrives in damp, dark places. There are other areas that are likely to attract mold, like under the kitchen sink, in the basement, along unsealed window sills, in the laundry room, and anywhere else where there’s moisture.

Next: You might be surprised how gross this place gets.

3. Your sheets get disgusting

Bed sheet and pillow on mattress
Unmade bed | TeerawatWinyarat iStock/Getty Images

It’s not like you need to wash your sheets daily. But for anyone stretching out the time between sheet washings to three or four weeks, it’s time to reform. The Good Housekeeping Institute recommends that you should wash your sheets and other bedding at least every two weeks. Otherwise, you’ll be getting into bed with dust mites, dirt, hair, pet dander, oils from your skin, and other gross stuff that you should be killing with soap and hot water.

Next: This unwanted houseguest comes to stay.

4. Bugs move inside

Ants plague
Ants | DZM/iStock/Getty Images

Don’t feel like taking out the trash? This can lead to bigger issues than just a stinky kitchen. Rotting garbage attracts flies and other crawling bugs who want to feed on that tasty spoilage. When you neglect basic household duties like taking out the trash, you’re just asking for bugs to take up residence in your house.

Next: It’s easy to overlook this place where mold grows.

5. Old food can grow mold

Slices of moldy bread.
Moldy bread | Yucelozber/Getty Images

Forgotten leftovers may lead to mold in your refrigerator. This can ruin your plastic storage containers, it’s a waste of money, and it’s more than a little disgusting. When you stop cleaning your house, you’re basically opening the door for rotten food to take over your fridge and pantry. Ever smelled rotting potatoes? It’s a stench you’ll never forget.

Combat this with a weekly cleanout schedule. Go through the fridge and freezer on trash days and throw away anything questionable.

Next: This is the real reason clutter is such a no-no.

6. Clutter attracts critters

Mouse | artisteer/iStock/Getty Images

Clutter isn’t just unsightly — it also creates dark, forgotten spaces where small animals can make their homes. That pile of old blankets in the basement? Don’t be surprised when a mouse family moves in. Same goes for stacks of books, bins of clothing, and any kind of unsealed food that you stash and forget about.

Abolishing clutter won’t guarantee that your house stays mouse-free, but it’s a great first step.

Next: This can get aggravated when you don’t clean.

7. Your allergies get worse

Allergies sneezing
Allergies | AntonioGuillem/iStock/Getty Images

According to Apartment Therapy, “Dust mites (actually, their excrement) are responsible for the majority of year-round allergy problems in the bedroom. They live in soft surfaces, and dust, and come out to eat the skin cells and oils we all shed throughout the day.”

In other words — your allergies could be aggravated by dust mite poop. You can reduce symptoms just by keeping your house clean.

Next: This can affect everyone in the house.

8. The air might get contaminated

Messy house
Messy house | Motortion/iStock/Getty Images

Feeling sick all the sudden with no explanation? It could be that your heating ducts are clogged with dust and debris (which usually happens when you quit cleaning). Dust buildup can circulate in the air, triggering allergies and other respiratory issues.

Next: This is the gross thing you won’t even notice.

9. You won’t realize it’s stinky

kitchen trash
Kitchen trash | -art-siberia-/iStock/Getty Images

Ever hear the term “nose blind?” That’s what happens when you’re exposed to odors over time so you don’t notice them anymore. It’s the reason you can’t usually smell your house’s unique odor except when you come home from a long absence.

When you stop cleaning, your home may start to smell stale and gross but you’d never even notice.

Next: Here’s a scary thing that happens when you don’t clean.

10. You could literally get sick


Sick woman with headache
Illness | BartekSzewczyk/iStock/Getty Images

Those mice taking up residence in your clutter or feasting on the food you left out could be carrying more than just crumbs. Mice carry up to 25 different diseases including Hantavirus (which can be fatal) and the bacteria that causes salmonella.

Moldy food can make you sick. Dust mites can trigger allergies. Mold can cause people to feel ill or worse. Any way you look at it, a dirty house can make you very ill.

Next: This is a good argument for cleaning more often.

11. Cleaning tasks get harder

Cleaning floor in room
Cleaning floor in room | serezniy/iStock/Getty Images

The longer you wait to clean, the harder it will be when you finally break your strike and get out the mop and bucket.

Keeping up with your cleaning tasks makes the whole thing less daunting week after week. For one thing, you’ll get into a routine and won’t notice it as much. For another, the less filth you have to scrub, the faster it will go. Spend 15 minutes vacuuming today to avoid spending two hours on the task in two weeks.

Next: This is the scientific reason your messy house makes you sad.

12. The mess can affect your well-being

Modern woman can't stand a house mess
Messy house | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/ Getty Images

Messy homes can cause feelings of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, shame, and other negative emotions. Sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint whether the negative feelings are causing the mess or the mess is causing the negative feelings — but either way, keeping an orderly home can help to dispel these bad feelings.

Next: When you share your house with this family member, cleaning is more important than ever.

13. Pets can cause problems

Newfoundland dog sleep on floor
Dog | yokeetod/Getty Images

Have animals at home? They can make your mess even worse.

Pet dander and pet accidents can virtually ruin your furniture and floors, especially if you don’t clean up in a timely fashion. If you’re a pet owner, it’s vitally important that you keep up with the cleaning so your beloved home doesn’t get destroyed.

Next: Your social life could suffer.

14. Friends may stop visiting

Messy, chaotic file rack on a desk in cluttered room
Messy file rack on a desk in a cluttered room | AG-ChapelHill/iStock/Getty Images

Even your best friends won’t want to visit your house if they have to move piles of papers every time they want to sit down. It’s not like you need to live in a sterile environment, but if you plan on hosting company, a courtesy vacuuming and countertop clearing is the polite thing to do.

Next: Here’s why your brain literally can’t handle the mess.

15. You’ll feel off

Sadness, depression
Sadness | Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

An orderly space helps you think more clearly. One report found that people with clean houses are healthier than people with messy houses.

Another study at Princeton University found that clutter can make it difficult to focus on a task and will make you less productive.

The moral of this story? Clean your house regularly (to a reasonable degree) and live a happier, healthier life.

Read more: No One Realizes That Mold is Hiding in These Gross Places Around Your House

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!