How Many Calories Do You Burn While Cleaning Your House?

man holding cleaning products in his house

You can burn serious calories while cleaning your house. | iStock.com

Burning calories at the gym is great, but sometimes it’s not always possible to make it there as often as we’d like. Work runs late, kids have soccer practices, and household chores need to get finished sometime. Sitting at your desk for an extra hour won’t burn off calories, but thankfully, helping out with housecleaning will.

According to one study, conducting a thorough spring cleaning can burn up to 3,655 calories — more than the 2,500 to 3,500 calories spent running a marathon. If you’re lackadaisical about your dusting, vacuuming, and cupboard cleaning, you probably won’t reach those levels, but if you approach your cleaning more as a workout than simply a chore, there’s a potential to burn some serious energy along the way.

Of course, the number of calories you burn will depend on your weight (heavier people burn calories faster) and potentially your height. It will also depend on the intensity with which you scrub your floors and bathtub. But no matter what, you’ll burn a decent amount of calories if you’re giving your home a deep clean. As Livestrong reports, a 150-pound person will burn approximately 99 calories doing 30 minutes of housework. Someone who weighs 200 pounds will burn about 131 calories in that same timeframe.

Weight Loss Resources points out certain cleaning activities will help you work out certain areas of your body. “In particular, polishing, dusting, mopping and sweeping are great for keeping arms shapely. Bending and stretching, for example, when you make the bed, wash windows or do the laundry are good for toning thighs and improving flexibility. And constantly running up and down the stairs as you tidy is a good aerobic workout,” dietician Juliette Kellow writes for the publication.

Want to know an estimate for how many calories you’ll burn doing everyday household tasks? Take a look at some of the options for getting in a workout in your own home.

Washing windows

handyman cleaning window blinds

Cleaning your windows will give you a serious arm workout. | iStock.com

It’s time to get the winter grime off your windows — both inside and out. Washing them will give your arms a good workout, as long as you switch arms so one doesn’t get all the exercise benefits. Shape estimates you’ll burn about 167 calories in 30 minutes. Health reports it could be more like 100 calories in that time, but this will depend on how vigorously you’re working to make those panes sparkle.

Cleaning the bathroom

Cleaning the tiles in a bathroom

Torch calories by scrubbing your bathroom. | iStock.com

Soap scum might be your enemy in the bathroom, but it’s your friend in terms of getting a decent workout while cleaning it off your shower or bathtub. Scrubbing the bath for 30 minutes burns an estimated 200 calories, FitDay reports. Scrubbing the entire bathroom for 35 minutes from top to bottom will burn about as many calories as walking on a treadmill for the same amount of time, according to Health.

Dusting

Cleaning the heater vents in the house

Dusting is easy, but it still burns calories. | iStock.com

There aren’t many chores easier than dusting, but even freshening up your home for 30 minutes with a duster will help you spend about 50 calories, says FitDay.

Vacuuming

Woman cleaning with vacuum cleaner while baby sitting on floo

Vacuuming will give you a cleaner home while you’re getting a workout. | iStock.com/Martinan

Pushing your vacuum around will not only give you cleaner carpets, but it can also burn between 50 and 119 calories per 30 minutes of activity, Health, FitDay, and Shape report. Clearly, this depends on how long you’re vacuuming and how hard you’re working to push the vacuum around your floors.

Loading the dishwasher

Man washing dishes by hand

Burn even more calories by washing your dishes by hand. | iStock.com

Moving around your kitchen to unload and reload the dishwasher for 30 minutes will burn about 105 calories, according to FitDay. If you wash them by hand, you’ll burn about 160 calories.

Other chores

cleaning hardwood floor

As long as you’re moving, you’ll be burning calories. | iStock.com

You can expend 130 calories over 30 minutes of making beds in your home, burn 70 calories while ironing clothes for 30 minutes, and use 100 calories to rearrange your furniture for 25 minutes. Because it tends to be a little more vigorous, outdoor work like gardening, mowing the lawn, and other things on your to-do list can also take the place of a gym workout for a day or two.

If you’re serious about getting a workout while you tidy up your home, Kellow suggests planning strategically to get the most out of your chores. When you polish your furniture, for example, use the wax polish in a tin instead of a spray. You’ll have to rub much harder and longer to get the shine you want, but you’ll burn more calories in the process. When you’re ironing, keep the laundry basket on the floor so you need to bend and stretch for each item of clothing. And finally, complete your tasks in an order that will keep you going up and down the stairs as much as possible. “Empty the dishwasher in the kitchen, then make the bed upstairs, then vacuum the living room downstairs, then clean the bathroom upstairs — and so on,” Kellow writes.

Not only will you have made your home sparkling clean, you’ll also have burned off some calories along the way. Two birds, one stone.

Follow Nikelle on Twitter @Nikelle_CS