Health (+ Financial) Risks Of Having A Messy Home

It turns out that Mom was right: It won’t kill you to do your chores. But did you realize that not doing your chores could kill you? It’s not quite as dramatic as that, but a dirty house will not support optimal wellness.

Dust and mold will affect your physical health, while clutter and mess contribute to stress and anxiety. Your finances can even feel the impact of a messy house through the diminished value of your home.

We’ll explore the mental, physical, and financial risks of a messy home, but don’t worry, we won’t leave you stuck with the mess. We’ll include actionable cleaning tips along the way so that you can take control of your home’s interior and improve your health.


Will a messy house affect my physical health?

A messy house can make you sick. Each area of your home poses different threats if left unchecked. We’ll look at some of the most common sources of trouble in your home.


The messier your kitchen gets, the more likely it is that the food you eat will get contaminated with the filth in your kitchen.  

We get our food from the kitchen and it shouldn’t come as any surprise that if you ingest contaminated items, you’re going to get sick. Dirty dishes left stacked on the counters and sinks are breeding grounds for bacteria.

In the refrigerator, mold growing on rotten or leaked food can transfer to the food you’re planning to eat and pose a health risk.

Counters that aren’t cleaned can spread dangerous E. coli. If you had raw meat on the counter, don’t even think of putting produce on that same counter until you’ve disinfected the area. This simple step can help you prevent food poisoning.

Your health is valuable, and it’s worth cleaning for.

Cleaning tip: Clean up throughout the day. If you make “clean-as-you-go” a habit and family rule, you won’t have overwhelming messes build up.  


Living Areas

Dust is one of the major culprits contributing to a messy home. It gets everywhere, even in places you don’t think to look. Sometimes you think you’re doing a good job staying on top of the dust, and then you realize there’s an inch of dust on top of your door frames.

Unfortunately, dust can exacerbate allergies and asthma. As crazy as it sounds, dust can even help spread viruses and infections.

Cleaning tip: Set a schedule to dust once a week. As your routine is established, you’ll start seeing previously unnoticed surfaces that need attention, and you’ll be able to address those dust collectors.



It’s disgusting to talk about, but humans constantly shed and grow new skin. If you spend one-third of your life in bed, imagine how much of your skin is shed in your sheets. Dust mites love dead skin, and you don’t want to encourage them to make your bed their home where they may, in turn, trigger asthma and allergy attacks.

Bacteria also thrive on your shed skin and oils, and that bacteria may contribute to a variety of skin problems.

Cleaning tip: Change your sheets every week.


Will a messy house affect my mental health?

Studies have shown a connection between a messy house and stress and anxiety.

A messy house is a visible reminder of your housekeeping shortcomings. It evidences the fact that you’ve lost control of your home’s appearance. Then you may feel that there’s no point in cleaning because you’ve already failed. It’s a vicious cycle.

A messy house can lead to depression, and depression can lead to a messy house.  

Besides the appearance and feel a messy house has on mental health, the practical aspect of disorganization can contribute to stress.

If clutter has overtaken your home, it can be difficult to find essential items like your keys. In this scenario, you could end up late to an appointment, furthering the stress. That resulting tension often leads to stress eating, which can have a negative impact on your physical health.

Reduced clutter results in reduced weight, in many cases. Every part of your life and body is connected, and by taking control in one area, you’ll often see positive results in another.

Clutter also affects the ability of your brain to organize thoughts, research shows. Chaos in your brain hinders optimal mental health and makes it more challenging to work efficiently and productively.  

Reduced clutter often leads to improved productivity in your work life. It can also positively impact your leisure time by allowing you to let go of anxiety and enjoy the moment with friends and family.

Cleaning tip: Start getting rid of clutter in baby steps. Start with one shelf or one table. Do a little each day in one room. Once you’ve accomplished what you need to there, move on to another room, but continue to keep up maintenance on the room you finished organizing.


Will a messy house affect my financial health?

It may surprise you that a messy house could have any impact on your finances, but as mentioned earlier, clutter correlates to reduced productivity. Your job performance may start waning, and you may not qualify for a promotion.

Perhaps more directly, a messy home could hide problems that can grow and cause more significant issues. For example, if you develop a mold problem, you might not notice it with other messes distracting you or masking the mold.  

If the cause is a leaky pipe, and it’s caught early, the repairs are relatively inexpensive. If the leak continues for a long time, though, you may face compounded problems, including rotting drywall, mold remediation, and a host of other expenses, including home insurance claims.

Deep cleaning your house gives you the chance to inspect all its nooks and crannies and catch problems before they spiral out of control.  

If you desire to sell your home, it will be less desirable to potential buyers if it’s dirty. When you’re selling, you want people to imagine themselves living in your home, but no one wants to envision themselves in filth.

Cleaning tip: If the mess in your house feels insurmountable, consider hiring a cleaning service. It’s an investment, but once your home is clean, you’ll have an easier job maintaining it, and your investment will pay dividends for your health.

Make a checklist for yourself. Include simple daily tasks so that you can feel the immediate gratification of accomplishing them. You should also include weekly and monthly goals. Making progress every day, even if it’s just baby steps, will have a cumulative effect that’s much bigger.


When you start gaining control of your home’s mess and clutter, you can expect your physical, mental, and financial health to improve so that you can enjoy your life more fully.


Author Bio:   Melanie Musson writes and researches for the legal and insurance education site, Melanie is a mom of 5 young children who has found home organization and daily cleaning to save time and money while improving the productivity and health of all those who live there.    



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Written by HealthStatus Crew
Medical Writer & Editor

HealthStatus teams with authors from organizations to share interesting ideas, products and new health information to our readers.

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