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Why do we ‘Spring Clean’?

Posted on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Why do we ‘Spring Clean’?

Before we don our marigolds and dive into the cleaning products box, have you considered the origins of spring cleaning?  Well, we did our homework, and found a couple of reasons why the months of March and April seem to be the cleanest months of the year.

During the 1800’s and according to The Times, the biggest annual clean took place in the Spring and seemed to have more relevance in colder regions.  Light and heat came from kerosene lamps and open fires.  With windows mainly closed to keep out the winter cold, layers of soot would build up in every room.  The best time to aerate and get the house clean would be as the days got longer and warmer.

In Christianity, the church altar gets cleaned the day before Good Friday which would typically be towards the end of March or the start of April.  The Greek Orthodox Church folk cleaned their houses for the whole week before Lent.  There are historic references to the Jewish communities cleaning and preparing for Passover, their spring-time memorial feast.  We also uncovered an article that referred Iran and The Persian New Year.  A 13-day period of celebration involving the “shaking out” of the house and wearing new clothes.

Other contributors to the origin of spring cleaning are the Chinese. The Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays in their culture. It is celebrated for weeks, welcoming spring and celebrating good fortune to come.  Like Iranians, Chinese mark the coming of a new year with a thorough house clean.  They do this to symbolically welcome rebirth in all aspects of their life and hoping to bring good luck for the New Year.

If you’ve got teenage children, you might not agree with this, however, apparently we are biologically programmed for a spring clean!

The darkness of winter creates a boost in the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that causes sleepiness.  With the arrival of spring, the increase in sunlight and decrease in melatonin gives us a natural energy boost.  It’s completely possible that the urge to clean in the spring time may simply stem from the body’s desire to get up and do stuff.

There’s a physical payoff to a cleaning as well.  Clutter becomes an unnecessary, overwhelming stimulus that adds to stress and decreases physical activity.  Neater spaces, by contrast, increase physical activity, as well as creativity and even the urge to eat more healthily, according to Psychology Today.

Whatever the reasons, those carpets, cupboards and mattresses aren’t going to vacuum, tidy and turn themselves so it’s time to get busy with your cleaning weapon of choice!

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