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March 16, 2011 10:30 AM
Contact: Brian Sansoni, 202-662-2517 or

Y Men and Women Spring Clean

  • 82% of 18-29 Year Olds Will Spring Clean This Year, 15% More Than the National Average
  • Gender-ation Y: Gen Men Cleaning Habits Need Sprucing Up
  • Why Y Cleans: Major Cleaning Motivators

WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 16, 2011 – If it’s spring, Generation Y may very well be at home – cleaning.

According to new research from the American Cleaning Institute® (ACI –, 82 percent of Generation Y men and women (our nation’s 18-29 year olds) will engage in spring cleaning this year – that’s approximately 15 percent more than the national average of about two-thirds (based on past ACI surveys).

Twenty-seven percent of Generation Y respondents use spring cleaning as a time to clean their home from head-to-toe. Their spring cleaning priorities include bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, closets and floors.

While the priorities rank in the same order for men and women, a greater number of women prioritize the importance of each job. Seventy-seven percent of women (versus 66 percent of men) say that even just the change in the weather makes them want to clean up.

The independent research showed that the majority (55 percent) of Gen Y has been living in their current location for less than two years. And, whether they live with a spouse or significant other, parents, other family, children or part-time at home and part-time at school, what is consistent is the importance of having a clean living space. Ninety-six percent of respondents reported that having a clean home is important to them.

“No matter where they seem to live, Generation Y wants their spaces clean,” said ACI Vice President of Education Nancy Bock. “Spring cleaners do have a variety of easy-to-use and effective cleaning products on the shelves that can help them get their tasks done much quicker.”

Gender-ation Y

When it comes to doing the “dirty work,” 30 percent of Generation Y men agree that if it wasn’t for spring cleaning, they probably would never clean. In fact, when it comes to most day-to-day cleaning chores, men are taken to task by Gen Y women.

The survey showed 96 percent of women are likely to clean and disinfect countertops daily, compared to 86 percent of men.

“It’s reassuring that a strong majority of this age group regularly cleans and disinfects, which helps kill germs and lower the risk of infection,” said ACI’s Nancy Bock.

Ninety-six percent of women are likely to clean the floors or carpet versus 88 percent of men, according to the survey.

The same gender pattern follows for reorganizing, cleaning under furnishings, swapping out seasonal clothes, washing windows, de-cluttering and donating old clothes to a local charity. Only when it comes to cleaning cell phones and computers is there gender-cleaning equality, with both men (73 percent) and women (74 percent) citing the likelihood of cleaning.

Gen Y women are not only more likely to clean routinely, they are more motivated to clean.

Both Gen Y men (64 percent) and women (79 percent) ranked “when their home space starts looking dirty or messy” as the top reason to clean. More women also ranked significantly higher in the following categories: when they are expecting visitors, fed up with dirt and mess, have some free time and feeling disorganized.

Guys: When It Smells, It’s Time to Clean

Men are more highly motivated when their home starts to smell, they are told to clean or someone comments about their home’s lack of cleanliness.

Overall, 74 percent of Generation Y respondents agreed that spring cleaning is a ritual worthy of carrying on, and seeing news about spring cleaning keeps it top of mind. Eighteen to 29-year-olds first look to family and friends for information about cleaning before turning to retailers, websites, magazines, TV shows, newspapers, blogs and social networking sites.

“What we learned is that when members of Generation Y choose to settle down, our newest generation of homeowners and families will continue to have a focus on cleanliness and better living,” said Bock.

 2011 National Spring Cleaning Survey Findings

The following questions were asked of 1,015 Generation Y adults (501 men and 514 women ages 18-29). The independent consumer research study was completed by Echo Research March 2-6, 2011, on behalf of American Cleaning Institute (ACI). The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

Which of the following best describes your current living arrangements?

  • Live with at least one other person (76%)
  • Spouse or significant other (28%)
  • Parents (19%)
  • Roommates – not in college (18%)
  • Children (4%)
  • Live alone (16%)
  • Live part-time at home and school (3%)
  • Other/Don’t Know (5%)

How long have you been living at your current location?

  • Less than 6 months (13%)
  • 6 months – 1 year (19%)
  • 1-2 years (22%)
  • More than 2 years (44%)
  • Mean (18 months)

How important is having a clean home/living space to you?

  • Very or somewhat important (96%)
  • Not very or not at all important (4%)

How likely are you to spring clean this year?

  • Very or somewhat likely (82%), including 85% of women and 78% of men
  • Not very or not at all likely (15%)

What are your spring cleaning “hot spots? This question was asked only of the 833 Generation Y respondents likely to spring clean in 2011 (393 men and 440 women).

  • Bedroom (73%)
  • Kitchen (65%)
  • Bathrooms (65%)
  • Closets/clothes (60%)
  • Floors (58%)
  • Windows (49%)
  • Desks/workstations/home office space (46%)
  • Furnishings (45%)
  • Garage (34%)

Which of the following best describes your spring cleaning habits?

  • I use spring cleaning as my time to clean my home from head-to-toe (26%)
  • I clean regularly, do I don’t need to spring clean (25%)
  • I spend a little more time cleaning this time of year than usual (20%)
  • I clean from head-to-toe often, but not necessarily in spring (14%)

To what extent do you agree with the following: Spring cleaning is a tradition worth carrying on.

  • Strongly or somewhat agree (74%)
  • Somewhat or strongly disagree (21%)

To what extent do you agree with the following: Spring cleaning news reminds me to clean up my living space.

  • Strongly or somewhat agree (63%)
  •  Somewhat or strongly disagree (32%)

To what extent do you agree with the following: If it wasn’t for spring cleaning, I would probably never clean.

  • Strongly or somewhat agree (23%), including 30% of men
  • Somewhat or strongly disagree (75%)

How likely are you to each of the following when cleaning your home/living space? (Total, Men, Women)

  • Donate old clothes to charity (76%, 68%, 84%)
  • Clean/disinfect countertops (91%, 86%, 96%)
  • Clean underneath/behind furnishings (78%, 75%, 81%)
  • Clean floors/carpet (92%, 88%, 86%)
  • Clean/wash windows (72%, 69%, 74%)
  • Reorganize (88%, 84%, 93%)
  • Swap out seasonal clothes (67%, 63%, 71%)
  • Declutter (88%, 84%, 93%)
  • Clean your cell phones/smart phone/computer keyboard (74%, 73%, 74%)

What motivates you to clean? (Total, Men, Women)

  • Space looking dirty/messy (71%, 64%, 79%)
  • A visitor arriving (67%, 58%, 76%)
  • Fed up with dirt and mess (62%, 56%, 69%)
  • Having free time (61%, 57%, 66%)
  • Being disorganized (58%, 50%, 66%)
  • Spring cleaning season (37%, 29%, 46%)
  • Home starting to smell (35%, 36%, 34%)
  • Directly being told to clean (24%, 26%, 23%)
  • Comments about your space being dirty (24%, 26%, 22%)
  • Nothing (3%, 4%, 2%)

The 2011 Generation Y Spring Cleaning Survey was completed for the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) by Echo Research, Inc. A total of 1,015 Generation Y (age 18-29) respondents participated in an independent consumer research study. The survey was fielded online among a national sample of Generation Y respondents between March 2 and 6, 2011, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent. A summary of the survey results will be available on ACI’s website at

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The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI - formerly The Soap and Detergent Association) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. ACI members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers. ACI ( and its members are dedicated to improving health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices.