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2003 Spring Cleaning Survey

The Psychology of Clean: Americans Feel "Happy, Satisfied & Healthy" After Cleaning House

More Americans Plan on Spring Cleaning, Reports SDA
Washington, DC - March 5, 2003 - A clean house makes people feel happy, satisfied, comfortable and healthy, according to new consumer research, which also reveals that 78 percent of Americans plan on spring cleaning this year, up 11 percent from 2002.

"The number of Americans who regularly plan on spring cleaning remains steady year after year," said Brian Sansoni, Vice President of Communication for The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA), which examines cleaning habits and behaviors through its National Cleaning Surveys. "Let's face it, most of us get an emotional kick out of having a cleaner, de-cluttered home."

The psychological boost also may be derived from a satisfied urge to clean out our nests. According to Carol Nemeroff, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, spring cleaning may have been in existence for ages.

"The urge we have to clean may be a trait that is biologically programmed into us," says Nemeroff. "And, because we know that good hygiene leads to good health, cleaning may ultimately be related to a basic survival instinct."

Today's Trends

According to SDA's new research, our favorite characteristics of a clean house include:

  • The clean, fresh smell (37 % of respondents)
  • Knowing dirt and grime are gone (31%)
  • The shiny, dust-free look (14%)
  • Taking good care of furnishings (11%)

Just as cleaning house has remained a part of our changing culture, cleaning products have evolved to meet people's changing needs. For example, the many new varieties of cleaning wipes, from glass, oven, toilet and countertops, to dusting, polishing and stain removal, help the majority of Americans who don't have a lot of time to clean.

Other industry trends include:

  • Innovation - Design and formulation innovations have responded to Americans' desire for products that offer benefits in addition to their cleaning capabilities. For example, fragrances now range from classic lemon and pine to exotic herbs and flowers to aromatherapy scents. The number of natural products also is on the rise.
  • Convenience - Consumers are grabbing up products such as dust mitts, electrostatic dry mops and all-in-one mopping units that offer time savings and convenience. These and many more of today's products are designed for people who have limited time to clean each day.
  • Performance - Manufacturers are providing the widest variety of products that allow consumers to choose what works best for them. For example, many detergents are available as liquids, gels, powders and tablets. Additionally, ingredients such as orange oil are gaining popularity due to their cleaning efficacy.

Spring Cleaning Tips

The SDA's website,, offers spring cleaning tips from room to room, as well as advice in choosing the right cleaning products and their safe usage. Some useful tips include:

  • Make spring cleaning a family affair. Set a date and stick to it! Begin by minimizing clutter. Create a donation box for items you no longer use or have a yard sale. Have the family move from room to room rotating cleaning tasks. Be sure you have the right cleaning products and tools on hand to clean floors, walls, furniture, fabrics, tile, chrome and other surfaces in your home.
  • Prepare for the stains of spring. It is a good idea to gather up laundry products and spot removers for the inevitable springtime stains such as grass, ice cream and ketchup.
  • Keep it safe. Always read labels prior to usage to ensure each cleaning product is used safely and effectively. Don't let small children tackle tasks that involve products that may be dangerous to them. When in doubt, product labels will have telephone numbers for consumers to call with any questions.

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The independent consumer research was completed for SDA by International Communications Research (ICR). ICR questioned 1,000 American women and men regarding their spring cleaning habits. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus five percent.