Housework is Exercise – Get Dusting!

The 1998 poem “Dust If You Must” by Rose Milligan is going around the internet again. It starts with:

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Of course, painting and writing and pondering are quite sedentary activities. Cleaning is almost as good as going to the gym! An hour of sitting only burns 34 calories. An hour of vacuuming burns 170 calories. An hour of food preparation and cooking uses only 68 calories. An hour of dusting and tidying burns 136 calories!

It’s all in the attitude — housework is exercise. Slim your way to a clean home, clean your way to a slim body!
-Terri Guillemets –

When I first got a macro lens and was discovering all sorts of interesting ‘little’ things, I got a closer look at the dust on a table top.

Where did that dust come from, and what might it be made of? According to several sites I went to, dust comes in from the outdoors as particles on our shoes, or blown in by air movement. It can include dirt, pollen, mold spores, auto exhaust, fertilizer chemicals and residue from burning fossil fuels, to name just a few things. Clouds of dust can travel immense distances – so microbes, bacteria and virus like particles can arrive at your house without having to carry a passport from the foreign country that dispatched them.

Indoor sources of dust can include dried food particles (and the insects that feed on this), decaying particles of carpet, bedding and furniture, skin flakes (and the dust mites that feed on them), and dander off pets. Dust also includes chemicals that are used for a multitude of things, including flame retardants in furniture and pillows.

Dust enters our bodies either by breathing it in, or ingesting it. For people with NO significant allergies or asthma, normal dust may not pose a risk. Dust that can be dangerous is usually associated with particular products and/or occupations (asbestos, coal, silica, cement, grain, woodworking, etc.)

An individual’s tolerance for dust in their home is often simply a matter of personal preference. I don’t have an aversion to dusting and cleaning, so here at The Red House my Swiffer Duster and I breeze through a single room in about 2 minutes. I think the house smells better when I am done, and I like the look of a clean surface.

I am disappointed by those non-cleaning folks who choose to denigrate both the task of cleaning and the people who do that work. Adjectives like ‘clean freak’ and ‘uptight’ are used to describe people with clean homes, while ‘easygoing’, ‘laid back’ and ‘dust bunny’ are used for people at the other end of the spectrum.

The QuipperyOne blogger justified their dirty home by saying, “A dirty house says that the family that lives in it has more important things to do than clean!”

Really? What is more important than teaching the members of a family that the very essence of living is the cycle of doing things, then cleaning things. We paint a picture, then we clean our brushes. We bake a cake, then wash the dishes. We plant a seed, then clean our tools. We exercise, then wash our clothes. Why wouldn’t the family also vacuum the floors after they track in dirt?

Outside our homes, how would we feel without The Cleaners? Would we feel good about our workplaces if they were never cleaned? Would we check into a hotel room that still had dirty sheets and a disgusting bathroom? Would we enjoy our library or our community park if no one ever picked up the trash?

Your turn – Does the cleanliness of your home affect the way you feel?