The When, Why & How Behind Consumers’ Propensity to Clean

By Amanda Silvia, Research Manager at Dynata. She can be reached at amanda.silvia@dynata.com.

 

 

Most of us are familiar with “spring cleaning” – in fact, some of us are just getting started on our “spring” cleaning in June, and for others, spring cleaning is all year round. Regardless of whether you embrace the concept of tidying up seasonally or all year long, everyone’s definition of “clean” varies. Leveraging Dynata’s permissioned, first-party data, the 4A’s launched a census-balanced survey to evaluate the cleaning behaviors, product preferences, and motivations of US adults.

According to our study, most people clean their homes daily (28%) or several times a week (26%). Only 8% reported cleaning their homes monthly or less often than once a month. Women clean their living spaces more frequently than men: 50% of women reported cleaning their homes daily or several times a day compared to 37% of men. Of participants who said they only clean their homes monthly or less than once a month, nearly 70% were men.

When asked what motivates them to clean, 70% of people said cleaning is part of their routine. The second most common motivator was simply seeing something dirty (47%), followed by hosting guests (33%). Women were more likely than men to make cleaning part of their routine than men (78% and 63% respectively). Adults between the ages of 18 and 24 were significantly more likely than any other age group to attribute cleaning to free time at home (31%) or needing to keep themselves busy (37%).

For the most part, people take responsibility for tidying their own living spaces, as 78% of participants said they are personally responsible for cleaning. Thirteen percent said their spouse or significant other is responsible, and only 3% said they hire a cleaning service. As perhaps expected, women were more likely to take ownership of cleaning the home than men, with 90% reporting responsibility compared to 67% of men.

Across all participants, all-purpose cleaners were the most popular cleaning product, with 83% of people reporting regular use. Specialty cleaners (50%), cleaners with bleach (47%), air and fabric fresheners (47%), and all-natural cleaners (23%) followed.

The most common form of routine cleaning was laundry (84%), with wiping down counters (83%) a close second. Additional forms of routine cleaning included vacuuming (76%), sweeping floors (72%), scrubbing the toilet (72%), and tidying up/organizing (71%). Cleaning out the refrigerator was the most common form of seasonal cleaning.

Our study also revealed that for some, cleaning isn’t always a chore. When asked if there were any household chores they particularly liked or disliked, vacuuming was ranked most enjoyable, with 47% of participants reporting as such, followed by tidying up (45%), and putting away laundry (41%). The least favorite chore among participants was cleaning the bathroom (46% said they disliked doing this). Despite cleaning less frequently, more men than women said they actually enjoyed the following chores: washing dishes, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathroom.

We learned that most people, 55%, are not at all familiar with Marie Kondo, but this varies depending on age. If you’re part of this majority, Marie Kondo is an author and organizing consultant who coined the KonMari method, a system of organizing your home by eliminating items that do not bring joy into your life.

Across participants, about one-fifth said they were very or extremely familiar. Interestingly, despite female participants’ tendency to clean more frequently than males, levels of familiarity were about equal across genders. Adults between the ages of 35 and 44 years old were more familiar with Marie Kondo than any other age group, with a combined 33% indicating that they were very or extremely familiar. Those ages 25-34 were not far behind, with 32% reporting the same; although it is worth noting that significantly more participants in this age group were only “somewhat” familiar. The least aware age groups were those ages 55-64 and 65 and over.

Perhaps the “why?” behind the overall unfamiliarity with Marie Kondo lies in our finding that 57% of people said they do not look for tips on home cleaning and organization. However, of those who do search for tips, the most common the most place to look was magazines (20%), followed by TV shows (18%), Pinterest (15%), and blogs (13%). Among male respondents, TV shows was most popular (20%), whereas women preferred magazines (22%) and Pinterest (19%).

Reflective of today’s growth in digital, of those participants who look for cleaning tips, Millennials, ages 18-24 and 25-34, were most likely to use Pinterest (28% and 26% respectively). Adults between the ages of 35 and 44 years old were most likely to turn to TV shows, and those ages 45 and over were most likely to use magazines. This trend is definitely aligned with the media evolution from print to television to digital.

 

This article is part of a series of on-demand research conducted by Dynata, exclusively for the 4A’s. Check out previous articles on organic foods, data privacy, consumer attitudes towards advertising, and CBD.