Burn More Calories While Cleaning Your House

House Cleaning Workout - Illustration by Theresa Chiechi

Verywell / Theresa Chiechi

Did you know that you can increase the number of calories burned while cleaning house? It’s easy to do with just a few simple changes, turning your regular housework routine into a house cleaning workout.

Most household chores burn calories using some of the same physical movements that you do in the gym. With a few small adjustments, you can get a full-body workout, build muscle, and burn more calories while you tidy up your home.

Sitting on the couch and watching television burns about 1 calorie per minute in a person who weighs 150 pounds. Most cleaning activities burn three to four times that.

You can also use a calories-burned-while-exercising calculator to better estimate your true burn by inputting your information, such as your body weight. This calculator has listings for common household chores, from cleaning to gardening to mowing the lawn.

House Cleaning Workout

Listed below are the most common house cleaning jobs, along with the number of calories that a 150-pound person would burn while performing these household chores. To burn more calories while you clean house, add the challenges listed below each activity.

In most cases, you’ll challenge your stability and engage your core to complete them. The result? You get a tighter midsection, stronger legs, and a more stable body. Sound good? Grab your rubber gloves and start cleaning!

Vacuuming or Mopping

Cleaning your floors burns 4 calories per minute.

  • Burn more calories: Step into a full lunge each time you reach the vacuum or mop forward. Bring the legs back together when you pull the vacuum or mop back.
  • Muscles used: A lunge uses most of the major muscles in your lower body. You will also engage the abdominal muscles to balance while moving in and out of your lunge.

Scrubbing Surfaces

Wiping counters or scrubbing the bathroom burns 4 calories per minute.

  • Burn more calories: If the surfaces that you need to clean are over your head, you probably already stand on your toes to reach them. You can also stay on your toes when you move to lower counter-level surfaces. Then give your calves a break and stand on only one leg while you wipe down surfaces in the kitchen or bathroom.
  • Muscles used: Standing on your toes engages the calf muscles and helps to shape the lower leg. If you can balance while on your toes, you also engage your core muscles to stay upright. When you stand on one leg and extend the other leg out to the side, you engage the gluteal muscles that wrap around your hips. These abductor muscles help to shape your hips and buttocks.

Dusting or Washing Baseboards

Cleaning low spaces or scrubbing the floor on your hands and knees burns 4 calories per minute.

  • Burn more calories: When you are on your hands and knees, try not to sit back on your feet or hips but stay up in an “all-fours” position. This is the same position from which you would perform a cat-cow exercise in yoga class. Extend one arm to clean or wipe surfaces and alternate sides. For an extra challenge, extend the opposite leg behind your body as you would in a bird-dog exercise.
  • Muscles used: With the leg extension, you engage the muscles in your butt, your abs, and your lower body to perform this cleaning exercise. Without the leg extension, you use your back and abdominal muscles.

Tidying and Carrying

Climbing stairs while carrying an extra 1 to 15 pounds burns 6 calories per minute.

  • Burn more calories: If you have a laundry basket or cleaning tools that you need to carry from floor to floor, use a walking lunge to ascend the stairs.
  • Muscles used: If you are carrying a load in front of you, you’ll build strength in your upper body and shoulders. The lunge activity will help to shape the hamstrings (back of your leg) and gluteal muscles that shape your buttocks.

The faster you move, the more intense the activity becomes. So, work as fast as you can while keeping good form to avoid injury while increasing your calorie burn.

Making Beds

Stepping and stretching to make beds burns 2 calories per minute.

  • Burn more calories: Perform a side lunge while tucking sheets on each side of the bed. Fluff pillows and straighten blankets in a balanced Warrior III pose.
  • Muscles used: The side lunge will engage most of the muscles in the lower body but will target the adductor and abductor muscles on the inside and outside of your thighs. The Warrior III pose will help you build strength in your legs, back, and abdomen. ​

Washing Windows

Reaching, scrubbing, and climbing on and off a stepladder to wash windows burns 6 calories per minute.

  • Burn more calories: Lunge from window to window and add extra trips up and down the stepladder to keep the lower body muscles working.
  • Muscles used: Your leg muscles are used for the lunges and stair-climbing, and your core is used for balancing and reaching. Your arm muscles are engaged when spraying and wiping windows.


Weeding, pruning, or mowing the lawn burns 5 to 7 calories per minute.

  • Burn more calories: Add squats or hold in a garland pose while weeding. If you are mowing the lawn, use a manual (push) mower. If you use a motorized mower, challenge yourself to walk as quickly as possible behind it.
  • Muscles used: Squats work your lower body, as does walking from place to place. Your core is used for balancing, such as when reaching to prune. Weeding and raking help work your upper body.

Total Calories Burned

Aa 150-pound person will burn roughly 200 calories per hour while doing housework. These variations can help you burn more. In addition, you learn to engage your core and use balance activities to boost the benefit of any daily activity.

While most fitness experts wouldn't necessarily recommend household chores as your regular workout, you can do this house cleaning workout on days when you can’t make it to the gym.

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Women's Sports Medicine Center, Hospital for Special Surgery. Burning Calories with Exercise: Calculating Estimated Energy Expenditure.

  2. Larson-Meyer DE. A Systematic Review of the Energy Cost and Metabolic Intensity of Yoga. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016;48(8):1558-1569. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000922

By Malia Frey, M.A., ACE-CHC, CPT
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.