Can Cleaning Make You More Empathetic? New Research Says Yes

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Findings Also Show That Doing Cleaning Chores As A Kid Increases The Likelihood Of Helping Others By 60%

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- In today's world, it feels like connecting with other people, whether at work, in our communities or even within our own families is more challenging. For those raising kids, it feels more daunting: what parent doesn't want to raise kind and caring children who are connected to those around them? As we work towards being better versions of ourselves as people and parents, cleaning could be one of the keys to help us be more empathetic, especially for kids. New research from the Clorox® brand reveals that cleaning and clean spaces play an important role in developing empathy, compassion and connection.

How does clean impact how we feel, act and engage with others?  Clorox conducted research to validate the true impact of clean beyond getting rid of dirt and mess.

Findings from a nationwide survey and statistical modeling show that a person's level of empathy is positively associated with living in a clean home and even more so if they are responsible for some aspect of the cleaning. Not only does a clean environment increase a person's empathy, but there is also a drastic increase in connections and willingness to help others in their communities, proving the simple act of cleaning has beneficial implications far beyond just making our homes less dirty.

For parents, it is probably not surprising to learn that the findings also indicate kids are more productive and better behaved in clean spaces.

  • 59 percent of parents say that their kids study better in a clean room, and
  • 49 percent of parents say that their kids behave better in a clean room.

Giving children a clean environment that allows them to thrive at school is critical, but clean impacts children far beyond their early years. Engaging kids in cleaning chores teaches them critical life skills.

  • When a person had cleaning chores as a kid, the likelihood that they will exhibit higher empathy as adults increases by 64 percent, and
  • the likelihood that they will have higher levels of willingness to help others in the community as adults increases by 60 percent.

"There's nothing more important to me as a dad than making sure my kids grow up to be kind and resilient adults and I think that's something that connects all parents," said Sterling K. Brown, award-winning actor, father of two children and campaign spokesman. "It's amazing that something as simple as cleaning can be such an essential tool in teaching my kids life lessons, like the importance of caring for others and being connected to the community around them."  

Measuring the Impact of Clean on Emotions

Beyond connecting us to the people and communities around us, the research findings show that simply being in a clean space impacts us in other key ways. In a clean space, the majority of people are:

  • More relaxed (80 percent),
  • Less stressed (60 percent), and
  • More productive (72 percent)

The research findings may also make you want to volunteer for more cleaning chores around the house. The more people clean, the happier they are. The likelihood someone is happier than average increases by 53 percent for every additional hour that they clean in a week.

To further understand the survey findings, Clorox used the latest biometric technology and analysis to measure the impact of clean and dirty rooms on physiological responses, and how that translates to our emotions. The results indicated that clean spaces have a marked impact on our emotions. Specifically, in clean spaces there is a measurable increase in happiness and productivity indicators, as well as a decrease in stress indicators.

  • In the clean space, participants experienced an average 45 percent increase in liking and a 44 percent increase in attraction versus the dirty room, both of which are indicators of happiness.
  • Critical thinking, an indicator of productivity, was on average 20 percent higher in the clean room as compared to the dirty room.
  • Disgust, an indicator of stress, was 127 percent lower on average in the clean room as compared to the dirty room.

See the biometrics in action in this video.

The Power of Clean in Action

Inspired by the results of this new research, Clorox is bringing people together to show how clean is the beginning in making a difference for deserving causes in their local communities. In New York, Clorox partnered with local non-profit Thrive Collective and more than 250 volunteers from the local community to clean and transform a former school into a youth arts center earlier this month. The freshly cleaned space will serve as Thrive Collective's new headquarters and will create new possibilities with arts and mentoring programs for at-risk youth in Harlem.   

"At Clorox we believe that cleaning matters. Through this campaign, we hope to show people that clean isn't the opposite of dirty—it is the start of new possibilities," said Shaunte MearsWatkins, Director of Marketing, The Clorox Company. "Cleaning is a way to show our family, friends and loved ones that we care by creating an environment where they can succeed."

For more information, visit

Research Methodology

Clorox conducted an online survey among 2,008 U.S. adults, ages 18+ across the United States. The field services of Ipsos were used to collect audience data. Significance testing was done at a 95% confidence level and margin of error was +/- 3%. The survey was in field between September 22-27, 2017.

To determine how different cleaning attitudes and habits drive validated social metrics, Ketchum Global Research & Analytics used a statistical modeling technique called logistic regression to explore causal relationships between data attributes. In this specific analysis, the models establish which cleaning habits and attitudes contribute to higher levels of happiness, empathy, social capital, or are at low risk of depression.

Interviews and an experiential assessment with biometric sensors to capture the biological and emotional response between clean and dirty spaces among 18 parents and non-parents, ages 18+, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This research also included the experience and feedback of three influencers from New York, Pennsylvania and Florida. The interviews were completed between October 31 - November 2, 2017.

The Clorox Company

The Clorox Company (NYSE: CLX) is a leading multinational manufacturer and marketer of consumer and professional products with approximately 8,100 employees worldwide and fiscal year 2017 sales of $6 billion. Clorox markets some of the most trusted and recognized consumer brand names, including its namesake bleach and cleaning products; Pine-Sol® cleaners; Liquid Plumr® clog removers; Poett® home care products; Fresh Step® cat litter; Glad® bags, wraps and containers; Kingsford® charcoal; Hidden Valley® dressings and sauces; Brita® water-filtration products; Burt's Bees® natural personal care products; and RenewLife® digestive health products. The company also markets brands for professional services, including Clorox Healthcare® and Clorox Commercial Solutions®. More than 80 percent of the company's sales are generated from brands that hold the No. 1 or No. 2 market share positions in their categories.

Clorox is a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact, a community of global leaders committed to sustainability. The company has been broadly recognized for its corporate responsibility efforts, most notably being named to the Drucker Institute's 2017 Management Top 250 list, The Just 100: America's Top Citizens list, CR Magazine's 2017 Best Corporate Citizens list and the first sector-neutral Bloomberg Gender Equality Index in 2018. In support of its communities, The Clorox Company and its foundations contributed about $11 million in combined cash grants, product donations and cause marketing in fiscal year 2017. For more information, visit, including the Good Growth blog, and follow the company on Twitter at @CloroxCo.



The Clorox Company (PRNewsFoto/The Clorox Company) (PRNewsFoto/The Clorox Company)

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Rita Gorenberg, The Clorox Company,, 510-208-4149, Megan Carrier, Ketchum,, 202-835-8877