This Is the Magic Number When It Comes to Cleaning

updated Jun 7, 2019
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(Image credit: Hrynevich Yury)

It’s hard to get motivated to clean the kitchen. There’s Netflix to be watched, and Instagram to be checked, and honestly has anyone ever felt truly inspired to scrub the floor? The problem is, if you procrastinate too much on the cleaning, it turns into a really big chore that can take hours to accomplish. So the key is to figure out a happy medium — the least amount of time you can spend on cleaning to be effective and not get burned out either.

We’ve discovered that the magic number is, wait for it, 20 minutes.

Why 20 Minutes Is the Magic Number When It Comes to Cleaning

It happens to be the average length of most adults’ sustained attention span (i.e., the amount of time you can reasonably expect a grown-up to focus on a single thing). That’s why TED talks are capped at 18 minutes — too much longer and the mind will wander. It’s also conveniently the length of many kids’ TV shows, which means you can probably get your cleaning done before the kids finish Sofia the First!

The 20-minute chunk also happens to be a reasonable amount of time to commit to cleaning. It’s not too punishing, but it’s plenty of time to complete a task or two. And if you start at 9:30 p.m., you can be in bed by 10. Totally reasonable!

We believe in this so much, we even have a 20-minute-a-day kitchen-cleaning schedule that will get your space sparkling within 30 days. No spending your entire Saturday scrubbing the floor, clearing the fridge, and getting into the grout with a toothbrush. This plan cuts everything into bite-sized pieces that your attention span can handle. So that you can get started and, more importantly, finished — and get back to Netflix.

How much time do you dedicate to cleaning each day?