Clean Yourself Skinny

Burn calories by cleaning

Did you know you can actually burn calories by cleaning?  Yes, it’s true! An average 5’5″ 130 lbs woman can burn over 100 calories in 45 minutes by “light” cleaning.  So, the more vigorous you work, the more you burn.  Here are a few chores that could you can do (at least) weekly to shave extra calories off your day.

Clean the bathroom

Burn calories by cleaning the bathroom. The whole thing.  Dust, then wipe the mirror and any windows, clean the sink and vanity, clean the toilet, and (saving the worst for last) scrub the tub and shower walls.  This can easily take an hour and if you use that elbow grease you can count on burning over 200 calories.  Repeat weekly for a clean bathroom and guiltless glass of wine at the end of the night!

Guilt Free Wine


Burn calories by cleaning the carpet. To turn vacuuming into a workout push the vacuum only as far as your arm extends and return to start without moving your feet.  A quick push/pull motion like this will target your arm muscles.  Keep an eye on the clock and switch arms every 5 minutes.  The heavier the vacuum the more you build muscles.  Burn 100 calories in just 30 minutes!

Have a baby handy?  Strap them into a carrier or backpack for added weight resistance.  Be sure to keep your core tight to protect your low-back.  You can double the calories this way!


Burn calories by cleaning the floor. Using the same motion for mopping as you did vacuuming you can get a serious arm workout and burn an equal amount of calories.  Sweeping will take about 45 minutes to burn 100 calories.  To burn a few extra calories, get down and clean the baseboards too.

Sweeping to Burn Calories

Washing Windows

Burn calories by cleaning the windows. Have windows or glass doors in your house.  Make them shine and tone your arm and shoulder muscles at the same time.  Make sure to use both arms to work both sides of your body.  To burn over a 100 calories work for thirty minutes.

Tidy up

Burn calories by cleaning with light chores. Washing dishes after dinner, wiping down the counters and table, picking up all the toys and clothes and putting them away.  All these odds and ends at the end of the night not only allow you to start the next day off fresh but they can burn extra calories before you catch some zzz’s.  Do at least 45 minutes worth in order to burn 100 calories.

Get Outside

Burn calories by cleaning up outside!

Garden:  Burn calories by cleaning the flower bed. Any gardener will tell you that they ache after spending a day outside working in their yard, planting and tending to their gardens.  There is good reason for this too.  Gardening works muscles that aren’t normally being worked.  Get out their and beautify your yard while toning your arms, shoulders, and back.  Only a half an hour will burn 100 calories!

Mow the Yard:  Burn calories by cleaning the yard. Ok, I know this one is a “man’s” job.  But seriously, it took at least 1.5 hours for me to do my yard (pre-kids because I don’t know how I would do this with kids) and my yard is super tiny, although it does have some huge hills.  I burned almost 500 calories doing this!  What?!  Just 20 minutes gets you to 100 calories.  AND you even burn by using a riding lawn mower although it will take you 45 minutes to burn 100 calories.

Washing the Car: Burn calories by cleaning the car. Here’s a great one for summertime!  And fun with kids!  Burn over 200 calories if you work for 1.5 hours.

Tips to get the most out of chores.

Keeping your house clean is more than just chores.  It’s staying active, avoiding weight gain, and keeping yourself healthy!  If you are trying to get in shape or lose serious weight you should compliment this with regular workouts and clean eating.  To learn more about clean eating check out this blog on how eating organic can actually help you avoid weight gain and this blog on why you should join a CSA.

So, does this change your outlook on being the only one who ever scrubs the toilets?  And more importantly, did I miss any big chores that could earn me another glass of wine??

Sources:  Spring Cleaning & My Fitness Pal & Livestrong & CalorieLab

Thanks for reading. Sharing is caring!


  1. Janore says:

    Thanks for your blog. I hate cleaning but I do love workingout. I think instead of working out 5 times a week. I’ll start cleaning for a hour and half to supplement my healthy lifestyle. I love clean environments but I cant find time to clean because of the gym kids or work. So this will add some more balance to my life.

    • Callie says:

      Yes, balance is so hard to find! Just this morning I decided to count mopping the entire house as my cardio. I have no guilt on either side now because I worked my arms and got my heart rate up and I have clean floors for the weekend! An added bonus is to keep your tummy pulled in tight whatever you are doing. Good luck Janore!

Leave a Reply