You might not love cold, dreary winter weather. But being stuck indoors can have its benefits. Winter is the perfect time to give your indoor space a thorough clean.

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Illustration by Whitney Williams

The cleanliness and organization of your home have a major effect on your physical and mental health.

One older study found that people who described their homes as unfinished or cluttered felt increasingly depressed over the course of a day. On the flip side, those who said their homes were orderly reported feeling better.

Another 2018 study in China found that people whose homes were tidy were likelier to report good health.

Clearly, keeping your living space clean and tidy is important. But spring isn’t the only season when you might benefit from a thorough cleaning. Winter is the perfect time to declutter and disinfect.

Read on to learn about the benefits of a winter deep clean.

Regularly cleaning and disinfecting your home can help prevent cold and flu germs from spreading, especially before and after hosting guests during the holidays.

You or other household members can easily catch or spread viruses by touching surfaces previously touched by someone carrying a virus. Bacteria tend to transfer to hands from hard, nonporous surfaces, according to experts.

Regular home cleaning practices can help you maintain a “hygiene barrier” that can prevent your household from infections.

Unwanted germs tend to hang out in certain places. Maintain your home’s hygiene barrier by cleaning:

  • countertops
  • frequently touched areas like doorknobs, cabinet pulls, fridge handles, sink handles
  • drains and sinks
  • shower stalls
  • toilets
  • sponges and dishcloths

Regular cleaning can improve the air quality in your home year-round.

Indoor air quality can dip in the winter, increasing your risk of respiratory infections and allergies.

Pollution is partly to blame. In the warmer months, pollution naturally dissipates into the sky. In cool weather, pollution that happens at ground level — like from idling cars — stays low to the ground and may end up inside your home.

Dry air can be an issue in the winter, too. Research shows it can worsen sore throats and other respiratory issues.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the target range for humidity inside your home should be between 30 to 50%.

In the winter, people are also more likely to gather indoors, which can increase the risk of infection transmission.

Cleaning and getting rid of moldy home furnishings or materials is essential, too, since mold in the air can cause allergic reactions.

Here are a few cleaning tips to help improve air quality:

  • Mop your floors with a damp mop.
  • Vacuum frequently, preferably with a vacuum that has a high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) filter to catch small particles.
  • Use pillow and mattress protectors.
  • Vacuum your mattresses regularly and wash your sheets in hot water weekly to kill dust mites.
  • Check your dryer vent to ensure it vents outdoors and is clear. Remove any lint buildup on the outside vent.
  • Every time you use the clothes dryer, clean the lint tray.
  • Clean ceiling fans by wiping them with a damp cloth and all-purpose spray.

Clutter can have a significant impact on your overall well-being — and even your mental health.

Since you’re likely spending more time indoors, winter is a great time to tackle clutter in your living space.

Consider these clutter-busting tips:

  • Declutter one space at a time: When it comes to a winter deep-clean, this could mean decluttering the kitchen in preparation for holiday cooking or making sure your entryway has enough storage solutions for outerwear and boots.
  • Remember, some decluttering is better than none: If an all-or-nothing mindset is holding you back from decluttering, try taking on a smaller project, like reorganizing a couple of shelves in the pantry. Consider setting a timer and doing whatever you can in the time you have.
  • Identify hotspots where clutter builds up: Ask yourself whether there are storage solutions, like boxes, baskets, or hooks, that might help reduce clutter in these areas. If you find the holidays bring a lot of decoration-related clutter, consider getting clear plastic bins to neatly store extra décor and packaging during and after the holidays.
  • Purge and winterize your closet: If your clothing storage area is bursting at the seams, take time to go through it and separate what to give away and what to store — like summer clothes. Prioritize keeping the things in your closet that you’ll wear during the winter and that actually fit you.

A clean, clutter-free space can also help guests feel more relaxed in your home.

And, if you stay on top of cleaning before guests arrive, you’ll have less clean-up and more time for relaxing after they leave.

Here are a few key ways to help your home feel extra tidy and welcoming:

  • Clear out your fridge and pantry, dispose of expired items, clean the inside surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner, and put the food items back where they belong.
  • Clean and sanitize your kitchen and bathroom garbage cans.
  • Wipe down cupboards, especially the handles, using an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Scrub and sanitize your bathroom and kitchen sinks.
  • Vacuum under furniture and beds where your guests will be staying.
  • Dust lampshades and bookcases.
  • Clean mirrors and windows with glass cleaner.

A winter deep clean and declutter can help support your physical and mental health over the holidays — giving you more energy to do the things that matter most, like spending time with loved ones.

Keeping a clean and tidy home over the winter can also help you get a head start on spring cleaning.

If you don’t have a lot of time, start small. Tackle those pantry shelves. Clean out that drawer. Or purge that closet. You may be surprised by how good it feels.