How Much is Your Household Labor Worth? [Survey]

Spring has sprung, which means people are tackling all kinds of household chores. To dig deeper, FinanceBuzz surveyed 1,000 people in the U.S. to find out just how people keep their homes clean.
Last updated April 5, 2022 | By Josh Koebert | Edited By Becca Borawski Jenkins
photo of couple cleaning apartment together

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Think about just how often you do different household chores. Does it feel like your to-do list is never-ending? You’re not alone.

With spring cleaning and seasonal chores on the minds of many around the country, FinanceBuzz saw the perfect opportunity to take a deeper look at how people keep their homes clean.

We surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults and asked how often they perform different household chores in a year, which ones they despise the most, and more. We even asked respondents to put a monetary value on their domestic labor, allowing us to figure out how much the average person’s chores are worth in a year. Read on to see the results.

In this article

Key findings

  • 44% of people spend more than 6 hours per week cleaning their home.
  • 74% of people say they buy green cleaning products at least some of the time even if they’re more expensive.
  • Over one-third of respondents make their own cleaning products. The number one reason they do this is to save money.
  • The median salary or pay that people think is fair for household chores is $15 per hour.
  • Based on the median monetary value respondents place on their labor and how much time they spend doing common chores every week, the average person does between $2,150-$3,700 worth of chores annually.

How much is your household labor worth?

If you were paid for doing chores around the house, what would be a fair wage for your work? The median answer to that question among survey respondents puts the value for performing domestic chores yourself at $15 per hour. Comparatively, professional cleaners make between $25-$90 per hour when they clean a home, a price tag that includes a level of experience beyond that of most homeowners.

So how much does that make the average homeowner’s chores worth in a year?

We asked survey respondents to tell us how much time they spend each week performing seven of the most common household chores. Using those answers, we found the median range of time the average person spends doing these chores week after week. From there, we determined the minimum and maximum hours that people spend doing those chores over the course of a full year. We then applied the $15 per hour wage to determine how much the average person’s domestic labor is worth per year as it relates to these fairly routine tasks.

Cleaning Survey Graphic

Even spending the shortest amount of time within the median range for each chore, someone would still perform nearly $2,100 worth of chores over the course of a year. For those who spend the maximum time within the median range, that total balloons to more than $3,700 worth of chores annually.

Where do people stand on how often they do indoor chores?

Now we know how much time people spend performing some of the most common household chores, but there are still plenty of other common tasks to take a look at. So we asked survey respondents to tell us how often they find themselves undertaking each of the 10 following indoor chores.

Cleaning Survey Graphic

We found that two-thirds of people make their bed every single day, meaning that a majority of the population has this chore on their daily to-do list. Speaking of beds, 70% of people say they wash their sheets at least once a week, while 40% of people say they wash their pillows at the same frequency. However, we also found that more than 1 in 10 people say they never ever wash their pillows. Given the bacteria, dust, and other materials that collect on them night after night, we can’t help but say yuck!

The most hated indoor chores

Cleaning Survey Graphic

While most people don’t like doing any chores at all, everyone has those chores that they absolutely hate. We asked people which three common indoor chores they truly detest.

Scrubbing the toilet is easily the most hated indoor chore, with 44% of people including it in their top 3 most hated. This is a full 14 points higher than the second most-hated chore of cleaning the fridge (30%) and over twice as hated as the third most-hated chore of washing dishes (22%).

When looking at these results across gender lines, both men and women name scrubbing toilets and cleaning the fridge as their number one and number two most-hated chores, respectively. When it comes to third place, however, men gave the bronze medal to washing dishes while women gave dusting their final slot in the top three.

How often do people do common outdoor chores?

Cleaning Survey Graphic

Indoor spaces aren’t the only areas of the home that need love and upkeep, as yards and other outdoor areas also require regular attention. Much like our analysis of indoor chore frequency, we asked survey respondents to tell us how often they perform common outdoor chores.

When it comes to lawn care, we found a few interesting tidbits. While dads mowing the lawn like clockwork every single weekend is a common stereotype, our survey shows that just 42% of people actually mow their lawn at least once a week. A similar proportion of the population, 44%, said they improve their lawn by pulling weeds at least once a month.

Beyond the lawn, we found that 38% of people never ever clean out their gutters. That is easily the highest percentage of people who say they completely neglect a given chore, whether indoor or outdoor. The next most-ignored chore is raking leaves, which 23% of people say they never do. That means two different outdoor chores get ignored at a rate higher than any single indoor chore, as the number one task people completely neglect inside the house is cleaning out their dishwasher filter, which 22% of people do not do.

We also found some interesting differences between men and women when it comes to outdoor chores. The frequency with which men and women perform most of the indoor chores in this survey was very close, but significant differences emerge with outdoor tasks. Across all five outdoor chores in our survey, women say they “never” do those chores at a rate between 4-14 points higher than men. We also found that men are 2-3 times more likely to perform every single one of these outdoor tasks on a daily basis compared to women.

The most hated outdoor chores

Cleaning Survey Graphic

When exploring which outdoor chores people hate the most, we found that over one-third of people absolutely hate pulling weeds, the highest rate of hate for any outdoor chore. We also found that the sexes are in agreement when it comes to outdoor chores. Both men and women chose pulling weeds, washing exterior windows, and cleaning gutters as their three most-hated outdoor chores.

The chores men and women are willing to sacrifice to avoid

Cleaning Survey Graphic

We wanted to see just how much people hate the chores they claim to despise. We asked respondents to tell us if they would be willing to give up their cell phone for an entire year if it meant they would never again have to do certain chores. We then broke out the results for men and women.

Men are willing to give up their phone for a year at a rate at least 10 points higher than women for every single chore. They are 75% more likely to say they would give up their phone for a year to never have to do laundry again, and 69% more likely to say the same if it means they can avoid washing dishes.

Who makes the most messes and who cleans them up?

Cleaning Survey Graphic

So who exactly causes all these messes that need to be cleaned up in the first place?

Thirty-one percent of people lay the blame at their own feet, the number one choice for this question. Two other options earned 20% or more of the responses — one-fifth of people say their children cause the biggest mess in their home, while another one-fifth claim their spouse or partner is most responsible.

When examining these results along gender lines, we found that 37% of men blame themselves for making the biggest mess, compared to just 24% of women. In fact, women actually blame both their children and their spouse for causing the biggest mess in their home at rates slightly higher than they blame themselves.

When asked who spends more time cleaning the messes in their homes, people once again named themselves to the top spot, but did so at double the rate as when asked who makes the biggest mess. While over 50% of both men and women said they do the majority of the cleaning in their homes, 29% of men said their spouse cleans more while just 8% of women said the same.

How many people keep it green while they clean?

Cleaning Survey Graphic

Finally, we wanted to see how many people think about helping the environment when they clean. We found that 74% of people pay extra for environmentally friendly cleaning products at least some of the time. That means nearly three-quarters of the population are at least a little eco-conscious when it is time to clean their homes.

Cleaning Survey Graphic

We also found that 35% of people make their own cleaning products at home, with one-fifth of those people saying they do so primarily because homemade cleaning products are better for the environment. Nearly twice as many people, however, say they make cleaning products primarily to save money.

Tips for keeping your home and bank account in tip-top shape

Making your own cleaning products is one way to save money when doing unavoidable chores, but it's not the only way. Here are a few tips for keeping your home and bank account squeaky clean:

  • Buy your supplies at the supermarket. By using one of the best credit cards for groceries, you can earn cash back when stocking up on cleaning supplies. Double-check which stores are included with your card of choice. Buying your supplies where you can get rewards could pay off in the long run.
  • Budget smart. Get your spending and saving in order by using one of the best budgeting apps so you can keep up with cleaning supplies, any necessary equipment, or potential appliance replacements. A smart budget could also help you save for cleaning services when you need an extra hand.
  • Set up a side hustle. So, you’re somebody who loves to tackle household chores. Have you considered cleaning houses on the side? This could be one of the best side hustles for you.

Methodology

FinanceBuzz surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18 or older, who comprise a nationally representative sample, on March 7, 2022.

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Author Details

Josh Koebert Josh Koebert is an experienced content marketer that loves exploring how personal finance overlaps with topics such as sports, food, pop culture, and more. His work has been featured on sites such as CNN, ESPN, Business Insider, and Lifehacker.