Helpful Cleaning Tips for People with Chronic Pain

If you have chronic pain, you may feel overwhelmed or burdened by cleaning your home. Know that you are not alone. Cleaning is typically hard to keep up with, with or without pain. However, living with persistent pain brings a new level of difficulty to cleaning. 

This article will share some tips for cleaning that make it easier to maintain and less strenuous. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you may feel more inspired and motivated to clean. There are ways to adapt any task to your needs – cleaning included.

The Trouble with Cleaning and Chronic Pain

Cleaning is hard. It’s hard, even without pain or fatigue. It often requires heavy lifting, repetitive movements, bending, reaching, and cardio. In a 2011 study in the BMC Public Health Journal, researchers assessed cleaning as a risk to safety. They found that out of 1000 people, 3.8 of them were injured by spring cleaning! 

a man sits on the edge of his bed, gripping his neck in pain. He must have become injured while cleaning with chronic pain.

Now, combine the strain and risk for injury with a preexisting chronic pain condition – it’s no wonder that cleaning is avoided. 

When you are experiencing pain and feeling fatigued, the last thing you want to do is scrub the floor. But, the good news is that cleaning has no rules and there are ways to clean that are safe, less strenuous, and manageable. The next section will share some tips for cleaning with pain.

Tips for Cleaning With Chronic Pain

The section is broken up into cleaning tips that deal with what you can try and what you should avoid. 

When cleaning, try: 

  • Cleaning smaller areas more often (e.g. 15 minutes of cleaning each day) 
  • Slowly work on decluttering your home so there’s less to clean
  • Plan your breaks or set a timer (e.g., take a break every 20 minutes)
  • Ask for help with more strenuous cleaning activities or hire a cleaning service
  • Invest in helpful tools like a robot vacuum, grabbers, padded floor mats, etc. 
  • Keep a cleaning cart on each floor (if you have multiple floors) so there’s less carrying 
  • Soak dishes or leave product on surfaces to lessen amount of scrubbing 
  • Clean and tidy as you go so there’s less to clean up at once 
  • Make a plan, goal, or schedule for cleaning that works with your needs
This image shows a bucket of cleaning products that are in focus. In the background, out of focus, is a woman sitting on the couch on her phone, relaxing. She is taking a break to avoid injury, while cleaning with chronic pain.

When cleaning, avoid: 

  • Repetitive movements 
  • Bending and twisting – try bringing things up to your level (e.g., laundry basket) 
  • Moving heavy furniture 
  • Standing or sitting for too long (switch positions often) 
  • Cleaning your entire home in one go 
  • Reaching or slouching 
  • Exposing your bare skin to harsh chemicals 
  • Breathing in cleaning fumes 


Cleaning is tough, but there are ways to adapt it to your needs. The best cleaning tip for chronic pain is to do a little bit of cleaning, regularly. This helps you stay on top of the cleaning, while avoiding overdoing it. 

Leave your best cleaning with chronic pain tips in the comments! How do you keep up with it? 

Feel free to discuss this topic in the comments or in our Living with Chronic Pain discussion forum


Deering, S. (2022). 5 Tips for Cleaning Your Home When you Have Chronic Pain. Practical Pain Management. Retrieved from: here

PainScale. (n.d.). Additional Tips for Cleaning with Chronic Pain. PainScale. Retrieved from: here

Saadat, S. & Karbakhsh, M. (2011). Spring cleaning as a safety risk: Results of a population-based study in two consecutive years. BMC Public Health, 11: 631. DOI: 

Wildt, M. (n.d.). 35 Cleaning Hacks for Chronic Illness. The Discerning You. Retrieved from: here

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