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How Many Calories Do You Burn Doing House Work?

author image Megan Smith
Megan Smith has been a freelance writer and editor since 2006. She writes about health, fitness, travel, beauty and grooming topics for various print and Internet publications. Smith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing from New York University.
How Many Calories Do You Burn Doing House Work?
A close-up of a gloved hand scrubbing a counter top. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

If you don't have time to hit the gym, there are other ways to burn calories. Some of the chores you do around the house may help you burn calories, especially if you do them regularly. The more vigorously you perform the chores, the more calories you will burn. Consult your doctor before adding exercise into your routine, particularly if you have injuries or health concerns.


Don't fret over the heaping pile of pots and pans in your kitchen sink. Scrubbing those grease stains will burn about 160 calories per half hour. Loading your dishes into the dishwasher isn't as physically taxing, but you'll still burn 105 calories if you continuously load the dishwasher for half an hour. When it comes to burning calories, it's better to do the dishes the old-fashioned way.


Although it may be tempting to wash your kitchen floor with a mop, get down on the floor and really give it a good scrub. Not only will your floor look cleaner, but you'll also burn more calories. Scrubbing the kitchen floor -- or any floor, for that matter -- will burn about 400 calories per hour. You'll tone your arms and your shoulders, especially if you switch to the opposite arm about halfway through the chore.

Vacuuming the carpet will help tone your arms and legs and burn calories, especially if your vacuum is heavy. An hour of vacuuming burns approximately 180 calories. If you vacuum only with one hand, you will not be getting an even workout. Instead, switch which hand you're vacuuming with halfway through your session. This way, you'll work both of your arms equally.


Laundry day may quickly become your favorite day of the week. Throwing your laundry in the washer, the dryer and then folding it may burn more than 200 calories. And if some of your laundry needs to be pressed, add on another 140 calories for every hour you spend ironing. While your clothing gets clean, you'll be strengthening and toning your arm muscles.

Glass and Surfaces

Dusting isn't the most active of your daily chores, but it will still help you burn calories and tone your arm muscles. Best of all, dusting is an activity that you can do while you're sitting, so you can still burn calories if you're suffering from a leg or back injury. If you dust for half an hour straight, you'll burn approximately 50 calories.

Washing the windows will not only bring more sunlight into your home, it will also burn calories. Wiping down your windows will burn about 250 calories per hour. The scrubbing motion will tone your back, shoulders and arms -- just remember to switch arms halfway through, or you'll only be exercising one side of your body.

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