Deconstructing the origins of the annual “spring clean”

Pictures of flowers in the sunshine are often associated with the term "spring clean". Do you know why?

Image by snowing on Freepik

Have you noticed that the days are starting to get longer and the weather is getting warmer. If so, you may also start feeling the need to give the house a good clean. You’re probably also being bombarded with ads about spring cleaning, and hearing plenty of people talking about it too. But where did the term “spring clean” come from, and why is it so ingrained in our culture?

By doing a quick search on the Internet, you’ll find lots of explanations about this phenomenon. However, you’ll probably end up just as confused as me by the plethora of theories. I don’t know which one is true, so here are some of them. Feel free to choose the one you like best:

Possible Origins

  • In the Middle Ages, people lived in homes with dirt floors. And after a long winter, these dwellings resembled a veritable dust palace. So, as spring rolled around, they would eagerly throw open their windows, unleashing a swirling storm of dirt and dust. Hence, the term “spring clean” was born.
  • The Jewish custom of Passover occurs in spring (in the northern hemisphere), and is often associated with cleaning the house. This could be related to ensuring no traces of leavened bread are in the house. This is because during Passover it is traditional to only consume unleavened bread (matzah), in recognition of the hardship they endured in Egypt before their exodus.
  • In Iran, the new year (called Nowruz) occurs in spring on the equinox. Part of their celebrations include khane tekani which literally means to “shake the house”.
  • Are you one of those people that dreads spring and the effect it has on your allergies. Cleaning the house thoroughly can reduce the chances of hay fever and other similar annoying spring time ailments.
  • Maybe the “spring” isn’t related to the season at all, but to the act of jumping. Before vacuums were invented, people would often jump up and down on rugs to loosen the dust. This would then allow them to sweep the rug clean.

Are you up for a spring clean?

If you are, you’re not alone. Spring is one of our busiest times of year. In fact, we sometimes run out of bins and have to turn away customers. So don’t wait if you’re planning on taking advantage of the better weather. It has already been a particularly busy start to the season, and we don’t want you to miss out. Plan ahead and book online or give us a call as soon as you can, and you’ll be able to put a spring in your step after clearing out the clutter.

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