How many calories do you burn doing household chores? And how to make them part of your fitness routine

calories burnt doing household chores
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Housework and working out can sit happily in the same sentence.

Household chores and hitting the gym – two things which tend to drop to the bottom of our to do lists. But what if we told you that housework could actually replace your workout? According to research by cleaning product manufacturer StarBrands, giving your bathroom a thorough going-over could burn as many calories as a 20 minute spin class – now that's what we call multi-tasking!

Spending an additional 30 minutes on chores each day could actually help you lose 2lbs over 30 days, (though with a few diet modifications you can lose a stone in a month). So who said losing weight had to be hard?

Read on to find out how many calories these everyday chores burn and to find out if this is the best exercise for you...

How many calories do I burn doing housework?

We've calculated the calories of the most common chores so you can workout how to get fit doing housework.

How many calories do I burn doing gardening?

A spot of light gardening will help you burn an impressive 174 calories an hour – that's more than you need to treat yourself to a Cadbury Flake, which comes in at 167 calories. 30 minutes of dancing will help you burn almost as much at 150 calories.

We can't think of a better excuse to get digging up those weeds or to repot plants that have outgrown their current space.

How many calories do I burn doing DIY?

Carrying out a simple home repair could see you burn an impressive 204 calories an hour, which means you're already on your way to treating yourself to a warm scone which comes in at 225 calories. 20 minutes of skipping would burn around 200 calories.

There are plenty of how to guides focusing on DIY on YouTube so it's time to roll up your sleeves and dig out the toolbox that's been gathering dust in your garden shed.

How many calories do I burn making the bed?

Making your bed burns 70 calories an hour, the equivalent of 1 digestive biscuit, or 20 minutes of Pilates.

How many calories do I burn doing laundry?

You can burn 148 calories per hour whilst washing and folding laundry, which means you can reward yourself with 1 medium glass of wine - or skip a 40 minute weights session.

How many calories do I burn ironing?

An hour of ironing burns 157 calories, the equivalent of 1 bag of crisps, or 30 minutes of water aerobics.

How many calories do I burn sweeping?

Sweeping burns off 161 calories per hour, or 3 Cadbury's Roses. You'd have to cycle for 30 minutes to burn the same number.

How many calories do I burn dusting?

An hour spent dusting burns 166 calories. Treat yourself to 2 chocolate digestives, which would otherwise cost you 20 minutes of aerobics.

How many calories do I burn vacuuming?

Vacuuming burns 175 calories an hour, equivalent to a medium caffe latte, or 20 minutes spent jogging.

How many calories do I burn cleaning windows?

An hour of window cleaning burns 231 calories. You'd need to do 25 minutes of circuit training to burn the same amount, equivalent to a custard-filled doughnut...

How many calories do I burn scrubbing the bathroom?

Scrubbing the bathroom burns 256 calories per hour, and will earn you 2 scoops of Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough ice cream... Or you could spend 20 minutes spinning, instead.

How many calories do I burn washing the car?

An hour spent washing the car burns 314 calories, the equivalent of 1 brownie, or 45 minutes of swimming.

How many calories do I burn mopping floors?

Mopping floors burns just as many calories as washing the car (314 an hour), which means you can treat yourself to a guilt-free caffe mocha with whipped cream – and skip your 45 minute boxing class.

How to make housework part of your fitness routine

The goverment have recommendations on how much exercise per week an average person needs (areound 150 minutes of cardio excerise per week, plus strength exercises twice a week). Just doing housework alone will not enable you to meet that recommendation, but it can support an existing regime. Choose 1-3 household chores and do them intensely for a minimum of 30 minutes, a few days per week as part of your healthy lifestyle routine. We recommend the following combinations:

  • Cleaning windows and scrubbing the bathroom - calories burnt in an hour, 244
  • Mopping the floors and vacuuming - calories burnt in an hour, 244
  • Cleaning the car and some DIY - calories burnt in an hour, 270
  • Laundry and iorning - calories burnt in an hour, 152

Miriam worked for woman&home for over five years and previously worked on the women's lifestyle magazines Woman and Woman's Own.