Angry Cleaning Can Be Cathartic: 6 Tasks to Tackle When You're Furious

Your grout will never look cleaner.

The mental health benefits of exercise—which include managing depression—are well-established. If people exercise to cope with anger, anxiety, and sadness, why can't cleaning your house provide the same release? The key to angry cleaning is to choose a task that falls into one (or both) of these categories: instant gratification or physical exertion.

What is Angry Cleaning?

Angry cleaning (or rage cleaning) is the act of tackling a cleaning project with the express purpose of releasing pent-up emotion. Pushing yourself physically forces you to expel that energy while focusing on a task instead of dwelling on negative thoughts.

It also puts you in a position of control. Oftentimes, anger springs from situations in which we feel helpless. You can't shout back at your irresponsible boss, or track down the thief who stole your credit card. But you can power through a cleaning project, get it done, and experience the satisfaction of having one less chore to do. So the next time you're feeling a little heated, make that emotion work for you and cross these six tasks off your to-do list.

Angry Cleaning Ideas

Scrubbing Grout

Fun fact: You can clean grout effectively with hot water and a stiff-bristled brush. But really, the big draw here is that cleaning grout takes effort, and since you're sort of oddly bent over the tub, your core is usually engaged. Hello, physical challenge! Use all that bottled-up rage to get your grout back to its original glory.

Keep in mind that you don't want to hurt your poor grout while rage cleaning. So while it's OK to throw some muscle into it, refrain from harsh cleaning products. Cleaners like bleach or vinegar can potentially corrode grout and tile finishes. If your grout is really stained, try a natural cleaning paste made of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.


The heavier your vacuum, the better. Pushing a large, loud machine around the carpet can be surprisingly cathartic. To pick up the most dirt, alternate directions. The dirtier the floor (and the more you can hear the vacuum sucking up), the better you'll feel.

Want to add a little aromatherapy to your angry cleaning session? Follow this brilliant vacuuming hack: Dip a cotton ball in your favorite essential oil, like lemon or lavender, and put it inside the vacuum's canister. A soothing scent will be released as you push the machine around.

Beating Rugs

Sometimes an upholstery attachment or a quick vacuum won't cut it. When it comes to dirt-dispelling methods, beating a rug might be your best bet for several reasons: It's environmentally friendly, inexpensive, and a lot less noisy than running your vacuum (which means your dog or cat will probably thank you).

Best of all? Taking small to medium-sized rugs or sheepskin throws outside and giving them a good shake not only removes a ton of dirt and pet hair but also releases some pent-up energy.

Mopping Your Floors

Are you so angry you feel like pushing someone? Don't do that. Instead, push something slightly heavy across the floor and bend to do a thorough floor scrub here and there. A no-touch mop that distributes cleaner makes the physical exertion go even smoother.

Just remember to begin at the far corner of the room and move your way back toward the door. You're already angry—don't make yourself more frustrated by getting trapped in a corner and having to walk on what you just cleaned.

Vacuuming the Furniture

Pulling up the couch cushions to access all the dirt and dust underneath allows you to toss them around and give them a good karate chop here and there. Then you really have to brush vigorously with an upholstery attachment. Whew, we're getting tired just thinking about it.

Do you still have energy to burn? Head to the trash can and dump out all the gunk you just collected in the vacuum's canister. The truth is, you ought to do this either way. By regularly cleaning your vacuum (you could also spray the bristles and brushes with disinfectant while you're at it), you'll be ridding it of potential germs or bacteria.

Cleaning Your Mattress

Just thinking about how much you paid for your mattress might make you hopping mad. So this is one possession to take your frustrations out on! You should be turning or flipping it every six months, anyway, which takes some exertion. Properly cleaning it will require even more.

Sprinkle the mattress with baking soda; let it sit for an hour, then vacuum vigorously with an upholstery attachment. The same principles as the couch cushions apply here: So long, pent-up anger. And by the way, you should be changing your bedding at least once a week, so that's another task to add to the list. By the time you've finished all this, it will be time for a nap.

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