The Most Hated Chores Couples Fight About and How to Make Them Easier

These chores spark the most conflict between American couples.

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Ah, true love! Candlelit dinners. Hand-in-hand strolls through the park. Household chores. Well, maybe not that last one. If cleaning the bathroom doesn't quite fit into your list of beloved romantic activities, you're not alone. And you feel pretty much the same way about taking out the trash, folding laundry, and vacuuming. Relationship buzz-kills, every last one.

For its Modern Love and Household Responsibilities survey, Yelp asked 2,000 Americans with partners (split evenly between men and women) how chores affect their relationships—and more specifically, which are the five most hated chores. You may have fought over one or two of them yourself. If so, don't worry: We have some ideas for making them less of a burden on your relationship.

About the Chores Survey

According to the survey results, people's lists of tedious household duties put a serious strain on their relationships. Many people admitted they'd go to great, hypothetical lengths to avoid doing chores altogether if given the opportunity. Here are some key takeaways.

People Hate How Much Time Chores Take

Not only are these maintenance musts unpleasant on a one-time basis, but they also require constant doing and collectively take up a lot of time.

According to the survey, "The average chore-doing respondent can spend up to 690 hours a year on housework. This comes out to a little over 13 hours per week. With respondents estimating their time to be worth (on average) about $64 per hour, those who do their own chores spend over $44,000 worth of their own time on housework per year."

Professional Cleaners Could Be Worth It

If spending money is the main factor hindering your decision to outsource housework, consider that potential $44,000 worth of time and energy you spend doing it yourself. In fact, Yelp's survey also saw a spike in Americans hiring professional cleaners.

And of the couples who've gone this route, nearly two-thirds think it has helped their relationship, 47 percent claim it's offered them more time in the day, and 42 percent say it's relieved some stress (it gives them one less thing to argue over). And these days, who couldn't use a little stress relief?

Chores Cause Relationship Tensions

Per the survey, 80 percent of chore-doing respondents said they have disagreements about housework—and of that group, one-fifth say the disagreements happen frequently. More specifically, couples seem to be most at odds over details like:

  • When to do housework (53 percent)
  • How to do it (50 percent)
  • Who should do it (48 percent)
  • Whether or not to hire a professional (39 percent)
  • The quality of the cleaning pro's work if hired (32 percent)

And it's no wonder couples keep bickering over domestic tasks since 61 percent say they often have to clean again after their partner did. People seem to loathe these quotidian responsibilities so much that, when polled by Yelp, many said they'd be willing to sacrifice some surprising things to sidestep them for good. Over a third said they'd give up alcohol, and a fifth said they'd give up sex forever—yes, forever—if it meant they'd never have to slog through chores again.

5 Chores Ranked as the Most Hated

So, which chores do people hate the most? Here are the worst offenders, followed by our strategies for getting them done faster (with much less arguing).

  • Washing the dishes
  • Doing laundry
  • Cleaning the bathroom
  • Sweeping and vacuuming
  • Cooking meals and grocery shopping.

Washing the Dishes

Those damnable, dirty dishes! It seems like the sink is always full of them. In fact, washing dishes (and cleaning the kitchen generally) ranked first among the chores couples detest the most. Even if you own a dishwasher, you're probably not exempt from the most frustrating part of this job: scrubbing pots and pans. But here are some habits that can make the dishwashing process easier:

  • Fill a large bowl or pot with hot, dish-soapy water, and keep it near the sink while cooking. As you finish with dirty utensils and flatware, toss them in and let them soak. When it's time to wash them (or rinse them for the dishwasher), the cleanup will be less arduous for you. (And easier for your partner if you ask them to do it!)
  • Stash some rubber dishwashing gloves under the sink. Wearing gloves while washing dishes allows you to tolerate very hot water—and high heat speeds up the process by helping to loosen and wipe away food.
  • Try this deglazing trick, which loosens stuck-on food from pots. Sure, you or your partner will still have to clean the pot, but at least it won't require 15 minutes of scouring.

Doing Laundry

Doing laundry can feel like a thankless task, and when does it end? Unless you plan to join a nudist colony, the answer is never. The good news is that a big part of this chore—aka folding clothes when they come out of the dryer—can be much less tedious if you and your partner do it together while watching your favorite TV show. (That's assuming you can agree on a show!) Here are some other strategies to make this necessary evil a little less...evil.

  • Eliminate the need for sorting by using two hampers: one for whites and one for colors. This also sets up an even way to split this chore. You can each be in charge of one basket!
  • Speed up the folding process by avoiding the need to pair socks. Give each family member a mesh laundry bag just for socks. Instead of pairing many socks with their mates, just hand each person their bag and be on your way.
  • Reduce your amount of laundry by not washing all your clothes every time. With the exception of undergarments and workout clothes, many items of clothing can be worn two (or more) times between washings.

Cleaning the Bathroom

It may sound hard to believe, but cleaning the bathroom doesn't have to be a loathsome chore. With a little daily maintenance, you won't have to face the foul odors and accumulated dirt, dust, mildew, and soap scum that can make this job hard. Breaking the maintenance down into smaller tasks (preferably shared between you and your partner) will help you keep the gross stuff in check and your relationship on an even keel. Here are some tips:

  • Assign a day of the week for each small chore. For example, wipe down the sink on Mondays, spray and wipe the mirrors on Tuesdays, tackle the toilet on Wednesdays, and so on. One five-minute chore is less off-putting than cleaning an entire bathroom.
  • Squeegee the walls and spray them with a daily shower spray every time you take a shower.
  • Invest in a cleaning gadget like a power scrubber or electric brush to make bathroom cleaning faster and easier.

Sweeping and Vacuuming

Is there anything more dreary than arguing over dirty floors? Whether it's sticky tile in the kitchen or a crumb-ridden living room carpet, floors may be the most frustrating part of your house to keep clean. But ridding them of dirt and germs is important for health reasons, considering all the bacteria that are tracked in on peoples' shoes. Here are some tips to make cleaning a floor less of a chore:

Cooking Meals and Grocery Shopping

"What's for dinner?" Those innocent-sounding words can be very hard on a relationship, especially when neither partner likes to cook. Even if you don't mind cooking, you may hate the grocery shopping trips that meal preparation requires. Here are ways to make cooking and shopping easier:

  • Use shortcuts. Buy items like pre-cooked, shredded chicken, precut vegetables, peeled garlic, and shredded cheese to cut steps (and valuable time) out of your dinner recipes. If you can afford it, try out a meal delivery service, which does a lot of the prep work for you.
  • Incorporate foil wrap dinners and sheet pan recipes into your meal regimen. Cooking dinner is a lot less terrible when all you have to do is put some food on a sheet pan (or inside some foil) and slide it into the oven.
  • Use online grocery shopping apps like Instacart for your non-perishables. You can avoid entire aisles at the supermarket.
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