How Much Housework Do We Still Need To Do By Hand?

Housework by Hand

We accept that we have to do housework. Some of us actively relish it, although more commonly we tolerate it with some resentment. Yes, we’d rather be watching TV, shopping or planning a party. The problem is, doing any of those things in a messy house is far from ideal. Letting things build up until you can’t not do it will only mean the process is longer, more complicated and probably grosser.

So let’s accept now that there is a certain amount of housework you have to do, and you need to do it by hand. Do it more often, and it becomes less tiresome – first of all, you’ll be in the habit, and secondly you’ll have less to do in one go. But if we accept that we aren’t housework fans, we can also look at what you do – and don’t – have to do by hand.

YES: Cleaning Your Surfaces

Wiping up crumbs after making a sandwich is a given. But the whole “tidying as you go along” approach only does so much. Every time something comes to rest on your surfaces – kitchen or otherwise – it leaves traces behind. That includes water. Washing them down with a surface cleaner is essential.

NO: Unblocking Drains

This one is a partial “no,” I’ll admit. We all know that kitchen drains can get blocked with accumulated food waste. Bathroom drains can harbor clogs of hair and other things (yes, you’ve seen it, and yes, it’s gross). But rather than pulling the mess out of there, pouring unblocker down once a week can dissolve and purge it.

YES: Taking Out The Trash

While a lot of work has been done to eliminate excess food packaging, some remains to be eliminated. We can recycle a lot, but not everything, and as hard as you try to reuse old packaging, it’s not always possible. Don’t let trash accumulate for any more than 48 hours before moving it to outside garbage cans.

NO: Vacuuming

A chore that almost seems exciting when you’re a kid – see the mess disappear inside this noisy machine – is dreaded by many adults. Pushing it throughout the house, fighting with the flex and trying not to hoover it up? Stressful. Corners? Tedious. The benefits of robot vacuum cleaners are hard to dispute right now. They even learn the shape of the room they’re in, so you can set them to work and leave it.

YES: Putting Your Duvet Back In Its Cover

The person who invents the machine that does this will become an overnight millionaire. So far, no machine, so you need to do it by hand. A machine will wash it for you; another will dry it. But the rest is on you. Sorry.

NO: Washing The Windows

Yes, they’ve invented a gadget for that! No more having to reach up and deal with the surprisingly quick onset of arm-ache. Nor having to stand on a stool to get into those awkward spots. Automated window washers are now a thing. They won’t draw a heart on the window and write your name in it, admittedly. But do we really want robots that do that?


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