What Causes Someone to Not Clean Their House?

Learn what makes people live in messy and cluttered houses, and what could be the potential aftermath of it

Written by Olivia Paxton. Updated on What Causes Someone to Not Clean Their House

Perhaps, you have seen such people whose houses are rather dirty and messy inside.

You might have seen them in person (maybe, they even live nearby), or you could definitely see them on the TV.

In any case, the homes of these people are usually badly stuffed with clutter and useless items, they are piled with carton boxes that are filled with all the unnecessary things that these people are afraid to throw out.

And for sure, after seeing all this, you have asked yourself only one question: why are people so messy?

Is it only because they have no time at all to clean?! Well, this may be one of the reasons, but not the only one.

And for those of you who are still curious about this theme, this article was prepared.

After you read it, you will learn why some people do not clean in their houses, and what it can lead to.

Also, we will tell you how untidy homes can affect your health, and what other reasons (except for the lack of time) you should consider when trying to figure out what makes you or other people avoid keeping their living spaces clean and tidy.

What Makes People Live In Messy Homes?

First of all, let’s agree that a dirty and untidy house does not look nice and attractive at all!

Piles of carton boxes and storage containers, all sorts of unnecessary stuff like old clothes, books that you never read, magazines and millions of useless items that will never ever be used again…

All these things stuff your house from bottom to the roof leaving less and less space for you to live in!

However, such a home is not only a sign of an untidy or extremely busy person as many people tend to believe.

If you live in a cluttered house, it might be a sign of a problem! And quite often, that problem is not only about too little time you have to clean up.

Of course, in such a busy world as the one we live in today, in minor cases of unclean living spaces, it might be down to personal preference or a lack of time.

However, when a dirty home environment becomes more extreme, it could be a sign of something more serious such as trauma, or a physical or mental illness!

So if you know someone who lives in such a house and you suspect that there might be something wrong with that person, we suggest you learn more about the possible causes of this behavior and neglect of basic cleaning chores.

What Makes People Live In Messy Homes
Credits: THPStock, via Crello.com

Lack Of Mobility

It often happens that unclean houses are the result of the lack of mobility.

Whether it is due to old age or a physical disability, some people reach a point where they are unable to move well enough to clean their homes properly and even do it regularly enough.

Of course, because of human nature, such people typically feel ashamed and embarrassed because of their state and situation, and so they usually won’t ask for help! Simply because they would not like to feel like a burden for others.

Of course, over time, their houses will get buried under the piles of garbage and mess which will make it even more complicated for them to deal with the problem.

As a result, such a messy home may lead to quite serious problems with health in future.

So if you know someone who is like this, and you see that nobody is going to help this person, try to offer your help!

You can do it yourself or with the help of a few caring neighbors. Or you could delegate this task to the local caretakers.

Lack Of Mobility
Credits: VitalikRadko, via Crello.com

Mental Health Problems

Not all of us know that living in a messy and untidy home may be the sign of serious problems with one’s mental health!

More common mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety will often cause a severe lack of energy and motivation to clean and tidy.

The combination of extreme tiredness and feeling like you don’t want to do anything often leads to a messy environment and a lack of hygiene.

In addition, people who suffer from depression often struggle to complete even the smallest tasks and the simplest house chores, which takes its toll on their environment over time.

When having more complex mental illnesses, such people may experience the same emotional exhaustion, or they may not see their home’s cleanliness as a priority or even a problem.

In any case, this state requires serious medical help and treatment!

Woman’s Excuses For Why She Doesn’t Clean House Filled With Dirty Dishes, Clutter EverywhereWoman’s Excuses For Why She Doesn’t Clean House Filled With Dirty Dishes, Clutter Everywhere

Problems With One’s Physical Health

This cause is similar to a lack of mobility. Physical health problems or disabilities can make it extremely difficult for a person to move around and complete physically-exerting tasks.

Chores tend to involve a lot of movement and energy as we all know, which for some people is too much, especially when their bodies are not able to function properly.

Whether they are in pain, unable to stand for long periods of time, or constantly feeling unwell, cleaning and tidying is a tough job.

Poor vision can also be mentioned as one of the possible reasons for having an untidy and dirty house. We guess it does not even require any explanations.

If you can’t see the dirt then you don’t know it is there, and eventually, you kist stop cleaning it.

After the grime and mess start building up, some people will request help from people they know or a professional service.

Problems With One’s Physical Health
Credits: IgorVetushko, via Crello.com

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Too Many Possessions

When people collect way too many belongings and become unable to let go, their homes can fill up to the point where it is even impossible to move around.

And since it is too difficult to get from one room to another or to see any surfaces, it just isn’t possible to clean.

Plus, such people might not recognize the problem if they have a very organized mess in their homes, for instance, piles and piles of old newspapers and magazines, or other documents they can’t throw away for some reason.

It often happens because people with hoarding tendencies see every object they keep as important!

They may move into one room of their home and fill the rest with their possessions. Unfortunately, this will lead to professional intervention sooner or later, where their homes are cleared out with their permission, or after they die.

Too Many Possessions
Credits: IgorVetushko, via Crello.com

Related: 10 Life Hacking Tips to Clean Your Windows With no Streaks

Lack Of Time

This cause is one of the simplest and most “harmless” ones meaning that it does not show that the person is suffering from any mental health issue.

When somebody has no available time to clean and organize their house, dirt can build up way too fast.

On top of other issues such as reduced mobility or a huge build-up of stuff, a lack of time can definitely contribute to a dirty home environment.

Lack Of Time
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Lack Of Self-Confidence

You might be surprised to hear about such a reason, but it still exists.

What does it have to do with messy homes, you may be wondering? See, a lack of self-confidence or self-love can make people feel that they are unworthy of a nice place to live!

If somebody feels like they don’t deserve to live in a clean and tidy place, then they will struggle to find the motivation to clean it.

They also probably won’t reach out for help from other people, such as a friend, family member, or cleaning service because they don’t think they deserve it! Sounds crazy but this is how it is.

Unfortunately, this may happen to people already suffering from loneliness or a mental illness such as depression.

So these were the most common reasons for people living in untidy and obviously dirty and messy houses.

As you can see, the majority of these causes are not as harmless as you might think of them before!

So be attentive and if you notice that one of your friends or family members started having problems with their daily cleaning chores, talk to them in order to figure out whether they have any problems they need to solve.

Lack Of Self-Confidence
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Effects Of Living In an Untidy House

Do you think that people who don’t clean in their homes only suffer from stuffed and messy spaces around them?

Of course, this is also a result of avoiding at least the basic cleaning, but there are much more harmful results of this behavior!

We can name several health risks that living in an unclean house can bring to you.

So if you want to know what happens when you don’t clean your house properly and regularly, here is what you should take into consideration:

Health Issues From Pets Dander And Dust

Living in an unclean house often means the presence of pet dander and dust there.

And those can lead to serious issues with your lungs, for instance, to asthma.

But severe or prolonged exposure to dust can also cause brand new health conditions to start.

Similarly, if you are unwell and living in a dusty environment, the sickness will be made worse and your recovery time will be even longer.

Health Issues From Pets Dander And Dust
Credits: Volurol, via Crello.com


As you probably know, mold spores can appear and spread everywhere if there is enough moisture and darkness there.

This is why dirty bathrooms, unclean fridges and kitchens often become perfect mold “plantations”.

And as we all know, inhaling the spores of mold can result in tons of health issues!

Credits: serezniy, via Crello.com

Rodents And Bugs

Unclean homes are just perfect for all these critters since they are like welcoming signs for them!

Mice, bugs and rodents will pay you a visit as soon as your living space gets dirty enough.

And not only is living with bugs and animals gross, but it is also dangerous for our health.

They carry diseases and bacteria that will survive on our surfaces, which we can then pick up and ingest.

Rodents And Bugs
Credits: serezniy, via Crello.com

Food Poisoning

If you don’t keep your kitchen and your fridge clean and tidy, chances are that you get mold growth and bacteria spreading there sooner or later.

Not cleaning out rotting meat and dairy from your refrigerator is extremely risky for your health and when cooking for others in your home.

Food Poisoning
Credits: Bowonpat, via Crello.com

Bad Smells

It’s obvious: a dirty house will start smelling bad sooner or later.

The combo of rotting food, bacteria, mold and unwashed fabric will definitely cause a very unpleasant odor!

And even if you can’t smell it yourself, it does not mean that people coming into your home will not be hit with a powerful scent.

Bad Smells
Credits: Bowonpat, via Crello.com

Neglected Social Life

If your house is way too far from being called tidy and clean, you will surely start avoiding any visita from outside from your neighbors, relatives and even friends.

As a result, your social life will get way too poor.

You might also feel down and overwhelmed about your home, and stop checking in with your friends and family or attending social events.

This can cause relationships to end, and ultimately lead to loneliness.

Neglected Social Life
Credits: triocean2011, via Crello.com

Poor Physical And Mental Health

You might think that a dirty home has nothing to do with your mental health or with your health, but you are wrong.

A dirty and messy living space can make us feel unmotivated, unclean, and overwhelmed, which will take a toll on our overall mood and mental well-being. This poor mood, in its turn, can lead to deeper mental health conditions!

And we have already mentioned above what sort of things can grow in your home without regular cleaning and tidying up!

A lot of these things can cause ill effects on our physical health too.

So, now you know what may cause untidy homes and whether or not these reasons are as harmless as you might think of them before.

Poor Physical And Mental Health
Credits: Elnur_, via Crello.com

As you can see, living in an untidy and messy household is a bad thing not only because it does not look nice.

It is also a health hazard, and often quite a serious one!

So if you notice that your home starts getting dirtier and more messy than before, consider cleaning it and tidying up yourself, or hire a professional cleaning service to have all the dirty work done for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Is a messy house a sign of mental illness?

It can be, but it’s not the only reason.

⭐ How can I tell my house is dirty/messy?

Except for physically seeing it, you will recognize an untidy house for clutter, musty or unpleasant odor, and a layer of dust and grime on flat surfaces.

⭐ How often should my house be cleaned?

Once a week is ok.

Written by
Olivia shares all she knows about the hotels, houses, and home cleaning with Beezzly readers. And she knows a lot! 15 years of work experience as a Manager in a former Four Season Service gave Olivia an exceptional base of professional knowledge and practical experience.
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The Psychology of Disorganization and Clutter / the real reasons you can't get organized or clean upThe Psychology of Disorganization and Clutter / the real reasons you can't get organized or clean up