There are a number of reasons for keeping your car clean. It can boost the vehicle’s resale value, prevent corrosion and rust, protect the paint and finishes, and remove allergens from ventilation system. The list goes on and on. But one reason we don’t often hear is that a clean car provides a number of psychological benefits.
Studies have found that tidy spaces – your home, office and even your vehicle – does wonders for the mind, helping to relieve stress, boost performance, and help you feel more energetic and happier. That’s right. A clean car can affect the way you think.
Clean Spaces Lead to Happier People, Less Stress
Our cars tend to collect clutter. From boxes in the trunk, to fast food wrappers on the floor, it’s natural consequence of vehicle ownership. Yet, Australians spend a surprising amount of time in their vehicles. In Sydney for example, drivers spend about 5.5 hours behind the wheel each week, according to a 2011 study, which is the most of any area in the country. That’s 286 hours per year, on average, or nearly 12 entire days.
In other words, the adverse effects of clutter can affect us each and every day. But what are these effects exactly? According to researchers at Princeton University, disorganisation and visual clutter – i.e. trash in your vehicle, gym equipment and other stuff sitting around your vehicle – distracts and causes stress. In fact, clutter within your viewing space like on the dashboard can diminish your focus.
Additional studies have found that a lack of organisation can elevate levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – resulting in feelings of fatigue, tiredness and depression. Conversely, people in organised environments reported greater feelings of energy and restfulness.
Vehicles as Status Symbols, Reflection on You
The type of car you drive and the condition it is in also reflects upon you. That’s why many people seek out luxury vehicles – these symbols help them create a particular image to people. Your colleagues and clients then are more likely to judge the type of person you are based on the cleanliness of your vehicle, and this can have an effect on your own self-perception.
Plus, beyond standard psychological benefits, a cleaner vehicle will leave you healthier. Numerous studies have measured air quality and bacteria growth in our vehicles, and they’re surprisingly dirty places. Bacteria growth occurs all over your vehicle, and in particularly messy cars, bacteria growth can even occur within the air vents. Plus, pet dander, dust, pollen and other allergens tend to collect in carpeting, and can result in allergies and other breathing ailments for drivers.
They say that cleanliness is next to godliness. But when it comes to your vehicle, proper car cleaning and car care are necessary for improved well-being. Studies have shown a clean car will leave you feeling healthier, happier and less stressed.