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Extreme cleaner admits she spruces up homes for free to improve her mental health

Watch: Extreme cleaner scrubs and tidies homes for FREE

A woman has revealed how she became an extreme cleaner scrubbing and tidying homes for free in order to boost both her own mental health and that of the homeowners she helps.

Ivana Uherksa, 41, a bartender from Shoreditch, London, was struggling with depression when she asked if she could help her neighbour by cleaning her messy home.

The mum-of-one found it so satisfying transforming the untidy space into a liveable abode, she decided to ask if anyone else needed help decluttering their homes.

So far she has cleaned 10 houses for free, mainly helping families and single parents to get on top of their mess.

Uherksa believes the process helps with her own mental health and she hopes to set up a charity in the future.

Speaking about what inspired her to start helping clean other people's houses, Uherksa says she was looking for something to help improve her wellbeing.

Image of Ivana Uherksa says tidying other people's homes helps with mental health. (Ivana Uherksa/SWNS)
Ivana Uherksa says tidying other people's homes helps with mental health. (Ivana Uherksa/SWNS)

"I was feeling depressed and wasn’t happy with my life," she explains.

"I binged watched this girl cleaning houses and thought 'I could do that'.

"My neighbour's house was a mess, so I asked if I could help her - I needed something to keep myself busy."

Uherksa says she found it "so satisfying" cleaning the house, and, having realised how appreciative her neighbour was, decided to do more.

She now helps people battling depression or those with other mental health struggles who have not been able to keep on top of tidying their homes.

A before and after comparison of a home Uherksa has cleaned. (Ivana Uherksa/SWNS)
(Ivana Uherksa/SWNS)
A before and after comparison of a home Uherksa has cleaned. (Ivana Uherksa/SWNS) (Ivana Uherksa/SWNS)

Initially, she started helping her neighbours, but after sharing her cleans on TikTok she was able to start helping followers who were brave enough to reach out.

"Some people are so ashamed," she explains.

"People say ‘how can it get so messy?', but it’s a cycle - the state of your house affects the state of your mind."

A before and after comparison of a home Uherksa has helped tidy and clean. (Ivana Uherksa/SWNS)
A before and after comparison of a home Uherksa has helped tidy and clean. (Ivana Uherksa/SWNS)

The messiest houses Ukerksa has had to tackle include those with bug infestations and mess piled up so high in the hallway it was hard for her to get inside.

Uherksa says she will tidy a room at a time and tends to take three to four days cleaning each home.

Where possible she will also buy or source furniture to help some of the families keep their homes neat.

"People say 'you’re literally saving my life'," she adds.

"Seeing someone else happy makes me happy.”

Uherksa is currently cleaning homes around London, but hopes to recruit volunteers to help clean further afield, before eventually starting a charity.

For anyone who wants to get involved or make a donation please contact @tidy_mindset247

Ivana Uherksa says tidying other people's homes helps with mental health. (Ivana Uherksa/SWNS)
Ivana Uherksa says tidying other people's homes helps with mental health. (Ivana Uherksa/SWNS)

The link between mental health and mess

According to Dr Elena Touroni, consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, the state of our physical environment often reflects our mental wellbeing.

"A cluttered, disorganised space can lead to feelings of overwhelm and stress, impacting our mental health," she explains.

Feelings of shame can also be associated with those who have messy houses and aren't able to tidy them.

"These kinds of feelings can stem from societal norms and expectations," she explains. "We live in a culture where a clean, organised home is expected and seen as a reflection of discipline and success. When someone struggles to maintain this standard, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure."

On the plus side, however, as Uherksa has discovered, organising and decluttering can provide mental clarity and reduce feelings of anxiety.

"When we clean and organise, it gives us a sense of control over our environment," Dr Touroni explains. "Tidying up isn’t just about the physical space - it can symbolise putting our thoughts and life in order too."

Science offers some insight on the connection between cleaning and anxiety too.

A study published in the journal Mindfulness found that participants who mindfully washed up, ie they took time to try to take in the smell of the washing up liquid etc.. reported a 27% reduction in nervousness, along with a 25% improvement in "mental inspiration,” whatever that is.

Clearing the clutter can help ease stress too. A further study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, revealed that women living in a cluttered home showed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Mental health: Read more

Additional reporting SWNS.