How Many Calories Does Vacuuming Burn?

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Have you ever worked up a sweat while doing house chores? Well, you’re not the only one. Performing house chores like vacuuming is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn some extra calories. So just how many calories does vacuuming burn exactly? 

Vacuuming for 30 minutes burns a different amount of calories depending on weight and intensity. A 120-pound person vacuuming at low-intensity burns about 100 calories, a 150-pound person burns 124 calories, and a 200-pound person burns 166 calories. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn.

These are estimations, and though you may weigh these exact amounts, they are a starting point for you to determine your calorie burn. For example, if you weighed 135 pounds one would assume that your calories burned would come to about 112 calories. But does this mean you can skip the gym? Read to find out. 

How Many Calories Does Vacuuming Burn? 

Vacuuming is a multitasker’s dream -- burn calories while tidying up around the house, what’s not to like? Although you can work up a sweat, vacuuming is not considered an exercise, but rather a non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) movement. NEAT activities include anything except sleeping, eating, and exercise. 

As vacuuming is a household chore it easily falls into this category. NEAT cardio contrasts with other forms of exercise, including:

Anaerobic Training

Aerobic Training

This kind of exercise happens when you are at about 60-80% of your max heart rate during any 2 minutes or more of exercise.

This is generally steady-state cardio movements, like walking or running. This form of exercise improves cardiovascular health.

Aerobic training happens at about 80-90% of your max heart rate during 10-120 seconds of hard effort.

Therefore this kind of exercise requires a much higher intensity of movement and can include HIIT training.

While vacuuming is generally not considered anaerobic training as it falls into the NEAT category, you could increase the burn to bring up your heart rate and burn even more calories. You can push your body into aerobic exercise while vacuuming in a variety of ways, like: 

  • Performing lunges as you push the vacuum forward. 
  • Dancing while you push.
  • Moving in any way that increases your heart rate as you perform your chore.

Increasing the intensity of your vacuuming sessions can help you burn more calories. For example, a 150-pound person burns on average about 365 calories per hour when performing low-impact aerobic exercises. Both aerobic and NEAT movements are two great ways of getting an extra fat burn during your day. 

However, while increasing the intensity of your vacuuming can help you burn more calories and push your body into an anaerobic state, can vacuuming fully replace your gym workouts? Does it count as exercise?

Does Vacuuming Count as Exercise? 

Only when you vacuum vigorously can it be considered an exercise.

As we’ve seen, because vacuuming is generally performed at a lower intensity and lower heart rate it is considered a NEAT activity, and therefore not considered to be an exercise. Generally, for something to be considered as exercise, you would need to bring up your heart rate to at least 60-80% of your maximum. 

So how exactly do you determine that range? With some quick, simple math you will be able to determine your optimal range of calorie burn. All you have to do is take your age and subtract it from 220. For example, if I were 28 years old, my maximum possible heart rate would come to 192.

NEAT activity generally falls below the 60-80% range for aerobic activity, as it does not require much effort and intensity. For this reason, if you want to kill two birds with one stone you will have to find a way to up the intensity to move into aerobic activity, which burns more calories and counts as exercise. 

While vacuuming is a great way to burn calories, many other household chores can also be added to the list. Incorporating more movement into your day -- no matter what kind -- will help you more easily reach your personal fitness goals and burn more daily calories. 

PRO TIP: To make your vacuuming more fun and enjoyable, you need to the best tool for the job. Why not consider an upright vacuum cleaner? We've reviewed the 5 best upright vacuum cleaners to make your chores easier to do. Not only does an upright vacuum cleaner easier to handle, they are also simpler to maintain.

What Chores Burn the Most Calories? 

Besides vacuuming, washing the dishes burns more calories than you think!

While vacuuming is a fantastic way to burn easy calories and can be transformed into a more intense aerobic movement if one is interested, other household chores can also do the same. So where does vacuuming stack up to other household chores? What chores burn the most calories? Let’s take a look. 

Logically, the more intense a chore is the more energy you will need to perform it, and therefore the more calories you burn. The following is a list of the chores that burn the most calories, compared to vacuuming.

  1. Mowing the lawn - Cutting your grass using a power mower for 30 minutes burns more calories than vacuuming. This activity burns about 135 calories for a 120-pound person and about 200 calories for someone who weighs 200 pounds. Not bad at all!
  2. Shoveling snow - A 150-pound person shoveling snow for 45 minutes can burn up to 300 calories! As this is a more intense full-body movement, no wonder it beats out vacuuming. 
  3. Cleaning the bathroom - A 150-pound person cleaning a bathroom can burn up to 180 calories an hour. Though this is just slightly more than vacuuming, it’s still a great way to burn more fat.
  4. Doing the dishes - If you wash dishes by hand at moderate strength for 30 minutes you can burn much more than you would vacuuming. A 125-pound person burns about 187 calories, and a 200-pound person burns up to 300 calories!
  5. Cleaning the gutters - A much more intense chore than vacuuming, cleaning the gutters for 30 minutes will get your heart pumping. A 125-pound person burns about 150 calories, while a 200-pound person burns about 222 calories.
  6. Washing the tub - A 150-pound person can burn up to 90 calories in just 15 minutes, beating out vacuuming by a stretch. Bonus: feel an extra burn in those arms as you get stronger!

As you can see, vacuuming can be beaten out by many other chores when it comes to calories burned. If you are looking to skip the gym for a day, combine a few of these chores to get a burn going and shred fat. Though individually vacuuming can’t replace exercise, combining chores will do the trick. 

As always, these are just estimations. Depending on the vigor in which you perform a task, and the intensity of your movement, you can burn more or fewer calories. How much you weigh also influences how much you burn, as those who weigh more require more energy to perform the same task, and they burn more calories.

Related: Should You Dust or Vacuum First?  

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, the answer to the question: How many calories does vacuuming burn?

For those multitaskers out there, household chores can be a great way to get your heart pumping and tidy-up your space. Vacuuming is one great way to do so. While it’s generally not considered exercise, you can up the intensity and push your body into aerobic activity by performing other movements simultaneously.

In general, vacuuming won’t replace your need to work out and get to the gym. However, when performed with other household chores and at high intensity, it can burn just as much as an aerobic workout would. All this to say: any kind of movement is good movement! The more you move the more calories you burn.

See also: Vacuum Cleaners

Ryan O'Connor

I write about house cleaning and vacuum cleaners.  For me, nothing is more important than a clean environment to ensure both a healthy and happy life.