30 Motivating Songs for Cleaning to Make Doing Chores More Enjoyable
Get your body moving—and scrubbing!—with these good songs for cleaning
Everyone has that playlist they throw on during a road trip, or those happy songs they put on when they need a mood boost. But music can also motivate you to do things you might not exactly want to do, like exercise, focus on a work project … or clean. Music gets you up, moving and possibly willing to reach for that Swiffer—even if it’s just to use as a makeshift microphone stand. All you need are some good songs for cleaning and a positive attitude, and your to-do list will practically do itself.
But where can I find good cleaning songs?
The good news: Getting motivated is as easy as pressing “play” on our curated Spotify playlist of happy, upbeat songs that are good to clean to. Whether you need to reduce clutter with KC Davis’s tips, figure out how to clean AirPods or give your home an entire overhaul and sort out how to clean the place properly, you can tackle it all with a playlist that’ll keep you dancing through even the dullest chores. (Looking to learn while cleaning? We’ve also got a playlist of the best podcasts that can keep you motivated while you move.) So get ready to cross things off your cleaning checklist—and maybe bust a sweet move while doing so!
“Work” by Rihanna and Drake
Rihanna’s 2016 smash pairing with Drake will get you ready to work, work, work, work, work—even tackling the dirt, dirt, dirt she sings about (although she’s talking about relationship dirt and not the stubborn stains on your baseboards). The first single from Rihanna’s now-iconic Anti album, “Work” was a return to the Barbados native’s dancehall roots—and topped Billboard‘s Hot 100 with its instantly recognizable beat. Add in Rihanna’s native Bajan creole lyrics, and even the dullest tasks will feel like you’re dancing barefoot on the beach underneath the stars—and not clearing dust bunnies out of dark closet corners.
“Work Bitch” by Britney Spears
It’s hard to believe that “Work Bitch” is a full decade old this year, since its message seems as timeless as ever. If you want to accomplish anything—from owning a sleek and speedy Maserati to mastering Marie Kondo levels of expert clothing folding—you need to, well, Work B, as Brit proudly proclaims. And while you might not be super-psyched about doing boring housework, with Britney cheering you on to “get to work” in an accented voice over a relentless EDM beat helmed by will.i.am in this good song for cleaning, you’ll be inspired to keep going even when you’re ready to call it a day. As Britney says, “No time to quit now, just time to get it now”—and she’s obviously talking about an organized pantry.
“Ain’t Your Mama” by Jennifer Lopez
Engaging in a little grudge cleaning? Then throw on this 2016 banger from J.Lo, a throwback to her earlier Latin-pop sound, where she takes on the role of an exasperated partner reminding her slacker sweetheart that he’s “lucky to have these curves” and she’s absolutely done cleaning up after him. Originally penned by Meghan Trainer (who ultimately passed on the track for her own debut album), “Ain’t Your Mama” remains a choice song to blast if you’re stuck dealing with a partner who won’t pull their own weight and needs a little reminder that they should pitch in more.
“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson (feat. Bruno Mars)
Although “Uptown Funk” is technically Mark Ronson’s song (from his 2015 album Uptown Special), the song is synonymous with Bruno Mars, thanks to his soaring, cheerful vocals that celebrate a life that’s a little more hedonistic, a little less heavy-duty housework. From that bass-heavy intro, Mars boasts about driving around Harlem and Hollywood in a stretch limo with a cup full of liquor, dressed “smoother than a fresh jar o’ Skippy.” And sure, if your attire is more scrappy than Skippy-smooth, “Uptown Funk” remains a fun, hyper-energetic soul track to throw on even when the only bubbles you’re popping are the scrubbing kind.
“Supermodel (You Better Work)” by RuPaul
Cleaning the house can be a real drag. But you can do your thing on the runway—or in your long-neglected, cluttered basement—with this groundbreaking 1993 dance anthem that Kurt Cobain praised as one of his favorite songs of that year. (Yes, really!) RuPaul’s instant club classic, “Supermodel (You Better Work)” is a campy, frothy, dance tribute to the ’90s supermodels who reigned supreme, and it will inspire you to embrace your fabulous inner Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell as you sashay, shanté through even the grimiest of tasks.
“Pump Up the Jam” by Technotronic
There’s nothing like a throwback on your cleaning songs playlist to have you moving through the day, and Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam” is sure to get your booty on the floor tonight—even if it’s the bathroom floor, and all you’re doing is scrubbing the place from top to bottom. Pop on this global smash from 1989 (and maybe a pair of bicycle shorts—hey, they’re stretchy!), and you’ll be sure to blast through your tasks.
“Let’s Dance” by David Bowie
Thinking about color-coding your closet to help keep in it check? Then David Bowie’s 1983 smash hit is the perfect track for you—especially if you’re inspired to put on your own red shoes for the task. One of Bowie’s biggest singles, “Let’s Dance” is the title track of his 15th (!) album and features then-unknown guitar impresario Stevie Ray Vaughn offering up some iconic licks, making it the ultimate radical ’80s track to throw on when you’ve got to ditch some, like, totally lame clothing in your closet.
“Get Down on It” by Kool & the Gang
How you gonna do it if you really don’t wanna … clean? Easy: Throw on this funky track that’ll inspire you to get down on it (because that’s really the only way to clean that tile). Kool & the Gang’s most well-known single, 1981’s “Get Down on It,” boasts a chorus so infectious, you can’t help but sing along and add it to your regular rotation of good songs for cleaning. And if you’re looking for a fresher version of the track, Britpop group Blue recorded their own updated rendition in 2004, which features the OG Kool & the Gang and guest vocals from Lil Kim.
“Stayin’ Alive” by The Bee Gees
There’s nothing quite like the sassy city strut inspired by this signature track from Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb—and you don’t even need to be wearing John Travolta’s iconic snow-white bell bottoms and platform shoes to shake your thing. Throw on “Stayin’ Alive,” add in a few of your own high-pitched lyrics, and you’ll have the perfect soundtrack for a Saturday Night Fever-ish cleaning spree. You may even be inspired to do a disco point or two—if only to show off how streak-free your mirrors are.
“Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder
Those immediately recognizable horns signal that it’s time to get up and start moving to Stevie Wonder’s inimitable single from his legendary album, Songs in the Key of Life. “Sir Duke” is Wonder’s tribute to his biggest musical heroes, like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Sir Duke Ellington, whose death a few years before the single’s 1976 release inspired the track. Wonder croons “You can feel it all over” in this fitting tribute to the moving power of music that can unite us, join us in song—and even motivate us to take on some household chores with a smile.
“Mr. Big Stuff” by Jean Knight
When it’s time to get big mad at the big dirt—and we’re talking the really dirty things, like oven hoods with bits of caked-on grease in the vents or the splattered inside of the trash bin itself—throw on Jean Knight’s 1971 debut R&B/soul hit “Mr. Big Stuff.” Although the song is really about taking an egotistical man to task, it could easily apply to those stubborn stains too. After all, Mr. Big Stuff, you’re never gonna get my love … just the business end of my Scrub Daddy.
“Dirty Work” by The Pointer Sisters
Is there a better titled song for the rigorous, grimy task of cleaning than the Pointer Sisters’s 1978 hit “Dirty Work“? Although it’s actually a cover—Steely Dan wrote the track and recorded it first in 1972—it’s this crooning pop-soul version about doing a different, ahem, kind of dirty work that’s become the gold standard. But when you throw on this classic track while tackling chores, maybe you should focus on another different kind of dirty work—like sanitizing your cell phone—instead. (You’d be surprised how dirty they can get!)
“Keep It Clean” by Willie Watson
Good songs for cleaning don’t always have to be high-energy romps through your closet full of scrubbing supplies, boasting enough bass to shake your (finally clean) windows. American singer-songwriter Willie Watson’s pared-down folk song “Keep It Clean” inspires you to “take soap and water / thought I’d keep it clean” with just a banjo and plaintive vocals. Watson—who appeared as The Kid in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs—offers a good inspirational message to throw on when you’re finally finished with your to-do list. Everything’s clean? Now keep it that way!
“Dirty Laundry” by Don Henley
After splitting from the Eagles, Don Henley went in a dance-pop direction for his 1982 debut album, I Can’t Stand Still. And if you can’t stand still staring at those piles of to-be-folded clean clothing, then blast this standout track, “Dirty Laundry.” Sure, it’s about tabloid sensationalism and not the actual task of dealing with dirty linens, but if there’s anything newsworthy about laundry, it’s the fact that we’ve finally figured out how to best fold a fitted sheet.
“Shiny Happy People” by R.E.M.
Sometimes good songs for cleaning are the ones that simply put a smile on your face while you get through the most unappetizing tasks. (Oven racks, we’re looking at you in all your dirty, grimy glory.) And while we can’t promise you’ll stay a shiny, happy person throughout the entirety of your chores, R.E.M.’s 1991 throwback, the peppy, super-pop smash “Shiny Happy People“—featuring the B-52’s Kate Pierson on backup vocals—can get you singing and bopping through your to-do list.
“Dirty Harry” by Gorillaz
Remember Gorillaz? The “virtual” band formed by Blur frontman Damon Albarn, who had a stranglehold on the futuristic hipster scene from Y2K? (Yes, they were literally cartoons.) Well, their schtick may have faded, but the music most definitely has staying power. Case in point? “Dirty Harry,” which offers a trippy electro-pop addition to your cleaning songs playlist. But sadly, no amount of scrubbing will get this particular Harry cleaned up, as it’s a follow-up to their hit “Clint Eastwood” (both take their names from the actor’s iconic vigilante role).
“Come Clean” by Hilary Duff
Who said cleaning songs can’t inspire a little theatrical mental break from time to time? While you spray some Windex on those windows, pretend it’s rain and stare forlornly out the glass—just like Hilary Duff did in the then-TRL powerhouse video for her 2003 single “Come Clean,” which was also the theme song for MTV’s tank-tops-and-teen-drama smash Laguna Beach. Just try to not sing “Let the rain fall down” at the top of your lungs—and we promise not to judge if you use that spray bottle as a microphone.
“My Shot” by Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
With a relentless beat and a verse that’s easy to sing along to (even if you struggle to get through Hamilton writer-performer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s rapid-fire delivery on the verses), “My Shot” delivers a much-needed shot of energy into the middle of your playlist of the best songs for cleaning—right when you’re about to call it a day. The 2015 Broadway powerhouse—which helped propel the soundtrack to the status of bestselling cast album of all time—inspires you to get up and get back to work when you’re in a slump. Hamilton’s not throwing away his shot, and neither will you.
“I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor
Turn your kitchen into a karaoke club with Gloria Gaynor’s iconic “I Will Survive,” a track that’s no stranger to being belted out at a bar at 3 a.m. And although you might not have a group of revelers cheering you on this time (unless your neighbors appreciate your rendition of Gaynor’s 1978 smash, which won the Grammy for Best Disco Recording), you’ll still feel like a superstar as you sing along to the well-known lyrics. Because you will survive this bout of housework—especially if you follow our guidelines on how to break your bad cleaning habits and move forward with habits that are more efficient (and less frustrating).
“So What” by Pink
Finally scrubbing out that vegetable drawer? So what? Cleaning juice that was spilled under the couch a while ago? So what? Cleaning juice that’s been spilled on the couch? So what—you’re still a rock star, as Pink sings in her brassy, bawdy 2008 single that celebrates getting through the toughest times with an even tougher attitude. “So What” is a perfect banger to blast, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed with managing a house all by yourself. Like Pink, you’ll make it through—just sing along with her to the lyrics: “I’m a rock star, I got my rock moves, and I don’t want you.”
“Viva La Vida” by Coldplay
With a sweeping string section that builds into a soaring, satisfying, sing-along conclusion, “Viva La Vida” easily makes the list of good songs for cleaning. Coldplay’s single nabbed the prestigious Grammy for Song of the Year in 2009 with its feel-good vibes (the Spanish title translates to “long live life”). Both Solange Knowles and Lady Gaga have covered it, so you’ll be in good company singing at the top of your lungs while tackling even the smallest of tasks (like switching out your toothbrushes).
“Seasons of Love” by Rent (Original Cast Recording)
It might feel like it takes 525,600 minutes to complete the tasks on your spring cleaning to-do list, but the good news is that there are a few you can accomplish quickly. (No, really—just cleaning out the pockets of your kids’ coats can make you feel like you’ve taken something off your plate!) While you’re puttering around the house banging out these tasks, blast “Seasons of Love,” the inspirational hit from Rent, which features then-newcomers Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs and Jesse L. Martin on vocals.
“Just Dance” by Lady Gaga
There are a lot of high-energy tracks to pick from in Lady Gaga’s catalog, from “Bad Romance” to “Judas” to newer hits like “Rain on Me.” But when you’re picking out good songs for cleaning, you want to go back to the beginning. That means it’s time to blast the New Yorker’s breakout single, the 2008 smash “Just Dance,” which went on to become one of the bestselling singles of all time. A great reminder to “just dance, it’ll be okay” (even if you’re dealing with the most frustrating tasks, like cleaning the bathtub). Fortunately, we have some tips that’ll get you out of the bathroom and back on the dance floor (or living room floor), busting a move in record time.
“Highway to Hell” by AC/DC
Sometimes you need a little dirty, gritty rock ‘n’ roll guitar action to get your heart pumping and your mind motivated to take on your seemingly never-ending cleaning list. (And let’s be honest, embarking on the first task on your to-do list can seem like a one-way journey to hell.) But fortunately, AC/DC’s feel-good 1979 track “Highway to Hell” is less about a destination to a nightmarish underworld and more about speeding to “party time.” And once you’re done with your chore list, you’ll definitely be ready to party—although maybe not as hard as the Australia-based AC/CD was rumored to do. Otherwise, you’ll have yet another cleanup job on your hands!
“9 to 5” by Dolly Parton
Pour yourself a cup of ambition—coffee, espresso or even hot water!—and get to work with this timeless tune from the one-and-only Dolly Parton. “9 to 5” is the title track from Parton’s iconic 1980 film about overburdened assistants (also played by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin) who take on a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” of a boss (Dabney Coleman). The track, which nabbed the Grammy for Best Country Song that year, will inspire anyone who works from home and is trying to sneak in a few chores between Zoom calls.
“Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar
If you’re feeling a little friction between your friends, channel that energy into some frenetic cleaning—and the ideal track for this is, of course, Taylor Swift’s revamp of “Bad Blood,” which includes Kendrick Lamar for an instantly iconic guest feature. The bass-heavy rendition of Swift’s sassy verbal slap-down (reportedly to then-frenemy Katy Perry) is perfect to blast when you’ve got some angry energy to get out. Throw on this 2014 smash, tackle a chore that requires some elbow grease (like removing adhesive sticker residue), and when you’re done, opt for one of Swift’s more mellow tracks (like something from Folklore) to decompress.
“Get Yo Body Movin'” by Koo Koo Kanga Roo
Got some kid-centric tasks on your list? You know the ones: Go through the toy box for things to donate, weed through that overflowing stack of art projects or even just organize those Legos so they’re not underfoot. Recruit the kids and make it fun by tossing on “Get Yo Body Movin‘,” an upbeat song by Koo Koo Kanga Roo. The children’s music duo are part G-rated Beastie Boys, part comedy performers—and you might just find yourself singing along to their extensive discography in the car—even when the kids aren’t with you.
“Old Time Rock & Roll” by Bob Seger
If you’re looking for a classic to get you motivated, just take those old records off the shelf, like Bob Seger instructs in this 1978 classic, “Old Time Rock & Roll.” And we won’t judge if you slide in your socks from room to room as you tackle the whole house. After all, old-time rock ‘n’ roll just soothes the soul—and gets you ready to rip through tasks that have been on your list since Tom Cruise slid through his living room in a pink button-down (and little else) to Seger’s tune in that memorable Risky Business scene way back in 1983.
“You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates
Hall & Oates were the ultimate ’80s duo—just look at that hair!—and they cracked the Top 5 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 when “You Make My Dreams” was released in 1981. The bouncy, springy guitar intro and sweet lyrics have kept the tune in the cultural zeitgeist—it enjoyed a resurgence during a memorable, danceable scene by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the 2009 rom-com (500) Days of Summer—making it the ideal cleaning song, especially when you’re tasked with something really arduous, like tackling stains on so-called stainless steel. After all, how can you keep from smiling when you’re listening to a band that had a keytar?
“Into the Groove” by Madonna
“You can dance for inspiration,” Madonna wisely sings in the intro to her 1985 single “Into the Groove.” And she’s right: The track (from the comedy Desperately Seeking Susan) is an homage to the moving power of music and has maintained its status as one of the best dance tracks from the ’80s—if not of all time. Get up on your feet and step to the beat, and if you add in a little ’80s-style two-step to get you through your chores, we like to think Madonna would approve.