Adult ADHD and Hyperfocused Cleaning

October 14, 2013 Elizabeth Prager

Ahhh! It's 10:27pm on a Sunday night and I have just spent hours CLEANING. Yes, cleaning is very important to me. I like to have a tidy house that has everything in its place - and happens to be kitty litter and dust free. No, that doesn't happen very often. I have Adult ADHD and along with that often comes inconsistency. It's a Catch-22 really: I feel better and think better when things are clean and tidy, but I find it hard to be consistent with keeping things clean and tidy.What exactly about my cleanliness is hyperfocused? Like I said, I just finished cleaning around 10:30pm ... There are people who rent the apartment above mine and I was definitely vacuuming with wild abandon way too late at night. I had to clean. I couldn't read a book or sit down to watch a show. I had cleaning on my brain and cleaning I had to do.

I even managed to take a break at one point. I asked good-wife-Sarah what I should do to make the cleaning hyperfocus stop and she suggested Jenga. She lost the first game; I lost my first ever game to her at Jenga; and, then, I pouted through my second victory of the night. After a few glasses of water during the game, I used the facilities and before I knew it ... I found myself on my hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor. From Jenga to cleaning in less than 25 seconds. That must be a world record!

What did I do? I gave into the cleaning. Like I said many posts ago, sometimes it's good to give into the hyper-monster if you just don't let it go too far. I got some really good cleaning done and, even though I want to do more, I know I've at least gotten some done. I also know that if I give into my cleaning-hyper-monster any more it could get out of control. I have to get up early on Monday morning to go do some physical therapy observation - I need to look fresh and not hung over from cleaning.

APA Reference
Prager, E. (2013, October 14). Adult ADHD and Hyperfocused Cleaning, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: Elizabeth Prager

May, 18 2024 at 9:25 pm

That makes me feel so much better knowing I am not the only one hyperfocusing on cleaning. And mess and clutter makes me anxious and feel out of controlled and chaotic that I need to get rid of it as soon as I see it. Which is very hard because I am a woman who lives with 4 men. On the other side, if there is a task I don’t like doing, I will procrastinate it until my anxiety gets so bad I have no choice but to do it. My husband finds it hard to keep up with my cleaning standards, I mask a lot of my frustrations to not appear rigid and controlling.

November, 15 2023 at 4:47 am

Im diagnosed combination ADHD and am an extreme hyper focused cleaner. Everything has its place. Everything needs to be ticked off of my mental list. I have two children, two pets and and a husband who knows only how to make mess. So I feel like I’m forever in this hyper focused state of cleaning to ease the feeling of chaos and to feel a sense of control over my environment. I also use cleaning as a coping strategy when I feel a lack of control around other external factors and stressors in my life.
I’m forever reading and hearing abo it adhd and a lack of ability to stay organised and clean which I can’t relate to. So it’s validating to know that other people experience these same behaviours with cleaning and their adhd!!
Thanks everyone 🥰

March, 24 2022 at 9:13 pm

Glad I'm not alone!!
I find I nest before and after my cycle. And when I clean I hyperfocus for sure... I tend to do it when procrastinating and stressed over being overwhelmed. Sometimes I think it's a coping method for my anxieties...
I'm jealous of those who talk about hyperfocusing in a project or something... never had that, and haven't found a med yet that has helped me with my ADHD, well, not alone I can take with my current employer - seriously helps my focus!!!

February, 4 2023 at 2:58 pm

I can't believe I'm not the only one on my hands and knees after i oulled out the stove. I cleaned behind it with a tooth pick and a painters paddle and shot vac. I've been renovating, well, helping the contractor with painting, but lose myself in the tasks. For the last 2 days I've been on my hands and knees with a toothbrush and vacuum like a nutter. Also singlehandedly moving furniture. ADHD on adderall.

October, 28 2019 at 9:30 pm

This is reassuring as I like everything to have a place and things to look tidy as if it will ease the chaos in my mind and calm it. All the ADHD info talks of messiness but that makes me feel worse. I'm either all for cleaning or nothing at all.
Either every surface has been cleaned a million times in one day or none have been all week.
I've not been diagnosed yet im awaiting assessment but this is all ringing true!!

October, 18 2013 at 2:00 pm

I just want to say thank you so much for this post!!! I myself have this type of hyper cleaning going on. I call it nesting.... like our mothers from generations past have said they cleaned their WHOLE house and that is when they knew it was time for the baby to come.Well that is what I do about once a month maybe two times if I'm lucky that is when everything gets cleaned not just the normal dishes load of laundry or toilet. I am glad to know I am not alone in this and I understand exactly what you feel! again thank you!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Elizabeth Prager
October, 20 2013 at 1:09 pm

It's always so reassuring when we realize we're not alone :) :)

Leave a reply