ESL Cleaning the House Vocabulary

English Words and Phrases for Cleaning the Home

To tidy up
Listen to the phrase »

To quickly walk around the house and put things back in their place.

“Before your friends come over you need to tidy up a bit.”

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To pick up after someone
Listen to the phrase »

To clean another person’s mess up.

“I am sick of picking up after you! You need to clean your own mess.”

Deep cleaning
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An intense cleaning of the house that is more than just picking up cloths and doing the dishes. It usually involves scrubbing the toilet and shower and mopping the floor.

“We will have to do a deep cleaning of the entire house if we want to sell it.”

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The dirty work
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The jobs or chores that are a little more difficult than most. The chores that nobody wants to do.

“Dad usually does the dirty work when it is cleaning day at our house. He cleans the toilets and mops the floor.”

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Wipe off
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To use a rag to clean up a mess left on the counter or the table.

“I’m not going to spend a lot of time cleaning the kitchen today. I am just going to wipe off the counter.”

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To do the wash
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The act of putting the dirty clothes in the washing machine.

“Usually my mom will do the wash in our house. She doesn’t trust the rest of us.”

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Spring cleaning
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A complete cleaning of the house once the weather starts getting warm and the doors and windows can be opened.

“Next week we are going to do our spring cleaning. Finally our house will be clean!”

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To air it out
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To open the doors and the windows to get a bad smell out of the house.

“If you are going to cook chili in the kitchen please air out the house when you are done. I hate that smell.”

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To clean out (a closet or garage)
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To throw out junk that you don’t want or need anymore.

“My garage is overcrowded. I need to clean it out if I ever want to park my car in there.”

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Do your chores
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To do the things around the house that you are responsible for like making the bed or vacuuming the carpet.

“If you don’t do your chores by 5:00 PM you are not going to your friend’s house.”

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A pigsty
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A very messy room that looks like an animal lives there.

“This place is a pigsty! Don’t you ever clean?”

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A disaster area
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An area in the house that looks like a wind storm came through. Everything is out of place and knocked over.

“After the party my house was a disaster area. Luckily my friends stayed to help me pick up.”

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To be trashed
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To be a complete mess.

“My bathroom was trashed after the plumber came to fix the leak.”

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To clog up
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To put something in the drain of a sink, or the toilet in general, so that the water can’t flow down.

“Don’t try to put the leftover chicken bones down the drain. It will just clog it up.”

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To be backed up
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When a drain on a sink is clogged up so that no water can go down.

“Don’t use the toilet upstairs. It has been backed up since Tuesday.”

  • Conversation Activity for Cleaning the House
  • Script for Conversation on Cleaning the House
  • ESL Cleaning Expressions Exercise
  • Reading Worksheet for Cleaning Vocabulary
  • Listening Activity for Cleaning Expressions
  • Fill in the Blanks for Cleaning Words
  • Matching Worksheet for Cleaning Vocabulary