そうじ – cleaning

そうじ – cleaning

掃除そうじ is the generic Japanese noun for “cleaning.” Today, I’m going to talk about various words related to “cleaning.”

About the word 掃除そうじ

As 掃除そうじ itself is a noun, it can be used on its own or as a part of the verb 掃除そうじする/します。You need to be mindful of where to use which particles.

I cleaned my room yesterday.
部屋へや掃除そうじします。(掃除そうじ used as a noun)
部屋へや掃除そうじします。(掃除そうじ used as a part of the verb)

So the answer to today’s first question is c. の.

Different types of 掃除そうじ

tidying up: 片付かたづける、整理整頓せいりせいとんする

I tidied up my messy room. I have put my room in order.
I’ll tidy up my desk in the office.

vacuuming: 掃除機そうじきをかける、掃除機そうじき掃除そうじする (掃除機そうじき = a vacuum cleaner)

Please vacuum the room.
I vacuumed the kitchen yesterday.

sweeping: ほうきく、掃除そうじをする

I swept the corridor with a broom.
Please sweep the floor.

wiping: 掃除そうじをする、く、乾拭からぶきする (wipe dry)、モップをける/モップけをする (mopping)

I cleaned the window.
雑巾ぞうきん*でゆかきます。(Answer to Today’s second question)
We wipe the floor with a damp cloth.
Please wipe the table with a dry cloth.
Please mop the floor.

dusting: はたきをける(clean with a dusting broom), ほこりぬぐう(wiping off), ほこりはらう(brushing/shaking away)

I cleaned the shouji screens with a dusting broom.
I wiped off the dust on the desk.
I’ll beat the dust from a carpet.

scrubbing: ごしごしあら

I scrubbed the bath tub.

polishing: みがく、ピカピカにする

Please polish the floor.
I scrubbed the kitchen sink and made it sparkle.

Japanese Cleaning Tools

*雑巾ぞうきん = a (quilted) cleaning rag.
The first thing I ever sewed was a 雑巾ぞうきん. I believe most girls in my generation in Japan were made to make 雑巾ぞうきん from a spent towel to practise sewing, either by hand or using a sewing machine. Also, when we were a child, it was customary for every child to bring a 雑巾ぞうきん to school at the beginning of their academic year and we used those 雑巾ぞうきん to clean our classroom. – Pupils in Japan are still expected to clean their classroom everyday after school.

**はたき = a dusting broom.
It is similar to feather duster but はたき is usually a stick with soft cloth strips at the end of a stick. Originally people used はたき every day so that no dust will accumulate.

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