掃除 is the generic Japanese noun for “cleaning.” Today, I’m going to talk about various words related to “cleaning.”
About the word 掃除
As 掃除 itself is a noun, it can be used on its own or as a part of the verb 掃除する/します。You need to be mindful of where to use which particles.
I cleaned my room yesterday.
部屋の掃除をします。(掃除 used as a noun)
部屋を掃除します。(掃除 used as a part of the verb)
So the answer to today’s first question is c. の.
Different types of 掃除
tidying up: 片付ける、整理整頓する
I tidied up my messy room. I have put my room in order.
I’ll tidy up my desk in the office.
vacuuming: 掃除機をかける、掃除機で掃除する (掃除機 = a vacuum cleaner)
Please vacuum the room.
I vacuumed the kitchen yesterday.
I swept the corridor with a broom.
Please sweep the floor.
wiping: 拭き掃除をする、拭く、乾拭きする (wipe dry)、モップを掛ける/モップ掛けをする (mopping)
I cleaned the window.
濡れ雑巾*で床を拭きます。(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: はたきを掛ける(clean with a dusting broom), 埃を拭う(wiping off), 埃を払う(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.
I scrubbed the bath tub.
Please polish the floor.
I scrubbed the kitchen sink and made it sparkle.
Japanese Cleaning Tools
*雑巾 = a (quilted) cleaning rag.
The first thing I ever sewed was a 雑巾. I believe most girls in my generation in Japan were made to make 雑巾 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 to school at the beginning of their academic year and we used those 雑巾 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.