Gransnet forums

Pedants' corner

Clean AND tidy?

(13 Posts)
Aveline Tue 04-Jan-22 12:37:39

I'm sometimes struck by the way some speakers/posters seem to use the word 'clean' instead of 'tidy. To me they are two different things. I tidy up the house by putting things away then I proceed to clean by which I mean wipe, dust, hoover, scrub or whatever needs to be done to actually clean the place.
Is just saying 'clean' implying tidying? I sometimes tidy but dont clean. Maybe 'clean in the sense of subsuming tidying is an Americanism?

grandtanteJE65 Tue 04-Jan-22 13:03:20

To me too, "clean and tidy" says that you have both cleaned the place and tidied up, although I must say I have always found it advisable to tidy up first and clean second!

Depending on how long it is since I last cleaned and which room of the house we are talking about, cleaning does involve dousting, hoovering and probably washing the floor as well.

A place can certainly be tidy, but not be clean. The opposite may be true too, but to me it would not look clean if it was untidy.

MaizieD Tue 04-Jan-22 13:19:28

I mostly agree with both of you!

But I'd be perfectly happy with a place that was clean, but untidy...

silverlining48 Tue 04-Jan-22 13:40:21

Mine is usually more tidy than clean. Probably because by the time I finish tidying I am too tired to start the cleaning.

grandMattie Tue 04-Jan-22 13:44:37

I’m the opposite - more likely to be clean than tidy…

Kim19 Tue 04-Jan-22 13:51:01

Tidy for me every time. I feel it gives the initial impression of being clean. However.....I do the occasional clean, particularly if I know someone is visiting! Shame on me (but I'm okay with it).

silverlining48 Tue 04-Jan-22 13:55:05

Kim, me too.....and as no one has been here because of covid...grin I am ok with it too.

dragonfly46 Tue 04-Jan-22 14:00:05

I tidy, (usually just before the cleaner comes) and the cleaner cleans!

Aveline Tue 04-Jan-22 14:09:06

I think it must be an American thing to 'Clean house'.

kittylester Tue 04-Jan-22 16:07:45


I tidy, (usually just before the cleaner comes) and the cleaner cleans!

Works for me too dragonfly.

grandtanteJE65 Sat 29-Jan-22 14:07:44

"to clean house" is an Americanism to me too. In Scotland we "clean the house", which is a far more thorough business than merely "tidying it up".

But presumably corresponds exactly to what an American who cleans house does.

BigBertha1 Sat 29-Jan-22 15:45:13

So no-one is 'bottoming' then? smile

Mollygo Sat 29-Jan-22 16:04:38


So no-one is 'bottoming' then? smile

Bottoming for me is doing something extra thoroughly, e.g. when I do things like emptying the kitchen cupboards and cleaning them out instead of just cleaning the floor, the sink, the cooker and work surfaces as part of a general clean.
What’s your ‘bottoming’ involve, BigBertha1?