We explain what cleaning is, the elements involved and the origin of the term. Also, what are the cleaning methods.

Cleaning is an integral part of personal and social hygiene measures.

What is cleaning?

When we talk about cleaning, we usually refer to the act of cleaning, that is, of remove dirt and debris from an environment, a surface, or an object anyone. At the same time, we can refer to the degree of cleanliness that this space, environment or object has.

The word clean comes from the adjective purifiedthat historically was born in the Latin voice clearthat is, “clear”, “without blemishes”, and which in turn came from to clean“crystal clear water”.

In most cultures, cleanliness is associated with purity, positivity and health, and is an integral part of personal and social hygiene measures. Cleaning one’s own body, home and city are part of the responsibilities we assume daily to live healthier in society. Likewise, the opposite: dirt, filth and dirt, are associated with the negative, corruption and disease.

Typically, cleaning involves the use of water and some cleaning substance, or the mechanical action of some object (like a stone or a brush) on the surface of what you want to clean.

The task of cleaning is to remove impurities, leftovers or stains, and with them the microorganisms capable of causing disease or spoiling food. However, there are “dry” cleaning modes, which do not use liquid water.

In fact, generally speaking, there are several cleaning methods, such as:

  • manual cleaning, which is carried out with the strength of the hands, using brushes, cloths or any other instrument on the surface we want to clean. This is what we do, for example, when brushing our teeth.
  • sauce cleaning, in which we submerge what we want to clean in a container full of water and/or detergents and leave it there for a while. The object is then removed, squeezed and it is noted how clean it was. If necessary, dip it a little further. That’s what washing machines do, in different cycles.
  • spray cleaning, which consists of using machines capable of vacuuming dirt and excess matter, such as vacuum cleaners, or emitting high pressure jets of air or water, such as hydraulic guns. This is how cars are cleaned in car washes, or how we clean our carpets with vacuum cleaners.
  • foam cleaning, in which organic chemical detergents or solvents are used which, when applied to the surface, produce a lot of foam. The latter captures dirt and microorganisms and can then be mechanically removed, leaving the surface clean. This is, in fact, the principle on which soap works.

Continue with: Preventive Maintenance


  • “Cleaning” on Wikipedia.
  • “Cleaning” in the Language Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy.
  • “Cleaning. Definition” in the Government of Aragon (Spain).
  • “Etymology of Clean” in the Online Spanish Etymological Dictionary.