What is Cleanliness?

Cleanliness is the condition of being clean and keeping up with the habits that create cleanliness. Cleanliness can refer to oneself (personal hygiene) and physical surroundings, such as a house or workplace.

What is Cleanliness?

In 1791, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church, stated that “cleanliness is next to Godliness.” The famous quote is still in use today.

The History of Cleanliness

The word cleanliness has religious ties through Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. Each religion has texts encouraging good personal hygiene habits. But in a religious context, cleanliness is also tied to purity.

While cleanliness practices date back to 19 BC when the ancient Romans began to use public baths, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that a French chemist discovered germ theory. 

In the 1860s,  Louis Pasteur proved that invisible bacteria in spoiled food could cause infection and disease. Germ theory was expounded upon by Robert Koch, showing that specific germs could cause illness. 

The discovery of germ theory led to many hygiene improvements, including more frequent hand washing and home sanitation practices.

After the discovery of germ theory, women were encouraged to keep up with cleanliness practices and germ reduction in their homes – a birth of modern homemaking. These practices are still encouraged today, with women taking on most cleaning and food preparation responsibilities.

Advantages of a Clean House

In the late 19th century, cleaning and germ reduction increased mortality rates, but those weren’t the only benefits. Other advantages of a clean house include the following:

  • Reduced allergens – Frequent cleaning minimizes the dust and allergens in a home which is helpful for those dealing with seasonal allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues.
  • Stops the spread of viruses – Disinfecting during cold and flu season weakens the chance of viruses spreading to family members.
  • Pest prevention – Homes with dishes left out for days and crumbs on the floor can attract pests like mice, rats, ants, and cockroaches.
  • Increased mental health – Clutter can lead to depression and decreased focus. A clean, tidy home can have the opposite effect, boosting productivity and mood.
  • Better time management – A clean and organized home allows family members to find what they need. On the opposite end, a cluttered house makes getting ready in the morning cumbersome.
  • Money savings – In a clean and organized home, it’s easy to see what items are on hand, keeping family members from purchasing duplicates.
  • Less stress – For some individuals, messy homes cause stress and prevent relaxation at the end of a hard day.
  • Social benefits – It’s easier to welcome friends and family into a clean house than a dirty one. 

How to Keep a House Clean

The easiest way to keep a house clean is to create a habit of picking up trash, putting away belongings, and washing clothes and dishes on a regular basis. 

Here are other helpful tips:


Decluttering is the process of getting rid of unwanted and unused items. Depending on their condition, the items can be thrown away or donated.

When you declutter, you reduce inventory in your house. The less stuff you have, the easier it is to keep your home organized and clean.

Perform Basic Daily Tasks

The key to keeping up with cleanliness lies in daily habits. Discard trash, put dirty clothes in the hamper, and put away items after use. Also, consider washing dishes at the same time every day. Spot clean as needed, wiping counters and sweeping floors.

Do a Deeper Clean Once Per Week

Aim to tackle specific cleaning tasks every week. These include wiping all counters, sweeping and mopping floors, cleaning toilets, and doing laundry.

A cleaning checklist can help you stay on top of housekeeping chores.

Terms related to Cleanliness

Other terms for cleanliness include neatness, tidiness, sanitation, and hygiene. Terms related to a clean home include tidy, minimalism, organized, and well-kept.