Cleaning (maintenance)

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Cleaning (or cleaning or cleaning ) is a collective term for maintaining and restoring cleanliness in industry , commerce and the household . In addition to maintenance and aspects of hygiene , it also includes safety (order) and aesthetic aspects. Commercial cleaning is summarized in the salaried cleaning professions and in the independent trade of building cleaning . Cleaning for the production of objects, on the other hand, is considered a separating manufacturing process.

Household cleaning

Floor cleaning mop with bucket

Cleaning in the household removes dirt in living, utility and sanitary rooms. It is used for hygiene, preserves the value of the rooms and furnishings and improves their appearance.

Types of cleaning

The three basic types of household cleaning are visual , maintenance and basic cleaning : They are carried out periodically at fixed intervals. Which work is necessary depends on the furnishing of the rooms, their use and the requirements, possibly also on legal hygiene regulations.

  • Visual cleaning only removes dirt that is directly visible. This includes tidying up, emptying the paper baskets, ventilating and removing coarse, visible dirt.
  • The maintenance cleaning is usually daily or weekly. It receives the desired or required state of the household. Typical tasks are dusting , vacuum cleaning, floor mopping, wet cleaning of sanitary objects and waste disposal .
  • The basic cleaning (colloquially also called spring cleaning) is carried out once or twice a year in private households and more often in large households. It includes all maintenance cleaning work as well as intensive care of the rooms and furnishings. This includes, for example, washing the curtains, cleaning windows, cleaning radiators, doors, wall tiles and cupboards, and caring for upholstered furniture and other textile surfaces. In the commercial sector, basic cleaning is carried out as required and by special agreement. It includes the removal of soiling and, if necessary, removable care layers up to the actual surface of the material. Depending on the surface, cleaning is carried out with acidic ( pH value below 7) or alkaline agents (pH value 7 to 10.5).

Tools and methods

Cleaning is essentially manual work. The choice of equipment, machines and cleaning agents is determined by the nature of the dirty object and the type of dirt. The most important cleaning agent is water . Household cleaners usually contain surfactants as a cleaning substance and are diluted with water. Sensitive furniture and devices may, however, only be dry-cleaned, i.e. dusted or vacuumed. Solvent-based cleaners are used for non-water-soluble dirt such as grease or chewing gum. Special cleaning agents are also available for other materials such as leather or metals. After cleaning patient care practices such as the polishing of wood surfaces or waxing incurred floors. In special rooms such as hospitals or old people's homes, disinfection must also be carried out during cleaning .

  • Floors are dry-cleaned, damp-wiped or wet-wiped. The tools used are brooms , dustpan and hand brush , wide mop or mop , bucket , scrubber and vacuum cleaner . The shampooing from occurring dirt on carpets , loose resting carpets with the carpet beater tapped.
  • For window cleaning are built-in washer , squeegee , chamois and sponge cloths needed. The panes are soaked, if necessary sprayed with glass cleaner and peeled off.
  • Dishes are washed by hand in the sink with a sponge cloth or dish brush , or in the dishwasher . A drying cloth is used to dry off .
  • In the case of furniture, household appliances and other furnishings, it is the surface that determines the treatment required. Wooden furniture is dusted and polished, upholstered furniture is brushed and dusted, and stains are removed with a special cleaner. The cleaning of electrical devices is usually described in the corresponding instructions for use.
  • For reasons of hygiene, bathrooms and toilets must be cleaned damp or wet. Is cleaned with detergent, scouring powder , possibly lime remover and a sponge. Toilets are cleaned with a toilet brush and toilet cleaner ; if the pipes are blocked, a suction cup or pipe cleaner must also be used. Due to the hygienic dangers posed by dirty sanitary facilities, this is the most common cleaning job in the home.
  • Special devices: For environmentally friendly cleaning, steam cleaners are used in private households , and high-pressure cleaners in large households .


The cleaning of private households is carried out either by members of the household (i.e. members of the shared apartment, family, etc.) or domestic staff, for example cleaners or housekeepers . Building cleaners are usually used in large households.

In 2011, 260,000 people in Germany were working as domestic help subject to social security contributions. This is the first time since 2001 that the number of cleaning women employed subject to social insurance contributions has increased again. Since 2011, medium-sized, German companies have been established that employ cleaning staff subject to social security contributions and offer regular cleaning services for private households on an hourly basis. The customer concludes the service contract directly with the company. In the case of illness of the cleaning staff, the employees receive continued wages and the customer is provided with a substitute domestic help for absenteeism of the regular staff. Travel costs and liability insurance are covered by the employer.


Gloves and hand creams protect against aggressive cleaning agents . Safety instructions must also be observed when cleaning electrical devices. They can usually be found in the relevant operating instructions.

See also


  • Cornelia A. Schlieper: Housekeeping as a learning area . Dr. Felix Büchner, Hamburg 2005. ISBN 3-582-04800-4 .
  • Walter Lutz: Textbook of cleaning and hygiene technology , FIGR, Metzingen 1989. ISBN 978-3-934939-02-8 .
  • Linda Thomas: Cleaning as a cultural tradition and other beautiful things . Verlag am Goetheaneum, Dornach 2014, ISBN 978-3-7235-1520-4 . (Review: Ursula March BlitzBlank. In: . Time Mar. 27, 2018, accessed on April 27, 2018 . )

Web links


  1. FRT guidelines for mineral floor coverings - cleaning methods and processes - cleaning, care and value retention , p. 7, European Research Association for Cleaning and Hygiene Technology eV, August 31, 2012