Dutch Language Blog

Dutch Verbs for Housework Posted by on Jul 19, 2010 in Dutch Language

Ok, it’s not that cleaning is my favorite thing to do, but it is something that I seem to do an awful lot of.  And since we’re working on basic vocabulary for around the house this month, having some verbs to work with will probably be helpful.  Perhaps it might even encourage us all to get a little more work done around the house. Or perhaps it will just serve as a reminder for all that work I should be doing, but I’m conveniently forgetting to do in favor of more exciting things…

One of the types of housework the Dutch excel at is window washing.  I had no idea how important this household chore was until I moved into my home here and there are these gigantic windows…where you notice all the spots and dirt.  I think the Dutch have turned this into some sort of an art form, so let me share a little of the technique with you.

Start with a bucket filled with warm soapy water.  A basic all-around daily cleaner or dish soap will do.  Take care not to use too much soap.  Using a sponge or rag wash the window.  Then using the blade end of a squeegee, slice the remaining water off the windows.  And there you have it!  Crystal clear windows.  The more you do it, the better you get at it.  Let’s just say, I’m a very good window washer at this point.

het huishoudelijk werk : the housework
boodschappen doen : to do the grocery shopping, run errands
bed opmaken : to make the bed
afwassen : to do the dishes
afdrogen : to dry the dishes
tafel dekken : to set the table
tafel afruimen : to clear off the table
wassen : to wash
spoelen : to rinse
wringen : to wring out
was ophangen : to hang the laundry
strijken : to iron
verstellen : to mend
was opvouwen : to fold the laundry
stofzuigen :  to vacuum
vegen : to sweep
dweilen : to mop
schoonmaken : to clean
reinigen : to wash
ramen wassen : to wash the windows
boenen : to polish, scrub
afstoffen : to dust
de planten water geven : to water the plants
de hond uitlaten : to walk the dog
de kattenbak legen : to empty the litterbox
het stof : the dust
het vuil : the dirt
het vuilnis buiten zetten : to take out the trash
opruimen : to tidy up

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  1. Stefaan:

    It’s “huishOUdelijk werk” 🙂

    • sarah:

      @Stefaan You’re completely right Stefaan! Sometimes those little things creep in, no matter how many times I check them. Thanks for noticing! 🙂

  2. Anna Scott:

    I just love love this blog and FaceBook link! I may be going to Holland in early September and reading your blog entries makes me feel even more excited!

    • sarah:

      @Anna Scott Hi Anna,

      Thanks for your comment! Any idea where you’ll be going? For such a small country, there is so much to see.



  3. ellen:

    Thanks, I learned another sentence: To tidy up. Your blog is so useful for a Dutch woman in the States 🙂