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French Vocabulary – Cleaning Up Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Vocabulary

Spring is the perfect time for cleaning … that’s why we call it “spring cleaning!” So ouvrez les fenêtres (open the windows), sortez les balais et les serpillères (get out the brooms and the rags*), et commençons (and let’s begin)!

Le nettoyage de printemps

Spring cleaning (also known in French as le ménage de printemps or le nettoyage printanier) is the perfect opportunity to ranger votre domicile de fond en comble (clean your house from top to bottom). Let’s take a look at some of the things you might do during a really good nettoyage de printemps.

Français English
dépoussiérer les meubles dust the furniture
astiquer les meubles polish the furniture
balayer to sweep
passer la serpillère* to mop
passer l’aspirateur to vacuum
ranger to straighten / tidy up
jeter to toss out / throw away
laver les vitres to wash the windows
faire / laver le linge do / wash the laundry
faire / laver la vaisselle do / wash the dishes

* seripillère can be either a rag or a mop depending on the context, perhaps because at one time, a common way to mop floors in France was to push a wet rag around on the end of a long handle/stick.

Comment garder sa maison propre et rangéeHow to keep you house clean and tidy

Le meilleur moyen d’éviter un grand nettoyage de printemps (The best way to avoid a big spring cleaning) each year is to keep your house clean and tidy. This short video has lots of great tips for doing just that. Some key vocabulary to listen for (in addition to the list above) include: sale (dirty), propre (clean), pile (pile), au fur et à mesure (as you go/little by little).

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris