the act of cleaning a house, room, etc., and its furnishings, especially the act of cleaning thoroughly and completely.
the act of improving or reforming by weeding out excess or corrupt personnel or of revising methods of operation.

Origin of housecleaning

First recorded in 1860–65; house + cleaning



verb (used with object)

to subject (a house, room, etc.) to housecleaning.

verb (used without object)

to engage in housecleaning.

Origin of houseclean

First recorded in 1860–65; back formation from housecleaning
Related formshouse·clean·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for house-cleaning

Historical Examples of house-cleaning

  • All were bare and disorderly, because, as the woman explained, house-cleaning was in progress.

    Days Off

    Henry Van Dyke

  • Preserving-time was a prolonged festival, and house-cleaning was like a revolution.

    My Antonia

    Willa Cather

  • Retty was full of work and house-cleaning, and her lover had come on.

    A Little Girl in Old New York

    Amanda Millie Douglas

  • It is only the excess of this form of nature's house-cleaning which needs to be checked.

    Preventable Diseases

    Woods Hutchinson

  • House-cleaning is one thing that I never saw in practice or evidence.