Cleaning isn’t the most fun thing to do, but it’s something we all have to take care of from time to time. How often do you clean your house? Do you know the terms we use in English to talk about cleaning appliances (the things we use to clean with)? Keeping your house or apartment clean is an important part of everyday life, so knowing how to talk about cleaning is an important part of learning a language.

If you’re learning English and are curious about what to call the cleaning appliances you have around your house, look no further (stop looking)! We’ve put together a list of some of the most common cleaning appliances we use, along with definitions and examples, to help you learn this important vocabulary. Keep reading to find out more!


A broom is a cleaning appliance that I have to admit (say, confess) I don’t use that often. I only use a broom if I don’t have much time to clean up, but want to get some dirt off the floor. A broom is a stick with bristles (short, tough hairs) on the end that is used to clean the floor. Using a broom is great for a quick clean, but sometimes leaves some dirt behind. The verb that is used with a broom is to sweep.

For example:

  • I didn’t have a lot of time to clean, so all I did is sweep quickly with the broom. We’ll have to do a more thorough cleaning later.
  • When we moved, the first thing we brought into the apartment was a broom, so that we could clean a little bit before we moved everything in.

Vacuum cleaner

If your floors are in need of a bit of a deeper (more thorough) clean, then you may want to use a vacuum cleaner. A vacuum cleaner collects dust and dirt from the floor via suction, and is very effective. A vacuum cleaner can work on all types of surfaces, including wood, tile, and carpet. Vacuuming (the verb) is a great way to get your floors nice and clean!

For example:

  • The vacuum cleaner wasn’t working very well. It didn’t seem to suck up dirt as efficiently as it used to. So I changed the bag, and then it worked great!
  • We have to vacuum the place today. Can you please get the vacuum cleaner out and take care of that?

Dust rag

I hate how dusty surfaces in my house seem to get. I feel like as soon as I clean all the dust off, that it all comes back 20 minutes later! That’s why for me, a dust rag is my best cleaning friend. A dust rag is just an old piece of cloth that you can spray with a cleaning solution and dust off surfaces with. These surfaces can be things like picture frames, tables, book shelves, etc. All sorts of things in your house collect dust, so it’s important to use your handy (convenient, easily at your hand, nearby) dust rag to keep them clean and dust-free.

For example:

  • I use a piece of old towel as a dust rag. I think it collects dust really well. But a friend of mine cut up some old bedsheets and uses them as dust rags.
  • Do we have a second dust rag? Then you could help me dust, and the job would be done faster. :-)

Spray bottle

Many cleaning supplies come in spray bottles. Everything from window cleaning solution to the chemicals you use to clean the kitchen, the most common packaging (what something comes in) is a spray bottle. A spray bottle is great to put cleaning supplies in because it’s an easy way to distribute (spread thinly) the chemicals around so you can clean.

For example:

  • I bought a refill of kitchen cleaner, so we can keep the spray bottle from the old cleaner and reduce our plastic use.
  • This spray bottle of bathroom cleaner is almost empty. I don’t know if it’ll be enough to clean the bathroom. Do we have any more?


Which cleaning appliance do you use to clean pots, pans, dishes, and surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom? In this case, a sponge would be best. A sponge is a rectangular, soft block of synthetic (man-made) material used for cleaning. A sponge is a very convenient thing to have, as it enables (lets you) you to clean all different things.

For example:

  • I threw away the old sponge this morning, and replaced it with the last one in the pack. Can you pick up some new sponges at the store?
  • She uses an old sponge to clean the toilet, and it’s the only thing she uses this sponge for. That way she doesn’t spread germs around the bathroom.

Do you use any of these cleaning appliances on a regular basis? Did you find this list helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

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Check out these other popular blogs: Furniture Vocabulary in EnglishCommon Vacation Phrases in EnglishPassive vs Active Voice in English, or these Portuguese Loan Words used in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and definitely needs some of these cleaning appliances to keep her apartment clean!

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