15 Of The Best Songs About Cleaning

Written by Dan Farrant

For most of us, cleaning can seem like a tedious task. But it doesn’t have to be, thanks to music that can turn the most ordinary chores into an enjoyable experience.

With the right song, you can end up tapping your feet or bobbing your head, making cleaning less like work. From bluesy ballads about doing laundry to pop anthems dedicated to decluttering, these songs add a touch of humor and reliability to this everyday chore.

So whether it’s a metaphorical cleansing of one’s past and life to a literal scrubbing of floors, we present to you 15 of the best songs about cleaning. Read on to know more.

1. “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” By Eminem

First up is Eminem‘s “Cleanin’ Out My Closet.” Released in 2002 from his album The Eminem Show, the song mentions “cleaning” his closet in a metaphorical way.

What the narrator means is that he’s revealing and dealing with hidden personal issues or secrets. He uses the concept of cleaning his closet to show that he’s done hiding the truth about his past and to tell everyone about the things that he’d been through.

These things include his difficult childhood, his turbulent relationship with his ex-wife, and his damaged relationship with his mother.

2. “So Fresh, So Clean” By OutKast

Another song that is not directly about cleaning in the literal sense is OutKast‘s “So Fresh, So Clean.” Rather, the song celebrates their unique style, confidence, and flair.

Through the lyrics, the narrator describes feeling confident and attractive. Saying they feel fresh and clean means they feel good about themselves and their overall vibe. In the hip-hop world, “fresh” and “clean” are terms to describe someone who is stylish, cool, or impressive.

The song also references fashion, luxury cars, and sexual prowess, further emphasizing the theme of self-assurance and individuality.

3. “Car Wash” By Rose Royce

While Rose Royce‘s “Car Wash” does not mention “cleaning” anywhere in the song, it directly relates to this chore, specifically the act of washing cars.

The song describes a lively and enjoyable car-washing business where the employees have fun while working. It seems like the ideal employment where “it’s always cool, / And the boss doesn’t mind sometimes if you act the fool.”

The song’s central theme emphasizes that whatever job you have, there’s always something to gain from it. In the context of a car wash, it could be the satisfaction of transforming a dirty car into a shiny one or the good working relationships between employees.

4. “Dirty Laundry” By Kelly Rowland

In Kelly Rowland‘s “Dirty Laundry,” the narrator uses the concept of cleaning as a metaphor for airing out personal issues and past experiences. In this context, the title represents the difficult or embarrassing private matters that the narrator wishes to keep hidden.

In the song, two things stand out. First is Rowland’s envy of the success of her Destiny’s Child groupmate Beyoncé. This is directly addressed in the lines, “While my sister was on stage… I was enraged… Went our separate ways, but I was happy she was killing it…”

Another thing is Rowland’s experience in a past abusive relationship. She claims she “was battered, / He hittin’ the window like it was me until it shattered.”

The act of “cleaning” in this song symbolizes her process of coming to terms with her past. It’s about acknowledging her experiences and moving forward.

5. “Washing Dishes” By Jack Johnson

Up next, we have Jack Johnson‘s 2013 single “Washing Dishes.” Depending on how you look at it, the song can be about the literal act of washing the dishes or a metaphor for living in the moment.

This simple acoustic song reflects the routine task of washing dishes. It’s surprising how relaxing it can be when we do simple daily chores.

In a broader sense, “washing dishes” can also be about appreciating the simple things in life. The song tells us that we can find meaning in the small moments of life. It encourages us to slow down, pay attention to our surroundings, and find contentment in ordinary moments.

6. “Come Clean” By Hilary Duff

In “Come Clean,” Hilary Duff uses the concept of cleaning as a metaphor for personal transformation and authenticity. It’s about shedding pretense and openly confronting feelings and experiences.

In the lyrics, the narrator looks for the truth in what is happening in her relationship. The title itself suggests honesty and transparency. It’s getting rid of secrets and lies, regardless of whether they stay together or not after doing so. They are acknowledging their true feelings in the relationship.

The reference to wanting the rain to come down symbolizes a desire for cleansing and renewal. Rain signifies a fresh start or washing away the old.

7. “When I’m Cleaning Windows” By George Formby

Up next is a song with “cleaning” in the title. George Formby‘s “When I’m Cleaning Windows” appeared in the 1935 film Keep Your Seats, Please.

This comedy song is about a window cleaner’s experiences on the job, particularly about the things he has seen. The job provides him a glimpse into the private lives of people whose windows he cleans.

These include a variety of domestic scenes that he wouldn’t have witnessed had it not been for the job. No one can blame him, though. Like he says, “It’s not my fault I see a lot of things I shouldn’t see.”

8. “Cleaning Windows” By Van Morrison

Northern Irish musician and songwriter Van Morrison recalls his past job as a window cleaner in this 1982 single. “Cleaning Windows” captures the nostalgia of a simpler time in his life when he was a part-time musician and window cleaner to sustain himself.

Despite the difficulty of the job, it’s something that Morrison loved to do. He addresses this directly in the line, “I’m happy cleanin’ windows.” He also recalls the little things that made the job memorable, such as the smell of bread from the bakery.

At its core, the song suggests the idea of finding joy in whatever work you do and living in the moment. On a metaphorical level, the song demonstrates the act of gaining clarity or perspective, much like how cleaning windows allows one to see clearly.

9. “Happy Working Song” By Amy Adams

One of the most memorable songs in the animated musical romantic comedy film Enchanted is “Happy Working Song.” Performed by actress Amy Adams, the song is directly about the act of tidying up.

In the movie, Giselle, the character that Adams plays, sings the song while cleaning up an apartment. She cleans up the mess, scrubs the tub clean, and even removes strands of hair from the shower drain.

This song is a homage to traditional Disney songs where characters often sing while performing chores or work. But beyond the literal act of cleaning, the song encourages finding joy in mundane tasks.

10. “Yakety Yak” By The Coasters

Though The Coasters‘ “Yakety Yak” was released in 1959, parents and teenagers will relate to what it’s about. The song lists the responsibilities of a teenager, including various cleaning tasks.

The lyrics include directives such as “Take out the papers and the trash” and “Bring in the dog and put out the cat.” There is a corresponding punishment for disobedience, such as receiving “no spendin’ cash” or “You ain’t gonna rock and roll no more.”

The song is a humorous take on the classic parent-child dynamic. Unsurprisingly, the child’s response is “yakety yak,” prompting the parent to retort, “Don’t talk back.”

11. “Clean Up” By Danny Brown

In “Clean Up,” Danny Brown reflects on his life, the choices he’s made, and the consequences of his actions. Here, cleaning is a metaphor for self-improvement and overcoming personal struggles.

In other words, the “clean up” is a metaphorical clean-up of his life. It involves acknowledging his past mistakes and dealing with personal issues. But most of all, it’s about doing the best he can to better himself.

In essence, “Clean Up” is about introspection and the process of cleansing one’s life of unhealthy habits. It’s also about making a conscious effort to “clean up” one’s act and aim for a better life.

12. “Clean Up Woman” By Betty Wright

Another song about cleaning that is not in the literal sense is Betty Wright‘s “Clean Up Woman.” This song came out in 1971 and was a commercial success. It peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Black Singles chart.

Thematically, the song follows a woman who fails to appreciate her man and takes him for granted. When he needs her, she is somewhere having fun. This only made it easy for the “clean up” woman to get her man’s affection.

In the context of cleaning, the title is a metaphor for a woman who takes advantage of the mistakes made by other women in their relationships. This woman steps in and wins over the man. In many ways, this song is a warning to women to treat their man right or they’ll lose him.

13. “Cleaning Out The Rooms” By Sea Power

In this song with “cleaning” in the lyrics, Sea Power is not singing about literal cleaning. “Cleaning Out the Rooms” is a metaphor for transformation and resilience.

The song suggests that we must clean the rooms of our hearts and minds if we want to move forward and live a new life. This indicates letting go of past regrets and clearing away negative thoughts and emotions.

In this context, cleaning refers to the process of self-improvement and personal growth. We make a new space for new experiences and opportunities by clearing out the old and unnecessary.

14. “Wash” By Pearl Jam

Released in 1991, the concept of “washing” in Pearl Jam‘s “Wash” is not in the literal sense. Rather, it is a metaphor to represent the process of cleansing oneself emotionally and spiritually.

The song explores themes of self-reflection, renewal, and redemption. The narrator yearns to start anew, which can be seen as a form of cleansing oneself from past mistakes.

In addition, “Wash” describes an impure man with a pure, loving partner. Hence, his desire to “wash” his impurities in order to match his partner’s honesty and purity.

15. “Stay Clean” By Motörhead

To end our list, we give you Motörhead‘s “Stay Clean.” Like many songs in this list, this 1979 track uses the concept of “staying clean” as a metaphor for personal ethics and moral integrity.

In the lyrics, the narrator encourages listeners to live an honest life and be true to themselves. This is much like maintaining cleanliness which symbolizes orderliness and discipline.

In this context, staying clean includes avoiding influences, harmful behaviors, or dishonest actions. It’s about maintaining your character and values, just like how you strive to keep your surroundings clean.

Summing Up Our List Of Cleaning Songs

And now we are at the end of our post today. What we can gain from the songs above is that cleaning is a necessary part of our daily routines.

But beyond the physical act, cleaning takes on a deeper, metaphoric meaning in different contexts. It can be about letting go of past burdens and making room for new experiences.

So make it a point to make periodic cleaning to bring order not just to our surroundings but to our lives in general as well.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.