How To Talk About Chores And Housework In English

How To Talk About Chores And Housework In English (1)

Introduction

This is my essential guide on how to talk about chores and housework in English.

Dive right in and I will show you all you need to know so that you can express yourself clearly about doing the housework in English.

 

Are you ready?

Let’s get into it…

How To Talk About Chores And Housework In English (2)

What are Chores or Housework?

So what exactly are chores and housework?

These are the tasks we have to do in the house. Small jobs that we must do to make sure the house is clean and tidy.

To ensure that our lives are well-maintained and we can live in relative comfort inside our own homes.

Common chores include:

  • Cleaning
  • Doing the washing up
  • Doing the laundry
  • Cooking
  • Making the bed

You will find that when talking about these chores in English, we often use phrasal verbs.

A phrasal verb is a verb that is used in conjunction with a noun.

For example; make the bed.

The most common verbs used in this way when talking about doing the housework are DO and MAKE.

But don’t worry, I will show you clearly what these phrasal verbs are.

Plus, I will give you examples you can use in real-life situations.

I have divided the guide into sections; such as kitchen, bathroom, outside, etc.

This is because there are often specific chores for each room of the house or outside in the yard or garden.

So let’s take a look!

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General Chores Around The House

First, let’s look at general chores around the house.

These are the common everyday terms we use when talking about cleaning or tidying the house.

Take a look below.

Clean The House/Clean Up/Clean Up The House

You can use all of these expressions to talk about cleaning the house.

This could mean tidying things up too. For example, putting clothes away in the wardrobe. Or replacing books back on the bookshelf.

But it could also mean physically cleaning the house by sweeping, vacuuming or mopping the floors or carpets.

I need to clean the house this weekend. It’s a real mess.

We all have to pitch in today and clean up.

Can you all help me clean up the house tomorrow? It’s getting really messy these last few days.

A real mess = means that the house is untidy and there could be many clothes, shoes or other items not put in their correct place. It can also mean a little dirty.

Pitch in = This means to provide help or assistance.

Messy = means untidy or not very clean.

Past Tenses You Can Use

I’ve cleaned the house completely. Now I feel exhausted.

I cleaned the house, then I did all the laundry.

Put Away/Put Away Your Things/Put Everything Away

This means to put the things left in the house back in their tidy places.

Clothes put in the wardrobe.

Shoes put in the shoe rack or shelf.

Books back on the bookshelf.

Plates and cups back in the kitchen cupboard.

Sometimes, when a family is living together, many things get left in the living room or bedrooms and we need to put them away.

I want you to put away all your clothes. They should be in your wardrobe, not all over the furniture in the living room!

Now that our guests are gone, can you help me put everything away?

When you’ve finished, can you please put away your things?

This expression may often be used by a parent telling their child or children to put all their things back in their room or on the shelf where they belong.

Past Tenses You Can Use

Mum, I’ve put away my things… Can I play computer games for a bit?

I put everything away, then sat down to have a rest.

Vacuum The Carpet/Vacuum The Carpets

A vacuum cleaner is a cleaning tool that is used to suck up dust from the carpet or rugs in our home.

Carpets are often placed on the floor in homes in colder countries. Houses in the UK often have carpets. So we use a vacuum cleaner to clean the carpets.

A popular brand of vacuum cleaner is Hoover. This is sometimes used as a verb.

So you might hear people say: Hoover the carpet.

Let’s look at some ways to use this phrase below:

Now that I’ve got time, I need to vacuum all the carpets.

I think we need to vacuum the carpet in the hallway. It’s getting really dusty.

We only have time to vacuum the carpets once a month. So they get a little messy.

I need to hoover the carpet now that our guests have gone.

Don’t forget to hoover under the table too!

Do The Hoovering

You might hear this expression from time to time in British English.

It means to use the vacuum cleaner and cleaning the carpet.

I have to do the hoovering this weekend.

I haven’t done the hoovering for so long. There’s dust everywhere!

Past Tenses You Can Use

I’ve hoovered all the carpets and you haven’t lifted a finger!

Lifted a finger — the full expression is lift a finger to help. So it means to help someone do something.

But we usually use it in the negative: You haven’t lifted a finger.

Means: You have not helped me at all!

Sweep Up/Sweep The Floor

Many homes don’t have or need carpets. So there is no need for a vacuum cleaner.

In these kinds of homes, people often use a broom or a brush to sweep the floor.

The floor may be made of tiles or wood. And a broom makes it easy to sweep this kind of floor.

Here are some common expressions in English on how to use this phrase.

 

When I finish the cooking, you can help me by sweeping up.

 

I’ll just sweep up very quickly, then we can put the books away.

 

Can you sweep up after you? You’ve left crumbs all over the floor!

 

Crumbs are small particles of bread that are often left when someone eats some bread. Sometimes crumbs fall on the floor.

 

I really need to sweep the floors thoroughly this Sunday. It’s the only time I have free to do it.

 

Let’s sweep the floor first, then we can mop it.

 

Please make sure to sweep the floor thoroughly. I don’t want to see a speck of dust on the floor.

A speck of dust is a small particle of dust. If we say; I can’t see a speck of dust on the floor. It means the floor is very clean!

 

Past Tenses You Can Use

 

He swept up all the broken glass after dropping the vase.

 

I swept the kitchen floor. Can I play with my phone now?

Dust Something/Do The Dusting

Dust is the buildup of small particles of dirt in the house.

We often have to clean dust off smooth surfaces such as wooden furniture, like tables and chairs. And also on shelves.

Dusting is usually done on wooden surfaces.

 

I need to dust the shelves today. They’re filthy!

Filthy means extremely dirty.

We use this expression to mean something is very dirty. It may not mean extremely dirty.

 

We should dust the table and chairs soon. There is quite a buildup of dust there.

 

Past Tenses You Can Use

 

I dusted all the furniture. Now I can have a rest.

 

I’ve dusted all the shelves and cabinets. Take a look!

Polish Something/Do The Polishing

After dusting some part of the furniture, we might then polish it.

This is to keep it looking clean and shiny.

 

I want to polish the table today. I bought a new can of furniture polish.

These days, polish often comes in a spray can that you can spray onto the furniture. You then use a rag to polish it.

 

Can we polish all the bookshelves this weekend? They are looking a bit grimy.

Grimy means a little dirty. Maybe some scuff marks on the furniture.

 

I always try to do the polishing when the kids are at school.

 

Past Tenses You Can Use

 

I did all the polishing today. It all looks brand new!

Brand New means to be very new. Like you have just purchased the item.

 

I’ve polished the table and chairs. So try not to make a mess.

Change The Light Bulb

A light bulb is a small piece of equipment you put in the light fixture to light the room.

It looks like a bubble.

Sometimes light bulbs run out and we have to replace it with a new one.

We change the light bulb.

Let’s look at some things we can say:

 

Can you change the light bulb in the bathroom? It’s just gone.

Just Gone in this context means the old light bulb is no longer working.

 

I really should get around to changing the light bulb in the bedroom. I should have done it ages ago.

Get Around To means to take action and do something.

 

Past Tenses You Can Use

 

I changed the light bulb in the living room. We don’t have to spend the evenings in there in the dark any longer.

Chores In The Kitchen

We create quite a lot of mess in the kitchen.

After all, this is the place where we cook and prepare meals. So, of course, the kitchen can become pretty dirty on a daily basis.

If we don’t take care of things regularly, the kitchen can soon be filled with dirty dishes and all the counters grimy and filthy.

 

Let’s look at all the tasks and chores we have to do in the kitchen one by one.

Put The Food Away

So, you go to the supermarket and buy some fresh food to eat at home.

But you can’t just dump the bags of food in the kitchen.

Now you have to put all the food items away. Put all the things in the right place.

Putting Food In The Fridge

Some food we have to put in the fridge to keep fresh.

Things like meat, fish, milk and eggs must all go in the fridge.

If we don’t put them in the fridge, they will go bad. This means the food becomes rotten and we are unable to eat it.

 

In some parts of the world, people don’t have to put fruit or vegetables in the fridge.

But in warmer countries, people often do this.

 

Here are some things we can say about putting food in the fridge.

 

Can you put the milk in the fridge, please?

 

Don’t forget to put the eggs in the fridge. I don’t want them to go off.

 

Put the steaks in the freezer. We can defrost them when we want to cook them.

Defrost means taking some items out of the freezer and allowing the ice to thaw and the food to reach room temperature again.

 

Please put the pineapple in the fridge. Pineapples go bad very quickly in this heat.

Putting Cans, Tins or Packet Food In The Cupboard

Some food we buy comes in cans or tins. Other food in boxes or packets.

This is usually processed food. (A kind of simple food made in a factory).

We can put this food in the cupboard. A cupboard is a simple space in the kitchen to put things.

 

Let’s put the cans and packets in the cupboard.

 

Put the boxes of cereal in the cupboard.

 

The rice belongs in the cupboard — don’t forget!

Putting Kitchen Items Away

We don’t just buy food for the kitchen.

We buy other things such as cleaning products.

Here are some things we can say about that in English.

 

Put the washing-up liquid on top of the sink.

Washing-Up Liquid is a kind of soap we use to clean the dishes.

 

Put the laundry powder beside the washing machine.

Laundry Powder is a kind of soap we use to wash our clothes.

(More on doing the laundry later…)

 

Put the bleach in the cupboard under the sink. That way, the children cannot find it.

Bleach is a very strong chemical that we might use to wash or clean things. We have to be very careful of this substance. Especially with children.

Do The Cooking/Cook Dinner or Lunch/Make Dinner or Lunch

Of course, the main thing we do in the kitchen is cooking.

We cook dinner or make dinner.

We prepare food. We cook all the family meals in the kitchen.

Here are some sentences you can use in English about cooking.

 

I don’t have time to chat now; I have to make dinner for everyone.

 

As soon as I get home, I have to start cooking dinner for the kids.

 

I was about to rustle up a bit of lunch. You want to join me?

Rustle Up means to make. A bit means a little or a small amount. So this means to cook a small or simple lunch.

 

I’ll help you later. I’ve got to do the lunch now.

 

Past Tenses You Can Use

 

I made dinner last night, and everyone loved it. I was trying out a new recipe.

 

I’ve been cooking lunch all morning. The least you could do is eat it!

Wash The Dishes/Do The Dishes/Do The Washing-Up

After we finish eating lunch or dinner, we have to wash all the dirty plates, bowls and cutlery.

(Cutlery is knives, forks and spoons that we use for eating.)

All the above phrases mean to do this action.

Now we can try out some common expressions to use in English.

 

Can someone do the dishes? I did the dinner.

 

It’s your turn to wash the dishes. I did it yesterday.

 

Can we all muck in to do the washing up? Many hands make light work!

All Muck In means to all help.

Many Hands Make Light Work means if there are more people to help, the work becomes much easier to do.

 

Please use washing-up liquid when you do the dishes. Not just hot water.

 

Past Tenses You Can Use

 

Have you washed the dishes yet?

 

I’ve done all the dishes. Can I go to my room now?

 

I did the dishes yesterday! It’s your turn today!

Clean The Cooker/Clean The Stove/Do The Cooker

And after doing the dishes, we need to clean the cooker and oven.

British English — say cooker.

American English — say stove.

Try these useful phrases below.

 

I’ll do the dishes, you can do the cooker.

 

I’ll clean the oven. Is there any oven cleaner?

Oven Cleaner is a special kind of liquid soap to clean the inside of the oven.

 

Past Tenses You Can Use

 

I cleaned the oven. It was such hard work!

 

I did the stove this afternoon. And you’ve made it filthy again!

Mop The Floor/Do The Floor

Then finally, after cooking dinner, washing the dishes and cleaning the cooker, we have to mop the floor.

This means to use a special tool with a long handle and clean the floor of the kitchen.

We use a kind of detergent and hot water to do this.

Check out the useful English phrases below!

 

Let me mop the floor. I like doing that.

 

I’ll do the dishes, you do the cooker and you can do the floor.

 

Past Tenses You Can Use

 

I’ve mopped the floor. Take a look. It’s pristine.

Pristine means extremely clean. We sometimes say this to show how clean something is.

 

I mopped the floor yesterday. Can you do it today?

Chores In The Bathroom

Every time we use the bathroom, it turns into a mess.

It’s always polite to make sure the bathroom is clean for other people to use.

Clean The Bath/Tub/Bathtub

After having a bath — or using the shower — we should clean it.

Then other people can use it after us.

Let’s look at some common English expressions we can use.

 

I always make sure to clean the bath after using it. Then my wife can use it after me.

 

Have you cleaned the bathtub? I don’t want to have a bath if it’s dirty.

 

I use the shower head to rinse the bath out. Then it’s nice and clean for the next person.

The Shower Head is the end of the shower hose we use for having a shower. We can also use this for rinsing the bath.

Rinsing/To Rinse means to pour water on something to clean it.

Nice and Clean is a very common English idiom which means that it is very clean.

 

My kids never clean the bathtub after using it. It’s always a right mess when they come out of the bathroom.

Mop The Floor

We mop the kitchen floor. And we also mop the bathroom floor.

The use of this phrase is exactly the same.

But here are some phrases for you to practice.

 

Don’t forget to mop the bathroom floor when you’re finished in there.

 

I always mop the floor after I get out of the bath. I like to keep it nice and clean.

Put The Towels Away

After we have a bath, we use towels to dry ourselves.

Then we have to put the towels away. Usually, we hang them somewhere so they can dry again.

Then we can use the towels next time.

Here are some common English expressions for you to use.

 

Please put the towels away when you’ve finished having a shower.

 

Can you put your towel on the radiator to dry?

A Radiator is a heating device found in many homes in cold countries. We can place a towel on it to dry it.

 

I think my daughter has finally learnt to put the towels away when she finished having a bath.

Replace The Soap/The Toothpaste/Shampoo

We use soap and toothpaste in the bathroom.

Sometimes these things run out, so we have to ensure there is fresh soap or a new tube of toothpaste for next time.

 

I used the last bit of toothpaste, so I got a new tube from under the kitchen sink and put it in the rack.

People might have a Rack on their bathroom washbasin. In this, they can put toothbrushes and toothpaste to use at their convenience.

 

I finished the last bar of soap, so I put a new one on the rack in the bath.

A Bar is a measure word for soap. One bar of soap, two bars of soap.

 

We’ve run out of shampoo. Is there any new one available?

Shampoo is a special liquid soap we use to wash our hair.

Clean The Washbasin

People use the sink to brush their teeth. Men use it for shaving.

But we must clean up any mess we make.

 

I always make sure to clean the washbasin before leaving the bathroom.

 

I cleaned the washbasin yesterday. It was about time!

 

I gave the washbasin a really good cleaning this morning. The kids had left toothpaste smears all over it!

Clean The Toilet

And often the toilet is in the bathroom.

It’s essential to clean this after we use it!

Don’t forget to flush the toilet when you’ve finished!

Flush The Toilet means to press the lever and allow water to flow through the toilet and down the hole!

I put fresh toilet cleaner in the toilet yesterday. So it should smell nice and fresh.

Toilet Cleaner is a kind of chemical we can place inside the toilet. It makes the toilet smell nice!

Nice and Fresh means to be very fresh.

Sometimes, after a week of everyone using the toilet, I have to use the toilet brush to clean the toilet thoroughly!

The Toilet Brush is a special kind of scrubbing brush with a long handle.

This is ideal for cleaning the toilet!

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Chores In The Bedroom

We sleep in the bedroom every night.

So, of course, things get messy.

 

Some of the phrases we used in General Chores Around The House we can also use in the bedroom.

For example;

  • Put The Clothes Away
  • Vacuum/Hoover The Carpet

 

So, you can use these phrases when talking about chores in the bedroom.

Make The Bed

After we wake up from sleeping all night, the first thing we should do is make the bed.

This means arranging all the sheets and bed covers so they are on the bed neatly.

We also need to place the pillows in the right position.

Now look at the phrases below.

I always make my bed as soon as I wake up.

I make my bed every morning and it gives me a great start to the day.

Can you make your bed, please? It looks so messy…

Everyone should make their bed when they wake up in the morning.

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Doing The Laundry

We all wear clothes. And our clothes get dirty.

The process of washing and drying the clothes is called DOING THE LAUNDRY.

In some homes, people might have a special machine to wash their clothes.

This is called a Washing Machine. In the UK, it is sometimes referred to as The Washer.

 

But in other places, people may wash clothes by hand.

 

Take a look below at some common expressions in English you can use.

 

Please put all your dirty clothes in the washing machine. I’ll do the laundry later today.

 

Every time I finish football practice, I put my football kit in the laundry. They get filthy every time!

Football Kit is the special clothes people wear when playing football.

 

I am so busy during the week, that I only get time to do the laundry on Sunday.

 

I’ve run out of clean shirts to wear. I will have to do some laundry.

 

Also, there is a machine for drying clothes, we call the Clothes Dryer. Or simply, the Dryer.

 

I put all my shirts in the dryer and then I can iron them tomorrow.

 

Don’t put my sweater in the clothes dryer! It will shrink!

 

We can’t put woollen clothes — like sweaters — in the clothes drier.

 

If you don’t have a dryer, you can hang your clothes to dry on the clothesline. A simple line or cord where you hang your clothes to dry by the window or outside.

 

The sun is out, so maybe it’s a good time to hang out our clothes to dry.

 

We can’t hang the clothes out today, it looks like rain.

 

Please hang your clothes out to dry by the window. They should be dry by tomorrow.

Do The Ironing/Iron The Clothes

And after drying the clothes, we have to iron them.

We use some special tools for this.

Iron/Steam Iron — this is a device that creates heat that we can use to iron our clothes and make them look smart and presentable.

Ironing Board — a kind of table that is used for ironing clothes.

 

Now that I’ve got time, I can do all the ironing.

 

Mondays never end… I have to do all the laundry in the morning and then do all the ironing in the afternoon. It’s nonstop.

 

I kind of like ironing my shirts for work. I find it kind of relaxing.

 

Have you ironed your school uniform for Monday? I am not doing it for you!

Fold The Laundry

Finally, after doing the ironing, we have to fold the laundry and put the clothes away.

 

If you could fold all your T-shirts and sweaters and put them away, that would be lovely.

 

The laundry is not complete until I have folded all the clothes and put them in the wardrobe.

Take Out The Rubbish or The Trash

Of course, every house creates rubbish or trash.

This is all the waste products left after eating or consuming things that we have to throw away.

RubbishBritish English

TrashAmerican English

We can use the following phrases in English.

 

Please throw out the rubbish! The bin men are coming tomorrow.

The Bin Men are the waste disposal workers in the UK who take the rubbish away in a big truck.

 

Look at these old soda cans in your room! Can you please throw out your rubbish?

 

We had a big dinner party last night, so this morning I had to clear everything away and throw out the rubbish.

 

The bin men come every Monday, so on Sunday I have a big clearout and throw out a load of rubbish.

 

We always take out the rubbish every night just before going to bed.

Do The Recycling

Doing the recycling means separating the rubbish into different boxes.

One for plastic, one for paper, one for metal and another for glass.

Then workers come to collect it and take it to the refuse centre to be recycled.

Things like paper, plastic, metal and glass can be used over and over again.

This is good for the environment!

 

Please dispose of all your old pieces of plastic. It needs to go in the recycling bin.

 

Look at all these old newspapers! I don’t know why my grandfather keeps hold of them. We should throw them in the recycling.

 

It’s good for the planet to recycle all our old waste such as plastic and glass.

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Clear The Table

We use the dining table for eating every day.

And after eating, we need to clear the table.

This means taking all the dirty dishes and putting them in the kitchen for the washing up.

Then we have to wipe and clean the table itself.

Use the phrases below to express yourself in English.

 

Please help me clear the table. Then we can do the washing up.

 

You clear the table, and I will do the washing up.

 

Every time we finish dinner, we all help out to clear the table. Then we take it in turns to do the washing up.

 

Use a cloth to wipe the table.

A Cloth is a kind of towel that we can use with water to wipe and clean surfaces.

 

Let’s wipe the table and clean it properly. We made a real mess eating dinner tonight.

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Chores Outside

We have chores to do inside the house.

But there are chores to do outside too.

If you have a garden, this can be a big chore to do.

Let’s look at that first.

Doing The Gardening

This is a phrase that means to do all the different chores and tasks in the garden.

It can be a lot of work!

 

Take a look at the phrases below to help you.

 

As it’s a nice day, I think I will cut the grass.

 

It’s perfect weather outside, so I think I will mow the lawn.

To Mow means to cut the grass using a special machine, a mowing machine.

The Lawn is the patch of grass in the garden.

 

It hasn’t rained for days! Maybe I should water the flowers.

 

The plants look very dry. I think I should water them.

To Water The Flowers/Plants means to give them water. We usually use a water hose to do this.

 

Look at the hedges! They have really grown. Maybe it’s time to give them a trim.

To Trim means to cut the hedges and arrange them in a nice shape.

 

It’s so hot today. Do you think we should turn on the sprinkler to water the flowers?

The Sprinkler is a special device that automatically waters the flowers or plants. But this device wastes a lot of water!

 

I went away for a couple of weeks and when I got back, the garden was full of weeds. So I had to do the weeding over the weekend.

Weeds are a kind of plant that can grow wild in the garden. People like to get rid of them by doing the weeding. And making the garden more neat and tidy.

 

And there are some other tasks that we do outside, too.

 

Take a look at these phrases in English to help you.

 

If the weather is nice, and the sun is shining, I will try to clean the windows.

 

In the winter, it gets really icy and the windscreen on my car gets all iced up. So I have to scrape the ice off.

Icy means there is a buildup of ice.

The Windscreen is the window at the front of the car.

Iced Up means all covered in ice.

Scrape is an action we perform with a tool to clear ice off the windscreen.

 

Can you get the post while you’re outside?

 

Can you check the mail?

The Post and The Mail are real physical letters we receive from the postman. They arrive through a hole called the Letterbox in the front door.

 

I will sweep the porch, and you can clean the windows.

The Porch is a small area by the front door of the house. It might get a lot of leaves on it, so we have to sweep it.

 

I am going to give the balcony a good sweep this morning. It’s getting very dusty.

The Balcony is a small area that protrudes from an apartment. It is outside and can get very dusty.

 

Look at the veranda! It’s covered in leaves and dust. Let’s use a broom and sweep it up.

The Veranda is an area in front of the house where we can sit outside. It can get a little dirty from being outside.

 

Wow, look at all this snow! I guess I will have to shovel the drive and make it clear.

A Shovel is a tool we use to dig things. If it snows heavily, we use a shovel to clear the drive so people can get in and out of the house.

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Chores We Do For Pets

Do you have pets?

If so, they need to be cared for. This means performing some chores to look after them.

Have you fed the dog? He’s making a lot of noise.

Don’t forget to feed my fish while I am away.

Can you feed the bird? I have to go outside for a bit.

To Feed means to give the pet some food.

Let’s take the dog for a walk. She hasn’t been outside all day.

Please take the dog for a walk. You promised to do it!

Chores For Kids

And parents often give their children chores to do in the house.

This usually means for them to look after and clean their own rooms.

 

Have you cleaned your room? I will come upstairs and take a look later.

 

I want you to clean your room. Then you can use your phone for thirty minutes.

 

I hope you have put all your toys away. I don’t want to see any of them lying around on the floor.

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People Talking About Doing The Housework

Take a look at the monologues below.

These are extracts of people talking about doing the housework in different parts of their homes.

Read these extracts out loud. This can help you when talking about doing the housework in your own home.

Time To Clean The Kitchen

This weekend, I’m going to clean the kitchen.

It’s well overdue for cleaning and I’ve left it so long things have got into a real state.

I’ve prepared a big list of things I need to do.

The thought of doing it is pretty daunting, but I just have to get it done!

First, I have to clean out the fridge. I’ll throw out any old food in there and give it a really good clean.

Then I have to do all the dishes. I haven’t done any washing up for ages. So there is a big pile of dirty dishes in the sink.

And my dishwasher is broken, so it looks like I’ll be doing all the dishes by hand. Lucky me…

But I am kind of looking forward to cleaning all the crockery and cutlery and putting it all away.

Then I will wipe down the walls. There is a big buildup of grease all over the place. But luckily I have a big bottle of kitchen cleaner and I can get it all done in no time.

Last week, I cooked a big pan of fried chicken and I managed to get grease all over the cooker.

So I need to tackle that too.

I’ll clean all the counters and the kitchen table too.

Once all the surfaces are done, I will sweep the floor. And then I will fill a bucket full of hot soapy water and mop the floor.

It will be such a good feeling to have a really nice and clean kitchen again.

Time To Clean The Bathroom

Then once I have done the kitchen, I have to do the bathroom.

I can’t believe what a complete mess it is.

I know this is really bad but I haven’t cleaned the bath for a long time. So there is a real buildup of grime in the bathtub.

In the supermarket, I bought some bath cleaner. So I will use a scrubbing cloth and get to work on it.

The taps are really mucky too. So I think I will clean those too. I want them so clean I can see my reflection in them.

Next, I will do the tiled walls. I will use the same cleaner that I use in the kitchen.

Of course, I will mop the floor. That really needs looking after.

And I need to clean the toilet too.

It’s so embarrassing, but I live alone, so it’s easy to become lazy and not do any of these household chores.

And I want to clean the mirror in the bathroom too.

At least I should be able to see my reflection when I take a shave next time.

Time To Clean The Living Room

After finishing the bathroom, I will take on the living room.

The first thing to do is to change the light bulb. I’ve been sitting in there in the dark for weeks on end!

I’ve got lots of books that I left out all over the sofa and on the coffee table. I will put them away in the right place on the bookshelf again.

And I must clean the windows. I don’t get much natural light, but right now I am getting no light at all, as the windows are so grimy.

Plus, I have to take care of the house plants in the living room. They desperately need some water and I think I need to replant some of them.

Maybe a good idea to open the window and let some sunlight on the poor things.

And I need to dust all the furniture. Maybe I can use the vacuum cleaner. Every time I sit down, I see a cloud of dust appearing in front of my eyes.

And while I have the vacuum cleaner out, I might as well hoover the carpet in the living room, too.

Finally, it will all look spick and span again!

Time To Do Some Chores Outside

Last but not least, I will do the garden and some outside chores.

I think the weather is quite nice this weekend, so I can do the gardening.

The lawn really needs cutting. It’s like a jungle out there!

And I want to take care of the weeding and take care of the plants too. I could dig up some of the soil and put some water on it.

I wanted to start growing some vegetables at the end of the garden but it looks like a rubbish tip right now.

If I clean it all up and dig the soil up, I might be able to make a start on growing some potatoes.

I grew some tomatoes a couple of years ago, and they were great. So why not do it again?

The hedges are getting a bit unruly. And I know my neighbour made a bit of a complaint about it. So I will have to give them a trim.

And it will be so nice to be able to sit in the garden and have a nice cup of tea and see it all neat and tidy.

How To Talk About Chores And Housework In English (14)

Idioms and Phrases for Chores

Below is a list of useful English idioms and phrases you can use when talking about doing chores or housework.

And as always – read them out loud with a confident voice. This will help you with your English speaking skills!

To pitch in = to help, to contribute.

 

I would like everyone to pitch in and help me do the housework this Saturday.

 

To be draining = to be very tiring, exhausting

 

I live alone, so I find working and doing all the housework by myself to be completely draining.

 

To be spic and span = to be very neat and tidy

 

Now it’s time for you to both clean your rooms. I want to see them spic and span when I take a look later.

 

To pull one’s weight = to do one’s fair share of the work

 

Me and my housemates all pull our weight when it comes to keeping the house clean and tidy.

 

To get one’s hands dirty = to engage in physical work, often messy or hard

 

There is no way around it. Cleaning the kitchen means getting your hands dirty.

 

To tidy up = to make a place clean and organised

 

My sister and her family are coming over tomorrow, so can we please tidy up? The whole house is a mess.

 

To do the heavy lifting = to do the most difficult or strenuous part of a task

 

To be fair, when we do the gardening, my husband does most of the heavy lifting.

 

To be elbow grease = hard physical work, especially scrubbing or cleaning

 

You will need a lot of elbow grease to clean the bath! Look what a state it’s in!

 

To scrub down = to clean something thoroughly, usually by scrubbing

 

We haven’t cleaned the bathroom for weeks. We really need to scrub everything down.

 

To chip in = to contribute time, effort, or money

 

Hey guys, we all need to chip in and get some new cleaning products for the house.

 

To spring clean = to thoroughly clean a house, usually done once a year

 

We always try to have a complete spring clean in April. The house looks great afterwards.

 

To dust off = to remove dust from something

 

I really would like to dust off the shelves in the living room. They are covered in muck.

 

To clear out = to remove unnecessary items from a place

 

I think it’s about time we cleared out the attic. It’s full of old junk and clothes. Can we get rid of it?

 

To wash up = to clean the dishes

 

It’s my turn to wash up tonight. After all, you did cook dinner.

 

To mop up = to clean up liquid spills or messes

 

Every time Sam brings his friends over, I have to mop the kitchen floor after they leave.

 

To put away = to return items to their proper places

 

I want you to put away all your clothes and things that you have left lying around.

 

To take out the rubbish = to remove garbage from the house

 

Eww, please take out the rubbish. It absolutely stinks!

 

To make the bed = to arrange the bedding neatly on a bed

 

I make the bed every morning as soon as I get up.

 

To hang out the washing = to hang clothes on a line to dry

If it’s a nice sunny day, I always hang the washing out to dry. It’s better than using the dryer.

 

To iron = to remove wrinkles from clothing using an iron

 

I’d better iron a new shirt for the meeting. I must look my best.

 

How To Talk About Chores And Housework In English (15)

Questions About Chores

Do you like to do housework?

How often do you do housework?

What housework do you like the least?

Do you do spring or winter cleaning in your country?

Have you ever hired a house cleaner?

How often do you do the laundry?

How often do you use dry cleaners?

Do you throw things away or use them before they expire?

Do you have a green thumb?

Do you like to do outside work?

Do you plant your own vegetables?

Are you good at fixing things around the house?

Do you follow a cleaning schedule or clean as needed?

How do you organize and store your cleaning supplies?

What is your favourite cleaning tool or product?

Do you have any tips or tricks for efficient cleaning?

How do you manage and dispose of household waste and recycling?

Do you involve other household members in housework?

How do you motivate yourself to do housework when you don’t feel like it?

What housework task gives you the most satisfaction once completed?

Conclusion

So there it is.

Of course, you will need to go over each section regularly. You can’t just read it once and forget it.

Practice with your friends if you can. This often produces great results.

And try to use the expressions in your daily life when you have the chance.

Finally, look at all the questions and try to answer them using the vocabulary and expressions in the guide above.

 

I hope this is useful for you!

 

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