Guide: How to Say ‘Clean’ in Japanese – Key Language Tips

Welcome to our comprehensive language guide on how to say ‘clean’ in Japanese. Whether you’re planning a trip to Japan or simply interested in learning the language, having a solid vocabulary for cleanliness is essential. In this guide, we will explore various ways to express cleanliness in Japanese, including the Japanese word for clean, different translations, pronunciation, and common phrases. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of how to effectively communicate cleanliness in Japanese, further elevating your linguistic skills.

Understanding the Japanese Word for ‘Clean’

Before delving into different expressions for ‘clean’ in Japanese, it’s important to understand the core Japanese word for ‘clean.’ The Japanese word for ‘clean’ is ‘きれい(kirei)’.

‘Kirei’ can be used to describe a variety of things, from physical cleanliness to personal appearance. In fact, it’s a versatile word that can be applied to anything that looks neat or tidy.

When it comes to cleanliness, ‘kirei’ is often used in a more general sense, such as ‘kirei na heya’ (clean room) or ‘kirei na fuku’ (clean clothes).

However, it’s important to note that there are other Japanese words that can also be used to describe cleanliness in more specific ways, which we will explore in the following sections.

Translating ‘Clean’ into Japanese

When it comes to translating ‘clean’ into Japanese, there are a few options depending on the context. Here are some of the most common translations:

Japanese Transliteration Meaning
清潔な seiketsu na clean
きれいな kirei na clean, pretty, neat
清い kiyoi pure, clear, clean
綺麗な kirei na clean, beautiful, tidy

As you can see, each translation has its own nuance, so it’s important to choose the appropriate one for the situation.

Using ‘清潔な’ for General Cleanliness

The most common word for ‘clean’ in Japanese is ‘清潔な’ (seiketsu na). This can be used to describe general cleanliness in a variety of contexts, such as:

  • Clean clothes: きれいな服 (kirei na fuku)
  • Clean dishes: 清潔な食器 (seiketsu na shokki)
  • Clean house: 清潔な家 (seiketsu na ie)

Using ‘きれいな’ for Appearance and Tidiness

The word ‘きれいな’ (kirei na) can mean ‘clean’, but it’s often used to describe appearance, tidiness, or beauty. For example:

  • Clean room: きれいな部屋 (kirei na heya)
  • Tidy desk: きれいな机 (kirei na tsukue)
  • Clean hands: きれいな手 (kirei na te)

Using ‘清い’ for Purity and Cleanliness

The word ‘清い’ (kiyoi) can be used to describe cleanliness in a more spiritual or metaphorical sense, such as:

  • Clean mind: 清い心 (kiyoi kokoro)
  • Pure water: 清い水 (kiyoi mizu)
  • Clean air: 清い空気 (kiyoi kuuki)

Using ‘綺麗な’ for Cleanliness and Beauty

‘綺麗な’ (kirei na) can be used to describe both cleanliness and beauty, making it a versatile word to use in various situations, such as:

  • Clean kitchen: 綺麗なキッチン (kirei na kicchin)
  • Clean windows: 綺麗な窓 (kirei na mado)
  • Clean car: 綺麗な車 (kirei na kuruma)

With these different translations in mind, you can effectively convey cleanliness in Japanese and adapt your language based on the situation.

Pronouncing ‘Clean’ in Japanese

In Japanese, the word for ‘clean’ is ‘kirei’ (きれい). To pronounce it correctly, listen to the following instructions:

Japanese Character Pronunciation
き (ki) Make the sound ‘ki’ while keeping your tongue close to the roof of your mouth.
れ (re) Make the sound ‘re’ with your tongue behind your top front teeth.
い (i) Make the sound ‘ee’ while keeping your tongue flat.

Remember to keep your pronunciation clear and distinct. With practice, you’ll be able to say ‘clean’ in Japanese like a native speaker!

Expressing ‘Clean’ in Japanese Language

As we’ve learned, the Japanese language offers various ways to express ‘clean’ based on the context. Let’s explore some of the most common ways to say ‘clean’ in Japanese.

Saying clean in Japanese:

The most straightforward way to say ‘clean’ in Japanese is ‘kirei’. This is a general term that can be used to describe tidiness, neatness, or cleanliness in everyday situations. For example:

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English Japanese Pronunciation
The room is clean. 部屋がきれいです。 Beya ga kirei desu.
Please clean the table. テーブルをきれいにしてください。 Te-buru o kirei ni shite kudasai.

Clean Japanese translation:

When it comes to specific types of cleanliness, the Japanese language offers a range of translations depending on the context. Here are some examples:

English Japanese Pronunciation
Clean clothes 洗濯物 sentakumono
Clean water 清水 kiyomizu
Clean hands 清潔な手 seiketsu na te

Clean in Japanese language:

The Japanese language also offers some alternative expressions for ‘clean’ that are commonly used in specific situations. Here are some examples:

English Japanese Pronunciation
Clean air きれいな空気 kirei na kuuki
Clean room (hotel) 清掃された部屋 seisou sareta heya
Clean energy クリーンエネルギー kuriin enerugii

By incorporating these different expressions, you’ll be able to convey cleanliness with greater accuracy in Japanese.

Common Cleanliness Phrases in Japanese

Now that you have a basic understanding of how to say ‘clean’ in Japanese, let’s explore some common cleanliness phrases that you can use in everyday situations. These phrases will help you express your appreciation for cleanliness and maintain a polite conversation with others.

Phrase 1: きれい (Kirei)

The most common way to express ‘clean’ in Japanese is きれい (kirei). This is a versatile word that can also mean ‘pretty’ or ‘beautiful.’ It’s often used to describe places, objects, and people. For example, you can say:

English Japanese Phonetic Pronunciation
This room is clean. この部屋はきれいです。 Kono heya wa kirei desu.
She has clean hands. 彼女の手はきれいです。 Kanojo no te wa kirei desu.

Phrase 2: すっきり (Sukkiri)

Another way to express ‘clean’ in Japanese is すっきり (sukkiri). This word has a nuanced meaning that conveys a sense of refreshment or clarity. It’s often used to describe a refreshing feeling after cleaning up or organizing something. For example:

English Japanese Phonetic Pronunciation
This closet is clean and organized. このクローゼットはすっきりしています。 Kono kuro-zetto wa sukkiri shite imasu.
I feel refreshed after cleaning the kitchen. 台所を掃除して、すっきりしました。 Daidokoro wo souji shite, sukkiri shimashita.

Phrase 3: 殺菌 (Sakkin)

The Japanese word 殺菌 (sakkin) means ‘sterilization’ or ‘disinfection.’ It’s often used in the context of cleaning and maintaining hygiene, such as in hospitals or food preparation areas. For example:

English Japanese Phonetic Pronunciation
The hospital has strict sterilization procedures. 病院は厳しい殺菌手順があります。 Byouin wa kibishii sakkin tejun ga arimasu.
We need to disinfect the kitchen before cooking. 料理をする前に、台所を殺菌しなければなりません。 Ryouri wo suru mae ni, daidokoro wo sakkin shinakereba narimasen.

Phrase 4: 清掃 (Seisou)

Finally, 清掃 (seisou) refers to ‘cleaning’ or ‘sweeping.’ This is a more formal or official term used in public spaces or workplaces. It can also imply a more thorough cleaning process, as opposed to a quick clean-up. For example:

English Japanese Phonetic Pronunciation
The school maintenance staff does daily cleaning. 学校の清掃スタッフは毎日掃除をします。 Gakkou no seisou sutaffu wa mainichi souji wo shimasu.
Please maintain clean conditions in the laboratory. 研究室の清潔な環境を保ってください。 Kenkyuu-shitsu no seiketsu na kankyou wo tamotte kudasai.

By incorporating these cleanliness phrases into your Japanese vocabulary, you’ll be able to effectively communicate your understanding and appreciation of cleanliness in various contexts.

Deepening Your Understanding of Cleanliness in Japanese

Now that you have a grasp on the basics of saying ‘clean’ in Japanese, let’s expand your vocabulary to gain a deeper understanding of cleanliness in Japanese culture. The Japanese language has a wide array of words and phrases that express different aspects of cleanliness. By familiarizing yourself with these words, you’ll be able to communicate effectively and appreciate the nuances of Japanese language and culture.

Words Related to Cleanliness

Japanese Word English Translation
清潔 Cleanliness
清掃 Cleaning
衛生 Hygiene
除菌 Sterilization
殺菌 Disinfection
消臭 Deodorization

By familiarizing yourself with these words, you can convey specific aspects of cleanliness to a Japanese speaker. For example, if you want to emphasize the importance of disinfection, use the word 殺菌 (sakkin). This word is commonly used when talking about cleaning medical equipment or surfaces in hospitals.

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Phrases Related to Cleanliness in Japanese Culture

Cleanliness is highly valued in Japanese culture, and there are many phrases that reflect this emphasis on order and hygiene. Below are some common phrases related to cleanliness in Japanese:

Japanese Phrase English Translation
清潔な生活 Clean living
清潔感がある Clean-feeling
清潔に保つ Keep it clean
衛生状態の良い Good hygiene

By using these phrases, you can communicate your commitment to cleanliness in a way that resonates with Japanese culture.

Understanding Cleanliness in Japanese Culture

Cleanliness holds a unique position in Japanese culture, owing in part to the country’s long history of ritual purification. Shintoism, the indigenous religion of Japan, emphasizes purity and cleanliness, and these values have been deeply ingrained in Japanese culture for centuries.

In contemporary Japan, cleanliness is seen as both a personal responsibility and a civic duty. Maintaining a clean and orderly environment is highly valued, and Japanese citizens take pride in their role in maintaining this aspect of their culture.

By understanding the cultural significance of cleanliness in Japan, you can deepen your appreciation of the language and communicate with greater nuance.

With this comprehensive guide, you’re now equipped to express and appreciate cleanliness in Japanese. Keep exploring the language and culture, and enjoy your linguistic journey!

Elevate Your Linguistic Skills in Japanese

Congratulations on completing this comprehensive guide on how to say ‘clean’ in Japanese! By applying these language tips and expanding your vocabulary, you’re well on your way to elevating your linguistic skills in Japanese.

Remember to practice regularly, whether through conversation with native speakers, language exchange programs, or even watching Japanese media. The more exposure you have to the language, the easier it will become for you to communicate effectively.

Don’t limit yourself to just learning about cleanliness; continue to explore the rich culture and language of Japan through topics that interest you. Whether it’s Japanese cuisine, anime, or music, immerse yourself in Japanese media to further develop your language skills and cultural understanding.

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide, and we wish you all the best in your language learning journey!


Q: What is the Japanese word for ‘clean’?

A: The Japanese word for ‘clean’ is “kirei” (きれい).

Q: How do I pronounce ‘clean’ in Japanese?

A: The pronunciation of ‘clean’ in Japanese is “kee-ray”.

Q: Are there different ways to express ‘clean’ in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are various ways to express ‘clean’ in Japanese, including “souji suru” (掃除する), which means to clean, and “seiketsu” (清潔), which means cleanliness.

Q: Can you provide some common cleanliness phrases in Japanese?

A: Sure! Here are a few common cleanliness phrases in Japanese:
– “Kirei ni sorou” (きれいに掃除をする) – To clean thoroughly
– “Kirei ni natte iru” (きれいになっている) – To be clean
– “Sekkaku kirei ni shita noni” (せっかくきれいにしたのに) – Even though I cleaned it carefully
– “Kirei ni tsukete kudasai” (きれいにつけてください) – Please keep it clean

Q: Are there any other words or phrases related to cleanliness in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are several words and phrases related to cleanliness in Japanese, such as “suteki na” (素敵な), which means beautiful or lovely, and “shinsetsu” (親切), which means kind or considerate.

Q: How can I further improve my linguistic skills in Japanese?

A: Congratulations on completing this guide! To continue improving your linguistic skills in Japanese, we recommend practicing regularly, immersing yourself in Japanese language and culture, and seeking out opportunities to engage with native speakers. The more you practice and explore, the more proficient you will become.

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