What Does “Clean Up After Yourself” Mean?

What does it mean when someone tells you that “clean up after yourself”? Does this phrase sound familiar to you? Or this is the first time you have ever heard about it? Well, if you want to learn more about the meaning and usage of this common English expression, let’s be here with us and start figuring it out!!!



Have you ever read somewhere or heard someone using the phrase “clean up after yourself?” What does this expression really mean? Does it sound strange to you? If it is, well, we think you should spend some minutes reading our today’s article because we are going to make clear the meaning and usage of this phrase to you.

In fact, this phrase is quite common in English. It’s used very widely in the daily-life conversations among native speakers. That’s why you need to understand its meaning (in case that you haven’t) so that you won’t feel confused or misunderstand if someone mentions to this phrase.

Now, it’s time for us to start exploring what this phrase really means and how to use it in a sentence!!! But first, we really want to let you know beforehand that it is a very useful English expression that you may find it so interesting after understanding the meaning.

Clean up after yourself definition

“Clean up after yourself” is an idiomatic expression. It means to clean a place after you have made it dirty or untidy. In other words, this phrase is something like “clean up your own mess.”

Imagine that after you make a place dirty or messy, then, what you have to do next is, of course, to clean up or tidy up that place on your own. Because that’s what you yourself have made and no one else will do that rather than you, right? When we were little kids, “clean up after yourself” was definitely one among the important things that our parents always told us to do, wasn’t it?

Now, do you completely understand the meaning ofClean up after yourself? It’s quite easy and simple to understand, right?

Clean up after yourself usage

From the definition above, it’s safe to say that “Clean up after yourself” is a good phrase to use when you want to remind someone to make a place or thing cleaner or tidier after they have left it dirty or messy.

For example, you can tell someone that:

Please clean up after yourself.

Please be considerate and clean up after yourself.

This is a self-cleaning kitchen, clean up after yourself.

When you finish the dinner, please clean up after yourself, because I’m not gonna wash the dishes!

Clean up after oneself/someone

Of course, you can also say Clean up after themselves/ourselves/himself/herself that has the similar meaning to “clean up after yourself.”

For example:

They clean up after themselves before leaving the kitchen.

Besides, we also have the expression Clean up after him/her/you/them/ … or Clean up after someone in general. And if you clean up after someone, it means that you tidy or clean a place that they (not you) have made dirty or untidy.

For example:

His mom always cleans up after him.

She has been told to clean up after her dogs.

Other ways to say “Clean up after yourself” in English

In English, there are some other common expressions that are quite similar to “Clean up after yourself”, including:

  • Clean up and pick up after yourself.
  • Pick up after yourself.
  • Make a mess, clean it up.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • It is your responsibility to clean up your own mess.


Through this writing, we have learned about the meaning, usage, and synonyms of the phrase “Clean up after yourself.” We also spent time exploring the structure Clean up after oneself/someone with examples illustrating its meaning and usage.

After all, do you agree with me that Clean up after yourself is a really interesting and useful English expression to use in our daily lives? Don’t forget to let us know your opinion in the comment section below here! Well, we just wish that everything mentioned above is truly helpful to you.

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