We have all more than likely known someone at some point that we considered being a “clean freak”. This is often someone that requires a cleanly living or working area. However, we may not be aware of appropriate terms to call someone who is obsessively clean.
What Can I Say Instead Of Clean Freak?
When referring to someone who is a “clean freak”, we may appreciate the use of a more applicable term. Therefore, this article will go over some appropriate alternatives to the term “clean freak”. The alternatives we will look at closely are:
- Neat Freak
- Anally Retentive
The preferred alternative version we will highlight is “fastidious”. This is because when we say that someone is “fastidious”, we mean to express that they are very concerned with the level of cleanliness. This is someone with very high attention to detail.
Cambridge Dictionary defines “fastidious” as giving too much attention to small details and wanting everything to be correct and perfect. Because of this, people who are “fastidious” often require a high level of organization and cleanliness within their homes and personal space.
A “fastidious” person is considered to be someone who cannot help but have an abundance of concern for the overall correctness of things around them. This can often be seen as a demanding personality trait, usually requiring those within the person’s personal life to live up to these high expectations and tendencies.
Here are a few examples that highlight the use of this term:
- My mother is a very fastidious person and requires our household to be kept in a constant orderly state. I must clean my room at least three times a week, just to keep up!
- I’ve become a fastidious person in my adulthood, more than likely due to the way I was raised and the house I grew up in.
- He is overly fastidious about the way his suitcase is packed, making it best to let him do It himself.
Cambridge Dictionary defines a “neat freak” as someone who likes things, especially their home, to be kept extremely tidy and clean, and who spends a lot of their time cleaning. Therefore, a “neat freak” accurately describes someone who is always cleaning.
We often consider someone who is a “neat freak” to be obsessed with things remaining in an orderly fashion. This is also someone who appreciates their home to always be left in a tidy manner as if they were to consistently have guests arriving.
To showcase how we can use this term, here are some examples:
- My mother is such a neat freak, you’d think that we always have company coming over and inspecting our rooms!
- He was considered a neat freak by his classmates, having the cleanest locker in the school.
- There is nothing wrong with being a neat freak, as long as you don’t attempt to force others into living your lifestyle.
Another phenomenal and similar alternative we can use is “a neatnik”. This is an informal term that we can use to describe someone who is compulsively neat and tidy. This is often someone that other folks have a hard time living up to the standards of.
“A neatnik” is not merely someone who considered high importance in keeping their living or workspace tidy. This is also a person who finds great necessity in also keeping their appearance very neat, never stepping foot in public unless they feel that they look prim and proper.
Here are a few examples that show this term used appropriately in a sentence:
- My Grandma is a neatnik when it comes to setting the dinner table for family gatherings. She even puts down place cards, so we all know where we are meant to sit.
- Our teacher is a ridiculous neatnik. If we even leave a pencil in the wrong spot, we will hear about it.
- Her tendencies of being a neatnik tend to annoy her boyfriend, as he is not a cleanly individual.
When we say that someone is suffering from “ablutomania”, we mean to express that they have a morbid preoccupation with obsessive thoughts of cleanliness. This is the type of individual who can’t sleep functionally if there is a mess left out in their home.
Unfortunately for those greatly suffering from “ablutomania”, their obsessive thoughts about cleanliness do not merely stop with that of their home. These thoughts also spill over into other areas of life like personal cleanliness. Often, folks suffering from “ablutomania” will bathe much more frequently.
To help further explain this term, here are some examples:
- My brother suffers from ablutomania and we all do our best to keep his living space as tidy as possible so that he will be comfortable.
- I suffer from ablutomania and I can’t help but feel this compulsive need to shower as soon as I wake up and right before getting into bed.
- Ablutomania is considered a detrimental mental health issue, as it leads to compulsions that can get in the way of a person living a normal lifestyle.
Cambridge Dictionary defines “anally retentive” as someone who is too worried about being organized and tidy. Therefore, we often associate someone who is thought of as “anally retentive” with having the constant necessity of always being in control of their daily environments.
An “anally retentive” person is often thought of as being someone who shows an immense amount of attention to detail. This can usually be very troubling, as it causes this individual to become detracted by the slightest mess or something they feel is out of place.
To showcase how to use this term in a sentence, here are a few examples:
- My aunt is anally retentive about the smallest things. She has pets, but the woman will clean her floors five times a day to avoid having to look at tufts of fur.
- Our teacher is anally retentive when it comes to our essays. Everything must be written in her preferred format or she will not accept it.
- I am anally retentive when it comes to my white sneakers. They must be kept clean and shiny or I feel as though they look absolutely filthy.
Cambridge Dictionary defines “mysophobia” as a fear of germs. Therefore, someone who suffers from “mysophobia” often requires their body, living and working areas to be immensely clean. This is someone who cannot function properly when they feel germs are present.
However, people who suffer from “mysophobia” also live in extreme and irrational fear of dirt, filth and any form of contamination. This makes life clearly very difficult for them, as they cannot possibly control the level of dirt and germs throughout their daily lives.
This can often cause a hindrance in forms of social activities or gatherings.
Here are a few examples that highlight this particular term:
- My brother suffers from mysophobia. When he was very young, my mother would have to bathe him multiple times a day.
- He suffers from mysophobia, so out of respect, we never attempt to hug him, high-five him or shake his hand.
- I believe that I suffer from mysophobia. I always thought that I was just very afraid of being dirty, not realizing the full extent of my irrationalities.
A “germaphobe” is another excellent alternative that we can choose to use. Cambridge Dictionary defines a “germaphobe” as someone who has a fear of germs or that small organism can cause disease, that is so strong that it is not normal or reasonable.
Often, a “germaphobe’s” extreme fear and discomfort from germs cause them to become an obsessive cleaners. This is someone who will find comfort in spending tremendous amounts of time cleaning their area or body, in order to feel some sense of normalcy.
Some examples to highlight this term in a sentence are:
- He is a germaphobe and often carries around disinfecting wipes wherever he goes.
- Our professor is a germaphobe, so please don’t try to shake his hand.
- My mother has me convinced that I’m a germaphobe, merely because I feel the need to show twice, daily.
Another excellent alternative we can choose to utilize is the term “stickler”. Cambridge Dictionary defines a “stickler” as a person who thinks that a particular type of behaviour is very important, and always follows it or tried to make other people follow it.
Therefore, a “stickler” can be someone who consistently requires themselves and others to live both an orderly and clean lifestyle. “Sticklers” can often come across as rude and abrasive, as they are often attempting to push their beliefs or habits onto others.
To highlight the use of this term, we will go over a few examples:
- My mom is such a stickler for cleanliness. She genuinely believes that cleanliness is next to godliness.
- Our teacher is a stickler for both details and accuracy. He requires a very clean and well-presented paper, project, etc.
- I’m a stickler for organization, so please, try to keep your portion of our living area as tidy as possible.
We will often use the term “clean-cut” to describe a clean man. Cambridge Dictionary defines “clean-cut” as a man who is tidy in his appearance and behaves well. Although we do not always associate this term with being clean, it is a perfect term to call a very tidy man.
Often, when we say that a man is “clean-cut” we are expressing that he carries an appearance of neatness, that is also tied heavily to respectability. This is a man that cares about what folks think of him, enough to attempt to consistently remain attractive or proper.
Here are a few examples showing how we could use this term:
- My Grandpa is such a clean-cut gentleman. He loves to dress up for any occasion.
- He is known for being a clean-cut guy, even only being a teenager.
- I saw him from across the bar and my first thought was about how clean-cut and well-maintained his appearance was.
Finally, the last term we will go over is “bacteriophobia”. The term “bacteriophobia” is very consistent with someone who is considered a germaphobe. This is another term we can use to call someone who is obsessively cleanly, in this case, due to an abundance of fear of bacteria.
This is considered both an abnormal and aggressively persistent fear. It often takes away from a person’s ability to live a normal and functional life. This fear may even cause people to avoid going out in public, becoming an extreme homebody.
Finally, we will go over our last few examples for this article:
- He suffers from severe bacteriophobia, making it hard for him to feel comfortable out in public.
- She is known to suffer from bacteriophobia and often carries around Lysol wipes to open doors.
- Bacteriophobia is a debilitating phobia, as it stifles your ability to live without constant fear.
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.