From King Dictionary of Contemporary English clean up phrasal verb 1 CLEAN to make a place completely clean and tidy We spent all Saturday morning cleaning up. clean something ↔ up plans to clean up the beaches after John always expects other people to clean up after him . (=to make a place clean after he has used it ) 2 WASH to wash yourself after you have got very dirty clean yourself up Let me just go clean myself up. Dad’s upstairs getting cleaned up. 3 clean up your act informal BEHAVE to start behaving sensibly and responsibly Some companies could face heavy fines if they fail to clean up their act. 4 informal PROFIT to win a lot of money or make a lot of money in a business deal He cleaned up at the races yesterday. 5 GOOD/MORAL clean something ↔ up to improve moral standards in a place or organization It’s high time British soccer cleaned up its image. → clean-up → clean → See Verb table Examples from the Corpus clean up • Do you want me to help clean up? • It took us two or three days to clean it all up. • The management of some our prisons has sometimes been corrupt, and it is our job to clean it up. • Every time Jasper cooked for me, he would carefully clean up all the pans and plates he'd used. • Most clubs have made a big effort to clean up football's image. • Thanks for cleaning the place up -- I really appreciate it. • It's time someone cleaned up this city; we have one of the highest crime rates in the country. clean after • Undertakers take up the pastime in middle age, but their juniors will join in to help clean up after a disaster. • It was like cleaning up after an oil spill. • The owner then uses three tiny buttons to feed, play with, clean up after and discipline it. • He always expected other people to clean up after him. • He is cleaning up after me. • She was cleaning up after white folk as she had done in Texas, but it was a job. clean yourself up • I gave him to Nonni who was clucking round the kitchen and said I must go and clean myself up. • I went to the Betty Ford Centre and cleaned myself up. • So a part of the argument switches to the kind of incinerators you allow while industry is forced to clean itself up. • I cleaned myself up and checked out my patch, hoping I'd find that tabby trespassing. • And that annoyed me enough to drive me to my cabin, to clean myself up and choose fresh clothing. • He would have to work hard, clean himself up; change his whole image. clean up your act • Naming and shaming remains an option should the company not clean up its act. • Citibank insists it has cleaned up its act. • Drivers whose vehicles give off more poisonous chemicals than are allowed have ten days to clean up their act. • More recently Lou has cleaned up his act and started setting the world to rights. • Legislation aimed at forcing the power firms to clean up their act is being fought tooth and nail by the polluters. • But he eventually sees their potential and cleans up his act just in time. • The industry was effectively warned to clean up its act or face legislation. • Gwen finally told her troubled son to clean up his act or get out of her house. • She told her son to clean up his act or move out. • Tish has really cleaned up her act - she doesn't drink or smoke pot any more. • Despite Mr Haider's grandiose, unbelievable last-minute pledges to clean up his act, there should be no wavering. cleaned up ... image • About two years ago Autobacs cleaned up its oily-rag image. clean-up ˈclean-up , cleanup / ˈkliːnʌp / noun [countable usually singular ] SGP CLEAN a process by which you get rid of dirt or waste from a place The cleanup of the oil spill took months. millions of dollars in clean-up costs Examples from the Corpus clean-up • If Daddy was home, she'd invite him in for a coffee and a clean-up. • Only a week after the strike, a clean-up of the more open violence had begun in the worst harassed loyalist districts. • South West also faces a beach clean-up programme, which worries some analysts. • After the collective clean-up, Rainbow goes home brooding. • The department is reported to be formulating ideas for new mechanisms to raise money from the private sector to pay for clean-up. • A booklet is being distributed to advise city authorities on how to organise a mass clean-up. • That way, he could begin the practice of bathing him in the garden and avoid the clean-up in the bathroom. • It culminated in the clean-up of the industry inaugurated by nationalisation after the Second World War. From King Business Dictionary clean up phrasal verb 1 [transitive ] clean something → up to improve an organization by removing parts or people that are not making money or are not effective or honest The company is cleaning up its income statement and developing a more profitable business. → see also clean-up 2 [intransitive ] to make a lot of money in a deal The traders buying the bonds cleaned up, because they carried high fixed interest rates when inflation was falling quickly. → clean → See Verb table clean-up ˈclean-up noun [countable ] when an organization is improved by removing parts or people that are not making money or are not effective or honest A clean-up may require financial help from the World Bank.