How Do You Say “Clean” In French?

Learning a new language can be a daunting task, but it is also an incredibly rewarding experience. French, in particular, is a language that captivates people all over the world with its poetic sound and rich cultural heritage. Whether you are planning a trip to France or simply want to expand your linguistic horizons, learning how to say “clean” in French is an essential part of your language journey.

The French word for “clean” is “propre”. This word is commonly used to describe something that is neat, tidy, or free from dirt or stains. It can also be used to describe a person who is well-groomed or well-dressed. Learning how to use this word in context is an important step in mastering the French language.

How Do You Pronounce The French Word For “Clean”?

Learning how to properly pronounce French words can be challenging, especially for those who are not familiar with the language. If you’re wondering how to say “clean” in French, it’s important to know the correct pronunciation to avoid any confusion or miscommunication. The French word for clean is “propre.”

Phonetic Breakdown

To properly pronounce “propre,” it’s helpful to break down the word into syllables:

Syllables Phonetic Pronunciation
pro prɔ
pre prə

When the syllables are put together, the word is pronounced as “pro-pruh.”

Tips For Pronunciation

Here are some tips to help you perfect your pronunciation of “propre”:

  • Practice saying each syllable separately before putting them together.
  • Focus on the “r” sound in the first syllable, which is pronounced differently than in English.
  • The “e” in the second syllable should be pronounced as a schwa sound, which is a quick, unstressed vowel sound.
  • Make sure to stress the first syllable, as this is where the emphasis should be placed.

With these tips, you’ll be able to confidently say “propre” the next time you need to communicate the concept of “clean” in French.

Proper Grammatical Use Of The French Word For “Clean”

Proper grammar is essential when using the French word for clean, as it ensures that your message is communicated effectively and accurately. In French, the word for clean is “propre.”

Placement Of The French Word For Clean In Sentences

The placement of the French word for clean in a sentence depends on the context and the type of sentence. In a simple sentence, the word “propre” usually comes after the noun it modifies, for example:

  • La maison est propre. (The house is clean.)
  • Les vêtements sont propres. (The clothes are clean.)

In a more complex sentence, the word “propre” may come before or after the noun, depending on the emphasis and structure of the sentence. For example:

  • J’ai nettoyé la maison, elle est maintenant propre. (I cleaned the house, it is now clean.)
  • Je vais laver les vêtements pour les rendre propres. (I am going to wash the clothes to make them clean.)

Verb Conjugations Or Tenses

The verb “propre” is not conjugated, as it is an adjective. However, it is important to use the correct form of the verb “to be” (être) or “to become” (devenir) to match the tense and subject of the sentence. For example:

  • Je suis propre. (I am clean.)
  • Elle devient propre. (She is becoming clean.)

Agreement With Gender And Number

The French language has gendered nouns, which means that adjectives must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. The word “propre” changes form depending on whether it modifies a masculine or feminine noun, and whether the noun is singular or plural. For example:

Masculine Feminine
Singular propre propre
Plural propres propres

For example:

  • Le bureau est propre. (The desk is clean.)
  • La chambre est propre. (The bedroom is clean.)
  • Les bureaux sont propres. (The desks are clean.)
  • Les chambres sont propres. (The bedrooms are clean.)

Common Exceptions

There are some common exceptions to the rules of using the French word for clean. For example, when referring to personal hygiene, the word “propre” is often used in combination with other words, such as “proprete” (cleanliness) or “proprement” (properly). Additionally, in certain contexts, the word “propre” can also mean “own” or “proper,” depending on the context. For example:

  • Ce livre est le mien, c’est le mien propre. (This book is mine, it’s my own.)
  • Il a fait ses devoirs proprement. (He did his homework properly.)

Examples Of Phrases Using The French Word For “Clean”

French is a beautiful language that has found its way into the hearts of many people around the world. One of the most common words in French is “clean,” which is “propre” in French. In this section, we will take a look at some common phrases that include the French word for “clean” and how they are used in sentences.

Examples And Usage Of Phrases With “Propre”

Here are some examples of phrases using the French word for “clean” and how they are used in sentences:

  • “C’est propre ici” – This means “It’s clean here” and is commonly used to compliment someone on their cleanliness or to describe a clean environment.
  • “Je vais nettoyer ma chambre pour qu’elle soit propre” – This means “I’m going to clean my room so that it’s clean” and is commonly used to describe an action that will result in something being clean.
  • “Je veux que mes vêtements soient propres” – This means “I want my clothes to be clean” and is commonly used to express a desire for cleanliness.
  • “Il est important de garder sa maison propre” – This means “It’s important to keep your house clean” and is commonly used to express the importance of cleanliness.

In addition to these common phrases, there are many other ways to use the French word for “clean” in sentences. Here are some examples of French dialogue using the French word for “clean” with translations:

French Dialogue Translation
“Bonjour, comment ça va?”
“Ça va bien, merci. Et toi?”
“Ça va bien aussi. Ta maison est toujours aussi propre!”
“Hello, how are you?”
“I’m good, thanks. And you?”
“I’m good too. Your house is still so clean!”
“Je suis désolé, je n’ai pas nettoyé la cuisine.”
“Ce n’est pas grave, je vais la nettoyer pour que ce soit propre.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t clean the kitchen.”
“It’s okay, I’ll clean it so that it’s clean.”
“Je n’aime pas quand les toilettes ne sont pas propres.”
“Moi non plus. On devrait les nettoyer.”
“I don’t like it when the toilets aren’t clean.”
“Me neither. We should clean them.”

As you can see, the French word for “clean” can be used in many different ways to express cleanliness and the desire for cleanliness. Whether you are complimenting someone on their clean house or expressing your desire for clean clothes, the French language has a way to say it.

More Contextual Uses Of The French Word For “Clean”

When it comes to using the French word for “clean,” there are various contexts in which it can be used. From formal to informal, slang to idiomatic expressions, and even cultural or historical usage, the word “clean” in French has a range of meanings and applications. Here, we’ll explore some of the most common and interesting ways in which this word is used.

Formal Usage

In formal contexts, the French word for “clean” is generally used in the same way as its English counterpart. For example, you might use it to describe a clean room, a clean car, or a clean piece of clothing. In these situations, the word “clean” is often used in conjunction with other adjectives to provide more detail about the degree or type of cleanliness being referred to. For instance, you might say that a room is “très propre” (very clean) or that a shirt is “impeccable” (spotless).

Informal Usage

Informally, the French word for “clean” can take on a slightly different meaning. In some cases, it might be used to describe something that is not just clean, but also neat, tidy, or presentable. For example, if you were to say that someone has “une maison propre” (a clean house), you might be referring not just to its cleanliness, but also to its general state of orderliness. Similarly, if you were to describe a person as “propre” (clean), you might be implying that they are well-groomed or put together.

Other Contexts

Beyond formal and informal usage, there are also other contexts in which the French word for “clean” can be used. For instance, there are various idiomatic expressions that use the word to convey certain meanings. One such expression is “mettre les pieds dans le plat propre” (literally “to put your feet in the clean dish”), which means to make a social faux pas. In addition, there are certain historical and cultural contexts in which the word might be used in a particular way. For example, during the French Revolution, the phrase “les mains propres” (clean hands) was used to describe those who were seen as free from corruption or wrongdoing.

Popular Cultural Usage

Finally, there are certain instances in which the French word for “clean” has become popularized in a particular cultural context. One such example is the phrase “nettoyer la toile” (literally “to clean the canvas”), which is used in reference to cleaning up one’s online presence or reputation. This phrase has become more common in recent years as social media has become a larger part of our lives.

Regional Variations Of The French Word For “Clean”

Just like any other language, French has regional variations that affect the way certain words are used and pronounced. This is also true for the French word for “clean,” which can vary depending on the country or region where it is spoken.

Usage In Different French-speaking Countries

While the official French language is spoken in France, it is also the official language of many other countries, including Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, and several African nations. In each of these countries, the French word for “clean” may be used slightly differently.

  • In France, the word for “clean” is “propre.”
  • In Canada (specifically in Quebec), the word for “clean” is “propre” as well, but it is also common to use the word “net” or “nette.”
  • In Belgium, the word for “clean” is “propre,” but it is also common to use the word “net” or “nette.”
  • In Switzerland, the word for “clean” is “propre,” but it is also common to use the word “net” or “nettoyer.”
  • In African nations such as Senegal and Ivory Coast, the word for “clean” is “propre,” but it is also common to use the word “nettoyer.”

It’s important to note that while these variations exist, they are not necessarily hard and fast rules. Depending on the context and the speaker, any of these words could be used in any of these countries.

Regional Pronunciations

In addition to variations in usage, there are also differences in the way the French word for “clean” is pronounced in different regions. For example, the “r” sound in “propre” is pronounced differently in France than it is in Quebec. Similarly, the “t” sound in “nettoyer” is pronounced differently in African French than it is in European French.

These regional pronunciations can be subtle, but they can also be quite noticeable. If you’re learning French and plan to travel to different French-speaking countries, it’s a good idea to be aware of these differences so that you can understand and be understood by the locals.

Other Uses Of The French Word For “Clean” In Speaking & Writing

While the French word for “clean” – “propre” – is most commonly used to describe physical cleanliness, it can also have other meanings depending on the context in which it is used. Understanding these different uses is important for effective communication in French.

Using “Propre” To Indicate Ownership

One common use of “propre” is to indicate ownership. In this case, it is often translated as “own” or “personal.” For example:

  • “Ma propre voiture” – “My own car”
  • “Son propre appartement” – “His/her own apartment”

In these examples, “propre” is used to indicate that the object in question belongs to the person who is speaking or being referred to.

Using “Propre” To Mean “Proper”

In some cases, “propre” can be used to mean “proper” in English. This usage is more common in formal or academic contexts. For example:

  • “Les règles de conduite propre en société” – “The rules of proper conduct in society”
  • “Un examen proprement mené” – “An exam properly conducted”

In these examples, “propre” is used to convey the idea of something being done correctly or in the appropriate manner.

Distinguishing Between Different Uses Of “Propre”

To distinguish between the different uses of “propre,” it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. In general, if “propre” is used to describe physical cleanliness, it will be accompanied by words or phrases that relate to cleanliness (e.g. “laver,” “nettoyer,” “désinfecter”). If “propre” is used to indicate ownership or to convey the idea of something being proper or correct, it will be used in a different context and will often be accompanied by other words that reinforce the intended meaning.

Common Words And Phrases Similar To The French Word For “Clean”

When looking for synonyms or related terms for the French word for “clean,” there are a few options to consider.

1. Propre

One of the most commonly used words for “clean” in French is “propre.” This word can be used to describe a clean space, object, or person. For example, “La chambre est propre” means “The room is clean.”

2. Nettoyer

“Nettoyer” is a verb that means “to clean.” This word is often used in the context of cleaning a space or object. For example, “Je vais nettoyer la salle de bain” means “I am going to clean the bathroom.”

3. Pur

“Pur” is another word that can be used to describe something as clean. However, this word is more commonly used to describe something that is pure or unadulterated. For example, “L’eau est pure” means “The water is pure.”


It’s also important to consider antonyms when discussing the French word for “clean.” Some common antonyms include:

  • Sale – dirty
  • Poussiéreux – dusty
  • Graisseux – greasy

Understanding these antonyms can help provide a better understanding of what “clean” means in French.

Mistakes To Avoid When Using The French Word For “Clean”

When it comes to using the French word for “clean,” non-native speakers often make several mistakes. One of the most common errors is using the word “propre” as a direct translation of the English word “clean.” While “propre” can mean “clean,” it also has other meanings, such as “neat” or “tidy.”

Another mistake is using the verb “nettoyer” incorrectly. “Nettoyer” means “to clean,” but it is often used in the wrong context. For example, using “nettoyer” to refer to cleaning a wound or a person’s hair is incorrect.


In this blog post, we have explored the various ways to say “clean” in French. We began by discussing the most common translation, “propre,” and its usage in different contexts. We then delved into the nuances of other French words for clean, such as “nettoyer” and “laver,” and their respective meanings. We also covered the importance of understanding the gender and number agreement of French adjectives when using them to describe cleanliness. Lastly, we provided some useful phrases and expressions related to cleanliness in French.

Encouragement To Practice And Use The French Word For Clean In Real-life Conversations:

Learning a new language can be challenging, but with consistent practice, it can become second nature. We encourage you to incorporate the French word for clean in your daily vocabulary and use it in real-life conversations. Whether you’re traveling to a French-speaking country or simply conversing with a French-speaking friend, using the appropriate word for clean can help you better communicate and connect with others. So go ahead and practice, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes – it’s all part of the learning process.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority and He’s a seasoned innovator, harnessing the power of technology to connect cultures through language. His worse translation though is when he refers to “pancakes” as “flat waffles”.