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The English term for:

the total area of a building/floor in m2/Sq Ft that needs to be cleaned

Is that called the "Cleaning surface", or the "Cleaning area"?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I wouldn't actually use either phrase - "cleaning surface" sounds like the surface itself is doing the cleaning ("The new X-9000 floor-washing machine has a huge cleaning surface, so you'll finish in half the time!"), while "cleaning area" sounds like the place where cleaning is happening ("Next on our tour of the fish-packing plant is the cleaning area!")

I would use "area", since you want to convey a measurement, but I would say "the area to be cleaned." Trying to make it shorter than that is likely to lead to confusion.

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What about "cleaning space"? – Quandary Jun 7 '11 at 8:06
I would avoid it too, for the same reason as "cleaning area." For some reason, cleaning as an adjective has an active, rather than passive, connotation. – MT_Head Jun 7 '11 at 8:11
OP might consider also "area that needs cleaning", "area in need of cleaning" and of course [sic] "tbc area" (where tbc means to-be-cleaned) – Unreason Jun 7 '11 at 9:31
All of those would be good replacements too. I don't know whether I'd introduce a new abbreviation for one-time use, though, especially since it would have to be explained (as you just have.) If this phrase were going to be used over and over and over, then I would introduce "tbc" ("to be cleaned") once, and then simply substitute tbc from then on. – MT_Head Jun 7 '11 at 15:33

I suggest calling it the cleanable area

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there is a difference between "cleanable area" and "(total) area that needs cleaning"; "cleanable area" is theoretical maximum of the later term. – Unreason Jun 7 '11 at 13:48

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