I'm a web professional, recently we wanted to make major changes into our web app and one of our colleagues used the word house cleaning. What phrase do you use to say major changes need to be done. Can we use house keeping? What is the difference between them?

  • What are the "major changes"? Cleaning doesn't imply a change to the house, except making it clean. Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 16:33
  • Changing the structure of the software.
    – Alireza
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 16:34

4 Answers 4


The word housekeeping normally implies things that are done on a regular basis to keep things a house clean and organized -- or, in the case of a computer system or software, keep things running smoothly.

(House cleaning is something that a cleaning service does.)

To describe major changes, words like renovation or overhaul would be a better choice.


House cleaing normally has a literal meaning, making it unsuitable for the use you have in mind. Housekeeping (ususally one word) is widely understood to mean maintenance, although it retains its more literal meaning of looking after a home as well.


I wouldn't say either of those because like the previous answers said, housekeeping is just a regular maintenance while house cleaning is nothing close to making a change. Sounds more like getting rid of things you don't need anymore. I'd say Structural makeover or renovation.


It's not exactly the same, but the phrase "to clean house" has a slang meaning of a fairly indiscriminate removal of unwanted things. So it sort of applies, but I personally would use overhaul (completely re-do), redesign (major feature or look/feel changes), or refactor (optimize the underlying software without changing features) for what you're describing.

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