Assume we have a person who

  • always washes his hand before using his gadgets,
  • don't like others to touch his belongings,
  • always makes sure the chair surface clean before sitting,

Is there an appropriate single word, either noun or adjective, to describe his characteristic?

  • 4
    Maybe germophobe? – Amir Sabanovic Mar 7 '15 at 2:19
  • @AmirŠabanović: Thanks. But he wants everything clean without not only germ but also oily substances. – kiss my armpit Mar 7 '15 at 2:23
  • The Hungarian expression for a person (usually a woman) who keeps her house obsessively immaculate is "döglött porszem vadász", or "hunter of dead dust-particles". – Marthaª Mar 7 '15 at 4:56
  • What about hyper hygienic or uber hygienic? – Prahlad Yeri Mar 7 '15 at 7:33
  • @stalkingisn'ttolerated There is a movie acted by Leonardo de Caprio in which Leonardo plays a similar role. He is so phobic about touching substances that he can't even use his hands to smash the cockpit when he his trapped in a crashed plane! – Prahlad Yeri Mar 7 '15 at 7:37

It can be used more generally (attentive to and concerned about accuracy and detail) in any context, but...

fastidious - very concerned about matters of cleanliness (Oxford Dictionaries Online)

...is a particular sense strongly associated with that way of referring to "fussiness".


I've always heard this kind of person called a clean freak.

clean freak someone who has to constantly clean; someone who obsessively cleans.

From The Online Slang Dictionary


Neatnik comes to mind:

Neatnik (n) A stickler for neatness or cleanliness.


An obsessive-compulsive personality. That's what a doctor would call them.

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear or worry (obsessions). Symptoms of the disorder include excessive washing or cleaning, repeated checking, extreme hoarding, preoccupation with sexual, violent or religious thoughts. Wikipedia
  • Yep, generally this behavior is regarded as a form of OCD. – Hot Licks Mar 7 '15 at 3:03
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    This is a form of OCD. It's even one of the most common forms, but it is not at all exclusive. There are others, such as compulsively locking and unlocking your door several times, which would not meet the definition sought here. – Adam Katz Mar 7 '15 at 3:07
  • 1
    @HotLicks - very true, but the question asks for a one-word answer, with no requirements for clinical accuracy. I believe "neatnik" is as good as you'll find while OCD (alone) is incorrect. Your terms are better, but may be more verbose than the question wants, and I suspect "clean freak" is a better two-word answer. – Adam Katz Mar 7 '15 at 3:16
  • 1
    I've known a few "clean freaks" who stopped well short of OCD. But the above-described behavior is clearly OCD. – Hot Licks Mar 7 '15 at 3:22
  • 1
    Making a clinical diagnosis is something for the attending physician. Such credentials couldn't be validly established here. Using medical terminology for stereotyping people is inappropriate and we don't know if there is a pathology or whether this is transient. What is clearly OCD and what the doctor would say, is for the doctor to say and no other. Thank you. – user98955 Mar 7 '15 at 22:55

I believe you're referring to a hypochondriac.


I've heard people use different words for tis type of things, like most of the people who answered here : Clean-freak and Germophobia. However, I was curious about the right one so i'd probably go for the OCD "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder", it fits for the person you are talking about for it has many types like people with OCD tend to check things constantly , and some tend to contaminate and clean their belongings, so for your question it's the contamination part.

Contamination – the need to clean and wash is the compulsion, the obsessive fear is that something is contaminated and/or may cause illness, and ultimately death, to a loved one or oneself.

Refer to this for more

So basically the contamination part is connected to fear. Meaning, a person tends to over-clean whatever surrounds them with the fear that if they do not clean them, something might happen and that's the fear part.

It's some sort of phobia I'd say.


I myself will go for Robusto's clean freak but if you do not like it there is obsessive cleaner (a person obsessed with cleaning and cleanness;).However, if think the two above have negative shades how about then overclean (transitive) To clean to an excessive degree (en.wiktionary.org); it is an appropriate single word and can be a noun too!

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