Essay on Cleanliness is Next to Godliness


Cleanliness can be looked at in two perspectives. First, it is the state of being clean as in absent of dirt or germs. Secondly, it is the practice of being clean and maintaining the neat state.

Cleanliness has traditionally been associated with spiritual purity in the sense that a clean person is automatically thought to be a good person. The relevance of cleanliness in our everyday life is very evident particularly in one’s health.

The relationship between outward cleanliness and spiritual purity is the idea behind the statement cleanliness is next to godliness.

Origin of the phrase cleanliness is next to godliness

This followed the recording of a sermon by John Wesley, in 1778. It is however traced back to the Babylonian as well as the Hebrew tracts. Wesley was the founder of Methodism. In his sermon, John Wesley quoted, “Cleanliness is indeed next to godliness.” In the Hebrew and Babylonian context however, the cleanliness of one’s mind and body was perceived to be in close associating to the spirit of God.

Why cleanliness is next to godliness

  1. This phrase is owed to the belief that the spirit of God is believed to be in favor of a clean state of mind and body. The state of being clean is consequently a sign of spiritual purity or rather, goodness.
  2. To have a clean mind, one that does not plot evil against others and is pure in terms of thought, and to be physically clean on the body is characteristic of what godliness is about.
  3. In the Hebrew and Babylonian context, the spirit of God was believed to dwell in clean places that is why the Hebrews were taught on keeping their bodies clean as it was the temple of God.
  4. Cleanliness could mean righteousness or holiness which are godly states of the heart and mind in a biblical sense.
  5. Creation was orderly, hence clean. God is therefore brought out or depicted as a God of order hence clean and therefore cleanliness.
  6. Cleanliness has an aspect of purity. To be pure means that you are free of contamination and this is basically godly.

Importance of cleanliness in our surrounding environment

  1. Good health is mostly a result of keeping the body and the environment clean. The opposite of cleanliness harbors germs which cause diseases and infections.
  2. Cleanliness also makes people like us. Being dirty gives the image of being a bad person hence people try as much as possible to avoid it.
  3. A clean environment also gives the impression that we are responsible and disciplined individuals which is good.
  4. It is easier to think in a clean environment because there are no distractions or obstructions.
  5. There are less or no accidents at all when the environment and surrounding is clean.
  6. A clean environment is comfortable and provides ambiance and peace of mind which is very precious to human beings.

How can we maintain a clean environment in our school?

  1. Being responsible is the principle way of maintaining a clean environment because then people would always know what to do the right thing and would always do that.
  2. Putting up trash cans in accessible places will make it easier to dispose off wastes rightfully.
  3. Students should not write on desks and tables as this gives the impression of uncleanliness.
  4. Arranging desks and tables after class also makes for a clean and orderly class.
  5. Classes should be cleaned preferably on a daily basis as this reduces the chances of getting sick.
  6. Cleaning the board will also do well for a clean environment in school. It makes the class look neat and orderly.

How to maintain a clean environment in our surroundings

  1. Burning plastic because they are not degradable is important. It helps keep the environment or surrounding free of pollution.
  2. Motors using safe fuel are also a way through which the surrounding environment can be maintained.
  3. Setting up laws against environmental pollution will also be very instrumental in keeping the environment clean.
  4. Making sure that there are no oil spillages or accidents in the water bodies will also help keep the marine environment clean.


It is important to keep the environment clean. This is because the environment forms nature and nature is what feeds and homes mankind as well as animals. Cleanliness extended to the environment will make it more productive and this will always make for growth. Cleanliness of body and of the environment is directly related. When one is responsible about their own body, it will automatically extend to their home then to the surrounding environment.

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