In normal conversations, we commonly use the expressions “do the dishes”, “do the laundry”, or “do the housework”. We can omit the article to put the emphasis on the activity rather than the items to be washed or cleaned.
If you do the dishes, I’ll do the laundry.
You should do the housework too.
We can omit the article to put the emphasis on the activity rather than the items to be washed or cleaned.
I don’t like doing laundry.
Doing the cleaning regularly helps create a healthy environment.
1. Dishwashing and Laundry
In everyday English, we use the expressions “do the dishes” and “wash the dishes” (with the definite article “the”).
Who will do the dishes after the meal?
I did the laundry and cleaned the kitchen yesterday.
We can also leave out the article to speak about these tasks in a general sense.
Do you know how to do laundry?
Note that we drop the article “the” to put the emphasis on the activity rather than the items to be washed.
Restaurant staff must do any necessary cleaning, including doing dishes and wiping down tables.
2. Do the Housework vs. Do Housework
You can use the term housework, or household chores, to refer to the work that you do to keep your house clean and tidy.
Did you help your mother with the housework?
Since the word housework is an uncountable noun, it is not possible to use the indefinite article “a” with it. However, we can add the definite article “the” or other determiners (some, little, my, your, etc.)
I need to do my housework today.
When speaking about something we do regularly, we usually include the article “the”.
Olivia spent all morning doing the housework.
Omitting it suggests that you are speaking about doing housework in generic terms.
Most people hate doing housework.
3. Do the Cleaning, the Ironing, the Vacuuming, etc.
We use the expressions do the cleaning, do the ironing, do the vacuuming, do the mopping, do the cooking, etc. with the article “the”.
I did the cleaning this afternoon.
My husband did the vacuuming before dinner.
You can also use other determiners, such as some, much, my, your, etc.
I need to do my ironing.
My sister did some mopping yesterday.
We normally use a determiner with these tasks even if we are talking about them in a general way.
Doing the ironing is sometimes difficult.
Doing the cleaning is something I do not enjoy.
In many situations, you can just use the verb clean, iron, vacuum, etc.
Did you clean the kitchen?
I need to iron this shirt.
Mopping the floor can be stressful.