Keep your hands clean


      • avoid getting involved in illegal or unethical activities
        Advise against engaging in a particular activity or task, cautioning that it will not result in any positive outcome or benefit

      • maintain one's innocence or good reputation
        Encourage someone to stay away from anything that could compromise their integrity or moral standing

    Examples of Keep your hands clean

    • John's company was accused of engaging in shady business practices, but he insists that he's "keeping his hands clean" and has no involvement.

      This idiom is used to mean that someone is maintaining an innocent or blameless position, and avoiding any involvement in questionable activities or wrongdoing. It suggests that the person's own actions are completely above board and beyond reproach.

    • Sarah's coworker was caught embezzling funds from the company, but Sarah was able to prove that she had "kept her hands clean" and had not been involved in any way.

      This example expands on the first, illustrating how the idiom can be used to refer specifically to financial matters or criminal activity. It highlights the importance of being able to provide evidence of one's innocence in such situations.

    • Despite rumors to the contrary, the politician maintained that he had "kept his hands clean" throughout his entire career, and was a deeply principled and honorable person.

      This example shows the idiom being used in a political context, and suggests that the person in question is firmly committed to acting with integrity and decency throughout their time in public service.

    • After the investigation was completed, it was found that all the suspects involved had "kept their hands clean" and had nothing to do with the crime.

      This final example demonstrates the versatility of the idiom, as it can be applied to a whole group of people as well as just an individual. It also highlights the importance of being able to prove one's innocence or purity of intent in the face of false accusations or suspicions.

    • Although Sarah was initially interested in the company's philanthropic efforts, she decided to distance herself from the organization after discovering their involvement in some shady business deals. She wanted to "keep her hands clean" and avoid any potential legal or moral repercussions that could arise from being associated with their practices.

      The idiom "keep your hands clean" refers to avoiding involvement in questionable or unlawful activities. In Sarah's case, she didn't want to risk being implicated in any wrongdoing by associating herself with the company's questionable practices, so she chose to distance herself from the organization instead.

    • When the FBI discovered evidence linking John to a series of crimes, he immediately pledged his innocent and maintained that he had "clean hands" throughout the investigation. Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, he continued to insist that he was an innocent man and that he had no involvement in the criminal activity.

      This example highlights the idea that the phrase "clean hands" is often used to suggest moral purity or innocence. John's claim that he had "clean hands" in the matter was meant to convey the idea that he was a blameless victim of circumstance, rather than an active participant in the criminal activity.

    • After serving a lengthy prison sentence for a variety of white-collar crimes, Jessica vowed to "keep her hands clean" upon her release. She recognized that her previous actions had placed her in a precarious position, and she was determined to rebuild her reputation by staying away from any fraudulent or dishonest activities in the future.

      This example demonstrates the importance of following through with one's commitment to avoiding questionable activities. Jessica's determination to "keep her hands clean" showed that she recognized the severity of her past mistakes and was committed to making amends by leading a more honest and upright life going forward.

    • When the mayor's office came under fire for their handling of a local crisis, the mayor defended himself by stating that he had "clean hands" throughout the ordeal. He insisted that he had followed all applicable laws and policies, and that any mistakes that had been made were the result of oversight on the part of his staff, rather than any action taken by himself.

      This example illustrates how the phrase "clean hands" can be used to suggest that a person is not personally responsible for a particular situation or set of circumstances. The mayor's assertion that he had "clean hands" was intended to absolve him of any blame or guilt in the matter, and to suggest that he was merely a bystander in the events that had unfolded.


    The idiom "keep your hands clean" is used to caution against engaging in illegal or unethical activities and to encourage maintaining one's innocence or good reputation. It is often used to advise someone to stay away from anything that could compromise their integrity or moral standing.

    Origin of "Keep your hands clean"

    The origin of the idiom "keep your hands clean" can be traced back to the concept of cleanliness as a symbol of purity and innocence. In many cultures, keeping one's hands clean is associated with being free from wrongdoing or guilt. This idiom likely originated from the idea of physically keeping one's hands clean to avoid getting involved in anything that could tarnish one's reputation. Over time, it has evolved to encompass a broader range of behaviors and actions, emphasizing the importance of maintaining integrity and moral standing in various situations.

    Examples of similar expressions can be found in different languages and cultures, highlighting the universal significance of the concept of cleanliness and purity. In English, the idiom has become a popular way to advise against engaging in illegal or unethical activities and to encourage maintaining one's innocence or good reputation.