Fly about the sky on your broom and sweep up a breeze to blow fallen leaves and enemies away. You can even put out flames with a bucketful of water! And perhaps old friends will pop up to help you scrub?”
The Cleaning ability debuted as Clean in Kirby's Dream Land 3. The ability has little in the way of offensive potential, doing little damage and having an extremely short range. However, the Clean ability is needed to acquire many of the game's Heart Stars and can be very useful when paired with an Animal Friend. The ability focuses on different methods of cleaning, and its attacks with common household cleaning products. In Kirby's Dream Land 3, on his own, Kirby is only able to attack with a broom, but when used with an Animal Friend, he uses things like feather dusters, plungers, and other objects associated with cleaning. This ability also makes it the first time that the recurring enemy Broom Hatter gives an ability.
Cleaning makes a return in Kirby Star Allies, where it now has a wider array of attacks. This includes horizontal sweeps, vertical sweeps and some moves based on the attacks performed by the Animal Friends in Kirby's Dream Land 3, such as a dash attack involving Nago's attack with Kirby in the sweep ability. Broom Hatter once again provides the ability, as well as acting as the Helper for the ability.
Prior to its appearance in Kirby Star Allies, only in the Kirby: Right Back at Ya! anime did Kirby get a hat to go along with it, as it was the ability's first appearance outside of Kirby's Dream Land 3. However, Cleaning was set to appear in the canceled Kirby GCN and would've featured a similar appearance, except with what appears to be a grey rim on the hat and an all-grey broom. The main source of the ability, as well as the ability's helper, would have been Broom Hatter.
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Kirby pushes a cloud of dust (or gust of wind in Kirby Star Allies) with a broom that damages the enemy. It can also be used to clean up dust (or leaves in Kirby Star Allies), sometimes revealing secrets and Heart Stars.
Pitch turns into a bucket of water, which Kirby dumps. The water travels in a slight arc before exploding into smaller blobs. The water can make some flowers grow. Just before Kirby dumps out the water, the player can influence the arc the water travels in with the Directional Pad. By holding Up, the water will slowly travel slightly upwards in a much smaller arc. By holding the direction Kirby is facing, the water will travel farther ahead.
Cleaning is greatly updated for its debut in Kirby: Right Back at Ya! Kirby gains a yellow kerchief with green stars over his head, with a purple and yellow broom. The sparkles that shoot from it when swung can hurt enemies or cause any garbage and grime to magically disappear. Kirby can also sit on the broom and fly quickly through the air.
Use the Cleaning ability to sweep up piles of leaves.”
— Loading screen • Kirby Star Allies
Cleaning is the third Copy Ability in the Kirby series to undergo a name change, the first being Burning and the second being Smash Bros.
Cleaning holds the record for longest break between two appearances for a Copy Ability in a Kirby game, with 21 years between Kirby's Dream Land 3 and Kirby Star Allies.
While Kirby can fly on his own with the broom in the anime, in the games, he requires ChuChu to help him do so.
In Kirby Star Allies, since the sweeping moves and Clean ChuChu are wind-based and the Clean Nago and Pitch moves are water-based, it is the only ability in the game that can grant two different elemental imbuements besides the Dream Friends.