Danny Tanner Made It Hilariously Cool to Be a Clean Freak

published Jan 14, 2022
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Credit: Michael Yarish / Netflix

With the news of Bob Saget’s untimely passing at the age of 65, tributes quickly poured in from those who knew and loved him — as well as the fans from around the world spanning generations who found humor in his comedic legacy. For plenty, including myself, he also served as an ubiquitous childhood icon… his role as Danny Tanner on “Full House” (and Netflix spinoff “Fuller House”) cemented his pop culture status as the quintessential TV dad who served up cheesy advice and sage wisdom in spades — never failing to wear his heart on his well-tailored sleeve.

Of course, Danny Tanner was also a noted clean freak, which honestly seems understandable given that he had to live under the same roof as five kids of varying ages, a brother-in-law and his wife, his childhood best friend, Comet the dog, and (a frequently hygiene-eschewing) Kimmy Gibbler. Danny thrived on routine and order, and he rarely seemed bothered that no one else in the fictional family shared his enthusiasm for all things clean.

In fact, he once happily declared that the Tanner family motto was “Clean is good. Dirt is bad” — a message perfectly at odds with his rock star alter ego, whom he affectionately named “Mildew” in a Season 8 episode of the sitcom. Fall and spring cleaning were big events in the Tanner household, with eldest daughter DJ (played by Candace Cameron Bure) telling middle daughter Stephanie (played by Jodie Sweetin), “it may just be spring cleaning to you and me, but to dad, it’s Christmas.” He always attempted to enlist his family members to “to attack the enemy” — as he put it, the enemy being “grease, grime, slime, sludge, and that’s just Joey’s room.”

Their eyes might have rolled at his declaration that he “loves the smell of Lysol in the morning,” and the fact that he was frequently caught cleaning his own cleaning supplies, stepping on paper towels on the floor to avoid footsteps, and even cleaning leaves in the garden that looked dirty, there’s something to be said about wanting to keep your space looking and feeling beautiful and clutter-free.

Some might call his penchant for picking up a mop over the top, but I’d argue it was just one of the many ways Danny showed his love. And for a guy who doled out hugs and dad jokes constantly, there’s something charming about his superhuman ability to care for so many people and stay on top of every household task.

While Saget himself shared plenty of Danny’s best qualities — including telling his people how much he loved them every chance he got and giving the very best hugs — it seems he wasn’t quite as obsessive about cleaning as the character that made him famous. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saget joked on social media, “Oh. My. God. I spend my day cleaning and vacuuming and sanitizing everything in the house. I have become Danny Tanner.”

To that, Cameron Bure responded, “You spent years getting away from him and now you’ve finally embraced him. Welcome home dad.” Saget replied to his onscreen daughter, “I never wanted to get away from him — just had other sides that were confused as you well know. I love the guy — and he loved DJ and all his girls. Ha. We need him more than ever right now. Who knew?”

I, for one, will think of him and smile every time I get the urge to vacuum my vacuum… which is more often than you’d think.