clean up after (someone or something)

clean up after (someone or something)

1. To clear away the mess left behind by someone or something. I feel like I'm constantly cleaning up after my kids whenever they eat a meal. I swear, more of their food ends up on the floor than in their mouths! Don't worry about making a mess. The cleaners will clean up after us. Our scout troop always volunteers to clean up after the 4th of July parade each year.
2. To hide, resolve, or dispose of something that someone has done, especially that which is negligent, illicit, or illegal. The personal assistant felt like most of his time was spent cleaning up after his boss's foolish indiscretions. How long are you going to keep cleaning up after her, Tom, before she lands the both of you in jail? You can't expect your parents to clean up after your mistakes forever, John.
See also: after, clean, up