use some elbow grease

use some elbow grease

1. To clean (something or some place) with a lot of effort, especially vigorous scrubbing. Come on, you're never going to get the gunk off the counter wiping it like that. Use some elbow grease, for Pete's sake! I know it looks pretty gnarly right now, but if we use some elbow grease, I bet we could get this old truck cleaned up real nice.
2. To exert a great deal of strenuous physical work (in order to do or accomplish something). I had to use some elbow grease, but I finally managed to tear down the entire wall with my sledgehammer. I know we're running out of time, but if we all use some elbow grease, I think we'll be able to get the house built before the deadline.
See also: elbow, grease, use
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

use some elbow grease

Fig. use some effort, as in scrubbing something. (As if lubricating one's elbow would make one more efficient. Note the variations in the examples.) Come on, Bill. You can do it. Just use some elbow grease. I tried elbow grease, but it doesn't help get the job done.
See also: elbow, grease, use
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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