Yes, cleaning the room would mean cleaning the room where your altar is. In order to maximise the benefits of cleaning though, we should do a meditation while cleaning that we are clearing away our negativities. Tenzin mentions the mantra "Du pung, drima pung" - this mantra is very powerful when recited together with the visualisation.
In Liberation in the Palm of your Hand
, the story of Chudapanthaka - a monk who could not retain anything in his memory and thought to be the 'dullest of the dull', is quite inspirational. This is the story:
Chudapanthaka was sent to a professional reciter of the Vedas, and made to read these. First he had to study the word om bhu. By the time he mastered the om he had already forgotten the bhu. On mastering the bhu, he had already forgotten the om. It drove his teacher to despair. The teacher told the boy's father, 'Your other child Mahapanthaka understands with only a minimum of instruction, but I cannot teach him — I have other boys to teach.
So the name Chudapanthaka came to mean 'dull,' 'dullest of the dull,' 'small' and 'smallest of the small.'
The parents of the two Panthakas later died. Mahapanthaka became a Buddhist and a monk. He became a scholar in the three baskets and an Arhat. Chudapanthaka's inheritance ran out and so he went to his elder brother. Mahapanthaka examined his brother to see if he had an potential for the Dharma. Maha discovered that he himself could develop his brother's potential so he ordained Chuda.
Chuda then spent the next three months trying to learn this verse:
Do not let your body, speech or mind sin.
Be free of the desire that afflicts all the worldly.
Have remembrance, be vigilant:
Avoid anything harmful, any suffering.
The local cowherds overheard the verse and even they learned it — but Chuda failed.
Arya Mahapanthaka had at one time thought to himself, 'How can I tame Chuda? Shall I praise him or insult him?' He saw that insulting him would be the most effective, so he upbraided Chuda, grabbed him by the collar, and drove him out of the Jetavana Grove.
Maha said: 'You are the dullest of the dull — why did I ever ordain you? Stay here.'
Chuda thought to himself, 'Now I am no longer an ascetic. I am not even a brahmin,' and he wept.
The Buddha, our Teacher, went to him, urged by great compassion
'Panthaka, why are you crying?' asked Buddha.
'My abbot has insulted me.'
The Buddha said:
Anything praised by churls
Is disparaged by scholars.
Better to be disparaged by a scholar
Than be praised by a churl.
'My so, your abbot did not endure many hardships for three countless aeons to complete the six perfections. He did not compose your verse for you — I did. Cannot the Tathagata teach you to read?'
'O monk,' said Chudapanthaka, 'I am the dullest of the dull, the very smallest of the small. How could I ever learn to read?'
Buddha, our Teacher replied:
The churl who knows he's a churl
Is true a scholar.
The churl who's proud of his scholarship
Is the most churlish of all.
The Buddha gave Panthaka these word to memorize: 'Abandon dirt, abandon stains.' But again, this proved too much for Chudapanthaka. The Bhagavan Buddha then thought, 'I shall purify him of his karma.'
'Panthaka, can you polish the sandals of the monks?' asked Buddha.
Chuda replied, 'Yes, O monk, I can.'
'Then polish the monks' sandals and shoes,' said the Buddha. 'And monks, you must let him do this so that he can purify his karma. You must recite these words so that he will eventually learn them.'
Then, when Chuda had learned this second recitation, the Buddha told him, 'You no longer have to polish their sandals. Do the second recitation while you sweep out the temple.'
Now that Chuda had been given the job of sweeping the temple, he developed perseverance while he swept. But when he had finished sweeping the right side of the temple, the left side had become filthy, and by the time he had finished sweeping the left side, the right was filthy again. This happened through the power of the Buddha. All the same, Panthaka persisted, and his karma and obscurations were purified. Then the thought came to him, 'When the Teacher said, "Abandon dirt, abandon stains," did he mean internal or external dirt?' Then into his mind came three verses he had never heard before:
Here 'dirt' is attachment, not dirt.
'Dirt' is a name for attachment, not dirt.
Scholars reject this kind of dirt.
They scrupulously follow the Sugata's teachings.
Here 'dirt' is hostility, not dirt.
'Dirt' is a name for hostility, not dirt.
Scholars reject this kind of dirt.
They scrupulously follow the Sugata's teachings
Here 'dirt' is benighted ignorance, not dirt...
And so on. He tried to fathom these verses, and through his meditations he achieved arhatship.
(read more here http://www.indianabuddhist.org/Liberation_StudentsNotes20.html