A ring is clean (almost clean) if each of its elements is the sum of a unit (regular element) and an idempotent. A module is clean (almost clean) if its endomorphism ring is clean (almost clean). We show that every quasi-continuous and nonsingular module is almost clean and that every right CS (i.e. right extending) and right nonsingular ring is almost clean. As a corollary, all right strongly semihereditary rings, including finite AW (*)-algebras and noetherian Leavitt path algebras in particular, are almost clean. We say that a ring R is special clean (special almost clean) if each element a can be decomposed as the sum of a unit (regular element) u and an idempotent e with aR a (c) aEuro parts per thousand eR = 0. The Camillo-Khurana Theorem characterizes unit-regular rings as special clean rings. We prove an analogous theorem for abelian Rickart rings: an abelian ring is Rickart if and only if it is special almost clean. As a corollary, we show that a right quasi-continuous and right nonsingular ring is left and right Rickart. If a special (almost) clean decomposition is unique, we say that the ring is uniquely special (almost) clean. We show that (1) an abelian ring is unit-regular (equiv. special clean) if and only if it is uniquely special clean, and that (2) an abelian and right quasi-continuous ring is Rickart (equiv. special almost clean) if and only if it is uniquely special almost clean. Finally, we adapt some of our results to rings with involution: a *-ring is *-clean (almost *-clean) if each of its elements is the sum of a unit (regular element) and a projection (self-adjoint idempotent). A special (almost) *-clean ring is similarly defined by replacing "idempotent" with "projection" in the appropriate definition. We show that an abelian *-ring is a Rickart *-ring if and only if it is special almost *-clean, and that an abelian *-ring is *-regular if and only if it is special *-clean.