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Sunday, 4 May 2014


After the fall of Rome in 467 AD and the resulting decline in bathing habits, much of Europe felt the impact of filth upon public health. This lack of personal cleanliness and related unsanitary living conditions contributed heavily to the great plagues of the Middle Ages, and especially to the Black Death of the 14th century.

Thomas J Barrett, a pioneer of modern advertising, popularized the phrase cleanliness is next to godliness, which was first used in the writings of Rabbi Phinehas ben Yair. On a visit to America he sought a testimonial from a man of distinction. The eminent clergyman Henry Ward Beecher agreed to help and wrote a short text, which started “If cleanliness is next to godliness…”. Beecher merely received Barratt’s “hearty thanks” for his labor.

A bill introduced in the Utah legislature on January 28, 1903 aimed to create "Health Day" - a holiday when everyone would clean and disinfect homes, stores, theaters, "and, in fact, every building frequented by people." The penalty for not cleaning was $50.

In the 1980s Frances Gabe built and patented the world's only self-cleaning home receiving United States patent 4,428,085 in 1984. The patent contained 68 inventions. She died in obscurity in 2016 at 101 years old.

Hands are washed 150 billion times every year, and heating the water to do so pumps as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as 250,000 cars.

Most Japanese schools don't have janitors. Instead, the children do the cleaning daily to associate cleaning with morality.

A giraffe is able to clean its ears with its own tongue.

The earliest known use of the term ‘spring-cleaning’ was in 1857.

Source QI: The Third Book Of General Ignorance 

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