Cleanliness Brings Health
Animation / Documentary
Walt Disney Productions
Animated cartoon produced by Walt Disney to teach children the benefits of being clean.
Health for the Americas: Cleanliness Brings Health (1945)
This animated Disney propaganda short compares the lives of two families: the clean family and the careless family. The clean family is characterized by their happiness and exuberant health. The sad family is described as dirty and beset with sickness. The narration first focuses on the habits of the clean family, which includes the mother dutifully making dinner for her family, employment of a brick stove, tidy and spotless dishes, a simple corral for the pigs and chickens, and a father and son that work in the corn field together.
The concentration then shifts on the careless family, who has pigs and chickens roaming their land freely, a mother that cooks dinner on the floor, a father that is unable to work due to illness, and a young boy with stomach cramps who sits in the corner most of the time. The sickness they suffer from is said to be spread through the dirt from the field that they touch, which has been contaminated by the waste from the boy with the stomach cramps. Disease from the dirt is claimed to afflict one when they eat without washing their hands first.
The clean family is once again discussed, and is faced with the same problem the careless family had about bathroom matters. Only the clean family has a latrine set up, and thus avoids the issue of infecting their dirt and causing disease to expand.
The careless family becomes the topic another time, with discussion on why they are so unhappy. The answer is given that their unhappiness stems from the fact that they don’t wash themselves, and so are constantly uncomfortable and itchy. The clean family contrastingly washes quite often and cleans their clothing with soap, drying it in a hygienic spot in the sun. The mother washes her hands before handling food, and the father and son wash up prior to eating. This makes them all happy.
In the end of the film, the reasons for why the clean family is so happy are summarized, and cleanliness is promoted.