A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 21, 2019
“Housework, if you do it right, will kill you”

"Housework, if you do it right, will kill you” is a jocular saying that has been printed on many images. American humorist Erma Bombeck (1927-1996) pointed out in an October 1986 newspaper column that a lot of cleaning materials are toxic, and then stated:

“The bottom line here, folks, is that cleanliness makes you sick. Are you listening, Mother and all you other saintly sisters of spit and polish, soap and starch? I hate to say ‘I told you so,’ but who was the first to say, ‘Housework, if you do it right, will kill you’? Now I have proof.”


Wikipedia: Erma Bombeck
Erma Louise Bombeck (née Fiste; February 21, 1927 – April 22, 1996) was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for her newspaper column that described suburban home life from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s. Bombeck also published 15 books, most of which became bestsellers. From 1965 to 1996, Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns, using broad and sometimes eloquent humor, chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife. By the 1970s, her columns were read twice-weekly by 30 million readers of the 900 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.

12 October 1986, Sunday Star-Gazette, “At Wits End: It’s better to breathe dirty air” by Erma Bombeck, pg. 4F, col. 5:
Paints and plastics pollute the air we breathe. Air freshener and cleansers are pollutants, and one of the worst is the steaming shower which vaporizes trichloreothylene and chloroform.

The bottom line here, folks, is that cleanliness makes you sick. Are you listening, Mother and all you other saintly sisters of spit and polish, soap and starch? I hate to say “I told you so,” but who was the first to say, “Housework, if you do it right, will kill you”? Now I have proof.

Google Books
Barbara Bush, first lady
By Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden
Hillside, NJ: Enslow Publishers
1991
Pg. 12:
After all, who else would point out that Miss America never sweats or that you will never own a car that outlasts the payments, or admit that housework, if you do it right, will kill you?

Who else but Erma Bombeck?

Google Books
The Mommy and Daddy Book:
Practical Tips for New Parents from Parents Who’ve Been There

By Karen Hull
Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House
2000
Pg. 41:
I have an Erma Bombeck quote taped to my refrigerator: “Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.”

Google Books
Title Housework, If You Do It Right, Will Kill You: Black Erma Bombeck Quote Designer Notebook
Author Perfect Papers Staff
Publisher Independently Published, 2018
ISBN 198075375X, 9781980753759
Length 120 pages

Twitter
Gwen Talley
@gwentalley
“Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.” http://po.st/kIFsv2 via @BrainyQuote
3:26 PM - 3 Apr 2019

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBuildings/Housing/Parks • Tuesday, May 21, 2019 • Permalink