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Clean Up Paint Up

Clean Up Paint Up Cause Button Museum
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Clean Up Paint Up button back Cause Button Museum
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White text and illustrations of hands cleaning and painting on a blue background

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This button is most likely related to two documentary film shorts released in 1953 and 1954 called The House in the Middle, which showed the effects of a nuclear bomb test on three small houses. The houses on the left and right are run down and poorly maintained, but the house in the middle is clean, freshly-painted, and well-kept. The middle house survives the attack, while the more rundown houses do not. The 1953 version of the film was created by the Federal Civil Defense Administration (which created a nationwide plan for fallout shelters) to show that taking care of your house could help protect you from a nuclear bomb dropped by the Soviet Union.

The 1954 version of the film was released in color by the National Clean Up – Paint Up – Fix Up Bureau, which was created by the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association. This version of the film was geared more toward marketing paint than protection against bombs. 


Chisolm, K. (2015, March 10). The cold war meets commerce: the house(s) in the middle [Web log post]. Retrieved from

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