meaning of "wash its face"

what does the say "wash its face" mean in relation to the performance of companies etc
09:05 Sat 23rd Feb 2008
 
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I believe the expression "not fit to wash its face" originates in Scotland or the North of England and may be applied as a description of a failing business.

Thus for a business to be able to "wash its face" it must not be in a position of failure but the term is meant to convey that it is close to the limit i.e. it makes just enough money to cover its expenses, or what may otherwise be described as "breaking even".
I had never heard this expression until I found it being used by the presenter of BBC 1 prog. Bargain Hunt. When an item in the auction goes for the price the contestants paid for it he says "it has washed its face."
I don't see the connection. 'Broken even' seems better to me.

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