In the month of July, we celebrate the birth of our nation. When we think back to those times, we often picture wars being fought in battlefields, powdered white wigs, and dirt, lots and lots of dirt. While you could argue that poor hygiene wasn’t without good reason, it’s easy to imagine how foul a meeting hall might smell during a heated debate in the middle of summer. So, what do our history books leave out, when it comes to cleanliness and the past?
Washing clothes was very uncommon and more often than not, outfits were worn time and time again before being cleaned. It was also common for men to wear linen drawers, and women to wear no knickers at all. Day after day, this practice would leave quite an impression. In the 17th century, a family would wash their clothes with lye, which would have been made up of ashes and human urine. Using human urine to wash clothes originated during Roman times and was a common practice because of its ability to remove stains. Today, we offer more sanitary options.
When we are ready to wash our clothes nowadays, we take our laundry to a machine, put our dirty clothes in a barrel with soap, and press some buttons. If it were always that easy, history might smell a little better. Unfortunately, the process of cleaning clothes required more time and effort than most of us are used to.
Bathing was another rare occurrence, usually happening once a year and in May. In fact, that’s why so many weddings occur in June since most people are still clean from their annual bath. As a precaution, brides would carry flowers to mask any unappealing smells. When the bathing did happen, typically there was only one tub with clean water in it. The man of the house would use it first, then the sons, then the wife, the daughters, and finally the baby. We’re fortunate enough to quickly bath once a day if we prefer it, and have access to plenty of soap and shampoo.
It’s easy to be scandalized when we look back at how things were done, but these behaviors were not due to laziness. With no way of knowing better, or understanding how diseases worked, humans didn’t prioritize their health. Before we knew how to fight dangerous illness and infection, fighting for our lives was a daily struggle, and so priorities were different in days of old. Today, we are armed with the knowledge of proper hygiene as well as a range of disinfectants that have kill claims for even the worst bacteria. We also have access to running water and hand soap, which certainly helps.
Enjoy what our forefathers could not, and visit our website today. As you browse our selection of cleaning chemicals, remember how it used to be, and treat yourself to a hygienic and germ-free way of living.