9 facts about poor hygiene in the past

Hyperaxion Jan 23, 2020

Maintaining decent hygiene is of unquestionable importance for our health, as the lack of cleanliness can cause numerous diseases.

However, if you consider that even today some people insist on not maintaining simple hygiene habits, in the past the reality was even more frightening in this regard.

Check out this awesome list with some facts that show how people did not care about their hygiene in the past.

1. Bath every day? No way.

(Source: Wikimedia).

Before the 20th century, especially in European cities, the habit of bathing daily or with reasonable frequency simply did not exist. Some people even believed that getting into a bathtub filled with water repeatedly and constantly could cause illness. So it was common for people, when they decided to bathe, to enter the season wearing their underwear, which was extremely large.

2. Bathrooms were unsanitary.

(Source: Pinterest).

The first toilet, which in some ways resembled what we now understand as a bathroom, was created only in 1590, but at that time Europeans still lacked functional sewer systems. The absence of basic sanitation principles in European cities during the Middle Ages, for example, was one of the main factors that caused the Black Death.

3. What about toilet paper?

The ancient romans used a communal sponge on a stick. (Source: D. Herdemerten/Wikimedia Commons).

In times when toilet paper had not even been conceived, to clean up after relieving themselves they used anything they had at their disposal. The richest had pieces of linen for such purposes, but if you have a weak stomach, don’t even try to think about how most people cleaned up after listening to nature’s calls. By the way, many didn’t even care about it.

4. Condoms made from animal products.

(Source: G1).

The concern with condom use is nothing new. Evidently, the way these products are manufactured today is nothing like the techniques of the past. Mule’s mane, pigskin, and even turtle shells are among the products used in the past to produce condoms.

5. Poor hygiene with cutlery.

(Source: Shutterstock).

People have been using cutlery to eat for a long time, but they have not always taken care of the hygiene of these utensils. It was common during large dinners, for example, for people to share their cutlery and plates, and even use the same knives for hunting and eating.

6. Very few clothes.

The idea of having several clothes stored, one for each occasion, is very modern. In the past, people used to have very few clothes, which were used for an entire season. There is no need to mention the odor that these clothes should have, especially during the warmer seasons.

7. Toothpaste.

If today we have toothpaste of different flavors and even with different effects on our teeth, in the past, the reality was a little more “raw”. From crushed bones to oyster shells, they have been used to help people clean dirt from their teeth. Undoubtedly, these products were not so good for dealing with bad breath problems.

8. Perfumes.

(Source: Shutterstock).

If Europeans were not very fond of bathing, they at least were concerned (after a certain point in history) about creating good perfumes to disguise the unpleasant smell. Even before the Middle Ages, ancient civilizations in the Middle East and Asia had the practice of using certain products (such as salt) to disguise strong odors. The first perfume, however, was only invented in the 16th century.

9. Dental procedures.

(Source: Wikimedia).

Not so long ago, it was common for even barbers to perform some dental procedures, since many doctors did not undergo such operations. Needless to say, everything happened without proper hygiene care, and usually without anesthesia.


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