You Will Be Horrified When You See What Hygiene Was Like In Colonial America This Is Shocking
Hygiene is one of the most important personal traits that define a person and how they are judged. The average person is expected to wash, brush their teeth, dress well and smell well every day, with their hair kept neat also. These are the standards that are held in society for the average person that is generally upheld, but when they are not upheld they are quite evident as you can stand out. This wasn’t always the case as hygiene wasn’t always as strict and expected as it is today. One of the most shocking stages of hygiene was seen in Colonial America that would terrify today’s generation. “Colonial America” refers to the time period after the settlement of America by Europeans in the 1500s onwards. Obviously they didn’t have body sprays or 2in1 shower liquids that we are used to today, but their standards and routines are shocking. You need to see what they were, would you survive in this time?
They didn’t have shampoos and shower gels like we have today, so head lice were very common in this period for many reasons. This was particularly common with those who wore powdered wigs, especially if they weren’t cleaned regularly. This next one will make you throw up.
You probably know that they didn’t have toilets back then, so they would have to use pots to dispose of their urine and faeces as well as any other fluids. They had specific outhouses designed to hold these pots that were basically just a covered hole in the ground. This waste would find its way into the streams. Excuse us while we throw up. Look at this next one.
Lye soap was not used for cleaning the body or face as we do nowadays, instead, it was used for cleaning dishes and clothes with ones that they would purchase locally. This was a very dirty, smelly process due to the soap being made up of lye, animal fat and ash, yuck. This next one is horrendous.
Baths were not common in Colonial America so bathing wasn’t done very regularly with limited resources. People would generally just wash their bodies and face with a cloth from the sink without bathing probably. Others would go to the local stream for a full body cleanse, although we know what ended up in that. You won’t believe this next one.
Without any recognized brand razors in their bathroom cupboard, shaving wasn’t very common for men, unless they went to the barbers when they needed to get a shave with a straight razor from a barber. Women did not shave at all during this time as there was nothing in place for them to perform this. This next one is disgusting.
We have already discussed bathing and washing dishes, but the worst of the lot is washing clothes. Clothes were only washed when they were extremely dirty and could go for weeks worn without a wash. They would be washed with the soap used to clean the dishes and it was a very time-consuming process. How did they believe this next one?
It is bad enough that they didn’t have the best practices in place for cleanliness, but for doctors to come out and say that it was a sin to clean and promote uncleanliness is crazy. They believed it was good to go unwashed for hygiene and health reasons, due to the oils. You won’t want to hear this next one, ouch.
Back during this time, there was no recognised trade of dentists, so basically anyone could pull out teeth. This was normally left down to barbers, doctors or blacksmiths who performed multiple trades at once during this period. There were definitely no anaesthetics either to numb the pain. You need to see this next one.
This should come as no surprise that during this time disease was very common due to the unhygienic habits of the civilians. Typhoid fever, dysentery and cholera were regarded as the most common diseases around this time that were fatal and killed thousands. You won’t believe this next one.
Cleaning Teeth and Ears
Perhaps the most disgusting thing we have heard of from this era is how they cleaned their teeth and ears. There was a tool that served a multi-purpose use for cleaning the ears and picking the teeth. These were also used for cleaning fingernails and other unhygienic tasks, yuck! Wow, we are glad that we didn’t live back in Colonial America, would you have survived living in this time? We can be thankful that we have evolved majorly over the years when it comes to hygiene, although some people we come across may as well be living in Colonial America!
Sources: graemepark.org, mentalfloss.com, historydaily.org, history.org, daily.jstor.org, mygrayhistory.com, acecleanuk.co.uk, occupy.com, smithsomnianmag.com, statnews.com, erocco.weebly.com