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What were the standards of hygiene before, up to and after the 1500s!?
I'll reward whomever can answer my question the best with 10 points!.
I have always wondered what the practices of personal hygiene were like in the 1100s, 1200s, 1300s, 1400s, 1500s and even before those times and after those times!.
Q-tips, deodorant, body wash, floss, toilet paper and tweezers were not invented in the aforementioned time periods!. I know I cannot take a shower unless my ears are clean, my teeth are flossed and my eyebrows are plucked!.
How did people in the past manage!? Their teeth must have been coated in so much dental plaque from all of the food they ate, especially bread, which causes a lot of dental plaque build up!.
Tongue scrapers were also not in use!. Their breath must have been rancid!.
Razors weren't invented in the above time periods either, were they!?
Take sailors for example!. How, if at all, did they bathe when on a ship for months or even years at a time!?
Pardon me for being graphic but how did people back then deal with smegma build up!? Smegma can be painful to remove once it gets the chance to accumulate!.
I know that people back in the above time periods had soap which was made from lye and animal fat!.
I don't know if my information is correct but I find it funny how people back in those centuries had beautiful houses, along with huge beds coupled with comfortable pillows, sheets and blankets, yet they didn't have any adequate tools with which to clean their bodies!.
Perhaps I've seen "The Count of Monte Cristo" and "Queen Elizabeth: The Golden Age" one too many times, no!?
Were those of a higher class provided with "help" to wipe their bottom or did they just have a care-free attitude with the notion that bodily odors and the smell of human excrement and urine is normal!?
"Queen Elizabeth I: The Golden Age" inspired this question!.
Please refrain from leaving callous remarks!. I have pondered this question for quite some time now!.
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker:
Medieval people were much cleaner than we think - there are so many misconceptions and myths, and people seem to latch on to and swear by the "dirty" view!. It's rather later than this period that we seem to have backslid with the fear that cleanliness promoted ill-health!. We must remember that we are the way we are because science has taught us about disease and its causes, and earlier centuries didn't have that knowledge!. I think that throughout history people were concerned with their appearance and their attractiveness to the opposite sex: therefore the various fashions that came and went!. Medieval people did take care of their hygiene, but obviously in a more primitive manner than we do with our mouthwashes, toothpastes and powders, and all types of detergents and soaps!.
In the Tudor era, unless you were very wealthy, you would have had fewer clothes; the rich had sumptuous materials but didn't have the means of dry-cleaning, etc!. So they wore linen underclothes which could be laundered and cleaned!.
As for smegma, it's a natural secretion like others that our bodies produce; we wouldn't all think of having our sweat glands removed just to stop the smell of sweat, would we!? We just wash regularly, and wash our clothes! (In the UK, circumcision is only performed for religious or medical reasons!. Otherwise we leave our bodies intact!.) Don't forget also that we all live, and have lived, in times where we are used to our smells!. I'm sure that people of an earlier age would vomit as they come into contact with the pollution and fumes of today; and I've many a time been close to an unwashed person and seen people leaving public toilets without washing their hands!.
Google "Middle Ages - hygiene", and you'll come up with plenty of sites, many with conflicting information!. I leave you with a lot of reading which you might enjoy!
You'd be rather surprised!.!.!.Joseph gives a good answer, however:
Many folks used chewed twigs back in that time (in fact back to prehistory) as tooth-brushes !! SADLY, a stretch of European history sees almost NO hygiene!.
You'd be surprised to see how much MORE hygienic people were in Japan and the Middle East!.
RAZORS have existed since prehistory as well!.!.!. first in flint, bronze, then steel!.Www@QuestionHome@Com
It was definitely totally different from what you imagine, the Black Plague in the 14th century would not have spread like wild fire if there were any minimal hygienic measures!.
Look at this search you might find a bit of info
Hygiene in the earliest sense was not connected to cleanliness or personal grooming!. Indeed popular attitudes in Western Europe and the US held that frequent bathing was dangerous to individual health!. It upset the physical system, robbed the body of precious natural oils, and led to debilitating illness!. Though individuals such as Benjamin Franklin urged cleanliness as a necessary component of healthful living, the plumbing technology required to make this easy was underdeveloped and expensive!. Travellers in Europe and the US during the early nineteenth century frequently commented on the filthy conditions both of persons and households!. One historian has suggested that, in a largely agricultural community, the dirt of honest labour was associated with both economic and physical well-being, an outlook that applied to both peasant cultures in Europe and yeoman farm life in the US