8 facts about past hygiene that will make you love modern times

It’s usually hot summertime, so often you can refresh yourself even in the middle of the day by jumping into a shower. That, which is normal for us, was something unthinkable for our ancestors. A sewage system and keeping yourself clean is something obvious for us, but for people living in the Middle Ages…Well it was not. Hygienic procedures from our view don’t have much in common with taking care of cleanliness. However this is how people used to live.

Check out 8 examples of medieval hygiene.



1. Baths were uncommon and taken… in groups.

According to the church’s teachings, nudity is evil, so even during a bath people were dressed. Clean clothes were more important than a clean body; so seeing someone in clothes at the bathhouse wasn’t odd. Only the rich had a bathroom in their homes, in which they rather regularly bathed nude. The rest of society did their laundry and whatever was sticking out of it, like necks, faces and hands.

(Wikimedia Commons)

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2. Doing the laundry was important, but definitely not so fragrant.

Soap is about 3000 years old, but laundry detergent is a fairly recent invention. During the Middle Ages, people got their laundry done with lye, ash, sulphur, and even… urine. It couldn’t have smelled nice.

(Wikimedia Commons)

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3. Urine was widely used.

It’s something that many people now think is disgusting, but earlier it was used as a medicine, and even as a way of whiting teeth.

(Wikimedia Commons)

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4. Widely used… potties.

What we now think of as a tool for teaching children to become independent was in the middle ages a common household item of every bedroom. There weren’t any separate rooms for the toilet.

(Wikimedia Commons)

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