How Clean Were Medieval People?

this episode is brought to you by the Dollar Shave Club how clean were medieval people medieval hygiene we’re medieval faces and hands always dirty clothes tattered and smelly this may be an unfair image hygiene vary between positions in society Nobles at the top kept clean because of their luxuries and expectations – if they didn’t it could bring disgrace to the kingdom but even amongst the majority of common people in medieval Europe there was an interest in maintaining hygiene and sanitation bathing most medieval people wash their hands face and feet every day as these were visible to the public but unless you were aristocracy or nobility having a private bath in a wooden tub at home was not an option public baths were extremely popular during the times of the ancient Romans and Greeks and even into the medieval times which the lower-class citizens would use however they started to decline dramatically during the start of the 16th century because of the black death in the Catholic Church or against the bathhouses immorality from then on people became cautious of sharing water with strangers after the threat of the plague and lower-class citizens preferred to go without baths for weeks or months teeth-cleaning there was a desire to keep teeth clean like today sugar was rare and costly at the time and peasants ate a diet of mainly dairy and vegetables ensuring strong teeth and slow tooth decay compared to later centuries if a tooth needed to be pulled out however it would of course be done without any anesthetic or painkillers medieval Europeans practice their daily dental hygiene by picking food out of their teeth and rubbing them this minimal dental hygiene came from numerous written manuals the more refined would follow health manuals which recommended to wash the mouth with wine or vinegar after eating and to rub teeth and gums with rough linen they also chewed on leaves of mint and herbes to freshen the breath toilets for the elite garter robes were private toilets within their own rooms found in castles or monasteries the toilet resembled a hole in a wooden or stone seat this would be connected to a shaft leading all the way down into the moat or cess pit which the waste would travel down for most people chamber pots were a common form of household toilet as a portable solution for carrying waste outside outhouses and seats with holes above a trough also existed in medieval times for toilet paper medieval people used hay or straw or if they could afford it cloth or linen scraps streams and rivers that flowed near the towns acted as sewers to carry away the waste or more fortunate the town may have had old Roman drainage systems but how did people dispose of waste in towns where there were no streams or rivers the famous image of people throwing filled chamber pots directly out of their windows onto the streets below may not have been as common as it seems such motivations may have been the dangers of going outside at night time or just laziness nevertheless throwing waste outside windows was illegal and there were fines against it in the interest of sanitation informers were even employed to catch out people breaking this law the legal solution for such towns was cesspits and gong farmers were employed to do the undesirable job of cleaning out these cesspits of waste thank you to Dollar Shave Club for sponsoring this episode while medieval hygiene was better than people think hygiene technology has nevertheless come a long way check out Dollar Shave Club for example it has all your grooming products toothpaste body wash hair styling products everything you need to look feel and smell your best not just razors for a limited time you guys can try out some of their awesome products for only 5 bucks Dollar Shave Club is basically giving away their daily essentials starter set to new members for only 5 bucks this starter set features their executive razor and three trial size versions of their most popular products that help you stay fresh and clean just like me this $5 offer is exclusively available at dollarshaveclub.com simple history that’s dollarshaveclub.com slash nipple history
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue6KrclRvY8

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