The Dark Ages were darker than I thought
Could you handle going without a shower for a few days, let alone months, or even a year? We love feeling zesty, clean, and totally fresh, so it’s difficult for most of us to leave the house without feeling properly pampered, lotioned, and dressed (in machine-washed undies), but the people of the Middle Ages weren’t so lucky. When you live on a dirt floor, under a thatched roof, amidst human feces flowing in the streets, feeling “clean” was a privilege, and even the rich rarely changed their clothes.
Before the advent of modern toilets, chemicals, plumbing, electricity—the list goes on—humans had to go about taking care of themselves in some pretty strange and uniquely disgusting ways, especially when it came to dealing with their personal hygiene.
Here are some of the most nauseating practices we found in our history books.
This one’s a real stinker!
There’s something worse than a monster hiding under your bed.
Rather than running to the toilet in the middle of the night, when people got the urge to purge they simply slipped out their chamber pots from under their bedskirts and used their version of a squatty potty. Overflow? No problem, just toss it out the window onto the streets, because that was totally cool back then. Heads up!
Bath time, everyone!
We were thinking a shower for two would be more sexy…
Gathering water was difficult. In an effort to conserve, everyone shared the same bathwater starting with the eldest, on down to the youth, hence the phrase “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Talk about the worst kind of hand-me-downs.
Weddings were even held in June, because most people had their yearly bath around May. With only a month’s worth of grime on them, people didn’t smell so bad. As a precautionary measure, brides still carried a bouquet down the aisle (the mother of all nose-gays!) to keep the smell of her guests at bay.
We had sexier expectations of bathing together…
People used WHAT to brush their teeth?!
People used their own urine to clean their teeth… and wash their face.
The belief that urine can be used for cleansing purposes has been around a long time, and women, especially from the nobler classes, often used the sterile fluid to cleanse their faces and reduce acne.
Additionally, the French dentist Fouchard widely recommended using your own urine to clean your teeth. Very easy considering your chamber pot was likely nearby.
In fact, urotherapy is still used today for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.