Why Hygiene Has Changed Over the Decades (People Washed Only One Body Part!)

Time traveler, stock your backpack with your favorite hygiene essentials because we’re living in the best time ever for cleanliness! Don’t forget your toothpaste! Some ancient civilizations used a mixture of gum Arabic and soot to keep their teeth clean. That, or a mix of the salt, mint, iris flower, and pepper. One dentist tried this combo to see how it works. Let’s just say, didn’t feel good on the gums!

About 5,000 years ago, people in Egypt and Greece would fray a small twig to clean in between their teeth. A few centuries later, soap appeared! It was a mix of boiled fat and ash. In such hot climates, people would wash their bodies up to 4 times a day, using soda ash to get rid of dirt. And Romans are better known for their public restrooms. To make “clean-up” easier, the Romans would fix a sponge at the end of a stick. By the way, they’d share that thing amongst themselves! Let’s find out more about what hygiene was like in the past. How did the ancients clean themselves?


CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0:
Castellum Divisorium in Nîmes, Gard, France: By Krzysztof Golik, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77115518
Buanderie artisanale en Sologne au début du 20e siècle: By Unknown author, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=89892461
CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0:
A replica xylospongium (sponge on a stick): By D. Herdemerten, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22647938
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