Humans used to do some really, really gross stuff. Like putting leeches on your own body. And bathing once a year…at a public bathhouse. But, it was all we humans had for a long time: fake science, no hygiene, that was reality for people in the old times. Of course, diseases were everywhere and no one seemed to live very long; let’s just settle for being grateful for soap.
1.) Pulling Teeth
In the Middle Ages, a barber would not hesitate to pull your tooth with their archaic equipment if it showed any signs of a cavity or caused pain. That’s right, dentists and barbers were practically one in the same. And they were also responsible for cutting hair, pulling teeth, and administering crazy treatments like bloodletting to ailing people.
2.) Eagle Dung
Eagle excrement was once considered to be a pain reliever.
3.) Urine as a Face Wash
People used to think urine was good for washing their faces with because of its antiseptic qualities.
4.) Red-hot Pokers
To try and prevent infections, red-hot pokers were used to cauterize wounds.
5.) Moss Tampons
Before we had anything close to today’s sanitary pads, women would have to utilize moss and other things they could find to use as tampons.
Draining a sick person’s blood with the help of leeches was considered a useful treatment for many illnesses at one point.
7.) Public Baths
Back when only the extremely wealthy could afford to have their own bathtubs, people would have to go to a public bath to wash up…if they washed up at all.
To get rid of undesirable freckles, people would rub sulphur onto their face. Ouch.
9.) Lead Water Tanks
Many of the first water tanks were built with poisonous lead materials.
10.) Smoke in the Mouth
15th century physicians would often attempt to cure toothaches by filling an ailing person’s mouth with smoke from a candle. The idea was that this would force the tooth worms they believed to be responsible for the pain to leave the patient’s mouth. Yes, tooth worms.
11.) Chicken Dung
Consuming a blend of chicken dung and potassium used to be thought of as a cure for baldness in men.
12.) Lead-based Makeup
Women in Elizabethan times were particularly fond of a toxic lead-based powder that would mask any skin imperfections.
13.) Not Using Utensils
In the 16th century, some particularly religious people felt that using utensils to eat was an affront to God.
14.) Mouse Skin
Mouse skin was often used by women to help give their eyebrows whatever shape they desired.
15.) Lye and Urine Detergent
On the rare occasion that someone did was their clothes, a mixture of poisonous lye and urine was used as a detergent.
16.) Yearly Baths
Most people took their yearly baths, if at all, in May. Who wouldn’t want to smell fresh for the springtime?
Before sewage systems, people would have to dump their waste into pits in their backyards.
18.) Sleeping on Bird Dung
Roofs were not what they are now. It was next to impossible to avoid birds and other animals messing up your sleeping quarters.
19.) Wiping with Leaves
Before there was toilet paper, people would have to use leaves to tidy up after using the bathroom. It makes a lot more sense when you think about how they were probably going to the bathroom outside.
20.) Not Wearing Underpants
While men sometimes wore linen underpants, it was rare for women to wear any.
21.) Chamber Pot
This is a pot people would keep under their beds. They would use it when they had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and did not feel like leaving the house to use the outhouse.
22.) Not Changing Clothes
Even the richest of people in the Middle Ages would have, at most, four different outfits (one for each season).
23.) Groom of the King’s Close Stool
There used to be a position in a king’s inner circle that involved carrying the royal portable toilet around. It also required cleaning their backside when they were through sitting on the throne.