Lye made by pouring water over ashes and letting it drip into a container. To make lye, wood ashes were saved. Hardwood ashes were preferred, as many soft woods would not make good lye. Fat rinds, drippings, grease and boiled-down entrails were used in making soap. Read more
Soap Was Made From Animal Fat Or Plants, If At All
An associate of Billy the Kid, Clifford provided details of the soap-weed Mexican women used to wash their hair. Soap-weed was from the yucca plant and, according to Clifford, he had his "hair washed with soap-weed root" many times.
Most folks on the frontier bathed in rivers or ponds when they were available or took sponge baths from a metal or porcelain basin. But there were plenty of people who seldom did that! Early homesteaders had to carry water from a stream, river or pond. ... Many homesteaders and ranchers bathed in the horse trough.
Once in town, with money to spend, the cowboy could pay to get a real bath, and a shave, and new clothes, from the skin up — starting with long underwear, and out from there. ... Most cowboys grabbed the chance to get cleaned up, and some got cleaned out. And then it was on to the next. Head 'em up and move 'em out.
People did wash themselves, even if they did not take hot baths. Dry baths and sponge baths are a rather effective was of saving water while still getting clean. With the help of a basin of water, soap and a sponge or towel it is relatively easy to wash the whole body in a minimum of water.
One wonders how much the habit of wearing a bathing gown in a bath had to do with modesty. The time it took to prepare for a bath was long and arduous. ... In those days, aristocratic women entertained visitors in their dressing rooms while wearing elaborate dressing gowns.
Before that, they used whatever was handy -- sticks, leaves, corn cobs, bits of cloth, their hands. Toilet paper more or less as we know it today is a product of Victorian times; it was first issued in boxes (the way facial tissue is today) and somewhat later on the familiar rolls.
1. Mullein aka “cowboy toilet paper” Even hard men want a soft leaf. If the cowboys used the large velvety leaves of the mullein (Verbascum thapsus) plant while out on the range, then you can too!
Question: Did cowboys smell bad? Yes, of course they did. However in their defense, nearly EVERYBODY “smelled bad” at the time as hygiene standards were different, scented soaps and shampoos weren't commonplace, and most areas lacked running water until well into the 20th century.
The cowboy was often on the trail for months, with little or no opportunity to wash up, much less to bathe. He usually had no full change of clothing and no “toilet articles.” He slept in dusty conditions, on dirty blankets contaminated with animal hair and other animal “debris.”
Pioneers in the 19th century would clean themselves more often the colonists; maybe once a week or twice a month. Though they were cleaning themselves more, it was common that the family would share the same bath water instead of dumping out the dirty water and refilling with clean water after each use.
Along the trail, the staples of a cowboy diet consisted of beans, hard biscuits, dried meat, dried fruit, and coffee. Occasionally, a type of bread known as pan de campo (or “camp bread”), which was cooked on a skillet was also available. These along with a little bit of sugar were the staples of the chuckwagon pantry.
Many people that lived in the Wild West actually took up jobs in mining, rather than spending their days working with livestock. 7) Living in this time period was lonely. There are claims that some people actually went crazy from the isolation of living in the West. 8) Horses led difficult lives in this era.
They made it from animal fat, wood ashes, and water. The fat had to be boiled (refined) and the hardwood ashes leached for a weak lye solution. Sounds like a whole lot of messy, smelly, hot work. Homesteaders invested an entire day on this chore just once or twice a year.
In the pioneer days, the women would make lye by gathering the wood ashes from their fireplace and putting them into a wooden hopper. Next, they would pour water over it to soak the ashes. The water that seeped out of the hopper and into the wooden bucket was lye water.
Body odor was pretty bad. Pioneers had no deodorant, shampoo or commercial toilet paper. They didn't bathe often, and they rarely changed clothes. Women didn't shave their armpits or legs.
Originally Answered: What did you average beer taste like in the old West? Minty. With only crude refrigeration beer was often warm. To get an illusion of coolness you would stick a hard mint candy between your teeth and sip the beer past the candy.
They say that was around 300,000 years ago.
Civil war soldiers used leaves, grass, twigs, corncobs, and books to make toilet paper.
The Romans did not have toilet paper. Instead they used a sponge on a stick to clean themselves.
Therefore, while women continued most of their daily work, they avoided activities they believed could halt the flow. The most salient precaution was avoiding getting chilled, whether by bathing, doing the wash in cold water, or working outside in cold, damp weather.
Victorian Oral Hygiene & Dental Decay
During the Victorian era, dental care was expensive and rudimentary at best. At-home oral hygiene was mediocre due to insufficient knowledge and humble tools. Most people cleaned their teeth using water with twigs or rough cloths as toothbrushes.
Just because a royal would not bathe for an entire year that did not mean they would not wash their hands, face, or other parts of the body. ... To replace water and soap, they used face powder, natural oils, and perfumes to hide all the dirt and smell accumulated.
Why Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Other Royals Refuse to Take Showers and Only Bathe Instead. Members of Queen Elizabeth II's family take their baths very seriously. While millions of people opt for a shower every day the royals aren't those people, and there's a reason why they choose to bathe instead.
However, despite the general lack of running water and other modern amenities, there were common expectations of personal hygiene such as regularly washing from a basin, especially the hands before and after eating which was regarded as good etiquette in a period when cutlery was still a rarity for most people.