Before Showering and Bathing Every Day or Two Became the Norm, Did People just Constantly Smell Bad?
“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” is a phrase from an almost-real threat at one time.
A bath required a lot of water, and soap was a luxury
You might have one bath per family per month.
The man of the house would be first, followed by his wife, and then the kids in descending
order of age.
The joke is by the end, you might lose the baby in the water because it was so filthy.
My grandmother, born in 1893, used to say that the dresses were beautiful—hand stitched, delicate lace, pin tucking and all.
Her family was quite well off, so she got new dresses (3 or 4) every year.
However, people only bathed once a week, at most, and the clothes would be ironed but rarely washed, as they were too delicate.
The ironing just sealed the BO smells into the fabric.
If you got mud on your clothes, you waited until it dried, then brushed off as much as possible.
She said she and her sisters always dressed well, but stank.
When Europeans first visited Japan in the 16th century, the Japanese couldn’t believe the stench.
In one famous incident, a Japanese lord had a European delegation forcibly stripped and bathed before he met with them and had their clothes burned.