10 Disgusting Hygiene Practices Throughout History

Hygiene is one of the most important aspects of our day, as it ensures we are clean and smell nice for everyone else we come in contact with. However, that was not always the case. Throughout time, there have been some various practices that are, let’s say, completely questionable. Everything from the way clothing was washed to the way hair was done. Some are, understandably, a lot grosser than others. In any case, these 10 took things to the next level.


Way back in the day, people rarely, if ever, changed the clothes they were wearing. Most people only had one set of clothes. However, royalty had four. This is one outfit for every single season. That is disgusting. Just imagine the dirt and grime in there.


While giving birth, numerous practices were put on the table to ensure the birthing went as smooth as possible. For example, while in labor, women were offered oil and vinegar plus eagle poop to ease their pain.

Leeched Sickness

When most people were sick back in olden times, a “doctor” would administer numerous blood-sucking leeches to the body to ensure the “bad blood” was removed from within. This blood was thought to contain the ailment of the person, too.


We’ve all seen pictures of gentlemen wearing large, white powdered wigs throughout history. However, these were generally infested with lice, and shaped by using animal fat, so they stunk to high heaven. The wigs would also catch on fire often.

Face Cleansing

While cleaning their faces, nobility would often wash once every single day. Unfortunately for those around them, these men and women would wipe their face with urine. Some people still use this remedy, however.

Sewer Systems

In many cities, a sewer system became one of the first items to be built. These were, typically, open to absolutely everyone. People would throw whatever they wanted within these underground tunnels, even though they had no drainage whatsoever.

Bodies of Water

During the 14th Century, the English Parliament levied numerous taxes for anyone who dumped illegally into the rivers and lakes. By that time, though, these bodies of water were already so polluted by people tossing their waste into them.


In the Victorian Era, lead powder was used to give women the fancied creamy white complexion they so desired. However, instead of washing to remove the first layer, these women would add yet another over the top day-by-day. This led to a lot of illness.


Way back when, freckles were considered to be incredibly ugly on most individuals. So, to remove these little skin spots, people would take handfuls of sulphur and rub it onto their faces in an attempt to remove them.

Smelling Good

Deodorant was not something people had back then, so everyone smelled quite unsettling. Royalty, however, used various colorful flowers to smell a little better, but it only masked the funk for a limited time.