· Some settlers got their water from a nearby spring, but most dug a well as near to the house as they could because hauling water was backbreaking work, usually done by the women and children.
· People did not bathe or wash their clothes very often and when people did wash themselves or clothing, the dirty water was often thrown right outside the house so seeped into the nearby well, sometimes making it dirty or causing illness.
· Water was boiled in pots over the fire and poured into a bathtub for those that could afford one. Bath water was shared. The head of household would be first and he would get the fresh warm water, and then the next person according to station.
Most people, except very rich people, didn’t use soap until about the second half of the 19th century.
Soap, made from tallow, was specifically for washing of clothes. Only the wealthy had access to the imported, specially wrapped, and expensive perfumed toilet soaps.
Soap could be bought at the general store, but most people preferred to make their own. Basic soap was made from lye and grease. Other ingredients, such as borax, ammonia, resin, wild ginger leaves and tallow of bayberry were sometimes added.