Sunday, July 5, 2015

Behind the Scenes of Beds, Baths & Beyond #9

·       Being presentable was generally accomplished by washing the face and hands and otherwise showing a neat outward appearance with emphasis on the smartness of clothing. Such hand and face washing usually took place in one's bed chamber, with a basin and a relatively small amount of water.
·       The stand-up wash was the main form of personal hygiene and the start of most people’s daily routine.  For men and upper and middle-class women it happened as soon as they rose from bed.
·       All a person needed was a bowl, a slop pail, a flannel, some soap and a single jugful of hot water.  Cold water was also an option and many used it, hoping to improve their circulation. 
·       With a single jug of water it is perfectly easy to wash and rinse the whole body.  A little water is poured into the bowl and the flannel is dipped in and then wrung out.  Some soap is applied and scrubbing the body can begin.  When this first bowl of water became murky, it is emptied into the slop pail and freshly filled from the jug. 

·       Body washing could be done in sections and it also allowed a person to remain mostly dressed throughout.  Once the last drop of clean water was used finally to rinse out the cloth and washing bowl, the slop pail was taken out and disposed of.
Pictured is a wash stand from inside the Backus-Page House Museum.

No comments: