18th century cleanliness

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Fortunately, I learned the "Arte and Mystery of the Bucket Bath" while doing UnCivil War reenacting in the 1980's. Leave the bucket of pail of water in the hot sun for a few hours, so it warms up, before you use it to wash yourself down. That technique worked well in Somalia a few years later, as we didn't get field showers until a few days before we rotated back. Also worked in the High Desert at 29 Palms.

In 1975 my Gunny told me how his best friend had married a gal from a WV "holler" and had to get her used to bathing/showing every night when they first got married in the mid 1960's. Not too long after they married, they went to her home for some summer leave (vacation) and he helped around the farm. At the end of the first week when his wife got up to take a nightly bucket bath, his Mother-in-Law looked really embarrassed and concerned when she got him to the side and informed he had to take his wife to the Doctor. He was really surprised because his wife hadn't mentioned anything wrong, so he asked his Mother-in-Law what was wrong with his wife? Now even though she was a farm wife, she looked very embarrassed and took a bit of time to answer and finally said his wife was way too long in her moon, so she better go to the Doctor. He nodded, though it took him a while to figure out what she meant. Later on his wife explained both men and women customarily only bathed on Saturday night, unless the women were in their moon and bathed nightly during that time. His Mother-in-law must have assumed by the fact she was taking nightly baths, that her moon was running too long and she needed to go to a Doctor.

I met the Gunny's Friend about 6 months later and he confirmed every word of the story.

Gus
 

toot

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in VIET NAM YOU HAD MORE pressing things to worry about than when was the last time I washed up.! and with not washing up on a regular basis, the guy next to you STUNK AS BAD AS YOU! we lived! some times! maybe off subject, sorry for that, just had a senior moment.
 
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On t’other hand. I had a friend who got stationed in west Germany. His wife got an off base apartment, and had a nightly shower. There first months water bill was the best part of his paycheck.
I recall in the Addams family movie from the ‘90s ( great one liners)Fester was dating a girl
Who said she thought he was French. He looked at her shocked and said’ I took a bath!’
 

blackhorse

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Very informational thread. I always had to laugh, with due respect, at some photos of reenactors and military units. They always looked too clean. Then I often wondered about Indian villages.. 100 or more lodges, with what, three or four people each. I always wondered how long they stayed in one place before all the areas used for human waste was all used up... A couple of years ago I was camping in a national forest and came across an area where the girls must have been doing their chores. Dots of toilet paper all over one area. Guess they didn't know of a cat hole.
 
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When I read that my first thought was most Indian people bathed near daily an exception being people of the Great Basin and south western desert where water might be short.
Nomadic indian people’s moved every few days and the bands were pretty small.
Eastern tribes and tribes along the western rivers, that tended to live in big villages or small cities I don’t know what they did about human waste.
Many of the eastern tribes moved their cities/towns about every twenty years. Out west we see towns that were occupied for centuries. And dying out just a couple of centuries before Europeans showed up in America the Mississippi valley saw some pretty big cities that lasted centuries, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything on waste management
 
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