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Wife was one of 9 brothers and sisters. Baths for little kids were in a tub on the kitchen table. Looking at them, now in their 70's and 60's and imagining them on that kitchen table cracks me up. Bar soap can be shaved into flakes to do laundry and, when the bars get small, smashed together.

Epidemics of various diseases killed many, many people in the 19th century. Cholera, in particular, ebbed and flowed everywhere. Bathed or not, just drinking the water could kill you.
 
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I heard that the "floating characteristic" of Ivory was discovered purely by accident. It just so happened there was a market for floating soap. The developers were not looking into floating soap on purpose. Kind of like the vulcanisation of rubber. They stumbled upon it. Seren
Ivory soap never made it to New Zealand . When I was a kid in the 50's we had an American book of things to make from household items . It had a lot of things to carve from floating soap . I wrote to my Cousins in Denver for floating soap and got instant coffee instead much to my parents delight .
 
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Old Corps here, steel pot with helmet liner removed and a quart military canteen full of water, or while deployed on board a naval ship and water rationing was in effect with a sailor controlling the faucet to the shower step in quick splash from the shower head step out. went for about 28 days without a shower when evacuating Saigon, made myself a promise if I could find water after that fiasco to never go without some kind of a bath at least every 2 days, I have scrubbed the old bod in some strange places, the best one was in northern Ontario canada hunting bear, left camp one early morning around noon decided to bath in a lake near where I was hunting, it was cold but very good to clean up a bit, got back to camp that night and the other hunters asked how I got cleaned up told them, they just looked at me like they were gut shot, my dad ask me what I would of done if a bear came bye told him the rifle was within easy reach and I would of shot it nekkid,the one fella asked me if I brought along swimming trunks told him yep the one god sent me here with.
 
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Before we found out what a pervert Bill Cosby is i watched some of his stuff. He told a story about him and his wife going to Africa. They were driving across a remote area and saw a man walking in the direction they were going so they stopped and gave him a ride. It became immediately obvious that he didn’t speak English and that he hadn’t stood close to a bar of soap in quite a while. Since he couldn’t understand what they were saying they talked about how his stench was taking their breath away. When they got to their destination their hitchhiker got out and was talking, laughing, making faces and pointing at them. When he walked off they asked the man he was taking to what their rider had been talking about. He said the man said he couldn’t have ridden another mile with them because they smelled so bad. (Perfume, after shave, etc)
I guess it’s a matter of what you get used to
 
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The stories about corn cobs and sponges on sticks reminded me of my first days in Afghanistan as a police advisor. There were 14 of us that had just arrived in-country and we asked about getting some orientation. One of the advisors who had been there about six months started talking about the weather, religion, food and then stated, "Oh, don't pick up any small, flat rocks." As he started in on another subject, I stuck my hand in the air and asked "WHY?" He proceeded to say that toilet paper was almost nonexistent and...I then interrupted, saying "OK, you can stop now. I think we all get the picture."

Not long afterward, I was sent to a regional training center (police academy) in the northeast. The RTC was in a tent city outside of the city and had a number of port-a-potties. The honey wagon would come around every other day and pump them out. Occasionally, you would hear a rock hitting the impellers on the pump, even though paper was put into all of the johns for the rookie cops to use.
 
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The stories about corn cobs and sponges on sticks reminded me of my first days in Afghanistan as a police advisor. There were 14 of us that had just arrived in-country and we asked about getting some orientation. One of the advisors who had been there about six months started talking about the weather, religion, food and then stated, "Oh, don't pick up any small, flat rocks." As he started in on another subject, I stuck my hand in the air and asked "WHY?" He proceeded to say that toilet paper was almost nonexistent and...I then interrupted, saying "OK, you can stop now. I think we all get the picture."

Not long afterward, I was sent to a regional training center (police academy) in the northeast. The RTC was in a tent city outside of the city and had a number of port-a-potties. The honey wagon would come around every other day and pump them out. Occasionally, you would hear a rock hitting the impellers on the pump, even though paper was put into all of the johns for the rookie cops to use.
And don't extend your left hand to shake when greeting someone.
 
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When we go out camping to the Gold fields where there is precious little water, this is Australia, Ive often bathed with a pint of hot water. a wash clothe, and a bar of soap. Not very satisfying, but it does the job.

"Dobe" wash out of a 2nd Cups Canteen was and is still commonly done by our Australian Army Combat Arms Soldiers (Infantry mainly) in the field, I live off grid here on rural acres and shower outside on the warm days. In winter months its an inside Dobe wash with small flannel out of a Sink full got water.
 
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Old Corps here, steel pot with helmet liner removed and a quart military canteen full of water, or while deployed on board a naval ship and water rationing was in effect with a sailor controlling the faucet to the shower step in quick splash from the shower head step out. went for about 28 days without a shower when evacuating Saigon, made myself a promise if I could find water after that fiasco to never go without some kind of a bath at least every 2 days, I have scrubbed the old bod in some strange places, the best one was in northern Ontario canada hunting bear, left camp one early morning around noon decided to bath in a lake near where I was hunting, it was cold but very good to clean up a bit, got back to camp that night and the other hunters asked how I got cleaned up told them, they just looked at me like they were gut shot, my dad ask me what I would of done if a bear came bye told him the rifle was within easy reach and I would of shot it nekkid,the one fella asked me if I brought along swimming trunks told him yep the one god sent me here with.
Must have been a more modern ship. No salt water shower head. !!!😁
On my destroyer fresh water sea showers were the norm. Wet down, lather up, Rinse off
 

Loyalist Dave

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Must have been a more modern ship. No salt water shower head. !!!😁
On my destroyer fresh water sea showers were the norm. Wet down, lather up, Rinse off
That was the thing about Castille Soap, when it first appeared. The hard soap would lather up when using cold sea water, and the sailors could keep clothing clean that way. Soft soap didn't do very well with cold salt water. It was the shipping when conducting international trade that spread the stuff around Europe.

Salt water, I'm told, cuts down on the bacteria too. Makes sense. Sort of an external "pickle" applied to the skin.... well maybe.....

They didn't understand "germ theory" at all as a population, but they did understand what we today call "cause and effect". They knew that washing clothing and bedding with soap, regularly changing bed linen, and wiping down the body with "clean" water and a damp rag kept body vermin and boils away. It also, for the working man (especially at sea) helped the clothes to last a bit longer when the body dirt is removed.

LD
 

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Sorry if I am bending breaking a forum rule here.
In keeping with the topic and some of what L.D. has said above.
The small, veteran owned, family run, soap business, that I work part time for, now has a limited supply of both real castile soap and olepo soap available on the web site.

It is a limited supply because it costs more to make and takes a lot longer to make than our other soaps. Thus, it costs more too. But, due to the long aging/drying process, the smaller bar should last as long or longer than our regular bars.
Beware, much of what is sold as "castile" soap,,,,, isn't. Too many ingredients and not enough cure time.

Mods, if this post is a problem due to the link, we can maybe edit it for folks to p.m. me for the link. I can not sell this directly myself through the classifieds.
 
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I was raised on a side-hill subsistence farm in the mountains. We had spring water piped into the house (gravity feed) for all needs with a hand pump in the kitchen, a claw-foot tub for bathing and a flush toilet too, so we were “modern.” Some of my friends families made do with bucket water and an outhouse as did some of our closest neighbors, so we were very familiar with the use of old catalogs and corn cobs in the outhouse — but I reckon we were doing it wrong ? When the Sears and Monkey Wards catalogs ran out and it was corn cobs or nothing, we always used just the shucks and flung the dry cobs down into the pit. Leaving the shucks attached to the old cobs made them easy to hang on a nail, handy and easy to rip off what you needed, but it never occurred to me to use the dry cobs for cleaning m’self. Lordy I expect an old worn horseshoe rasp would be better … less abrasive and last longer too.
My hat’s off to whoever it was that said they used the cob. You’re a tougher ol’ bird than me. I always thought people were joking about using corn cobs.
 
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I have enjoyed reading the stories and experiences shared in this thread. Here is another story of growing up in a home free from modern conveniences. Born in Western Colorado in the mid-1940s to a family that was not well off financially, I was 11 years of age before we lived in a house that had indoor plumbing or a source of heat other than a wood or coal fired stove. Our water came from a concrete cistern on the property that was periodically refilled by a water delivery truck. The water was pumped from the cistern by hand and carried into the house in buckets. Our bathing was once per week in a galvanized tub filled with water warmed on the stove that, for me as the eldest child, had previously been used by my father, followed by my mother, then me, and in succession the children younger than me. Down a cold, dark pathway from the house was an outhouse, which we shared with unpleasant odors, spiders, and other imaginary dangers. Within the privy, there was usually to be found discarded newspaper or the pages remaining from an old mail order catalog which were repurposed as an improvement on the legendary corn cob. Used for this purpose, we didn’t consider the distribution of catalogs containing slick four color illustrations to be an advancement. None of us preferred to brave the elements and challenge its dangers by answering nature’s call in the dark of night so, beneath each bed was placed a “thunder mug” to accommodate these poorly timed necessities. Somehow we survived, what would be thought to be deprivations today, and grew up to be healthy, educated, productive people. To this day, my wife, who was raised as the pampered daughter of a well-to-do doctor, listens to my descriptions of the conditions that existed for my social class with a goodly amount of skepticism.
 

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I have enjoyed reading the stories and experiences shared in this thread. Here is another story of growing up in a home free from modern conveniences. Born in Western Colorado in the mid-1940s to a family that was not well off financially, I was 11 years of age before we lived in a house that had indoor plumbing or a source of heat other than a wood or coal fired stove. Our water came from a concrete cistern on the property that was periodically refilled by a water delivery truck. The water was pumped from the cistern by hand and carried into the house in buckets. Our bathing was once per week in a galvanized tub filled with water warmed on the stove that, for me as the eldest child, had previously been used by my father, followed by my mother, then me, and in succession the children younger than me. Down a cold, dark pathway from the house was an outhouse, which we shared with unpleasant odors, spiders, and other imaginary dangers. Within the privy, there was usually to be found discarded newspaper or the pages remaining from an old mail order catalog which were repurposed as an improvement on the legendary corn cob. Used for this purpose, we didn’t consider the distribution of catalogs containing slick four color illustrations to be an advancement. None of us preferred to brave the elements and challenge its dangers by answering nature’s call in the dark of night so, beneath each bed was placed a “thunder mug” to accommodate these poorly timed necessities. Somehow we survived, what would be thought to be deprivations today, and grew up to be healthy, educated, productive people. To this day, my wife, who was raised as the pampered daughter of a well-to-do doctor, listens to my descriptions of the conditions that existed for my social class with a goodly amount of skepticism.
There are many who don't believe or are skeptical about the conditions we endured in some of our childhood days. The rich or well to do especially. They may find out very soon that their skepticism is for naught!
 
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My great-grandfather was an emigrant from Russia around 1910. My father remembers him taking baths in the horse trough every day of the year. He particular relished the idea of winter baths because of his perception of the health benefits. Crazy Russian he was but not soft. When you visit 3rd world countries, it's very interesting how clean the respectable people there are. Puts the American and Euro hippie backpackers to shame.
 
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My deceased wife, in 1973, got doused with very cold water from a deep well in Kansas. [ by you know who]. She swore she would get even some day. Years later, in central Idaho mountains, we stopped at a mountain stream to bathe. It still had ice, but if you wet a rag and waited a few minutes you could tolerate it. I was nude, washed and decided to wash my hair. I was trickling a bit of water on while shivering. She took my big sun hat while I was not looking, filled it with ice water and unceremoniously dumped the entire load on my head and body. I yelled so loud I think folks in McCall heard me. Yikes? She got even, big time, and chuckled all the way back to the car. I loved her, but right then, not so much. :rolleyes: Polecat
 
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