Whores bath is the term I learned back when…I don't bother "dobing" (full body wash) when I'm camping out or on the hunt, when I need to freshen up its a small wet hand towel and water only wipe around the nether regions that smell like a hutch of Ferrets.....every couple of weeks or so whether I need it or not.
No woman's expected to share my bed so its not an issue.
Tip in regard to Toothpaste, leave it at home the smell of a freshly cleaned set of teeth carries in the wild, use Salt as "toothpaste", its very practical and good oral hygiene; also authentic for the time period if you're into that.
I appreciated your comments on language as well… particularly in light of some of the television series purportedly showing us how it was. Whether in 1883 or Deadwood or when or wherever.. Even common men and women didn’t curse or speak the way they are currently portrayed as having done. A man’s word meant something more than it does today and wasting them on profanity was considered the mark of a lazy intellect. This according to my grandfathers and their brothers. Ranchers, farmers, and miners born in the late 1870’s-1900 or so. These men and women were in their later years when I was a boy but the harshest curse I ever heard my grandfather utter was “jackass“ in reference to his sister.You mean, as with today?
Nobody is making any "assumptions" broad or otherwise. I never wrote nor asserted that "everybody did this everywhere".
My objection was to the "myth" that "people didn't bathe", which has been recounted time and time again, from when I was in grade school, and is encountered even today. The assumption was no bathtub = no "bathing", well that's true if you define it strictly as immersion in hot water with soap.
So, first, you make the assumption that "washing" has to be with warm/hot water. Nobody has asserted that. Nobody has suggested full nakedness when washing either, and nobody is suggesting full body washing each and every day. Even today, the areas that need addressing for folks in combat areas are the crotch, groin, hands and feet. At least that was the practice when I was in the infantry.
Lack of personal hygiene can also get you killed. For the person living in a relatively stationary spot, that person builds immunity to the local bacteria, but for those "living away from home", they are encountering new bacteria because of their new geography. There are no topical disinfectants, no antibiotics as you point out, so a scratch or a boil, or an abscess could mean death by infection, if not impaired ability, so death by misadventure. Washing would also be less necessary when the body is less inclined to perspire, in the cold months.
Oh and the cold or wet hair doesn't cause pneumonia, and while cold air can exacerbate chronic bronchitis, it doesn't contribute to catching the organisms that cause bronchitis. At least that's what the doctors write.
It was the geographic bacterial changes that lead to both soldiers, and the local populations, suffering casualties from disease when an army moved through an area, bringing in new bacteria and viruses, and being exposed to new bacteria and viruses. The same would be true for an individual moving through areas. Greater risk of exposure to a bug they can't handle.
Well as for "why" perfumes were used, we don't know if it was to cover body odor OR was it to demonstrate that the person had the money to be able to afford it? Was it simply to be appealing to the opposite sex? For if we are talking "just as some do now", most folks that use antiperspirant/deodorant have no need of an additional scent, yet they don perfume or cologne. Some of the folks that don a perfume/cologne don't use a deodorant or antiperspirant (or at least not enough), and that ain't covering much when they do
My perfume comment was again to that myth, that folks didn't bathe but they instead doused themselves with perfume. Neither of which is at all accurate. Right up there with "they used pepper to cover off flavors from tainted meat because they had no refrigeration"..., when if they could pepper, or the other imported spices, they could afford fresh meat.