The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History

[Ebook] ➩ The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History Author Katherine Ashenburg – For the first century Roman being clean meant a public two hour soak in baths of various temperatures a scraping of the body with a miniature rake and a final application of oil For the seventeenth ce on Clean: MOBI ñ For the first century Roman being clean meant a public two hour soak in baths of various temperatures a scraping of the body with a miniature rake and a final application of oil For the Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized PDF or seventeenth century aristocratic Frenchman it meant changing his shirt once a day using perfume to obliterate both his own aroma and everyone else’s but never immersing himself in – horrors – water By the early s an extraordinary idea took hold in North America – that The Dirt MOBI :ò freuent bathing perhaps even a daily bath was advisable Not since the Roman Empire had people been so clean and standards became even extreme as the millennium approached Now we live in a deodorized world where germophobes shake hands with their elbows and where sales of hand sanitizers wipes and sprays are skyrocketingThe apparently routine task of taking up soap and water or not is Katherine Ashenburg’s starting point for a uniue exploration of Western culture which yields surprising insights into our Dirt on Clean: PDF/EPUB ¾ notions of privacy health individuality religion and sexualityAshenburg searches for clean and dirty in plague ridden streets medieval steam baths castles and tenements and in bathrooms of every description She reveals the bizarre rescriptions of history’s doctors as well as the hygienic peccadilloes of kings mistresses monks and ordinary citizens and guides us through the twists and turns to our own understanding of clean which is no rational than the rest Filled with amusing anecdotes and uotations from the great bathers of Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized PDF or history The Dirt on Clean takes us on a journey that is by turns intriguing humorous startling and not always for the sueamish Ashenburg’s tour of history’s baths and bathrooms reveals much about our changing and most intimate selves – what we desire what we ignore what we fear and a significant part of who we are.The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History

on Clean: MOBI ñ Katherine Ashenburg is the prize winning author of three non fiction books and hundreds of articles on subjects that range from travel to mourning customs to architecture She describes herself as a lapsed Dickensian and Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized PDF or as someone who has had a different career every decade Her work life began with a PhD dissertation about Dickens and Christmas but she uickly left the academic world for succ.

The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History PDF ó Dirt
  • Hardcover
  • 368 pages
  • The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History
  • Katherine Ashenburg
  • English
  • 07 February 2014
  • 9780676976632

10 thoughts on “The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History

  1. says:

    I love a clean space I actually like cleaning particularly when it involves dusting my bookshelves There's something about a room where I've just removed the dust hair and debris that says 'order' followed by 'exhale' In the old days I used to needhave to clean my room before I could work on any term papers So when I saw this title I was intrigued I'm well aware 'clean' is psychologically personally and culturally defined I have after all lived with other people one of whom would have dust bunnies the size of hamsters under the bed and another whose tolerance for dirty bathrooms inevitably resulted in me cleaning it Every Week But I digress Unfortunately The Dirt on Clean is largely about Western bathing rituals from early Greek and Roman period to the English in the Middle Ages and 19th centuries and then finally modern American It was vaguely interesting in a sleepy time bath kind of wayOn the entertaining side if you've ever wondered how Western bathing rituals evolved through the years you'll find a reasonable detailing here The ancient Greeks no mention of the modern ones were well known for public baths plumbing and a culture that encouraged bathing for both social and health reasons Hippocrates apparently believed hot and cold baths could bring the body's humours into balance Of course bathhouses also served as an important social settingAshenburg then devotes a chapter to Christianity and bathing particularly the unusual non emphasis on physical cleanlinessritual as compared to other religions In fact excessive washing signified vanity and worldliness p59 as well as potentially immodest exposure Hot baths might also be stimulating a concept that would be echoed in the Victorian eraSeveral chapters discuss varying aspects of bathing through Europe during the next millennia Some areas retained bathing and bathhouses the Swiss the French through the 1300s but the plague ended up being a fatal blow to the conception of water as healthy because of the growing belief that baths and water opened the pores and let pestiferous vapour in p94 Mr Francis Bacon as a matter of fact had a regimen where a person had a pre bath oil and salve routine to close pores sat in the bath for 2 hours then wrapped in a waxed cloth that had herbs and resin for 24 hours intending to re close pores and 'harden' the bodyFurther chapters explore the return of cold water bathing in the 1700s which coincided with the view that the pores should be open so that germs could be flushed away from the body Technology facilitated the rise of bidets and ocean 'baths' in the 1750s As the trend gained traction in the upper classes the issue became how to convince the lower classes to clean up covered in the return of bathsbathouses and development of showers in the 1800s that was connected to cholera A subseuent chapter looks at plumbing in America during the same time frame followed by soap and marketing in the early 1900s and the crazy war on germs from the 1950s onwardMy problem with this book is that it was neither fish nor fowl On one side it talks about cleanliness from a ritual and conceptual standpoint occasionally tying it into medical theory or physical resources The problem with this approach is that she also uses stories as examples of rituals when as readers know sometimes stories are as much about what we wish or fantasize about rather than what is Or you know metaphor Like using Fifty Shades of Grey to talk about sexual rituals in 21st century America; although they are connected there's a difference between cultural practices and cultural entertainment So my academic criticism would be that she muddles her anthropological analysis For instance getting the lower classes to bathe was illustrated by Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady I'll also note that although she rarely brings in examples of various bathing rituals in other countries it usually lacks contextOn the other side she also enjoys sharing the Trivial Pursuit or Entertainment Tonight type of stories where we get the scandalous and shocking details of what they did Way Back When such as when Jean Jacues Rousseau griped that a house was so full of maids and teasing lackeys that I do not find a single wall or wretched little corner to pee in She also tries periodically to bring in the issue of 'smells' Although in the opening chapter she recognizes smell as cultural concept she still brings it into many of the chapters where people had habits that would be considered culturally unsavory now but then slams modern American culture for being so smell conscious nowIn an effort to be appropriate I usually read it in the bath which accounts for the many days it took to complete my reading it might have also contributed to its soporific effects in contrast to those crazy Victorians thinking it heats the blood It's not a bad book but when it comes to non fiction I prefer less attempts to be titillating and focus on substance

  2. says:

    If anyone ever tells you that you shouldn't be spontaneous That every decision in life needs a solution Shove this book in their face I just saw this book randomly on my Goodread's rec list and thought Why not? What could you possible tell me that I don't already know? Challenge me book And this book did not disappoint Everything was built up and up and up and I can tell you that I was giving myself a good scrub down and wash while I was reading this book Water and Sanitation is something I will never take advantage of Katherine Ashenburg did a fantastic job in going through history and telling the story how people from different cultures viewed the simple concept of hygiene It's a lot complex than you can possibly imagine and the effects of each culture's mentality had affected them both positively and negatively To you and I the simple concept of maintaining your hygiene is something you don't even think about You were taught when you were young and then you just added it to your routine Yet had you been brought up in a different timeline your views would have definitely been different It's incredible to think that such a minuscule task was something that challenged societal views I'm talking big issues such as views on What made a man? Is keeping clean a sin? How much is too clean?Can the temperature of water affect my manliness? If my enemy cleans should I not to distance any possible association I have with them? What does it mean to be clean?You may laugh at reading these uestions but I kid you not when I say that these were dilemmas people faced throughout history Mind you this book focuses on European and North American notions and history Yet it's fascinating and mind boggling to read how people viewed cleanliness throughout different timelines You've got conceptions of public baths being normal to it becoming a dreaded sanctity You have people shunning the idea of having a bath but being totally okay with wading thorough a public bathhouse filled with other people's germs dirt blood hair and god knows what else For a long period of time cleanliness was represented by having closets loaded with clean white linen It's why today we still view clean white linen as a sign of cleanliness So the next time you see a painting where the subject is wearing clothes that show their linen underclothes realize that it's not because they're trying to be hot for their timeline It was the way of displaying wealth and cleanliness The concept of cleanliness was so ingrained in people's head that if your enemy kept clean you wouldn't This happened in Spain when the Moors invaded The Moors kept clean so the Christians decided to not keep clean as a propagandist act of patriotism It got to the point where after taking back the invaded land they declared a law stating that any Moor who converted had to give up bathing And in court you would get automatic suspicion if someone accused you of bathing This notion of staying dirty might boggle and disgust you but there was a reason as to why they saw things this way It was simply because 1 most people had a fear of water 2 It was considered a sin to bathe too much as it would make you vain In fact during the middle ages the cleanest group of people would have probably been Jewish women After each menstrual cycle they were reuired to take a special purifying bath that reuired them to have nothing touching the skin So they would have had a minimum of 12 baths maybe less depending on how freuent periods were as physical exercise does have an effect on period freuency Can you imagine though if the cleanest person in your community took a bath only 12 times a year????Despite having slightly different views on hygiene most European countries had a fear of water They had the misconception that water especially hot water would remove the protective layer of dirt off of one's body allowing harmful pathogens from the outside to come into the body through the now open pores of the skin If people were to take baths it was due to illness where a special herbal bath was taken This was because most people up til probably the late 1800's strongly believed in the principles of Greek medicine where there would be 4 humors that needed to be balanced at all times There was also the fear that water was the unknown Who knew where it could take you or what could be hiding within in Ironically the lack of regular maintenance is what led to the widespread of many plagues If you look in the course of history you will see that most plagues were occurring in Europe Why do you think that it especially since the Europeans viewed the East as Those that bathe There was also the conception that regular bathing if at all any bathing would lead to prying eyes vain behavior and of course acts of immodesty ahmahm Clearly chastity was ranked higher than hygiene Needless to say people STANKFast forwarding years later it seems as if the people in America became the pioneers in hygiene A lot of research was done in the late 1800's to earlypost WW1 on hygiene but little was done in actually implementing anything because people didn't want to change But America did For them since there was so much land it was okay to have expensive homes with built in baths Yes people The only reason we have bathrooms in our house was because Americans were rich enough and had enough space to facilitate it Soon with the introduction of women to the work field people became conscious of the odor yessmelling clean came from the notion that offending a women by your smell would be despicable and marketing companies leapt at this goldmine It's why today many complain of Americans as being too obsessed with hygiene yes there is such as thing as being too clean But you can't blame the people No The fault lies in the marketing companies do I see a familiar trend for today's issues??? However I also learned some cool things such as how Kotex came to be You know the infamous pad company? Well guess what their original pads were made from? It was the same bandages that were used to sop up the blood from injured soldiers because people believed that if it was good enough for the soldier it would be good enough for the women especially since people were keen on insulting women after seeing their tenacity during the warsAt the end of the day this book was magnificent there were many pictures and little tidbits of information here and there Ashenburg knows how to capture and audience and how to inform you without boring you I loved this book clearly but you know what surprises me the most? That at the end of it all; even after going through the history of just how important hygiene is I still see people leaving the washroom without washing their hands

  3. says:

    Currently in America the average person can visit a drugstore and find entire aisles devoted to a previously unimaginable number of products to clean our bodies with body wash shampoos conditioners body scrubs face scrubs bar soap liuid soap gel soap exfoliators foaming cleansers etc And each of those products is available in a wide range of scents that allow us to choose to smell like baby powder lilacs vanilla sweet peas even chocolate In this atmosphere it is easy to forget if we ever knew that until relatively recently in human history people smelled like well like people Most of the time they didn't have a choice but even when they did there was no consensus about the desirability or even the healthfulness of being clean Over the centuries doctors have repeatedly advised against bathing for reasons as diverse as the fact that washing away the coating of oils on the body opened the pores to disease or that regular bathing would lead to sinfulness and ultimately insanity The Dirt on Clean is a fun look at the standards of personal cleanliness down through the centuries Ashenburg doesn't have any new information to add and if you are interested in the subject and have already read other histories I doubt you will learn anything you didn't already know but she has an easy friendly writing style and the book is interspersed with uotes and illustrations that make it a uick read

  4. says:

    I have a confession to make This modern obsession of cleanliness has somewhat passed me by – both in regards to the home and to the body Don’t get me wrong I’m far from dirty but 2 3 showers a week regular handface washing and daily clean clothes seem to suffice for me I’ve never bought into this ‘need’ for 2 showers a day face masks and portable hand sanitiser to be used in every day life I’m neither dead nor sick surprise surprise I’ve always wondered uietly to myself for fear of being thought of as a dirty harlot whether I am natural than others or just plain weird and so the blurb on that back of this delightful looking book admit it – a good cover always helps pulled me in immediately Katherine Ashenburg does pretty much what the title suggests The book details a seemingly well researched and thoroughly referenced history of washing through Europe and America starting with the Romans and ending of course with modern day It is full of delightful little factoids that I will most definitely be repeating for a while until they are pushed out of my memory by other dirty thoughts From communal – even social – defecating to the belief that blocking the pores with dirt will prevent infection to the obsessive unnatural cleanliness of modern Americans this book provides an amusing entertaining and thought provoking read Occasionally it is true that the narrative is a little jumpy and lacks a polished shine but these occurrences are few and far between and can certainly be forgiven when Ashenburg’s charming and passionate voice shines through Even in the course of the mediocre parts of history particular the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when washing was distinctly average extremes are far exciting Ashenburg’s personal delight and excitement by the things she has learned through her research is obvious and that in itself can create delight and at the very least interest in the reader If you are interested in social history and enjoy an amusing and easily readable narrative this fascinating little book is most definitely for you It will take you on the roller coaster of ever changing ‘clean’ rules and regardless of where you land in the ‘cleanliness scale’ it will show you that are most definitely not alone

  5. says:

    very interesting history of hygiene in western society from Ancient Greece through to present day America people's ideas of what 'clean' means and how to achieve it have varied considerably over time and the author takes us cheerfully through the centuries explaining the various ways people have made themselves clean to satisfy the standards of their own era IT is clear for example that contrary to popular belief medieval Europeans were uite keen on bathing the only point at which I think she fails to be entirely satisfactory is her dismissal of the early modern belief that changing your linen freuently was a good way of keeping clean since linen absorbs dirt and sweat She does not seem to have investigated whether this actually works or not although Ruth Goodman who had actually tried it maintains that it does see How to be a Tudor A fascinating book packed with information

  6. says:

    A historical romp I enjoyed it Big picture of personal cleanliness I learned somethings about American history I did not know about I never before knew that American cities had bathhouses

  7. says:

    Emerging sueaky clean after a shower where I lathered my hair with vanilla scented shampoo and conditioner scrubbed every inch of my body with JJ milk body wash and rinsed off everything with soothing warm water I often used to wonder how our ancestors did without the conveniences of soap showers or toilet paper How did they get by without deodorant? Without toothbrushes or toothpaste? How did they clean their backsides and how did they banish unpleasant odors away? Fortunately for me Katherine Ashenburg had done the research to answer my burning uestions The Dirt on Clean An Unsanitized History chronicles the history of washing in the Western world from Roman times to presentThe short answer? Humanity did without soap and deodorant for millenia But did they wash their bodies? It depends on the religion country and time period The early Greeks and Romans were very well washed but didn't use soap Instead they used a metal implement called a strigil to scrape off dirt Muslims and Jews were reuired by religious law to wash Christian Europe on the other hand shunned washing for centuries Christian saints and mystics who associated the Roman practice of bathing with hedonism never washed at all Abbessa Paula friend to St Jerome said 'A clean body and a clean dress mean an unclean soul' The familiar adage 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness wouldn't come until many centuries later Throughout medieval Christian Europe bathing was something to be feared and suspected Most people took a bath only once a year royalty even less Taking a bath was so dangerous kings only took one upon doctor's advice and with an excess of precaution For kings and nobles the crux of cleanliness was in washing the hands and changing into a clean linen shirt everyday They covered the dirt on their bodies with makeup powdered wigs and flamboyant dresses Dirt and bodily secretions were considered protective and healthy Washing and soaking the body no Bad breath body odor lice and fleas were the order for the day Yecchhh Which brings another uestion How could they bear to have sex with each other? Ashenburg writes In fact there's no evidence that the birth rate ever fell because people were too smelly for copulation Yes people most definitely smelled But in a world where everyone smells the same no one would know the difference In fact fastidiousness in cleanliness and keeping odors at bay is a very recent introduction It took root around the latter half of the 20th century thanks to the efforts of soap and deodorant advertisers All of a sudden young men and women the world over were terrorized thinking they could be losing jobs sabotaging relationships and offending others with their body odor without even knowing it And so in less than a hundred years the evolution of personal hygiene at least in the developed world has made a 360 degree turn But heightened cleanliness with the advent of antibacterial soaps constant handwashing and sanitized environments has brought about an unexpected result highly resistant strains of bacteria have emerged and people's immune systems are getting weaker Have we become too clean? It's evident from many of my Japanese friends who experienced severe diarrhea simply from taking a sip of Philippine tap water the same tap water that millions of Filipinos drink daily One even had a severe case of food poisoning after eating raw salad from a buffet at Manila Hotel Clearly Japanese immune systems used to high levels of cleanliness in food handling and preparation perishable goods expire mere hours after production based on the stamped date are poorly euipped to handle the myriad bacteria present in our food and water My favorite lines from the book are Ashenburg's arguments that Clean is a moving target Cleanliness is relative What might be considered clean today might not be tomorrow and that The nose is adaptable and teachable No I don't think we can do much about our brother BumbaysKenyansArabs except live with their natural odor As for myself my only argument is this If we Filipinos paid half as much attention to the cleanliness of our surroundings as we do our bodies imagine what a much better place our country could be Rating 45 stars because I hoped for coverage on Asia and Ashenberg never mentioned anything about backside hygiene To compensate she has references to hygiene practices or lack thereof down there

  8. says:

    I foolishly neglect to take notes while reading this book so I don't have precise dates hilarious anecdotes and strange factoids to share However all of those things can be found within these pages Engagingly gossipy with a clear organizational structure this was an easy to read introduction to the very broad subject of hygiene The book focuses mostly on Western Europe with some side notes and comparison to the Middle East northern Africa the US and a few others Basically what I got out of this was that just as we are taught in schools the Roman Empire was a shining moment of cleanliness Before and after once the infrastructure of the pipes started to crumble Europeans were dirty bathing maybe once a year and the rest of the world was rather disgusted and astounded by them Common misconceptions were that water weakened the skin's defenses against diseases and that wearing clean linen not water was the safest and most efficacious method of staying clean Washing ones hands face and sometimes feet was often the most even a hoity toity type would do Eventually soap became easier to make less smelly and effective and sanitation too improved and Europeans started bathing often The author discusses how what counts as clean has changed throughout the ages and varies by place as well and mentions that perceived dirtiness is often a method of denoting us vs them against immigrants minority groups etc

  9. says:

    An utterly fun book to read this history of cleanliness starts in Rome and brings us up to today From the fear that a bath would make you gay a bath would kill you not having a bath would kill you swimming in the ocean would kill you a shower would kill you and some steam would kill you to the belief that not bathing every 24 hours will make you a social recluse this book raises some intersting points about cleanliness and the lack thereof in our long history of soaking for hours or only bathing at our baptism marriage and deathbed

  10. says:

    I loved this book It temporarily fed the insatiable curiosity that I never uite grew out of I'm the sort to stop suddenly while in the shower to wonder how the notions of indoor plumbing or soap came about I'm always intrigued about how cultural systems and perspectives develop and how each is influenced by others The focus of this book is primarily Europe and given the diverse practices even on that one continent I think it would be hard to broaden the scope much further in one volume Influences from other countries and conseuent influences on North America are noted but it's busy enough covering such a broad range of history cultures and geography It describes the virtues or horrors depending upon the place and time of bathing in hot water bathing in cold water bathing in lukewarm water or bathing at all especially if it involved body parts that aren't generally seen It brings up an interesting chicken egg what came first musing for me do clothing patterns determine bathing patterns or did bathing constraints determine clothing styles? The book is full of interesting uotes paintings and ads I tried to keep the various beliefs over time about the sanctity or fears of a full immersion bath in my head while browsing through an art museum yesterday For some to go without bathing was to show piety and humility For others bathing freuently was to show a desire for holiness and purity Where heating water was an extravagant use of fuel and privacy was limited bathing in cold water was not a comfortable thing Perhaps it’s not surprising that bathing in comfortable temperatures was often believed to sap people of strength or make them slothful In the days before central heating the tendency to linger in a warm bath probably happened whenever the opportunity allowed and I haven’t the slightest doubt that those immersed instead in frigid water jumped out uite energetically as soon as possible Even so stories of those who spent four to six hours at a time in warm baths were pretty mind boggling I can't help but think they had nothing better to do once outFor many of us cultural notions of hygiene were determined uite a lot by various marketing campaigns of the last century or two punctuated here and there by war and disease outbreak It’s a little jarring but perhaps not surprising that what’s now held to be good health and the minimum of manners was born out of ad campaigns between competing 19th and 20th century soap or deodorant manufacturers Ultimately there are still the uestions what’s really necessary for good health respect for those around us and our own enjoyment? The book doesn’t pretend to give the final word but rather gives us how various societies chose to answer

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