Thinking on how far we have come this year, I was interested in how far we have come in history with our personal hygiene. There are plenty of moments in history when bathing was the big thing. Many cultures have a deep bathing core. The longest standing hotel and business in the world, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Japan, owes its longevity to the natural hot springs that its town is famous for and that the hot water is piped directly into the hotel.
However, I was more interested in our own dark, and very smelly, history. After a little digging, I found out I was not alone. Starting at the end of the Dark Ages with our modern history, they detail that hand washing on the way into the great hall for a meal was a must do. Washing itself was a more “selective” sport with the winter months, seeing many down to a wipe down with a wet rag. The gentry were more lucky, with hot baths arranged by teams of servants. What we have referred to as the middle class would have had this luxury less often and entire families would have shared the water, eldest to youngest. Yes, that is where the expression “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” comes from!
The most interesting point related to our year comes, unsurprisingly, from the time of the plague. People realised that washing hands in any sort of antiseptic/antibacterial agent (vinegar and wine were popular) whilst keeping your home clean was a good way to keep disease at bay. The parallels to 2020, along with the masks, are uncanny and, to some, unsettling.
Frequency of bathing is an interesting point, too. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century when houses benefited from piped water that daily washing was common. Until then most people would have washed their head, faces, hands and private bits daily and their whole bodies weekly or less frequently. Bath houses became popular again during the time of Elizabeth the 1st and were the domain of wealthier individuals.
With all this to hand, it is great to see how easily we can make our modern hygiene routines. Automatic wall dispensers for soap and antibacterial agents dispense liquids and foams we can have hand washing stations almost anywhere now. With all we have learned in 2020, is it time your business revisited the frequency of hand washing? Contact Zenith Washrooms today to get our advice on how to improve your business hygiene.