tribal laundry

Apr 2019
6
San Francisco, CA
Does anyone have any thoughts on how tribal societies historically dealt with the question of clothing hygiene?

Did they have a lot of clothes that needed to be washed? Did they perhaps never wash the clothes? Did wash once a day? Would they wash once the big set of clean clothes gets exhausted? (or was there just one set of clothes for each person?). Did they combine personal hygiene with clothing hygiene?

Or is it like a leather jacket... just never gets washed? ?

I’m asking because I’m considering shifting to a system of doing small bits of laundry incrementally and like everyday, rather than a big pile once a week and a nightmare of folding stuff.
 
Feb 2019
833
Pennsylvania, US
By tribal, are you thinking like Native Americans? I know there are accounts of Native Americans being very hygienic, bathing daily in all weather (brrr), sweat lodge ceremonies were also followed by bathing... there were even certain plants they used that created a foaminess when crushed in water that acted a bit like soap.

I'm not sure what they did about their clothes, though... :think:

Historically, laundry was a grueling task... a good upper body work out but a GRUELING task. In the Victorian era, a woman could spent an entire day just ironing clean clothing. A Victorian laundry schedule could take up most of the week - starting Monday... soaking, agitating (by hand with a dolly stick or a washboard), scalding, rinsing, mangling (or wringing), drying, ironing... mending... sometimes you'd be rinsing and scalding several times.

Now it only takes a few hours to wash and dry clothing, fold it .... and a mere 7-10 business days for it to be taken folded from the laundry basket and put away. ;)
 
Apr 2019
6
San Francisco, CA
Oh, yeah about the word “tribal”. Perhaps that’s the wrong way to express it. I apologize if that was somehow offensive to anyone (in which case I’d love to learn better words). I just mean all the pre-industrial cultures, hunter gathers, nomadic societies. Could be in the Americas or anywhere else like Africa ... even Europe.

I know it will also depend on the climate and available sources of clothing materials, plus just normal cultural variability.

And perhaps also what the “lone wolves” out there do.
 
Apr 2019
6
San Francisco, CA
I’m particularly interested in their cadence of doing laundry, how often they do it, whether they have to do it at all like perhaps if their clothing is disposable in some way.

Or perhaps was there “the laundry person” doing everyone’s?
 
Aug 2016
977
US&A
Oh, yeah about the word “tribal”. Perhaps that’s the wrong way to express it. I apologize if that was somehow offensive to anyone (in which case I’d love to learn better words). I just mean all the pre-industrial cultures, hunter gathers, nomadic societies. Could be in the Americas or anywhere else like Africa ... even Europe.

I know it will also depend on the climate and available sources of clothing materials, plus just normal cultural variability.

And perhaps also what the “lone wolves” out there do.
I'm pretty sure nobody but triggered SJWs care, and they're 99% white-as-snow anyway.

I am curious about this too. I haven't seen many traditional costumes that make use of cloth outside of pre-columbian Mesoamericans and the Inca. Most indians were hunter-gatherers and wore leather and fur since they were readily available and didn't take as much time to make as cloth.
 
Apr 2019
6
San Francisco, CA
@RidiculousName Thanks. I think I must be an SJW then (I had to look that up ?), because I guess I feel for people who get labeled something a bit imprecise...

I’m not necessarily just thinking about “cloth”. Any material, really.
 
May 2009
1,315
Depends on the tribal culture. In some cases religious beliefs were a factor. The Mongols, for example, never washed anything--their clothes, their bodies, nothing--because they had taboos against messing around with water (there was also a religious connection between water and lightning that made them nervous). They just wore their clothes (mostly made of felt, fur, skins, and some imported silk if they were lucky) until they wore out.
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,378
Australia
Oh, yeah about the word “tribal”. Perhaps that’s the wrong way to express it. I apologize if that was somehow offensive to anyone (in which case I’d love to learn better words). I just mean all the pre-industrial cultures, hunter gathers, nomadic societies. Could be in the Americas or anywhere else like Africa ... even Europe.

I know it will also depend on the climate and available sources of clothing materials, plus just normal cultural variability.

And perhaps also what the “lone wolves” out there do.
You mean like a feral friend I have .... he took his long pants off when we went swimming and ... they didnt just collapse onto the ground in a heap ... they sorta half stood up by themselves . :eek:

Another guy, traveling in India was watching these guys do laundry in a river, by thrashing the clothes on a rock. His shirt was filthy so he thought ..... and gave them a trifle to wash it ... which they where happy to do . It came back very clean and he put it on and .... " Hey ! All my buttons are smashed ! " Indian looked at it " Oh dear, plastic buttons ! Not to worry , we can easily fix ! In town there are plenty women who sell you wood buttons and sew them on for you properly . " :D
 
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