Africans’ Ancient Art of Hygiene

Hygiene is one of the most essential things that should be constantly monitored in ourselves. It can affect numerous factors in our well-being, one of which is our health. Bad hygiene can lead to us contracting communicable diseases. Not only that, bad hygiene can also affect our overall image to other people. This explains why hygiene monitoring is definitely a must. Hospitals can now benefit from Biovigil’s electronic hygiene monitoring system which helps reduce HAIs by up to 83% – essentially contributing to the well-being of millions of patients.

Hygiene monitoring dates all the way back to Ancient Africa, a time where personal hygiene products such as soaps, antiseptics, wet wipes, and the likes have not been widely used, if not invented yet. However, one might think of how ancient Africans were able to monitor their hygiene without the help of modern hygiene products.

These are four techniques that ancient Africans made and used in order to keep themselves fresh and clean. Some of them are still being utilized up to this day. These are the following:


For bathing, they came up with various techniques in order to keep their whole bodies clean. However, before they even came up with such techniques, they only used water to maintain their hygiene which proved to be insufficient as this was not able to eliminate body odor.

Thus, Ancient Egyptians thought of taking long baths in water with a blend of aromatic oils that helped them smell and look good throughout the day. Through time, ancient Egyptians continued to concoct perfumes and aromatic scents that would help in eliminating body odor resulting from their hard work. They also thought of putting scented wax on top of their heads during the start of the day. This wax will melt throughout the day, which in turn, will keep them smelling good.

Oral Hygiene

Even during the times of Ancient Egyptians, people already had high regards for their oral health. During their time in 3000 BC., toothbrushes were in the form of frayed twigs which they used to clean their teeth. They also used powdered anise in order to keep their breaths fresh.

On the other hand, in ancient Sudan, people used purple nutsedge weed tubers to maintain their oral health for the reason that this plant had antibacterial properties that kept their teeth and gums fresh, clean, and healthy.

Hair Grooming

In order to keep their hair groomed, ancient Africans developed techniques that would help them achieve this. Ancient Egyptians utilized blades that were created from bronze and flint. They also used scissors to trim their hairs. But of course, body hair is also needed to be removed once in a while in order to keep their overall hygiene in check. In order to remove body hair during their time, they made a sticky paste from a mixture of sugar, lemon, water, and even beeswax at times.

Menstrual Hygiene

You might have wondered at one point how women from ancient times kept themselves clean when it’s that time of the month. Well, the answer is through the use of a thick paper called papyrus. To be able to keep the papyrus absorbent, they soak it in water for a period of time.

Greeks, on the other hand, used light wood to absorb their menstrual discharge. However, for a more sustainable option, old rags were utilized, and when it is already used up, they just wash it up so they can use it again.

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