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Chronicles Of Cleaning: The 17th Century

The Importance of Cleanliness: During the 17th century, cleanliness was not just about aesthetics; it had significant implications for health and social status. With limited medical knowledge and rampant diseases, maintaining a clean living environment was crucial to prevent the spread of illness. People started to understand that cleanliness could mean the difference between life and death.

Art of the 17th Century

Humble Beginnings: Cleaning in the 17th century was a labor-intensive process, often relying on basic tools and materials. Brooms made from natural fibers, such as straw or twigs, were used to sweep floors and gather dirt. Dustpans, usually crafted from wood or metal, aided in the collection of debris. Textiles were shaken vigorously to remove dust, and curtains were taken down and beaten to eliminate accumulated dirt.

The Role of Fire: Fire played a significant role in maintaining cleanliness during this period. The hearth was the heart of the home, not only providing warmth and cooking capabilities but also assisting in sanitation. Smoke was believed to have purifying properties, and it was common to use smoke to fumigate living spaces and ward off pests. Rugs and textiles were often exposed to smoke to neutralize odors and disinfect them.

Scrubbing and Polishing: Cleaning surfaces, such as wooden floors and furniture, involved rigorous manual labor. Floors were scrubbed with water and sometimes sand or ash, then dried with cloths or left to air dry. Polishing wooden surfaces with natural materials like beeswax not only imparted a shine but also acted as a protective layer against dirt and moisture.

The Role of Household Staff: For those who could afford it, household staff played a pivotal role in maintaining cleanliness. Servants were responsible for performing various cleaning tasks, from sweeping and mopping to laundering linens and garments. Kitchens were bustling hubs of activity, requiring constant cleaning to prevent the buildup of food scraps and to ensure food safety.

Laundry Day: Washing clothes in the 17th century was a laborious process that involved multiple steps. Clothes were soaked, scrubbed, and beaten to remove dirt. They were then boiled in water with soap or other cleaning agents. Finally, they were rinsed and hung to dry. This process required patience and physical effort, often taking an entire day or more to complete.

Innovations in Cleaning: While many cleaning methods of the 17th century might seem rudimentary to us now, the era did witness some innovations. The introduction of soap made from animal fats and lye revolutionized cleaning routines. Copper and brass utensils, known for their self-sanitizing properties, gained popularity in kitchens.

Dry Master's Cleaning: We've used today's modern methods, not the historical methods listed previously for over 33 years. Dry Master Cleaning & Restoration has offered premium carpet cleaning, oriental & area rug cleaning, upholstery & leather cleaning, tile and grout cleaning & sealing, wood floor cleaning & refinishing, air duct & dryer vent cleaning, and emergency water extraction.


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