The Not-So-Ancient History of Clean

While the Classic Cleaners’ motto is “the modern craft of clean”, actually “cleanliness” itself in the sense we now use the term is itself pretty modern.

It’s not that people in ancient times weren’t concerned with cleanliness.  They were.  The Bible tells of women going down to the river to wash their clothes, and dry cleaning actually dates back to ancient times.  In fact, in the ruins of Pompeii were found records of “fullers” who were the professional clothes cleaners of that time.

The first washing machine was invented by Sir John Hoskins in 1677, and, in 1848, the closest thing to dry cleaning as we know it was discovered by an owner of a textile dyeing factory when he found that the liquid from an oil lamp dissolved fat.

It’s just that hygiene in general, up until modern times, was viewed in extremely basic terms.  People generally washed their clothes – and themselves – in cold water unless they were wealthy. The great scholar Erasmus wrote about the bottom layer of medieval flooring being covered with rushes and left undisturbed, sometimes for twenty years, harboring spit, vomit, leakage of urine from animals and humans, and scraps.

In fact, since Classic Cleaners are wedding gown specialists, we know that one reason June became such a popular month for weddings is that, in medieval times, baths were annual, usually in may, so that June brides still smelled relatively fresh. (If not, the bridal bouquet was designed to divert attention from the odor!)

It’s obvious that our standards for both personal hygiene and the cleaning of clothes have been much refined.  Classic Cleaners is at the forefront of that trend towards spotless and sweet smelling, using the modern craft of clean!

By Reb of the Classic Cleaners blog team