How Did They Shower in Ancient Times?

When we think about showering, we often imagine standing under a stream of warm water in a modern bathroom. However, this was not always the case.

In ancient times, people had to come up with creative ways to keep themselves clean. Let’s take a closer look at how our ancestors managed to stay fresh and hygienic.

Ancient Greeks and Romans

The ancient Greeks were known for their love of bathing. They believed that cleanliness was essential for good health and personal hygiene.

The wealthy families had private indoor bathrooms with hot and cold running water. They used a tool called “strigil” – a curved metal scraper – to remove dirt and sweat from their bodies.

Similarly, the ancient Romans also valued cleanliness and hygiene. Public baths were an integral part of their social life, where people could relax, socialize, and clean themselves. These were massive buildings divided into separate rooms for hot and cold baths, as well as saunas.

Ancient Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians had a different approach to personal hygiene than the Greeks and Romans. They believed that applying oils to their skin was more important than washing it with water. Bathing in the Nile River was also common among Egyptians.

They would smear their bodies with thick layers of oils such as castor oil or sesame oil, which acted as natural moisturizers and insect repellents. Afterward, they would use a curved metal tool called “kheshes” to scrape off any excess oil.

Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous peoples from different parts of the world also had unique ways of keeping themselves clean. For instance, Native Americans used sweat lodges for ritual purification ceremonies.

In these lodges, they poured water over heated rocks to create steam that would open up pores in their skin. This allowed them to cleanse themselves while also promoting physical relaxation and mental clarity.


As we can see, cleanliness and personal hygiene have always been important throughout history. Although the methods used by our ancestors may seem unconventional to us today, they were effective in keeping people clean and healthy.

Whether it was using tools like “strigil” and “kheshes,” or taking a dip in the Nile River or sweat lodges, people found ways to stay fresh and hygienic. These practices have evolved over time, leading to the modern shower that we know and love today.