Link #92: Ancient Romans Used Urine As Toothpaste!
You know how you use toothpaste to brush your teeth every day and detergent to wash your clothes regularly? Well, the ancient Romans did too. However, that’s not good news because they didn’t have toothpastes or cleaning detergents back then.
So, what did the ancient Romans use in the place of those things? They used the last thing you would think of. They used their urine!
Did Ancient Romans Use Urine to Clean Their Teeth?
Since science wasn’t as advanced at the peak of the ancient Roman civilisation, Romans did indeed use urine as toothpaste. Not only this, they also used urine as mouthwash. The big question is, why?
The answer is that urine contains ammonia. Ammonia is one of the best naturally occurring cleaning agents on the planet. In fact, it is good enough to be a major component of a number of cleaning agents that we use even today.
Ammonia is also a natural whitener which means that when the ancient Romans used it as toothpaste or mouthwash, they were improving the whiteness of their teeth.
What Else Did They Use Urine For?
The fact that urine contains such a strong cleaning agent meant that the ancient Romans could use it for a wide variety of purposes. While ammonia in urine could make teeth white, the same thing was used for cleaning clothes too.
Ancient Romans had a tendency to wear plain white robes or togas which would get dirty fairly regularly. So they started using urine for cleaning their clothes too. The Romans even had a dedicated Laundromat which they called the Fullonica.
How Did the Ancient Romans Get So Much Pee?
You’re now most probably wondering how they sourced the urine needed for washing their teeth and clothes. Did they pee on their clothes and put their own pee in their mouths? No, they did not. Besides, the amount of pee one person creates would most probably not be enough for the really rich Romans who boasted of multiple clothes.
In fact, the ancient Romans had a whole system for getting the required pee. Supposedly, jars would be kept at street corners in ancient Rome. People walking by could use these jars for peeing in public. When the jars would fill up, designated individuals would come and take them to the Roman Laundromat.
What Was the Process Behind Using Urine As a Cleaning Agent?
Once the pee was brought to the Laundromat, slaves would dilute it first by mixing water in it. This mix would then be put in large tanks with the clothes. In addition to this, one of the slaves would be assigned to get into the tank with the pee to stomp on the clothes.
This action was designed to serve the same purpose as the agitators of modern day washing machines. After this process was complete, the clothes would be taken out of the stinky mixture and rinsed off with water. This was done to take the smell of urine out of the clothes.
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