The Middle Ages, in turn, opened up to the Enlightenment, and that finally brought science and medicine and civilization in general. So, how did Medievalists live? What were their personal habits like? Did they bathe? Read on to learn about all of the gruesome details of life in the Dark Ages.
Medieval Dental Plans
In the Middle Ages, dental insurance did not exist. Toothaches caused by tooth decay were handled by the local barber who used his tools to pry the rotted tooth out the person’s head without the use of Novocain or any other anesthetic. But medieval commoners were not bereft of dental hygiene practices.
To keep teeth white and clean and to stay away from the dreaded barber, the common practice was to wipe down teeth with a rough woolen cloth. And, there is evidence that toothpaste and mouthwashes were used. As it turns out, people in the Middle Ages cared about white teeth and fresh breath too! Chewing on mint or cloves was common for this purpose.
Another tool we take for granted in the 21st century is the lowly fork. In the Middle Ages, forks were disdained. European peasants used their hands, while royalty was aided by spoons and knives made of precious metals. Yet, hands were used. At a wedding for a Byzantine Emperor’s niece in 1004, the bride was excoriated for using a fork.
Despite stereotypes like “the filthy peasantry,” these people followed codes of etiquette that included washing in the mornings and before and after meals. Royalty also followed etiquette guidelines, like, not picking one’s teeth with the point of their knife.
Medieval Floorings Harbored Filth
Floors in the Middle Ages were devoid of the plush comforts of carpeting and instead were layered with wall-to-wall rushes. So, on what was essentially a dirt floor, a layer of grasses like hay covered the clay surface. Sometimes they would be woven into mats. The rushes were replaced from time to time, which might have been a good thing, but the old trodden layer beneath harbored all kinds of contagions.
Measures were taken to keep floors fresh by adding flowers or pleasant-smelling herbs to the rushes. But, lurking beneath, fleas, lice, and vermin thrived. We all know now fleas on rats passed the Black Death to humans.
Taking a Bath in the Middle Ages
Some monks were only allowed one bath per year, while kings bathed often in personal tubs filled with hot water and aromas of flowers and fresh herbs like chamomile, mallow or brown fellow. The common peasant would have loved such luxury, but they were relegated to public bathhouses that some church leaders prohibited, thinking group nakedness leads to illicit sex. They had a point; some bathhouses were mere fronts for brothels. But Medieval bathhouses were popular, some offering a meal with a warm wash.
People liked to bathe at least once a week. After the Black Death, bathhouses went into decline. Erasmus explained in 1526, “Twenty-five years ago, nothing was more fashionable in Brabant than the public baths. Today there are none, the new plague has taught us to avoid them.”
Medieval Surgery Was Often Fatal
Hospitals in the Dark Ages were reserved for the sick or dying. More like hospice care than modern hospitals, the blind, the desperate, and those with spiritual needs stayed in hospitals. If surgery was required, people went under the knife at the barbershop, where a barber (or a butcher!) would try to allay ailments like ulcers, kidney stones, and eye cataracts.
As an interesting tidbit, the signature striped poles outside of barbershops represent the color of blood and the white of bandages characteristic of medieval surgery. Again, anesthetics were not used, and instruments were not sterilized. Unsterilized tools would cause fatal infections.
You’ll Never Guess What They Used Urine For
Throughout history, urine has played a surprisingly versatile role in cleaning practices. Due to its high pH level and ammonia content, this bodily fluid has been used as a cleaning agent since ancient Rome. In fact, the affluent aristocracy went so far as to employ urine as a facial exfoliator, directly applying it to their skin. It was considered comparable to lye, an alkaline substance for general cleaning purposes.
Even wound cleaning involved the use of urine. However, its most common application was in the realm of laundry, where it served as a spotter to effectively eliminate stains. Medieval laundry soap often featured ingredients such as ash, lye, green grapes, and urine.
Shaving Was Not a Thing in the Middle Ages
Short of mirrors and razors, most peasants did not shave. Some were shaved once a week at the barber, although that wasn’t free, and peasants lived in poverty. Besides, beards were trending in the Middle Ages. A full face, of course, hair was a sign of virility. Shaving was very inconvenient. Mirrors were made of polished metal or blackened glass, which was not conducive to shaving. Maybe that’s one of the reasons monks would shave each other.
Modernity challenges everything. Now that beards are back in vogue, a 2016 study found that clean-shaven men are three times more likely to be harboring the harmful bacteria methicillin-resistant staph aureus on their cheeks than bearded men. It even suggests new penicillin might be made from beard bacteria!
Most Medieval Europeans Slept in Squalor
Those of the wealthy aristocracy owned splendid beds with protective canopies stuffed with feathers and covered with fine linens. Landowners also slept in clean peace. Peasants knew no such indulgence. Recall the flooring made of straw and infested by pests. The bedding was also made of straw, piled up into a mattress, which was sometimes woven tightly into a bed. Not all beds lay flat. Medieval commoners often slept on a sloping bed, like a recliner.
It sounds comfy enough at first glance, but the mattress—which was only changed and replaced yearly—was teeming with fleas, lice, and bed bugs. Fur covers, and feather bedding, while warm, also attracted parasitic pests like fleas.
Medieval Castle Garderobes Weren’t Used for Clothing
In Medieval castles, protruding masonry walls called garderobes were actually bathrooms because they are similar in size and shape to wardrobes. The room protruded from the castle walls so that the deposits one made upon relieving themselves in the garderobe could fall through a hole into the moat. Depending on the castle's occupancy size, moats may have developed quite a stench.
Public sewer systems were not a thing in the Middle Ages. They were completely absent. When the Roman Empire fell, so did aqueducts, sewage systems, and basic sanitation. In fact, it took centuries for Medieval cities and towns to transition to working urban sanitation systems, and that did not happen until the Enlightenment.
A Peek Inside a Garderobe
Let's take a closer look at the Garderobe latrine, a fascinating historical feature. This peculiar toilet design is quite intriguing. Instead of flushing, a hole is present, leading directly to the surrounding moat. Surprisingly, the accumulated excrement played a vital role in deterring enemy infiltrations, an often overlooked aspect of a moat's military defense strategy.
Interestingly, monasteries had similar-looking toilets, although the number of potty holes would usually not exceed 45. On the other hand, commoners shared public latrines, just like the monks, without any privacy whatsoever. These public facilities were regularly emptied into a cesspit, occasionally repurposed as fertilizer for agricultural needs.
The Chamber Pot
Besides public toilets, people used chamber pots inside their homes, usually stored under beds. It’s a disgusting but true fact that these chamber pots were not uncommonly dumped out windows onto walkways.
At night, the smelly excrement stayed under the bed. In the morning, watch out! From upper stories, passersby walking beneath had to be careful. Toilet paper was not invented yet, so, moss, leaves, grass or straw might do the trick.
Medievalists Had A Cure for Baldness
Good news, right? Here’s the cure: “Take bear fat [i.e. kill a bear without a pistol], a small number of ashes from wheat straw or from winter wheat straw, mix this together and anoint the entire head with it.” This is according to the 12th-century scholar Hildegard. Another treatment included mixing chicken or pigeon droppings with ashes and lye and rubbing it on the bald spot.
In the Middle Ages, though vanity, as today, preferred a nice head of hair, a wide bald spot did represent virility, as long as the man grew a thick beard. A man without a dense beard, but chocked with abundance on top, was considered weak.
Bloodletting: The Cure-All
Be thankful that modern doctors won’t try to cure your illness by attaching blood-sucking leeches to your flesh. Besides applying leeches or worms to draw blood from the patient, opening a vein directly with an incision to alleviate excess blood in the body was also practiced in the Medieval period.
If these methods failed, physicians might try charms, totems or amulets, which make sense when you know that the Christian church believed sin was responsible for diseases.
Trepanning: The Medieval Lobotomy
Trepanning is a barbaric form of medical treatment from the Middle Ages. Intended to cure mental illness, migraines, epilepsy, and other brain ailments, some patients survived the so-called cure. The procedure entailed drilling into the side of the patient’s skull, without anesthesia, to expose the outer membrane of the brain.
As the oldest form of surgery known, predating the Medievalists by thousands of years, it was thought to relieve pressure in the brain so that “the humors and air may go out and evaporate.”
His Royal Throne
The king’s padded potty was tended by a loyal servant. Known as “The Groom of the King’s Stool,” the coveted position required moving the throne from place to place so it could be at the king’s constant disposal. Duties also included wiping the royal bum whenever the king relieved himself. Towels, water, and a washbowl were at hand.
The keeper of the Stool was one of the king’s closest confidants, highly compensated, and usually a son of noblemen. His duties often led to higher positions. The bedazzled porta-potty was invented for King Henry VIII and wasn’t abolished until 1901 by King Edward VII.
The Canopy Bed was Invented in the Middle Ages
The first canopy beds were suspended from the ceiling, with the canopy and drapes covering and surrounding a bed for privacy and warmth. In the 15th century, four-post beds were coveted and the curtains, sometimes embroidered of fine heavy cloths, were very expensive. We know they were valuable because wealthy landowners often included these beds in their wills.
Since roofs were thatched in these days, it is assumed that canopy beds served an additional purpose which was to protect the sleeper from droppings from the ceilings, ranging from water to pest excrement.
Lice Thrived in the Dark Ages
Lice were so prevalent and so ubiquitous in Medieval times that people could not escape it. What they called “worms with feet” were a part of life, so much so that medical experts believed lice and other parasites were produced by the body at certain times. Lice were everywhere, not just in hair. Some swarmed around eyes.
Far from lice only afflicting the peasantry, Pope Clement V was reported to have a cavity in his tooth where a louse tossed about. King Henry IV’s head was found squirming with lice by Adam of Usk who crowned him in 1399.
The Black Death was the King Kong of Plagues
The medieval period was racked with epidemics, plagues, and disease, but none were as merciless as the Bubonic Plague, or what we know as the Black Death. Between 1328 and 1351, it tracked trading routes, wiping out a full 50 percent of Europe’s population, killing 200 million people. That is equivalent to the entire U.S. population in 1967. Life expectancy plummeted to age 17.
The pandemic brought symptoms that included high fever, delirium, vomiting, bleeding in the lungs and, most notably, painful swelling in the lymph nodes. The painful swollen boils in the neck turned red and eventually black—large black boils oozing with pus and blood—hence the name. It was transmitted by fleas on vermin to humans.
When it Rained it Reeked
Since the first municipal sewage systems were not built until the 1840s, waste removal of human and animal excrement in medieval towns was abysmal. As we’ve said, it was nonexistent. Of course, castles had moats, others had the Thames, but peasants in fields dumped their chamber pots out in the pathways.
As disgusting as that was, the rain made it worse. Dirt and cobblestone streets became rivers of sludge and piss, washing the filthy stench through town.
The Stench of the Thames
In all of Medieval England, few places were as rancid and smelly as the banks of the Thames near “Butcher’s Bridge.” Butchers of the day would take bundles of refuge and carcasses to the bridge and dump it in the river. Animal entrails, stinky, diseased animal parts and blood littered the bridge. For 500 years this practice continued.
Complaints in 1369 had little effect, a law against it changed nothing. And the stench of rotting flesh made it so that no one could live there. However, not only butchers fouled the waters of the Thames, every Englishman in proximity would dump sewage and waste into the river.
While the Wild West may have romanticized the rugged and adventurous spirit of the frontier, it often overlooked the harsh realities of personal hygiene. Inadequate access to clean water, limited bathing facilities, and sparse availability of toiletries led to unhygienic conditions.
Disease outbreaks, such as cholera and typhoid, were common occurrences. So, before immersing yourself in the allure of the Old West, remember that behind the Hollywood glamour, life was marked by challenging sanitary conditions and the constant threat of illness.
The Saloon Spittoon
In the Old West, saloons were bustling hubs where people gathered to indulge in drinking, gambling, and sometimes even brawling, all in the name of socializing. Chewing tobacco was a common habit among many cowboys, resulting in copious amounts of spitting. While some impressive individuals could accurately aim for the spittoon from a considerable distance, many missed their mark.
In fact, some didn't bother using the spittoon at all, choosing instead to spit directly on the sawdust-covered floors. Consequently, these floors became breeding grounds for a multitude of germs. The situation became so unsanitary that certain establishments banned spitting, imposing fines or even jail time as a punishment.
Public Beds were Available
However, using these beds come with personal risks. Similar to their medieval predecessors, beds in the Old West were often constructed from straw and accumulated filth. Lice, known as "seam squirrels," was a persistent problem, infesting public beds that were seldom cleaned or changed. Bed bugs were another prevalent issue, thriving in these unhygienic conditions.
Additionally, mosquitoes and flies posed constant nuisances and health hazards. As towns were often situated near streams, homes constructed with limited resources became susceptible to infestations of maggots and mosquito larvae, further compromising the already poor living conditions of the era.
Cowboys Had Soap, but They Didn’t Much Use It
Native Americans were reportedly surprised by cowboys’ lack of hygiene. Cowboys were surprised by Mexican women’s clean and lustrous hair. One cowboy was so impressed he documented the details about how native women would wash their hair with soap weed, a sort of shampoo he described as being harvested from the root of the Yucca plant.
Cowboys rarely bathed. They could go an entire winter without bathing. Monthly, they might take a dip in the creek to clean off. They were not worried about body odor; it was just accepted as a part of life.
Wild West Women Preferred Cleanliness
Women, for their part, bathed every couple of weeks and washed their faces daily. The soap they had was made out of animal fat, and its ingredients made it harsh on the skin, but it was all they had. It was also harsh on the hair, so women cleaned their hair just once a month. Shampoo wasn’t available until the 1920s.
It was stylish in this era for women to have very fair complexions. Hats, gloves, parasols, and long sleeves helped protect their skin. Some women in this era would whiten their facial complexion with bleach made of toxic substances, but cowboy women were lucky just to keep their skin covered.
Water Was Scarce
The scarcity of bathing opportunities in the Wild West can be attributed in part to the shortage of water. Water was a precious resource, often in limited supply. Some families resorted to rationing a single tub of water for weekly baths, with each member taking turns and sharing the progressively dirtier bathwater. Compounding the issue, the available water was not always safe to drink.
Creeks and streams could easily become contaminated by upstream latrines, while rainwater stores were susceptible to dust and insect larvae pollution. Standing water, a breeding ground for mosquitoes was almost inevitably spoiled by the presence of larvae. In the arid and dusty landscape of the Wild West, water scarcity and compromised quality made maintaining personal hygiene an ongoing challenge.
The Dustiest Place in the World
The American West was a dusty place, but horses, carriages, and people really kicked it up to unbearable levels. On top of that, dust storms would pop up at any given time, and clouds of dust and strong winds whipped dusty dirt into people’s houses and threatened the lives of settlers and livestock.
Sarah Raymond Herndon, a girl from Missouri who traveled to the Montana territory in 1860, wrote, “Oh, the dust, the dust; it is terrible. I have never seen it half as bad; it seems to be almost knee-deep in places.” She went on, “When we stopped, the boys’ faces were a sight; they were covered with all the dust that could stick on [. . .] their appearance was frightful.”
A Hole in the Ground
People living in the wild west had to make do. Instead of a bathroom, frontier folk settled for an enclosed shed sitting atop a hole in the ground. Once that hole had filled with excrement, the outhouse was simply moved over top of a new hole.
Each hole was covered with dirt before the shabbily built structure was moved. You can imagine the stench and the swarm of flies. Toilet paper was another problem. To make do, leaves, grass, and corn cobs might be used for wiping. Risks included sitting on a black widow spider.
The Surprising Uses of Whiskey
Cowboys were known to drink, whether with other chaps at the saloon or from their whiskey stash at home, it was a popular pastime. However, whiskey was also used as a disinfectant and a pain reliever. One of the most surprising uses was as a sort of make-shift shampoo. Whiskey, castor oil, and lavender for scenting were mixed, applied to the hair, and then rinsed with rainwater.
Some ladies combed their hair out nicely and curled their locks, wrapping tresses in rags or with pins overnight. Another method required heating metal curling tongs on the stove and wrapping the hair into curls, a method similar to using a curling iron.
Frontier Women Stayed Cleaner Than Men
Maybe it’s because they had more time at home, or perhaps cleanliness was more important to women, but women cared more about their appearance and overall hygiene. Cowboys and soldiers were required to go off for periods at a time. Women kept the homestead. If a woman were lucky, she would have soap-weed to wash her hair, but if not, she would find ways to stay clean.
Sarah Raymond Herndon, the pioneer woman who wrote about her experience crossing the Plains in wagons, described her morning routine. She would go down to the spring for a drink each day. She said, “[I] bathed my face and hands in the cool water, picked a bouquet for the breakfast table, and returned to camp.”
Men Shared Bar Towels
In the Wild West, understanding germs and microorganisms was limited or nonexistent. As men frequented saloons, they would reach for towels hanging beneath the bar on hooks whenever they needed to wipe their beards or clean up spills. These towels became communal items, passed from one patron to the next, with no thought given to hygiene. Given the scarcity of water, laundry was rare, resulting in these towels rarely being cleaned.
They harbored a multitude of bacteria and became breeding grounds for potential infections. The shared use of unclean towels further contributed to the spread of germs, highlighting the stark contrast in hygiene practices between the past and the present.
Men Wore Long Hair
Given the overall disregard for personal hygiene among men in the Wild West, it comes as no surprise that they paid little attention to their hair. Out on the trail, there were no means to cut or style their hair, and time was of the essence. Furthermore, long hair was preferred among frontier men, with some even adding scented hair tonics like cinnamon oil to their flowing locks.
However, when cowboys ventured into town, they would often take the opportunity to pamper themselves. This could involve indulging in a stylish haircut and a clean shave, along with treating themselves to a hot bath, enjoying good food, and donning clean clothes.
The Wild West Teemed with Disease
Due to water shortages and the lack of sanitary conditions, disease ran rampant on the frontier. Cholera outbreaks continued through the 19th century. Sarah Raymond Herndon made a note when illness gave her people a break, “There is no sickness in camp at all; it is marvelous how very well we are. I hope it will continue so.”
Native Americans also succumbed to the diseases of the white man. An outbreak of cholera among Mormon migrants killed untold numbers of people living in states, territories, and unclaimed lands. The West was wild, so no one knows how many souls perished from epidemics like cholera.
Handkerchiefs Were Not Just Western Movie Props
Cowboys in the old west actually used handkerchiefs for reasons other than robbing banks. For one thing, the dust was terrible. In the days when medical masks were obviously not yet invented, kerchiefs had to do. Bandanas protected skin from sunburn. They were used to tie back hair. Cowboys also wore them around the neck.
The wipe, as he called it, could be employed for any number of uses. In the winter, it protected from icy winds, in summer, around the head, it served as a sweatband to his cowboy hat. A kerchief could also tie off a wound. It was also used as a hanky for blowing his nose. The bandana was indispensable.
The Cowboy’s New Look
Towards the end of the 19th century, shorter hairstyles started to gain popularity, and even burly frontiersmen began to embrace this new trend. The rugged, unshaven appearance made way for a more polished and clean-cut look. Outlaws like Jesse James and William "Curly Bill" Brocius became known for their suave and well-groomed hairdos. This transformation was partly influenced by the availability of a growing range of hair care products, which encouraged men to experiment with different styles.
Additionally, the changing perception of hygiene played a role in shaping the modern look. Men started to entertain the idea that their long beards and untamed hair could potentially harbor germs, prompting them to embrace shorter, neater hairstyles to maintain cleanliness and adopt more modern grooming practices.
Dental Care in the Old West Was Like Medieval Times
Dentists were few and far between out in the American territories. Tooth problems were solved at the barber shop or by the blacksmith, where they would just yank the painful problem. Some tough guys would pull out their own teeth. It was crazy. Accidental extractions of the wrong tooth were not uncommon. Whiskey was on hand to help, either by applying it to the gum or by drinking enough to numb the pain.
Though there were only three dental schools in the U.S. after the Civil War, the Western hero Doc Holliday was trained as a dentist and practiced in Dodge City, Kansas. He was highly skilled, it is said, but he was one of the very few dentists. In general, it was the extraction tools of barbers and blacksmiths that cured dental maladies. On average, western folk were toothless by age 50.
Cowboys Were Plagued with Fungal Infections
The cowboys in the Wild West had to deal with some seriously itchy and uncomfortable fungal infections. Since they spent months on their trusty horses without much chance for a good scrub, these pesky diseases were bound to pop up. The armpits, crotch, buttocks, and feet were the prime spots for these annoying infections to strike. Imagine the constant itching and burning!
To make matters worse, there weren't any cures available, so they just had to suffer through it. And if they couldn't resist scratching, well, that only made things worse as those pesky fungal spores spread even more. Phew, let's be grateful we don't have to deal with that as modern folks!
Cowboys Had the Reputation of Smelling Like Their Horse
Being a cowboy in the Wild West came with a pungent downside: the constant, lingering smell. With limited access to bathing facilities and spending days on end exposed to the elements, the horse's and its rider's odors would inevitably blend together. To make matters worse, cowboys were prone to developing Staph and impetigo infections from cuts and sores on their skin, which emitted an unpleasant stench.
Fortunately, these infections weren't usually life-threatening, but they were highly contagious and became an ongoing part of cowboy life. So, not only did the cowboys have to contend with the rugged conditions of the trail, but they also had to endure the unrelenting aromas that accompanied their adventurous lifestyle.
Education Was Not a Thing on the Frontier
Not only did people out West have no education or knowledge of transmitted diseases, but they also had no hope of a cure. And there was a lot more hanky-panky out West than most people assume. Saloons allowed women in those days and employed them for entertainment, dancing, and serving whiskey. Women often married clientele or, just as often, were beaten by drunken cowboys. Brothels also flourished.
With a 1 to 3 ratio, men outnumbered women creating a shortage of marriageable women and a higher demand for intimacy. Hygiene practices, or the lack thereof, helped spread all kinds of diseases like tuberculosis, which they called consumption. Syphilis was the most common STD in the Old West.
Cowboys Liked Their Liquor Hard
The stronger, the better. “Firewater” was a common nickname for their drink. And they made sure their booze was potent. To be certain, cowboys spit the booze in the air and ignited it, if it didn’t explode in flames, they got their money back.
Besides straight whiskey, one beverage preferred by Westerners was a cocktail of burnt sugar, alcohol, and chewing tobacco which had a very high alcohol content. Cactus wine was another popular drink. It was made by combining tequila with peyote tea. One can only imagine how wasted these people got every day getting by. But, just going by the statistics of deaths at bar fights, you can get an idea.
Food Was Plentiful Out West
Frontier folk went without clean water and basic hygiene, but there was no shortage of food. Buffalo, squirrel, rabbit, and other game were shot and killed for meals. They stored stocks of dried beans, flour, sugar, and oats. Foods like meat and fruit were dried for long stints on the trails. Beans were the most common food for traveling cowboys.
Food was cooked and served for breakfast and supper using Dutch ovens, frying pans, boiling pots, and other devices. Special treats included fruits, vegetables, and sarsaparilla. Produce like fresh corn, tomatoes, apples, and squash were devoured with abandon.
Read on to learn about some of your favorite celebs' bad hygiene habits
Cleanliness and proper hygiene are something many of us grew up learning. It teaches us how to keep ourselves safe and healthy, along with proper etiquette and sanitation. You don't want to go outside looking dirty and unkempt if you want people to take you seriously.
However, you'll be surprised to know that many celebrities you might look up to don't follow proper hygiene. So if you're interested in finding out which ones, we hope you won't regret checking out the list below.
Cameron Diaz is a well-known actress, and hearing about someone like her having unhygienic traits may be something that shocks everyone who knows her. She has particular beliefs regarding hygienic products, which are the opposite of what they are made for.
She believes that using deodorant keeps your body odor intact, which she uses as an excuse to condone deodorant. For this reason, she forgoes deodorant use, and sadly, everyone around her has had to put up with it.
According to the 2007 autobiography of Clark Gable, despite being one of the most famous stars of her time, Marilyn had her fair share of undesirable traits. She was described to be flatulent, dirty, and also had a habit of eating in bed.
Eating in bed, while messy, is something everyone does once in a while, but the actress would shove her plates under her bed sheets before sleeping. She would even forgo regular showers or bathing and opted to go without underwear.
Mila Kunis is one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, but her hygiene practices don't make her seem as so. These practices are shared by her husband, Ashton Kutcher, who also follows a similar lifestyle of cleanliness or uncleanliness.
She revealed that growing up without hot water, she wouldn't shower much, and this habit remained as she grew. The actress would also avoid using soap on her body regularly, cleaning only the important parts.
There are few out there that don't enjoy Jake Gyllenhaal as an actor, but we can't speak the same praises regarding his beliefs on cleanliness. The actor practices hygiene traits that are questionable to anyone who hears about them, and we're all a little weirded out.
In a Vanity Fair interview, the actor said he believes that it is not necessary for people to take regular showers as the body cleans itself. He believes less frequent showers to be better for the maintenance of his body, and we're not sure where he got his information from.
For his role in the 2014 movie "Fury", Shia decided to go all the way to portray his character in the movie. The character he was portraying was going through the deprivations of war, and so to create that effect Shia refused to shower for weeks on end.
He reeked so badly that apparently, it was too much for other cast members to handle, and they moved him to a different lodging away from the others. Shia has not denied any claims so all we have is the words of his colleagues.
This guy looks like he dresses well for a living, so there can't be a reason why he'd have anything that makes him too undesirable, right? Well, it would seem like you can't judge appearances based on pictures alone because it's a different story in real life.
When working, Anderson is known to put on a pair of jeans, but the problem arises from whether he washes them or not. He would wear a pair of jeans daily to work and only wash them three or four times a year.
There aren't many actors out there who can boast the same number of years Russell Crowe spent as an actor. Through the years, he has built up a specific reputation for himself with his many movies and projects, and now he seems to have a new rep of the unhygienic kind.
Due to a habit of sweating too much, Russell has been said to be surrounded by a body odor that keeps people away from interacting with him. During award shows, fellow actors have been said to stand downwind to avoid the smell.
Matthew is an actor best known for his roles in many romantic comedy films, such as "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" and "The Wedding Planner". He is also known for being one of the most handsome actors in Hollywood, but despite this, he has problems with hygiene.
The actor has been known to emit a body odor that reeks of underarm sweat. Despite this, he refuses to put on deodorant or antiperspirant.
Uma Thurman is a legendary actress, and although news about the actress and her movies has died down over the years, the topic of her hygiene still remains. The actress had been revealed to wear old clothes covered in food stains.
A stylist who was working with Uma Thurman at one point revealed the issues regarding her hygiene and said she peeled shrimp off her back. Shrimp peeled off an old crusty t-shirt definitely doesn't sound appetizing at all.
Miley Cyrus is a singer and actress many of us have grown up with, from her Disney days to becoming a famous star. Currently, she is a Hollywood star with a career that is as wild as her personality.
It would seem her personality is where her wildness stops as the star has been known not to use deodorant that isn't organic in nature. Experts who have seen her tongue from pictures have also said it looks unhealthy with a fungus-like growth.
Despite being one of the most successful, talented, and popular actors out there, even Leo couldn't escape the bad hygiene trap. Leonardo wanted to limit his carbon footprint as an environmental activist, but that somehow resulted in bad hygiene.
The actor believes deodorant is bad for the environment and doesn't wear any, along with telling others not to use deodorant either. He also showers twice a week because he believes using less water will help to conserve more water.
Joey Essex has a nasty habit of teeth picking that we are all familiar with, except he makes it more disgusting. People usually clean their teeth to clear them out of annoying food that is stuck, and in the end, we wipe our hands or wash them.
On the other hand, the TOWIE star uses his fingers to pick out food, and instead of flicking it, he smells the small pieces of food. We aren't sure how he doesn't keep himself from puking every time the nasty smell of spit-covered food touches his nose.
We don't know what celebrities have against deodorant, but many people on this list can't seem to stand using it. Even though she is no longer with us, with Joan it was never an exception. The only difference here is that Joan found a different way to cover her body odor and mask it from those around her.
You wouldn't expect to hear this, but Joan believed that sprinkling clothes with water and vodka are way more effective than your usual deodorant. The only thing you'll accomplish with this is making others think you're drunk because you'll always smell like alcohol.
Gwenyth Paltrow is a name you may not be surprised to see on a list like this because of her lifestyle brand, which has her try out very weird things. Some of the things she's tested out have often had the effect of driving anyone nearby away.
During a Met Gala appearance, Paltrow tried out a new deodorant, which was nasal torture for her fellow celebrities. She opted for a scent with no aluminum, which she believed was harmful, but instead turned out stinky.
Since we were kids, we have been taught to brush our teeth twice daily to maintain proper dental hygiene. On the other hand, Jessica Simpson has opened up about her lack of dental hygiene and made numerous statements throughout the year regarding her teeth.
The actress reportedly doesn't brush her teeth twice a day or even once, and the most she has brushed her teeth is twice a week. She has said that all she uses is Listerine and sometimes her sweater to wipe her teeth.
Brad Pitt is one of the actors who is always at the top of the A list of celebrities in Hollywood so we always expect the most from actors like him. Celebrities like this guy have a hard time fitting in a time for a shower with their busy schedule, but how hard can it be for a 5 minute shower?
Brad only showers when he gets the chance to, and if he can't find the time, the actor will instead use baby wipes. Despite his efforts, the stench from not showering is still prevalent in the air around him.
Post Malone is a rapper who looks like a pretty nice guy who you wouldn't mind hugging. That isn't the same for others who don't like his raggedy and rough appearance, which may rub some people the wrong way.
Despite his smell not appealing to others, the rapper has had no qualms with others' issues about his lack of deodorant usage. He revealed that his musk is natural and that if you didn't like it, then it's not for you, making it sound more like a "you" problem.
After spending the night drinking at the Celebrity Big Brother house, Crosby wetted her bed because she couldn't get to the bathroom. According to sources, this was a recurring problem for Charlotte as it had happened before.
Charlotte's bed was also reported to be covered in urine and food stains most of the time. Remains of a half-eaten turkey sandwich were present, along with tanning product smudges on the dirty bed sheets.
Nail-biting is a dirty habit as it is annoying for both you and people close by watching you. We can't help doing it under stress or when we're nervous, and sadly there are a lot of things around to get on our nerves.
Eva Mendez also suffers from excessive nail-biting, which you should avoid because your mouth is coming into contact with undesirables. You aren't always aware of what your hand touches and don't want the dirt under your nails getting into your mouth.
We're not sure how the actress concluded that eating something akin to dirt would be good for your body and health. Besides using oil pulling to maintain her dental hygiene, the actress has also been known to consume clay.
You heard it right! Woodley has revealed in an essay for Into The Gloss that consuming clay is good for your teeth and insides. She warns us to check your clay source, although we're sure we won't be having clay for dinner anytime soon.
Couples that stink together seem well together because Brad wasn't the only one with rumors regarding his dirty hygiene. We don't know if it's because of how many kids she's looking after, which does sound like a good enough excuse.
Taking care of her kids keeps her busy enough, which is why she often goes an entire week without taking a bath or washing her hair. Sources have also claimed that the kids have also picked up their parents' habits, with both parents taking no action against it.
Celebrities have been known to put on new clothes almost daily, so to hear someone like Kelly Clarkson saying she goes commando all the time is weird. The singer reportedly skipped underwear during all her appearances on "American Idol".
Suppose our private parts are coming into contact with new clothes which have been dipped in who knows what type of chemical, then underwear is a must. The last thing you want is to catch something that's going to give you a rash because you went commando.
Mel Gibson is an all-around good guy with specs that will leave many other actors burning with jealousy. There is one thing that we can think about that won't leave others green with envy and that's his apparent unhygienic quality.
People and actors who have previously worked with Gibson have stated that the actor gives off a smell of sweat and cigarettes. He also showers less frequently, usually once every few days, and doesn't use any deodorant.
Katy Perry is pretty open about her unhygienic traits, but she also doesn't give much stock to what others have to say or think about them. She's always bouncing and jumping during her performances which she says has made her more flatulent.
It seems a bit too much to share for an interview, but at least we found out what Katy and Orlando (also featured here) had in common in their relationship. Unhygienic traits have become common in many celebrity couples, and it seems these two also fall into the same category.
Unlike other celebrities on this list, Kim stays clean by showering regularly and washing her hair twice a week. Showering and washing hair alone can't tell you enough about someone's hygiene practices, as you'll find out with Kim.
Most people will tell you that you should remove your makeup before going to bed because it'll get on your sheets and pillows and cause acne. Kim, on the other hand, believes in sleeping with makeup on because she's too busy to do it in the morning.
Biting nails is more common than you'd expect, and Kate Upton is no stranger to this familiar and problematic habit. She chows down on her manicured nails regularly, and because of this, they always look shorter.
This has led to her not being able to try different colors of nail polish for her nails, and she has had to settle for a nude polish instead. The nude also makes the added effect of making her nails look bigger because of how short they get from excessive biting.
Harry Connick Jr.
Nail-biting usually stems from being nervous or anxious in a situation you feel uncomfortable. Harry Connick Jr. took nail-biting to a new level, making it more disgusting for us even to hear.
This is something we wish we could forget, but Harry revealed on The Todd and Erin Morning Show that he bites off his toenails too. He discussed it further, saying he doesn't require toenail clippers as he can bite his toenails off and chew them.
Despite being in her 50s, the Friends star still can make guys go crazy about her wherever she goes. It would seem now that her looks aren't the only thing making people grow crazy, as her hygiene is just as effective of a weapon.
Jennifer has reportedly been known to have a breath that stinks of coffee, making it hard for actors to perform in kissing scenes with her. Drinking so much coffee that it affects your breath definitely isn't a good sign of oral health.
Courtney Cox has appeared in movies after her time in Friends, but it remains her most successful project. Her character of Monica, who is a clean freak with OCD regarding her apartment, is apparently something that doesn't translate to the real world.
She has been said to give off a sweaty musk due to her forgoing the use of any type of deodorant. This was revealed by her ex-husband, David Arquette, who said his then-wife didn't pay any attention to how she smelled to other people.
Emily told Jimmy Kimmel in 2017 about an eight-year period in her life where she would haul around a car which she described as a literal garbage dump. According to the celebrity, there were all kinds of garbage, from records to tampons.
A clean car is a sign that you know how to take care of yourself and maintain cleanliness, so for someone like Ratajkowski to drive a dump is surprising. She later revealed that she got rid of the car to take her cleanliness seriously.
One of the biggest pop stars of the early 2000s, Kesha, is someone with unhygienic traits that she is unafraid to talk about in public. The singer has been criticized for stinking up the place wherever she goes, but the complaints have zero effect.
She also participated in the disgusting drinking habit, which you should avoid if your name isn't Bear Grylls. The singer may have moved past her unique drinking habits, but we can't say the same for her odor.
Best known for her role as Cher Horowitz in "Clueless", Alicia doesn't seem to follow a clean lifestyle that would leave her character proud. When on set, she was known for her hygienic issues, with the problem laying in how bad she smelled.
Like many others on this list, Alicia stays away from deodorant, which is regretful for the people around her. The most disgusting thing is how she feeds her child like a bird by chewing food and spitting it in her child's mouth.
Adele might be the only celebrity on this list with unhygienic traits that is unique from other celebrities. The singer has a bad habit of picking her nose and isn't closed off about it, too, as she revealed in an interview with The Sun.
Things just don't stop here as she doesn't just enjoy digging into her nose and rolling boogers between her fingers but also the boogers of her son. She'll roll them between her fingers into a ball and then flick them in whichever direction she wants.
One of Johnny Depp's partners, Vanessa, complained about the actor not showering or washing his hair. In a hypocritical turn, Vanessa has now fallen into the limelight as someone who is also unhygienic.
The model and actress would spend days without touching any water, leaving her with a strong and musty body odor. This led to many of her friends and family avoiding her because of how bad the stench was attacking their sensitive nostrils.
When you imagine Naya Rivera, the picture that comes to mind is her persona in Glee, wearing a cheerleader outfit and singing on stage. That all changed for her fans after an interview she had in 2015.
After a question about her personal hygiene, Naya revealed that she would go weeks without touching her shower. This shocked many of her loyal fans, who thought the star couldn't get as bad as she got. In 2020 Naya passed away under mysterious circumstances.
We all have some traits that come out when we're distracted or not thinking, with the traits being normal or weird at most. "The Hunger Games" star had a nasty habit that had his co-stars recoiling in disgust and darting away from him.
He would apparently blow spit bubbles when he was in a long thinking process, and it got pretty annoying for others around him. Just imagine standing in front of him, prepping for a kissing scene, and he starts spitting bubbles at you.
Dax follows a lifestyle where he only showers when he feels too dirty. According to himself, Dax is more unhygienic than Kristen herself, as she has to wash more frequently to get rid of her makeup.
He also bathes his kids together with himself using the same water as he believes it is his responsibility to save the environment. Dax probably knows how bad his hygiene had gotten in the end as he revealed that his hygiene could always be better
Orlando Bloom made his mark in Hollywood with his appearance in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. His hygiene seems to have also made its mark amongst his fans for the wrong reasons.
During his marriage to Miranda Kerr, the actress had many problems with her husband stemming from his uncleanliness and hygiene. He would wear the same clothes for weeks without washing them, even when they got too smelly.
This actor has some controversial thoughts about staying clean. He says that if he feels dirty and wants to get clean, there's always a bar of soap nearby that is ready to get the job done. He doesn't say how often that happens, though.
His frequent disregard for taking showers has also rubbed into his children, and we can't say whether the kids like it or not. Ashton believes there's no point in bathing your children if you don't see any dirt on them... Umm, Ash, just because you don't see dirt doesn't mean it's not there.
Robert is an actor who has the world divided in how they view him, with one side seeing him as Edward from twilight while the others see him for his other serious films. Despite this split, everyone seems to have a common ground regarding the issue of Pattinson's hygiene traits.
According to the actor himself, during his Twilight days, it was rare for him to get up and shower and wash his hair. Pattinson revealed that the longest he went without washing his hair was a total of six weeks.
To get in character to play the role of Borat's daughter, Maria had been asked to stop practicing her hygiene by the production team. This is because the character she was portraying had been known to have a body odor emitting from her.
At the time, it was not possible for Maria to go through with her unhygienic process as she was already filming another movie. To remedy this, she made her own body odor by mixing banana peels, old eggs, vinegar, old olive oil, and onions.
Bradley Cooper is an actor who looks well put together in life, so seeing his name on a list of unhygienic celebrities may be a bit surprising for most. Unlike other celebrities, Bradley doesn't have as huge of a problem with staying unhygienic.
Despite showering regularly and keeping himself clean, the actor has been said to give off body odor, which concerns the people around him. Despite this odor, Bradley refuses to use any sort of deodorant to cover up the musty smell of sweat.
Celebrities who don't wash up regularly are more frequent than you'd expect, and you'd be shocked to hear what Kristen Bell and Dax Shepherd have to say about it. It would seem that these two stay away from showering or washing their hair on a daily basis.
They even allow their children to follow in their lifestyle by letting them have rare showers. They'll wait a while, and the minute they notice a stink coming from their kids is when they force them to shower.
Britney Spears is a pop singer who can't seem to escape the light of controversy wherever she goes. Most of her problems arise from her more questionable behavior during the early days of her career, but now we're discussing her hygiene.
Britney has been known to skip out on regular showers and not use any deodorant. The smell got so bad to a point where even her bodyguard decided to sue her because he couldn't handle the stench given off from her body.
Kourtney Kardashian has made a lot of money through her name, which she used to get a big house with a huge bath. With money like hers, you'd expect her to hit the spa every week to keep herself clean or to shower at home, but all is not as expected.
We don't know about her skipping out on any showers, but we can't deny anything about her not using any deodorant. It reached a point where her kids couldn't stand the stench just because she believed deodorant would be detrimental to her health.
The British singer has come a long way from his One Direction days and ever since his decision to go solo. We can't deny the success he's gained. He's made his mark in Hollywood history, and it would seem he had also made his mark in staying unhygienic.
His former One Direction bandmates have made some choice of words regarding his stinky feet and smelly burps. Even Taylor Swift, his ex, has come out with statements regarding his smelly breath.
Ozzy Osbourne has a long list of dirty habits that we're sure any other partner wouldn't be able to stand, but somehow his wife is able to. It speaks a lot about her patience if she's had to deal with this for years on end with no regrets and still loves him.
He apparently snores, farts, and sprinkles his urine on the toilet seat, which is pretty disgusting. Now, the first two can be excused because they're natural occurrences in your body, but the last one can easily be fixed by aiming inside the toilet bowl.
One of the highest-rated pop stars, she started her career as a young star before transitioning into a more adult image. Besides being a star, she is also a businesswoman with her own line of scents and perfumes, but her dirty habits remain despite the rumors about her.
Her friends and others who know her have provided statements regarding the singer, saying she smells like hot dogs most of the time. There was another statement saying she smelled like a 12-year-old girl's bedroom.
This is according to actor Liam Hemsworth, but before a kissing scene he shared with Jennifer Lawrence, the actress would apparently practice bad dental hygiene. The bad smell had made it pretty uncomfortable for Liam to carry on with the actual kiss.
Before shooting a scene, the actress would snack on some garlic and oftentimes tuna to get her breath to stink. She wouldn't even brush her teeth after snacking; it just sounds like a prank between two friends.
The High School Musical star has come a long way from his musical days with Disney with movies such as "Baywatch". He looks like someone who takes proper care of himself, especially his appearance, but don't be fooled as everything isn't as it seems.
The actor spends a lot of time in the gym, as we can see from the results in the body, but too much time at the gym means excessive sweating. He wouldn't shower for weeks after a workout and use wet wipes instead to save time.
The "Lord of the Rings" star is famous for the effort he puts into his characters when acting out his roles. It would seem that he takes things too seriously as he would often ignore his hygiene to immerse himself into his character.
During his days leading up to LOTR, the actor would go into the woods and live there to prepare himself. Staying away from civilization for so long, when he'd return, it was noted that he'd always come back smelling like the outdoors. And not in a good way.
It seems like the number of life hacks that people have figured out just keeps rising, and as you expected, this one is just as weird. Snooki has reportedly found another use for cat litter besides using it as something for cats to do their business in.
The star has somehow come up with the idea that cat litter can be used to make a mask, a facial mask, to be honest. We can see how cat litter can be used to keep your house odor-free from cat poop, but we're not too sure about using it to clean your face.
Nail-biting can start as a small habit and grow into an annoying one you can't get rid of. Your fingers are in constant contact with many things usually covered in germs and bacteria too little for the eye to see.
Biting your nails can also be damaging to your fingers and nails, and this is a habit that Paget Brewster apparently suffers from. She last revealed in 2015 that her nail-biting habit was something she was trying to get past and forget.
Johnny is one of the most desirable actors ever to hit the big screen, and there's no doubt about the amount of money he's brought to Hollywood with his flicks. Recent events have made it hard for him, but the actor has finally moved past his issues.
His issues and worries might be a big reason why he goes on for days without taking a shower or washing his hair. This has been a long-lasting problem as apparently, his past partners have spoken up about it.
Avril has had an unruly habit that comes out whenever she has had to deal with unnecessary attention from the paparazzi. We're not saying the paparazzi don't deserve it but spitting at other people sounds as unhygienic as it looks.
This was back in 2007 when she was caught making out with Deryck Whibley and spat at the cameras in annoyance. Later that year, in an interview, she revealed that she had been spitting at the paparazzi for over two years and didn't get what the big deal was.
Most fans of the tall blonde singer definitely weren't expecting her to show up on this list, but you don't always get what you want. Taylor still showers daily, but the only body part she washes is her upper body.
According to an interview with Ellen, she avoids washing her legs because she believes shaving her legs is enough work to keep them clean with water doing the rest. Even if you're shaving, you should still wash your legs with soap to get rid of all the dirt.
Julia Roberts is an actor who always looks picture perfect, without a hair out of place and a smile that is always ready for a camera. If that was actually true, then she wouldn't have made it onto this list now, would she?
She has concerns about the environment that are similar to fellow actor Leonardo DiCaprio and believes in the act of using less water to save more water. As a result, she rarely showers or bathes and stays away from using deodorant to hide bad odors.
Known for her roles in the "Transformers" franchise, Megan fox is one of the most beautiful actresses around. She recently made it into the news after getting together with rapper MGK, which has resulted in many controversial topics.
Megan still showers daily, but her unhygienic traits stem from an awkward condition of forgetting important things, like forgetting to flush the toilet. This leaves a surprise for the next person to use the toilet, one they regret seeing.
The star revealed in an interview for David Letterman that she enjoyed being spoiled by the things her money could buy for her. This doesn't mean she avoids getting dirty as she regularly goes camping and travels around.
All this traveling and moving around is definitely going to get anyone dirty, but Charlize doesn't let the uncleanliness bother her too much. According to Charlize herself, she could go a week without showering or cleaning herself, and she wouldn't mind a bit.
Kristen Stewart is an actress with whom many seem to have a problem due to how cold she looks most of the time. Right now, there seems to be a new source for why people can't stand her, and it seems that it stems from her habit of not taking showers regularly.
It was the same issue during her Twilight days, and she was revealed to go weeks without washing her hair and brushing her teeth. It got to a point where Robert Pattinson, another unhygienic celebrity, started complaining.