Hygiene Habits In The Wild West

The American Frontier, otherwise referred to as the Wild West or Old West, was a time period in American history that involved the westward expansion across the United States. During that time, pioneers looked west to “the frontier” in hopes of making their fortunes and starting new lives. Life on the frontier was not for the faint of heart, and those who were brave enough to face it paid the price with their hygiene. Take a look to see what hygiene was really like in the Wild West and how greatly it contrasts from today.

You Took Your Chances Sleeping On A Public Bed

Although not every bed in the American Frontier was made from straw and hay, many of them were. Because they weren’t cleaned often, many of these beds became infested with what became known as “seam squirrels,” or lice. However, these were just one of the many types of insects that plagued those living in the Old West.

Man reading with candle on his head
Print Collector/Getty Images
Print Collector/Getty Images

Flies were everywhere, contaminating food with their larva as well as mosquitoes making their way into poorly insulated structures. Furthermore, few people had screens on their windows, welcoming in any kind of insect that passed by.