I’m in the middle of my Viking novel and have just realized there is probably an excessive amount of washing and taking of baths going on with my characters. Is this accurate? Did people in the mid-ninth century worry so much over their personal hygiene? I don’t know. Probably not, but I do know that I would worry excessively over their lack of cleanliness as a reader if they weren’t washing at appropriate intervals.

To be fair, various sources do confirm that the Vikings were cleaner than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. For example, personal correspondence records indicate that they took baths every Saturday and at least washed their hands and faces most other days. Something the Anglo-Saxons did not do. Also, archeological findings include tweezers, ear-spoons, nail cleaners, and combs to name a few personal grooming items. Most large farms also seemed to have bathhouses. These finds also suggest that they kept the beards trimmed and their hair groomed.

The librarian in me is telling me to cite my sources, but the lazier part of me is telling me this isn’t that sort of article. I’ll leave you with a couple of great online resources I’ve found for quick information.

http://www.hurstwic.org/

http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/