Myth: Medieval people smelled bad because they didn’t take baths. (Some sources stated that people got married in June because they had just had their yearly bath.)

Fact: Household account books that survive from the Middle Ages show that medieval people from every country loved to take baths. They may have washed once a week, or once every ten days, but most bathed daily. Many medieval towns had common bathhouses, and according to their account books, they did a lively business throughout the year. Medieval bathhouses were often built on surviving Roman designs, and had both heated and cool baths as part of an elaborate bathing ritual. (And yes, they washed their hair and combed it, too! Medieval combs were carved by hand out of wood, and were taken care of as any prized appliance would be. In fact, medieval combs were often decorated with marquetry, ivory, mirrors, and gems–just a hint of how valuable medieval people thought a comb was to them!) In addition, archaeological expeditions have brought to light nail cleaners and ear cleaners from the Middle Ages, so it is clear that medieval people cared about being clean.

Myth: Medieval people did not use soap.

Fact: Soapmakers’ guilds existed before 600 A.D. That’s ten years before Muhammad started Islam.