There’s a lot of misconception surrounding the Amish lifestyle, but there's nothing shrouded in more mystery than Amish hygiene practices. Do they have any set hygiene practices? Are their practices rooted in religious beliefs?
Generally, Amish people do practice regular hygiene like most modern-day individuals. They shave their beards and trim their hair; they have a penchant for cleanliness and good grooming.
That said, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to how the Amish practice hygiene. Each Amish community can have slightly different rules and regulations regarding personal grooming, with some being more flexible than others. Here's everything you need to know about Amish hygiene.
What this article covers:
Amish Approaches to Hygiene
The Amish have various hygiene practices, just like regular Americans. They take showers, although the frequency may vary among different Amish orders. Conservative Amish don’t use deodorant, talc, or lotion. They simply wash, dry, and put on clean clothing.
Female Amish wash their hair and wear it in a bun. As for makeup, Amish women aren’t allowed to wear cosmetics or adornments considered worldly. This includes lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, and jewelry.
Although most Amish are not taught dental hygiene, they barely have decayed teeth due to their dietary patterns and way of life. However, the Amish diet is slowly changing in New Order Amish groups, and dental hygiene is becoming more important.
Female Amish clean the house daily because, with many children, the house gets dirtier quicker. They wash, dry, and put away their dishes after every meal.
Amish women and girls do the family laundry weekly. Any day of the week is okay, as long as it's not Sunday. Most Amish orders permit power washing machines, but some still wash their clothes with old-fashioned methods such as bar soap, a washboard, and a wringer.
When there’s a lot of laundry with no washing machine, the Amish put boiling water in a large bowl and spin the clothes with homemade lye soap till they're clean. Sun drying is the most common method to dry clothes among the Amish.
Do the Amish Have Indoor Plumbing?
Do Amish have plumbing? The Ordnung (a set of rules for the Amish) pretty much guides everything that the Amish do, and personal hygiene is no exception. For instance, it prohibits men from having long hair and shaving beards; women must keep their hair in a bun and dress modestly. That said, the Ordnung varies from group to group depending on the rules of their particular church district.
Some Church districts have a "low" Ordnung, meaning that their rules are very conservative, while others have a "high" Ordnung, meaning that their rules are much more liberal.
Old Order Amish
The Swatzentruber is one of the most conservative Amish orders. Their Ordnung forbids them from having indoor plumbing, forcing them to use an outhouse. This means that they have no access to running water or hot showers. So how do they keep themselves clean?
The Swatzentruber Amish still practice regular hygiene habits such as bathing, shaving, brushing their teeth, and changing clothes.
Does this mean they use cold water to bathe? Members of this group heat water on a stove or fire pit and use it for bathing, cleaning dishes, and other personal hygiene needs.
Do Amish share bath water? It is common for children in large Amish families to bathe using the same bathwater. Bath water in Amish conservative communities is well-drawn. Sharing water is an efficient way to keep children clean without wasting too much water.
New Order Amish
The New Order Amish are less conservative than traditional Old Order Amish groups, making them more likely to use electricity and indoor plumbing. Some members of this group have walk-in showers as opposed to traditional bathtubs. Those without a hot shower connect their hot water tanks to propane or gas energy sources.
How Many Times a Week Do the Amish Bathe?
Personal hygiene routines may vary from family to family. However, most Old Order Amish men only bathe on Saturdays during winter, but many use sponge baths during the week. This is because there are no bathtubs in their homes, and bathing can take up a lot of time that could be spent on other essential tasks.
In summer, conservative Amish tend to bathe at least twice weekly to eliminate dirt and sweat. The women may bathe more frequently and keep the home clean as well.
New Order Amish may bathe more frequently than the Swatzentruber order, taking advantage of running water for showers or baths.
Do Amish go swimming? Swimming is permissible in some Amish communities, but it depends on the rules of the district and their interpretation of scriptures. Some Amish have been known to swim in a river or a lake with modest clothing, such as long skirts and loose-fitting shirts for women. Women also swim in different locations from men.
Do the Amish Use Soap?
Conservative Amish orders mostly use Amish cleaning recipes to make homemade soaps. Additionally, they use hot towels and heated stones to help keep them clean. However, New Order Amish use modern cleaning products such as laundry detergent and shampoo to help maintain cleanliness.
What's in Amish cleaning tonic? One of the key ingredients in this tonic is white vinegar which acts as a disinfectant and breaks down dirt and grime. Another key ingredient is rubbing alcohol, which acts as a disinfectant and helps keep the mixture from separating. The Amish cleaning solution is effective on tough stains, non-abrasive, safe, and non-toxic.
The Amish have a unique approach to hygiene and cleanliness due to their religious beliefs. While practices vary from group to group, the Amish generally practice regular hygiene habits, including bathing and laundry.
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