A Look at the Historical Use of Deodorant: What Did People Do Before?

Unearth the past! Unveil the concealed! Uncover what people used before deodorant! Delve into the history of this fragrant product and explore how it has evolved over time. From ancient remedies to modern-day solutions, discover the story behind this revolutionary invention and how it has impacted society. Trace its origins and find out how it changed hygiene habits around the world. Uncover a fascinating tale of innovation and learn why deodorant is so important today.

Throughout the ages, people have sought to control body odor. From incense and perfume used in Ancient Egypt, to oils and fragrant plants like lavender employed by Greeks and Romans, a wide array of methods have been employed to combat unpleasant smells. In the early 20th century, Lysol was marketed as an antiseptic but often served as a deodorant.

In 1888, Edna Murphey launched the first commercial deodorant in the US. This powder was composed of zinc oxide, perfume oil, and alcohol. It wasn’t until the 1940s that aerosol sprays became popular with products such as Mum and Ban Roll-On.

Over time, deodorants have become increasingly effective at controlling odors while being gentler on skin than ever before. Today’s products come in many forms such as sprays, gels, creams, sticks, roll-ons and even wipes!

The evolution of deodorant has drastically changed hygiene habits around the world – offering us a variety of ways to stay smelling fresh all day long!



The 20th century marked a revolutionary shift in the way people dealt with body odor. Suddenly, there was an abundance of options to choose from! Bathing and fragrant soaps and lotions were still popular methods for controlling unpleasant smells, but now people could also use perfumes and colognes to mask any odors. In some cultures, herbs and spices were used as natural alternatives to deodorants. Some even went as far as utilizing coal dust or ashes in place of deodorant. With so many creative solutions at their disposal, people had never before had such control over their body odor!

– Ancient History of Deodorant Alternatives

Mysteriously tracing back to antiquity, various techniques were employed to alleviate body odor. The Egyptians and Greeks resorted to perfumes and oils, while the Chinese adopted herbal remedies such as sage, mint, and alum. Medieval Europeans utilized herbs, spices, and flowers for a similar purpose. The Renaissance period saw the advent of vinegar and lemon juice as a means of combating this issue. Fast forwarding to present times, baking soda has become a popular alternative to traditional deodorants. While these age-old practices may not be as effective as today’s products, they certainly sufficed in their own time.

– Traditional Deodorant Alternatives Used Throughout History

Throughout the ages, people have sought out numerous ways to battle body odor. Before the advent of modern deodorants in the early 1900s, many relied on natural remedies such as herbs, oils and other substances to mask or neutralize unpleasant smells. In Egypt, perfumes made from essential oils like frankincense were employed for their purifying properties. Juniper berries were burned in Europe during the Middle Ages, while coriander and lemongrass were used in Asia. Vinegar was also utilized due to its acidic nature which inhibits bacterial growth that causes bad odors – it is said that ancient Romans would soak their feet in vinegar before public baths. Ashes from fires were a go-to among Native American tribes who would rub them into skin or clothing for a natural deodorant effect. Lastly, baking soda has been embraced as an effective alternative due to its capacity to absorb moisture and neutralize odors caused by sweat and bacteria buildup on the skin’s surface – a practice still widely used today.

– Historical Uses of Natural Ingredients to Mask Body Odor

Throughout the ages, humans have sought out natural ingredients to combat body odor. From ancient Egypt to the Victorian era, people used a variety of herbs, flowers, and other ingredients to achieve a pleasant scent.

In 4500 B.C.E., perfumes were popular in Egypt and were made from myrrh, frankincense, cedarwood, and cinnamon. These fragrances were believed to bring pleasure to the gods and were often used in religious ceremonies as well as for personal hygiene purposes.

The Romans also had their own methods of using natural ingredients for hygiene; rosemary and lavender had antiseptic properties while thyme and oregano helped reduce body odor.

Victorians embraced the use of natural ingredients for personal hygiene too – roses, violets, lavender, jasmine, orange blossom, carnations – all these flowers were widely used in soaps and perfumes due to their sweet aromas. In addition to this, they also relied on herbs like mint leaves or sage for their antiseptic qualities as well as their ability to mask body odor naturally.

Nowadays however, synthetic products are more convenient than ever before – but many still prefer traditional methods of using natural ingredients over synthetics due to either environmental friendliness or simply because they enjoy the smells associated with them.”

– How Societal Norms Influenced the Use of Deodorant Alternatives

From the dawn of time, the idea of personal hygiene has been deeply ingrained in our culture, and with it the use of deodorant alternatives. In olden days, natural ingredients such as frankincense and myrrh were employed to keep odors at bay. As bathing became more popular in the 19th century, so did the use of deodorants. By the early 20th century, modern deodorants had become a staple in American society; it was seen as a sign of sophistication and respectability.

Nowadays, deodorant is widely accepted as an essential part of personal hygiene; however, there are still some cultures that do not approve its use due to religious or cultural beliefs. For these people, natural alternatives such as baking soda or witch hazel are often used instead to reduce body odor without relying on traditional deodorants.

It is evident that societal norms have had a major impact on how we view and utilize deodorant alternatives through time. From ancient Egypt to present day, these norms have shaped our attitude towards hygiene and influenced our decisions when it comes to controlling body odor.

– Evolution of Deodorant Alternatives in Different Cultures Through History

Since the dawn of time, humanity has sought out ways to combat body odor. From ancient herbal remedies to modern chemical compounds, deodorant alternatives have evolved in response to changing needs and beliefs. In Egypt, oil and perfume were used to mask smells while spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg were popular during the Middle Ages. Traditional Chinese medicine also included herbs like ginger and ginseng boiled into an infusion that was then applied directly to the skin.

The late 19th century saw the introduction of commercial deodorants like Mum deodorant cream and Odorono underarm cream which contained antiseptic ingredients such as zinc oxide or mercury chloride. By the mid-20th century, new synthetic chemicals had been developed for use in deodorants such as aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly.

Nowadays there is a vast array of deodorant options available including natural products made from essential oils and plant extracts as well as more traditional chemical-based formulas. Many companies offer vegan alternatives made without animal byproducts or synthetic fragrances which are better for both our bodies and the environment. Ultimately, there is sure to be a deodorant alternative out there that works for you!


Throughout the ages, humans have sought to obscure body scents in various ways. Utilizing fragrant oils, herbs, and spices were common methods of masking odors. In addition, some societies also took advantage of substances such as charcoal and alum for their ability to absorb perspiration and diminish foul smells. Today, however, we are familiar with the use of deodorant – a concept that was unknown to our ancestors.


Some questions with answers

Q1: What did people use instead of deodorant in ancient history?
A1: People in ancient history used a variety of methods to control body odor, including bathing and using fragrant herbs and oils such as lavender and rosemary.

Q2: How did people in the Middle Ages keep body odor at bay?
A2: People in the Middle Ages often relied on scented waters, perfumes, and fragrant flowers to mask body odor. They also bathed regularly and used vinegar or lemon juice as an astringent.

Q3: What did people use instead of deodorant during the Renaissance period?
A3: During the Renaissance period, people often used perfumes, scented oils, and aromatic herbs to control body odor. They also took frequent baths and changed their clothing regularly.

Q4: Was there any type of deodorant available during the Victorian era?

A4: While there were no commercial deodorants available during the Victorian era, some people would make their own concoctions using ingredients like baking soda or lemon juice.

Q5: When was the first commercial deodorant invented?

A5: The first commercial deodorant was invented in 1888 by an inventor named Jules Montenier. It was called Mum and it was made with zinc oxide, wax, and perfume.

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