Have you ever wondered about the evolution of cleaning homes? From the time when the first humans established permanent dwellings up to today’s modern homes, cleanliness has been, and still is, a high priority. What began as a simple place to escape the elements and gain protection from the surrounding wilderness has evolved over thousands of years into the more elaborate homes we live in today. As homes have changed over time, the way we clean and the supplies we use have changed as well.
Water is Key to Household Cleanliness
Fresh water is important for cleanliness and health. The ancient Babylonians are acknowledged for their use of clean water in the home, and the ancient Romans receive credit for the first aqueduct and sewer system. Bringing clean water in and sending dirty water out is a critical step in household cleanliness. Clean water makes it possible for people to clean themselves as well as cooking utensils and clothing. Cleaning with fresh water reduces illnesses caused by bacteria and viruses, promoting a healthier home and family.
Not all civilizations had access to clean water, and some still don’t to this day. During the period known as the Dark Ages or the Middle Ages in Western Europe, towns and civilizations were filthy and people suffered from cholera, small pox, yellow fever, and the plague. Household cleaning, personal hygiene, and proper water and sewer systems eventually corrected these issues, improving the health of the general population.
The Discovery of Bacteria Led to the Invention of the First Antiseptic
Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek is credited as the first to discover bacteria. Using his own handcrafted microscope, he was able to view the tiniest of living things, or microbes. The research that ensued led to the discovery that certain microbes, such as bacteria, can make people sick. As scientists further studied this concept and the knowledge became more widely accepted by society, cleaner practices spread from person to person and as a society, we grew healthier.
The discovery of bacteria and its potential harm to us spawned the creation of antibacterial substances. Joseph Lister discovered that carbolic acid would kill bacteria, and the first antiseptic was invented. The use of carbolic acid in hospitals before, during, and after surgery led to a significant reduction in post-operative infection. Carbolic soap was introduced in 1894, with the first mass produced bar soap being Lifebuoy. It has been used for bathing as well as washing clothes and cleaning bathrooms. Its use declined over the years due to the mild skin irritation it can cause and because milder disinfectants became available.
Green Cleaning Products Have Come Full Circle
Carbolic acid is just one cleaning agent that was used in the past that was discovered to be mildly harmful to people. Other chemicals like ammonia and bleach are still used today despite their ability to cause skin and respiratory irritation and their possible link to more serious health issues like cancer. Harsh chemicals are also harmful to the environment and the ozone. As a result of the more recent research about some widely accepted household cleaning products, many individuals and cleaning services alike have begun to look for alternatives that are safer and milder.
Natural agents like baking soda and vinegar have been used for centuries to clean and disinfect surfaces. Trends moved away from these as new products were manufactured and marketed to the general public. But as we are growing more environmentally and health conscious in the present time and medical research has uncovered new information about the potential harm some cleaning chemicals may cause, we look for alternatives. In place of harsh chemicals, many homeowners and cleaning services are returning to green products, like baking soda and vinegar, for cleaning. Green products are completely safe for the environment, as well as pets and people.
The Development of House Cleaning Tools Has Made the Job Easier and More Effective
Some of the earliest tools ever made by humans were for the purpose of house cleaning. Primitive forms of brooms and brushes were made by the Mesopotamians to remove dirt from floors and other surfaces in the home. Sea sponges were used for cleaning as well before the modern manufactured sponges were created.
Over time these primitive tools were adapted to become more effective and new tools were invented to make house cleaning easier and more convenient. With the industrial revolution and advancements in technology came mechanical cleaning tools such as the first vacuum cleaners, which were a house cleaning game changer. Advancements in vacuum cleaner technology has brought us today’s robotic vacuums that clean floors unassisted and HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filtered vacuums that remove the tiniest particles out of the air to prevent allergies and improve indoor air quality.
Professional cleaning has evolved too. As part of The Maids’ 22 Step Healthy Touch Deep Cleaning Process, HEPA filtered vacuums, as well as products that are safe for children, pets and the environment, are employed to get clients’ homes as clean as possible. And we are constantly evaluating each new solution as it hits the market to ensure we always use the best.
Who Does the House Cleaning?
Along with the evolution of cleaning supplies and tools came the evolution of cleaning personnel. Servants were part of households since ancient history. Typically only royalty and nobility would have had servants to do the house cleaning, as it required money to acquire servants or slaves. Large homes, estates, and farms required additional workers outside the family in order to be fully functional. The concept of servitude goes all the way back to Biblical times and ancient civilizations, but always with the same socioeconomic status in place: the wealthy had servants to do the housework and the less wealthy cleaned and managed their own homes. Over time it wasn’t just the extremely wealthy people that employed housekeepers, but well-to-do households as well, as wages paid to said housekeepers were often unfair. This practice was still common in the 1960s in American households until the establishment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. By 1970, advancements in technology made washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and other appliances much better and more affordable, making housecleaning easier and eliminating the need for a housekeeper. Buy this time, having a maid was once again a luxury only the extremely wealthy considered a priority.
In addition to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the feminist movement is partially responsible for the discontinuation of female housekeepers. As women fought for equal rights in the workforce, including equal pay and equal opportunity for employment, fewer women were willing to settle for traditional roles. More women began to work outside of the home and have careers that rivaled their male counterparts. Today many women are the breadwinners for their families. In the majority of American households, both parents work outside the home. And single-parent households are at an all-time high, with a majority of single mothers working and raising children alone.
With this shift has come the need for many households to seek a house cleaning service. When both parents work 40 or more hours a week, it’s hard for many to find time to get the housework done. And after working outside the home all week, most people don’t want to spend their time off working inside the home too.
Hiring a House Cleaning Service Has Many Benefits
The history of house cleaning has brought us to the present day where many American households can benefit from a professional cleaning service. There are many reasons people choose to hire a maid service:
- Save time. Busy working people simply don’t have time to clean the house. Full time employment these days rarely means working from 8:00 to 5:00 anymore. Many more hours are expected by salaried employees in order to get the job done. People often have long commutes to work and some hours of the day are spent in the car. Some people even bring work home to do in the evenings and on the weekends. Hiring a house cleaning service means one less thing to get done.
- Save energy. When people spend so many hours working, they want to spend their time off doing something they enjoy. They don’t want to focus their remaining energy on housework.
- Deeper clean. A professional cleaning service can bring your home to a higher level of cleanliness than most people can do alone. Some people find it beneficial to hire a cleaning service to do a spring and a fall deep cleaning, and then handle it themselves in between.
- Healthier home. Cleaning services can help you to achieve a healthier home environment by thoroughly disinfecting every part of your home and removing allergens.
The Maids Use Advanced Cleaning Technology and Green Products to Give Your Home a Healthy Shine
Like most people, you want your home to be clean and healthy. Removing germs is a priority, but you don’t want to replace harmful germs with harmful chemicals instead. The Maids of the Triad use green products to make your home shine without harsh cleaners. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filtered vacuums remove the smallest particles from the air, making the air in your home clean and free of allergens. If you’re ready to relax more and still have a cleaner home than ever before, call The Maids: (336)292-7805.