Your soap, mop, vacuum cleaner, all have provided great service to you over the years. You might not fully appreciate them, courtesy of them serving as a reminder of all the cleaning you said you would do but never got around to.
However, they weren’t always around and the cleaning that has gotten easier with the invention of these cleaning tools would have taken you even more hours to complete. We would be living a dirty, way more germ-infested life if it weren’t for cleaning tools. Today, let’s talk about some of the fun facts related to the invention of cleaning tools and how they were used.
1 . The Mop
The cleaning tool that helps you rinse an area with water without making you bend all over or get your hands dirty with water is actually quite recent as far as inventions are concerned. That’s not to say that a mop like tool can’t be traced way back in 1400.
But the working model was only invented in 1893, when it was patented by Thomas W. Stewart, who is an inventor of African-American origin. The first mop was created with yarn. Mops are still created with yarn but sponges, cloth and other various material are also available in the market.
2. Soap is from ancient times
We can’t really call any cleaning tool the world’s oldest, since it is hard to figure out exactly which one was found first. Strong evidence suggests it’s soap. Or at least a similar kind of substance that existed way back in 2800 B.C.E. It is thought to be an invention of the Babylonians and is apparently the child of fat, ash, and water.
A curious combination, no matter how you look at it. From the composition, it doesn’t exactly sound like a clean mixture. In fact, it sounds anything but. Yet, even today, some soaps are still made with animal fat. On the other hand, liquid soaps are usually made from oil, palm and olive oil to be exact.
3. Linoleum for the floors
Now we have a vacuum. Before that, there was a mop. Way, way before that there was yet another cleaning tool for our dirty floors. It’s not quite right to call linoleum a cleaning tool, but the purpose was quite similar. These shiny, lightweight tiles are still found on our bathroom and kitchen walls and floors. Back then, they were part of hospitals too.
Now, they might be nothing more than for aesthetic purposes but people of the olden times specifically invented it to make cleaning easier for themselves, since there was a horrible lack of cleaning tools. Linoleum was an invention of the 1860s but it was not until later that it got popular. This is because originally Linoleum had a short life span which didn’t seem worth the trouble to most people.
4. Disinfectants take their sweet time
This is one fun fact about disinfectants that’s going to help you in the long run. You are supposed to let a disinfectant sit on the surface for about 1 minute before wiping it off. Most people, unfortunately, make the mistake of rinsing it in 15-20 seconds. Disinfectants dates back thousands and thousands of years to a time when the Egyptians used to wipe surfaces with wine and vinegar. The turn of the century has led to an overabundance of cleaning chemicals.
You can find the mentions of chemicals in literature too. In Odyssey, Homer made a specific mention of the protagonist demanding to purify the house with sulfur and detoxicating the house with it, because his rival visited the space and he had to defeat him. Even mercury used to serve as a cleansing agent, over different eras as an anti-bacterial agent.
These cleaning tools weren’t always good, a lot of them came from superstitions and the methods were somewhat toxic. People didn’t know much about about bacteria and organisms back then. The general consensus was that if you can see the chemical working, through smoke or other means, that means it was doing its job, regardless of whether it was harmful or not.
Antonie Van Leuwenhook discovered microorganisms in 1675, and one year later in 1676 it was discovered that vinegar had the ability to kill microorganisms. Scientists came to the realization that unseen organisms are capable of causing disease and in turn, chemicals are capable of killing these organisms without making a show of it.
Who knew that the cleaning supplies you abhorred so intensely had so much history behind them? Years and years of research led to the ease of living that we are experiencing today. And yet, despite being in constant presence of these cleaning tools, we still have a lot to learn about their proper use. That’s just us, though. The normal, common folks. Professional cleaners know all about cleaning tools and how to use them. They are well acquainted with how to use them to make our life easier.