The Vikings have through background been depicted many times together dirty unsophisticated barbarians and picture that is quiet being supplied quite often in plenty of of the renowned Viking movies. However, this picture of a common Viking is false, and a legend I will certainly pull personally once and for all.

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Personal to organize in the Viking Age

The Vikings, or should I speak the heathens, were actually an extremely clean, and also in fact, they had actually much far better hygiene 보다 the smelly Christians throughout Europe, who probably had their last and only bath at your baptism, pun intended.


Some that the hatred in the direction of the Vikings might have been due to the fact that of your success in seducing the women across Europe once they come for a visit. The is in fact, something that the believer complained a lot of about, and also John that Wallingford even grabbed one of his pens one so late lonely night to scratch his anger down on a item of paper.

In the chronicle written by man of Wallingford (Chronica Joannis Wallingford), he wrote as follows:

”The Danes, thanks to their habit come comb their hair every day, come bathe every Saturday, to adjust their apparel often, and set off their persons by plenty of such frivolous devices. In this manner, lock laid siege come the virtue that the married women, and also persuaded the daughters even of the noble to be your concubines.”


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John that Wallingford who by the means was a monk was not the just one who was therefore upset the the heathens did together an unchristian act, as taking a bath every Saturday and regularly washing your clothes.

The Church in reality prohibited people from public bathing, due to the fact that they thought it might lead come immorality, promiscuous sex, and also diseases. Most world in the Christianized Europe would largely avoid bathing as lot as possible, specifically the reduced classes, and also they would certainly mostly simply wash their hands and also parts of their face, yet they had actually to be really careful because washing their entire confront was believed to it is in dangerous due to the fact that they might lose your eyesight, at least according to the Church.

The Viking’s personal grooming was also noticed through the Islamic culture when the Arabic traveler and also diplomat Ibn Fadlan met the Vikings called Rus in ~ the river of Volga in eastern Europe.


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”Every work they need to wash your faces and also heads and also this they execute in the dirtiest and also filthiest fashion possible: to wit, every morning a girl servant bring a good basin the water; she supplies this to she master and he washes his hands and face and also his hair, the washes it and combs the out with a comb in the water; climate he blows his nose and spits into the basin. Once he has actually finished, the servant carries the basin to the next person, that does likewise. She carries the container thus to all the family in turn, and also each blows his nose, spits, and also washes his face and hair in it.”


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To it is in honest, it sound a little bit disgusting the they provided the same bowl, yet I actually think the what that wrote has been a little misinterpreted. If it would make feeling that they shared a wooden bowl, castle didn’t have to share the same water, and also the dirty water was probably emptied out and also replaced v fresh water from the river Volga every time the key was given to the next person by the servant girl.

Ibn Fadlan’s terrible with just how the Vikings bathed was more than likely not since they all mutual the very same wooden bowl, but because according come the Islamic faith, they have to wash themselves in to run water or water poured native a bowl, so the dirty water did no touch the person again.

The Vikings were among the cleanest and most satisfied smelling world in Europe throughout the Viking Age, and also the women loved it. If the Vikings did have actually a poor reputation for stealing women abroad on their many raids, few of the ladies may have actually voluntarily jumped into the eight of a strong and handsome Viking to acquire away from she smelly husband.

Hygiene according to Hávamál

Indeed washing your hands before a meal choose a Viking is a phrase that you deserve to use, and also it is something the is also written under in the book Hávamál, which is a book filled v a lot of an excellent advice on exactly how to live a great life follow to the Vikings.

The book also suggests the one had to groom themselves prior to taking part in special occasions such together participating at the assembly in the court (Called Þing in old Norse).

Icelandic:”Þveginn yes sir mettr ríði maðr þingi at,þótt hann séð væddr til vel;skúa yes sir bróka skammiz engi maðr,né hestz in heldr, þótt hann hafit góðan.”

Translated into English: “Washed and also fed, a male should ride to the Assemblythough he might not be very well dressed;of his shoes and breeches, no man should it is in ashamednor the his horse, despite he doesn’t have a an excellent one.”Hávamál – 61

Mourning had an impact on your hygiene

The world within the Viking society washed an extremely often and also had very good personal hygiene contrasted to many other societies at the time. However, if someone shed one of your loved people to disease or warfare they would often display their mourning by prevent washing themselves. This is likewise something the is reflected in their sagas, and also it is other that can be review in the saga the the death of Baldr, in the city Völuspá.

“Baldr I witnessed the bleeding God, His fate still hidden, Odin’s Son: high on the plain a plant grew, A slim marvel, the mistletoe. From the fair shrub, shooting by Hodir, Flew the deadly dart the felled the god. Yet Baldr’s brother was born soon after: though one night old, Odin’s boy Took a vow to avenge the death.”

“His hands he washed no nor his hair combed till Baldr’s bane to be borne to the pyre: deadly the bow attracted by Vali, The strong string of stretched gut, however Frigga wept in Fensalir for the sore of Valhalla. Well, would certainly you recognize more?” Völuspá – 31,32,33

Vikings personal grooming tools

The Vikings had actually a wide selection of tools for their an individual grooming, which is something us know since the excavators have found numerous grooming devices from the Viking age. The an individual appearance was really important to the Vikings, and also it seems choose they invest a many silver on your clothes and their an individual hygiene.


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Viking grooming kit

Both men and women had their own small grooming kit, i m sorry they offered on a day-to-day basis, and also some that the most common grooming tools they had actually were combs, ear spoons, pond cleaners, razors, and also tweezers. We understand that lock were personal grooming kits since people to be often buried with your own small kit.

The combs were largely made native either hardwood or animal bones, and also the ear spoons, nail cleaners, and tweezers were made native either, wood, pet bones, cream color or silver.


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The females who had some that the much more expensive tools v pretty ornamentations would certainly often screen them, by hanging lock from among their brooches on a chain, which additionally was an extremely handy because they had actually a pond cleaner or tweezer nearby.

Saturday to be the Vikings shower day

The Vikings also had a distinct day every mainly which they called Laugardagur, which method bathing day, and also it is, in fact, tho what they speak to it in Iceland today. However, In Denmark, Norway, and Sweden the name has adjusted a bit, and here we contact it Lørdag/Lördag.

This is the only day that the main in the English language the does not share its roots with Scandinavia due to the fact that the English word for Lørdag is Saturday and also it derives native the Latin word “dies Saturni”, which method the day of Saturn.

So the Vikings referred to as Saturday bathing day or literally analyzed it meant pool day, and also no, it is not Loki’s day as some world claim, over there is no Loki’s day, and also why would the Vikings even name a day after a Jotnar (Giant).

So as you have the right to see an individual hygiene was really important come the Vikings, and they were no some dirty barbarians indigenous the north together the tendency likes to portray them. They to be in fact, few of the most well-groomed and also well-prepared people of their time, who also thought that breakfast was one of the most important meals of the day.

Icelandic:“Kemðr yes sir þveginn skal kœnna hverr ok in ~ morni mettr;þvíat ósýnt er, hvarat apni kømr;illt er fyr heill in ~ hrapa.”

Translated into English: ”Combed and washed every thoughtful guy should be and also fed in the morning;for one can not foresee whereby one will certainly be through evening;it is negative to rush headlong prior to one’s fate.”Reginsmál – 25

There was, of course, plenty of differences on exactly how the Vikings to wash themselves as result of their natural surroundings, in Denmark, they would certainly probably have actually been bathing in the local lakes or in a wooden tub, while on Iceland they would many likely have actually jumped right into one the the plenty of hot springs, and it is most likely from Iceland the word Laugardagur originates from, due to the landscape.

However, that does seem the Saunas to be common across all of the Nordic countries, and also a practice the Vikings carried with them as soon as they settled in what now is L’Anse-aux-Meadows top top the island of Newfoundland in Canada.


The Vikings supplied a homemade soap, which was made from pet fat and ash. Soap was an extremely important to them, and also they would let the soap sit for a lengthy time in their hair and beard to bleach it, to gain their hair together bright and blond as possible because the blond hair was extremely sought after.

Nordic sagas even warn versus people that did not have blond hair, for instance, the poet and storyteller Egil Skallagrímsson had actually dark hair, and also because of this, the was taken into consideration to it is in gloomy and unpredictable.


Bathing in these hot springs in Iceland is still really popular today, by both the iceland people and also the many tourists that visit Iceland each year. Something that even the famed Icelandic writer Snorri Sturluson enjoyed to do. Snorri is the author of publications such as the Prose Edda and also the Heimskringla, and also actually, the person we deserve to thank now for have written down numerous of the old norse sagas.

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Snorri Sturluson had his own small bathing pool, i beg your pardon is still standing where he constructed it much more than 800 year ago. Here Snorri most likely sad for numerous hours drinking and relaxing and thinking around what he have to write in one of his next books.