12 Ways Past Epidemics Changed Everyday Life in America

12 Ways Past Epidemics Changed Everyday Life in America

White tile and linoleum became popular in houses

The widespread acceptance of germ theory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries resulted in a shift in interior design—both in public buildings like hospitals and in private homes. Victorian-era homes were known for their ornate wooden decorations, heavy draperies, and patterned wallpaper and flooring designed to hide dirt and grime. But once people understood that dirt and dust could contain germs that cause infectious disease, there was a shift from dark colors, fabrics, wallpaper, and flooring to stark white interiors, where any dirt was clearly visible.

"I think common sense dictates that if you want to know if the surface is clean, the visual cue is that you've used a light color and there are now dark spots on it. [You can see if] it's looking grimy," explains Kelly Wright, PhD, who teaches American history at the University of Cincinnati and specializes in the historic use of color in architecture. In addition to that, white tiles and linoleum floors were easier to clean than wood, with its natural crevices. No matter what you're cleaning, make sure you know the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting.

12 Ways Past Epidemics Changed Everyday Life in America, Source:https://www.rd.com/culture/ways-past-epidemics-changed-everyday-life-in-america/