6. Alexander Hamilton believed in the power of a clean shirt
Alexander Hamilton counted among the cleanest of the Founding Fathers. A perfectionist and what would one day be referred to as a workaholic, Hamilton practiced meticulous personal hygiene, at least in comparison to the standards of his time. He rose early, washed thoroughly, and used toothpowder to clean his teeth several times per day. After his morning ablutions were complete, he donned clean underclothes and “linens”, a term which referred to shirt, neckcloth, and the handkerchief carried in his cuff. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Hamilton wore fresh linens every day, having them laundered after one use.
Hamilton believed clean clothes served as a barrier to disease, while soiled clothes attracted potential illnesses. At a time when even the most enlightened physicians considered diseases to be airborne, Hamilton believed clothes exposed to the air each day were a means of disease transmission. Hamilton developed the reputation of being meticulous in his appearance, as well of being somewhat of a lady’s man during his service with the government. During the hot, muggy, summer days in Philadelphia, Hamilton frequently changed his linen several times in the course of a day, whenever it came to feel less than fresh to its wearer.