For many in the Wild West, wasting water on laundry or dishes just wasn’t an option. They had other priorities at the time, and because water was extremely scarce, people would refrain from washing their dishes and clothes, or they would use bathwater for this purpose, to conserve water resources. Frequently, entire families shared a single tub of water, which was only changed weekly if they were fortunate enough to do so. Water was sacred to them, and they did not want to waste it on things they thought were unimportant at the time.
Of course, not cleaning clothes regularly can lead to health problems like skin irritation, not to mention the lice and flea infestations we talked about before. Failure to rinse dishes between uses can also lead to stomach problems. To preserve water, they did not wash much. Often, whole families used the same basin of water that lasted them the week. People at the time would rather go a month without showering than go a month without drinking water. Today, this is regarded as disgusting, but this was how people in the Wild West lived, attempting to make the most of their limited water resources.