With many natural and synthetic alternatives available, it may be hard to believe that throughout history mankind has used urine for many purposes. Here are three uses that may surprise you.
With natural and synthetic alternatives available, it may be hard to believe that throughout history mankind has used urine for many purposes. People even paid high prices and taxes for this “liquid gold.” Here are three uses that may surprise you. Kids, don’t try these at home.
Number 3 – Makes colors brighter. In the 1500s, pee was collected from private and public containers to get brighter, lasting colors when dying fabric. According to the Smithsonian, urine’s ammonia was so popular inEngland’s textile industry that they used an “amount equivalent to the urine steam of 1,000 people for an entire year.”
Number 2 – Blows stuff up. The main ingredient in gunpowder, potassium nitrate, wasn’t produced much until the 1900s. Before that, urine was mixed with feces and ash. Urine eventually breaks down into ammonia, which in turn reacts with oxygen to create nitrates. Thanks to the chemical reaction between the nitrates and the potassium ions in the ash, you’ve got yourself potassium nitrate.
Number 1 – Whitens your smile. The same stain-lifting power of urine’s ammonia used for cleaning clothes worked to brighten teeth too. Ancient Romans not only brushed their teeth and gums with pee, but also rinsed with it as a kind of mouthwash. No minty fresh breath though.