The first advocate of cleanliness was Aulus Cornelius Celsus of Rome, who introduced wound washing with vinegar and thyme oil, both having antiseptic properties. The introduction was during the first century. There are other early antiseptics included pitch, wine, copper, silver, and mercury. It was in the 19th century that the significance of hand washing came into play.
It was also in the 19th century that the importance of hygiene in hospital settings was from expectant mothers who feared death from puerperal sepsis or childhood fever, and it was three times higher among women whose babies were delivered by students. Handwashing programs were developed in the hospital by a man named Dr. Semelweis. Mortality rate due to hand washing went down.