6 Historical & Gross Uses For Pee

Now we just flush it away, but historically, pee had real value. The Smithsonian lists some of the things that it used to be used for:

1) Tanning leather. Urine is full of urea, which degrades into ammonia.

Ammonia in water acts as a caustic but weak base. Its high pH breaks down organic material, making urine the perfect substance for ancients to use in softening and tanning animal hides. Soaking animal skins in urine also made it easier for leather workers to remove hair and bits of flesh from the skin.

2) Cleaning and whitening clothes. The ammonia removes stains and intensifies the colors of dyes. “Many launderers preferred it to soap.”

3) Gunpowder. Urine can be used to make saltpetre, a key ingredient of the explosive.

4) Tooth Whitener. Again, due to the ammonia.

5) Commenters picked up the subject and noted that urine was also used as a health supplement (Gandhi would drink his own every morning and Madonna has claimed that she used it to cure her athlete’s foot)

6) Today one of the most important uses of urine would be to recover the phosphorus. We explained how to do that here. Really, given how valuable the stuff is, perhaps it is time to stop throwing it away.

Via Fast Company

 

Related:
6 Crazy-Awesome Things Powered by Pee
Would You Use Reusable Toilet Paper?

By Lloyd Alter, from TreeHugger

140 comments

lynda l.
lynda l3 years ago

LOL

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Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

On an episode of 'Friends', I saw that if you get stung by a jellyfish, to have someone pee on the sting and it takes away the pain.

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Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

ew?

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heather g.
heather g3 years ago

When it comes to listing items contained in a product, I cannot imagine any Teeth Whitener product actually listing urine - by any name.

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Jane R.
Jane R3 years ago

I read that if a baby, or anyone for that matter, gets ear infections that a few drops of urine in the ear will cure the problem, no more ear aches or infections ever after doing this. What I don't know is if you only do it once. I forgot where I read about this. It's worth a try.

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KAREN G.
Karen G3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Syd Henley
Syd H3 years ago

I don't know if they still do it, but many years ago I visited the "Center for alternative technology", at Machynlleth in mid-Wales, and they collected the Urine from the toilets and poured it into tanks containing weeds and other waste plant matter to make liquid fertilizer.

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GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSheila D3 years ago

Knew about leather tanning and clothes whitening...don't think I'll use it as a tooth whitener anytime soon.

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Julianna D.
Juliana D3 years ago

Wish I could sell my pee

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Edgar Zuim
Edgar Zuim3 years ago

Fantastic ... I will start selling my pee.

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