Are Women Actually More Hygienic than Men?

You can't run away from a cliché -- especially if it's true. Take the longstanding stereotype that men don't care as much about hygiene as women. In a study of the germs that lurk in office environments in three major U.S. cities, the researchers came to the unsettling (if somewhat unsurprising) conclusion that women really do appear to be cleaner, at least at work. But there might be another explanation that lets men off the hook.

The researchers analyzed germs in 30 business settings New York, San Francisco, and Tucson, and while the main finding was that phones and chairs harbor the most microorganisms, the study couldn't help but point out that there was a direct correlation between the concentration of germs in an office and the number of male employees. However, the researchers tactfully pointed out that men tend to be bigger than women, and thus have a larger surface area for harboring bacteria. In other words, it could be that men are just as clean as women -- but then again, maybe not. The study authors also noted that while they found 549 genera of bacteria -- mostly originating in the mouth, nose, and on the skin -- the majority of it is not harmful.

Some less obvious differences between the sexes:

  • On average, a man's skin is 25 percent thicker than a woman's and has more collagen, a structural protein that strengthens connective tissue.

  • A man's ring finger tends to be longer than his index finger, while the opposite is true for women.

  • A British study suggests that men might be more vain than women; men look in the mirror about 23 times a day, whereas women gaze at their reflection 16 times a day.

More Info: Scientific American

Discussion Comments


I understand the above facts, but my experience as a woman using restrooms with other women has proven to me many women are not as hygienic as men may believe. Often they urinate, change tampons and pads, wipe their behinds, dispose of dirty infant diapers and don't bother to even wash their hands. Many times they overflow toilets with all kinds of debris also.

I worked with a woman who was responsible for handing out documents that went to people in higher reaches in our company and she would never wash her hands after toileting. It really gave me the creeps whenever I had to pick a document up from her at her desk. I knew where her hands had been and also had not been: the soap dispenser and sink in the restroom.


My observation is that men are more interested in appearances than women so I am not surprised about the mirror finding. This is based on the observation that male homosexuals generally are more fit and better groomed than female homosexuals. Now, I have not done a study by any means, but it is what I have observed in the media (which is not always the truest picture of reality). Also, within nature itself, generally the males are more colorful than the females of the species. It is said this is to attract mates but is that just anthropomorphic? Do female humans glam up mainly to attract males?

Also, couldn't the metrics of the study be adjusted by using the average male to female ratios for size to see if size equalizes the germ count. OK, I guess I am taking this way to seriously!


//A British study suggests that men might be more vain than women; men look in the mirror about 23 times a day, whereas women gaze at their reflection 16 times a day.//

I don't believe this study!


I think alot of men definitely don't care about hygiene like women do, whereas it's on purpose or not? Guys don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom, don't wash hands after blowing noses, they pick their noses... Yes, I've seen all of this & they aren't 22 yr olds.. EEEH!

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