What Are the Best Tips for Personal Hygiene and Cleanliness?

Susan Grindstaff

Regular bathing is the most obvious way to maintain personal hygiene and cleanliness, but every few minutes, people routinely encounter germs and bacteria, so it is a good idea not to stop with just a daily shower, but to wash hands at intervals throughout the day. It is also important to wear clothing that is clean and freshly laundered, and if possible, to quickly remove clothing that is soiled. In addition, attention should be paid to hair, teeth, fingernails, and toenails. Soaps, toothpastes, and possibly even shampoos should ideally be antibacterial. It is also typically necessary to apply deodorant at least once per day, for even though body odor does not directly impact physical health, it can have a profound impact on social acceptance and mental health.

Mouthwash can help kill the germs which cause bad breath.
Mouthwash can help kill the germs which cause bad breath.

Long luxuriating baths may be a relaxing mental balm, and they can even help ease tired or strained muscles, but for the purposes of personal hygiene and cleanliness, most studies indicate that showers do a much better job in cleansing. When taking a submerged bath, bacteria and germs swirl around inside the bathwater, eventually ending up right back where they started — on the skin. Showering washes germs and bacteria off the skin and hair, and down the drain.

Brushing and flossing teeth ensures good daily oral hygiene.
Brushing and flossing teeth ensures good daily oral hygiene.

Many soaps and shampoos are available that not only clean, but also kill harmful bacteria. These soaps are usually more expensive, but are typically considered better for maintaining personal hygiene and cleanliness. Antibacterial soaps can be purchased at most groceries and pharmacies.

Hand washing can prevent the spread of many communicable diseases.
Hand washing can prevent the spread of many communicable diseases.

Bacteria often lodge underneath the nails of the fingers and toes, and sometimes it takes more than a shower or hand washing to properly cleanse these areas. It is a good idea to use a sterilized nail file to get underneath the nail to remove the dirt and grime that can lodge there. In addition, longer nails harbor more dirt and germs than do shorter ones, so it is probably a good idea to keep nails trimmed as short as possible.

Chewing gum can help freshen breath between meals.
Chewing gum can help freshen breath between meals.

Studies seem to show that brushing and flossing after every meal is the best way to keep bacteria in the mouth at a minimum. It also helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay while maintaining a fresh, clean smile. Using an antibacterial mouthwash after brushing can freshen breath as it kills any remaining germs and bacteria.

Using a sufficient amount of toilet paper is a basic of personal hygiene.
Using a sufficient amount of toilet paper is a basic of personal hygiene.

Other ways to help promote personal hygiene and cleanliness include frequent changes of underwear and changes of outerwear when necessary. The longer that clothing remains on the body, the more germs and bacteria attach to it. Clothing also magnifies body odor, so using a good antiperspirant and deodorant is essential.

Shampooing and conditioning the hair regular helps ensure good personal hygiene.
Shampooing and conditioning the hair regular helps ensure good personal hygiene.
A nail brush can be used to clean dirt and debris from the toenails and fingernails.
A nail brush can be used to clean dirt and debris from the toenails and fingernails.
A person should cover their face when sneezing to prevent the spread of germs.
A person should cover their face when sneezing to prevent the spread of germs.
Daily bathing with soap is a must for good personal hygiene.
Daily bathing with soap is a must for good personal hygiene.
Frequently changing into a clean pair of underwear is a good tip for personal hygiene.
Frequently changing into a clean pair of underwear is a good tip for personal hygiene.
Using hand sanitizer is a good idea when washing hands isn't an option.
Using hand sanitizer is a good idea when washing hands isn't an option.
Wearing deodorant can help reduce body odor and is usually considered part of good personal hygiene.
Wearing deodorant can help reduce body odor and is usually considered part of good personal hygiene.
Keeping the feet clean and healthy is an important part of personal hygiene.
Keeping the feet clean and healthy is an important part of personal hygiene.

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Discussion Comments

lluviaporos

@Fa5t3r - It's funny how people have different personal cures for acne. I think it might be just that as a skin condition it happens for a lot of people but it's caused by more than one thing.

I've found that changing my pillow case every time I wash my hair works really well. I suspect that my skin doesn't like being in contact with my hair products for long hours overnight and that's the main reason it breaks out.

Fa5t3r

@irontoenail - I've been told that chewing some sugarless gum is the best way to freshen your mouth after a meal, particularly one that is recommended by dentists, because it helps to clean away the particles of food that might be left and it makes your breath smell nicer.

Fresh mint would probably work just as well. Although I don't really do any more than brush and floss twice a day and it seems to work just fine. I noticed when I was a teenager that I had less acne when I brushed my teeth every night and that got me into a routine even if nothing else did.

irontoenail

There have been studies that show that brushing and flossing after every meal is a good thing, but you need to wait a little bit before doing it. Often meals contain mild acid (like in fruit or soft drinks or sauces) and these can weaken the enamel on your teeth temporarily. Flossing won't hurt anything, but if you scrub your teeth with a brush directly after every meal you could end up wearing away the enamel.

Everyone has different routines and suggestions and I don't think there is an ultimate guide to tooth hygiene, but in the long run it's probably better to try and preserve enamel since we don't have a way to regenerate it.

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