What Is Basic Personal Hygiene?

B. Miller

Basic personal hygiene is the process of maintaining cleanliness and personal grooming. It is important for everyone, not just to be a happy member of society, but also for health purposes; people who fail to practice basic hygiene are more likely to become sick themselves, or to make other people ill by spreading germs. In general, basic hygiene refers to bathing regularly to cleanse the skin and the hair, keeping the nails clipped and clean, brushing the teeth, and wearing deodorant. For most people, these hygiene practices are simply a habit they learned as children, while others may need to work harder at it, for a number of reasons.

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.

Individuals with disabilities, or elderly people, may have trouble maintaining basic personal hygiene on their own. For this reason, individuals will sometimes live in assisted living facilities, or have a home care assistant who will come and help them care for themselves. This will help to ensure that they are safe and cared for properly, and also that their health stays good. For everyone else, though, it is important to make basic personal hygiene a daily habit if it isn't already.

Hand washing is a basic part of hygiene.
Hand washing is a basic part of hygiene.

Bathing or showering daily is the cornerstone of basic hygiene. It helps to prevent body odor, keeps the skin healthy, and can prevent some skin conditions that occur if the skin is not cared for properly. Washing the hands throughout the day is another part of basic personal hygiene, such as after using the restroom. This is not just important for personal cleanliness, but to prevent the spread of disease. Most workplaces post signs in the restrooms that require employees to wash their hands before they return to work. Other workplaces might require employees to wear gloves as well, such as those in the food service industry.

Personal hygiene for men may include shaving.
Personal hygiene for men may include shaving.

Keeping the teeth clean and healthy is another important aspect of basic personal hygiene. This involves brushing the teeth twice per day, and flossing at least once. Wearing deodorant is important as well. Finally, grooming the hair is part of daily care as well; this may include washing and brushing the hair, and for men, shaving the face or trimming a beard. It is expected that anyone who is a part of society, or part of the workplace, should look groomed and clean every day; in some cases, it may even be possible to lose a job if basic personal hygiene standards are not kept.

Brushing teeth twice a day is considered basic personal hygiene.
Brushing teeth twice a day is considered basic personal hygiene.
Frequent hand washing may help prevent the spread of germs.
Frequent hand washing may help prevent the spread of germs.
Bathing daily and using shampoo is considered basic personal hygiene.
Bathing daily and using shampoo is considered basic personal hygiene.
Scrubbing with soap while taking a shower is a personal hygiene basic.
Scrubbing with soap while taking a shower is a personal hygiene basic.
Flossing is a basic part of oral hygiene.
Flossing is a basic part of oral hygiene.
Brushing hair regularly helps to give it a healthy look.
Brushing hair regularly helps to give it a healthy look.
Some elderly individuals may require assistance with personal hygiene.
Some elderly individuals may require assistance with personal hygiene.
Using hand pump soap dispensers instead of bar soap can help against the spread of germs.
Using hand pump soap dispensers instead of bar soap can help against the spread of germs.
Mouthwash is part of personal hygiene.
Mouthwash is part of 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.
Regular bathing is a basic part of person hygiene.
Regular bathing is a basic part of person hygiene.
Having tissues on hand can help prevent the spread of germs from sneezing.
Having tissues on hand can help prevent the spread of germs from sneezing.
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.
Basic personal hygiene can help minimize the occurrence of breakouts.
Basic personal hygiene can help minimize the occurrence of breakouts.

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Discussion Comments

anon341885

My mother has really bad personal hygiene and prevents the rest of us from having it. She makes everyone else have bad personal hygiene too.

Ana1234

I have heard some really horrific things about how people can be mistreated in rest homes from neglect to their personal hygiene.

It really scares me that one day I might be completely dependent on other people to care for me and provide me with essential things like showers or even bathroom trips, and that those people might just not care enough to help.

I think it's all too easy to dehumanize the elderly, but they are just people who happen to be stuck in a body that has reached a natural state of wear and tear.

irontoenail

@MrsPramm - It's always so sad, too, when a child hasn't been washed properly by their parents (or shown how to do it) because they will basically be shunned by the other children.

I was teaching a little girl a while ago who had quite strange parents and she was always in very old, dirty, scruffy clothes. I know they loved her, but I think they either didn't realize that they were doing something wrong, or simply didn't care.

I always felt so bad for her, because she could obviously see the difference between herself and the other students, but she was too brave to ever say anything.

MrsPramm

Something that I think is really important is to establish good habits in children from a young age. It's not enough to assume they will learn how to do things by themselves, you really have to explicitly teach them.

It can be so embarrassing for them later in life if someone points out what they are doing wrong. Not to mention in some cases it can lead to disease.

My father was horribly embarrassed by the fact that he ended up losing a lot of his teeth and he told me it was basically because he was never taught to brush them and he didn't start brushing regularly until he was an adult and realized that he was getting sore teeth for a reason.

If his parents had taught him to do it regularly from his childhood, he would never have had that problem.

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