Personal cleanliness and good hygiene practices are essential for health and social reasons 1. In fact, people who are perceived as smelly or unclean are often ostracized by others. To put your best foot forward, it's best to practice healthy hygiene habits daily. It is also important for parents to teach and model these skills to their children. Healthy personal hygiene habits instilled in childhood often follow children into adulthood.

Wash Those Hands

Frequent hand washing reduces the spread of germs, bacteria and food-borne illness. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should wet your hands with warm, running water. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a fresh paper towel or an air dryer. You should always wash your hands before handling or eating food; after trips to the restroom; after handling animals; before and after changing a diaper or handling a small child; after handling garbage or other dirty objects; before and after contact with a sick person; and after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing.

Practice a Daily Bathing or Showering Regimen

Regular bathing reduces body odor and can help control skin problems like acne. It is important to bathe daily to reduce the bacteria that contribute to body odor, particularly in the armpits and on the feet. Personal preference and resources determine whether you should take a bath or shower, though if you are heavily soiled it is best to shower rather than wash with dirty bathwater. Wash your hair as frequently as needed based on your hair type. Dry yourself thoroughly after bathing to prevent bacteria growth.

Brush Up on Dental Care Basics

Proper oral hygiene is crucial in reducing and preventing problems of the mouth and gums like plaque, cavities, gingivitis, tartar and bad breath. Brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss once per day. Your dentist can assess problem areas in your mouth and recommend special methods or products you may need.

Build Good Grooming Habits

Grooming is the act of making yourself presentable to others. More advanced grooming practices may also include:

  • hair styling
  • makeup
  • moisturizers
  • manicures
  • pedicures
  • nail polish
  • personal fragrance
  • hair removal
  • more

Clean Your Clothes and Your Home

A sanitary home environment and clean clothes are important aspects of overall personal cleanliness 1. Wash your clothes regularly to remove odors. Treat stains as soon as they occur, and iron when needed to remove wrinkles.

Keeping your home clean reduces bacteria, helps prevent insects and contributes to overall well-being. Housecleaning basics include properly disposing of garbage, washing dirty dishes, and cleaning floors regularly. Wash sheets and bedding at least twice a month.