How to Talk to Someone About Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene is a topic often brought up during the pre-teen and teen years when a youngster's body is developing. However, there are times when adults need to be reminded about personal care as well. When subtle hints about showering or using deodorant have no effect, a conversation is the next step. This conversation can be uncomfortable for both parties involved but it doesn't need to be. With some preparation and a few helpful props, you can talk to someone about personal hygiene and help him implement improvements.

Begin the conversation with a compliment, such as making note that the individual's hair looked very clean the previous day. Continue the conversation by stating the poor hygiene that you have noticed. Use words like, "I have noticed" instead of "You don't." Simply identify the problem area for the individual, whether that be showering, oral hygiene or something else.

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Continue the conversation by discussing the personal care steps the individual seems to be skipping. If this appears to be a shower, ask the individual when she showers regularly or if she had time to shower that day.

Evaluate the individual's response as to why the hygiene step has been skipped. If it wasn't skipped, then the next step would be to discuss how to do it correctly. Provide a demonstration if possible or offer the correct hygiene products to fulfill the task.

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State your concern over the individual's hygiene. Phrase the concern carefully and use caring words.

Offer the individual the personal care item she may be lacking, such as deodorant or mouth wash.

End the conversation by affirming the person. This can be done by stating how much you care for him, assuring that this hygiene issue doesn't change your relationship or helping him devise a personal care plan.

Ask if the individual has any questions 1.


Be prepared for the person to respond negatively. Some people may appreciate the issue being brought to their attention. Others may be hurt or embarrassed.

Don't take the individual's response personally. If these efforts improve the individual's hygiene then it has saved him from future embarrassment and discomfort.


Don't involve others. The individual doesn't need to feel as if everyone around her has been talking about the hygiene issue.