The importance of personal hygiene goes well beyond simply looking and smelling good. Practicing good personal hygiene can help your body to prevent illnesses by decreasing the amount of germs you carry. Your skin protects the rest of your body from germs, so keeping your skin germ-free and healthy is an extremely important part of good hygiene. Any break in the skin, including your mouth, eyes and nose, also needs to be well-maintained.
To prevent the spread of germs and disease, make sure to wash your hands after using the bathroom, handling raw food or getting your skin dirty. Also, any time you come in contact with garbage, animals or sick people, you should wash your hands afterward. Use hot water and soap and scrub under your nails with a nail brush.
Bathing or showering daily is necessary to get rid of body odor and bacteria on the skin. Instead of sharing a bath towel, it’s suggested to use your own towel. This will prevent cross-contamination. Using warm water and soap, lather up and rinse off. People who work out should shower more than once a day.
Practice oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice a day -- in the morning after waking and before going to bed. Make sure to clean your tongue and get a new toothbrush every two months. People should also floss daily, before brushing their teeth. You should also visit a dentist every six months for a routine cleaning.
Fingernails and toenails should be clipped regularly. While men often clip all of their nails, woman may want to grow out their fingernails for beauty purposes. If this is the case, nails don’t necessarily have to be clipped, but they should be well-manicured and clean.
To control body odor, rub on a lightly scented or non-scented deodorant daily, at the beginning of the day, and reapply as necessary.
Both men and women shave their body hair -- or even hair on their head -- for hygiene purposes. Using a fresh, clean razor and moist skin prepped with shaving gel or cream is the best way to shave and prevent nicks. Disposable razors should be thrown away after about three uses.
During menstruation, women should use tampons, pads and panty liners throughout the day and night. It’s also necessary to change these often, at least every four hours, to prevent odor and stained clothing.
Foot odor can be prevented or blocked by sprinkling foot powder or baby powder inside shoes and socks.
Washing clothing regularly, especially underwear and bathing suits, is necessary to prevent bad smells and bacteria from forming.
Any cut, burn, sore or scrape should be cleaned and bandaged as soon as possible. This prevents the cut from getting infected and stops the spread of germs to other people. After cleaning a small wound, it should be disinfected with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol using a cotton ball, and dressed with a bandage, gauze and tape, or a Band-Aid.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images