Health experts, government agencies, and parents have all dispensed their wisdom on what constitutes good hygiene. It’s the fine details of these habits that may leave us open to infection, injury, or just an illusion of cleanliness that doesn’t really exist.
To remedy that, we’re sharing a list of common hygiene mistakes that people make all the time. If you work to curb some of these, you could be doing your health a favor.
Cleaning Ears with Cotton Swabs
The sight of ear wax is nothing to celebrate but it is there to protect your eardrums from dust and other invaders. Docs cite the fact that movement in your jaw from eating and talking helps to flush old wax out for self-cleaning of the ear.
Using swabs pushes the wax further in, packing it in the canal and around the eardrum. What should you do? Physicians recommended leaving it alone. But if your ears are too crusty to bear, clean around them with a washcloth.
Ignoring Makeup Maintenance
That means no sharing with your BFFs, roommates, or relatives as that can spread germs and cause infections. You also want to be aware of storing brushes in pouches for too long, giving bacteria a warm place to breed. With that said, be sure to clean your makeup brushes (or replace them) on a regular basis.
Cutting Nails Too Short
Ow! Ingrown toenails are just one of the problems that can arise from trimming your nails too low. Cut straight across for fingernails and toenails to avoid tenderness, inflammation, or ingrown nails.
Allow a few weeks in between trimmings to make sure there is ample growth to clip evenly. Neatly groomed nails will also ward off bacteria and fungus that like to hide under them and spread to other parts of your body.
Wearing Pajamas Too Many Nights
We love our PJs as much as anyone, but wearing the same ones night after night is bad for your health. Yeast, fecal matter (for those of you who go commando underneath), and other bugs can start living with you in your pajamas.
Some experts suggest washing them every day (you do spend hours in them), and others are cool with at least once a week.
Skip Cleaning Contact Lenses
Lots of people sleep or swim with their contacts in or forget to clean them on a regular basis. Doing so increases your risk of eye infection, mold growth on the contacts, and corneal ulcers. Remember to remove and clean your contact lenses each night with clean hands.
Going On a Shower Strike
Okay, calling it a strike might be too dramatic, but going too long without showering can lead to infections and skin problems. Besides generating your own sweaty germs, you’re exposed countless levels of ick during the course of your day when you’re out.
Hit the shower to prevent bacteria buildup and do your fellow man a favor by keeping odors at bay.
Forgetting to Swap Out Your Toothbrush
Some part of you probably recalls hearing that you should replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Shorten that timeframe if you’ve been sick. Do it. Exposure to mold, bacteria, or invisible toilet spray is bad news for your health. If you have a small bathroom, try to keep your toothbrush at least 4 feet away from the toilet.
Shortening Your Oral Ritual
Do you brush twice a day? What about flossing? Poor oral hygiene has been linked to heart, respiratory, and other health problems. Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, followed by flossing and mouthwash.
Dentists also suggest cleaning your tongue and cheeks too to remove any lingering microbes and prevent sores or infection.
Whether it’s a bath towel or kitchen towel, sometimes we use them past their prime for the week when we should have tossed them into the dirty pile. Bodily fluids, fungi, bacteria and whatever else you can think of is stuck to your towels.
Here’s a guide: bath towels up to 3 days, hand towels up to 2, kitchen towels 1 -2 uses.
We’re going to be judgmental here and say we know that everyone doesn’t wash their hands each time they use the bathroom. Please stop because it’s gross. As a guide, wash your hands long enough to recite the ABC song twice. Don’t forget to scrub in between your fingers and nails.
While the benefits of exfoliating have been touted widely, there are some limits to how often we should do it for the sake of our beloved skin. Along with stripping dead skin cells, exfoliation also strips beneficial oils, good bacteria, and moisture. Keep your routine at no more than 3 times a week and less if you have sensitive skin.
Have you made a few hygiene mistakes? What area do you need to improve? Which of these are you guilty of?