Regular bathing is the most obvious way to maintain personal hygiene and cleanliness, but every few minutes, people routinely encounter germs and bacteria, so it is a good idea not to stop with just a daily shower, but to wash hands at intervals throughout the day. It is also important to wear clothing that is clean and freshly laundered, and if possible, to quickly remove clothing that is soiled. In addition, attention should be paid to hair, teeth, fingernails, and toenails. Soaps, toothpastes, and possibly even shampoos should ideally be antibacterial. It is also typically necessary to apply deodorant at least once per day, for even though body odor does not directly impact physical health, it can have a profound impact on social acceptance and mental health.
Long luxuriating baths may be a relaxing mental balm, and they can even help ease tired or strained muscles, but for the purposes of personal hygiene and cleanliness, most studies indicate that showers do a much better job in cleansing. When taking a submerged bath, bacteria and germs swirl around inside the bathwater, eventually ending up right back where they started — on the skin. Showering washes germs and bacteria off the skin and hair, and down the drain.
Many soaps and shampoos are available that not only clean, but also kill harmful bacteria. These soaps are usually more expensive, but are typically considered better for maintaining personal hygiene and cleanliness. Antibacterial soaps can be purchased at most groceries and pharmacies.
Bacteria often lodge underneath the nails of the fingers and toes, and sometimes it takes more than a shower or hand washing to properly cleanse these areas. It is a good idea to use a sterilized nail file to get underneath the nail to remove the dirt and grime that can lodge there. In addition, longer nails harbor more dirt and germs than do shorter ones, so it is probably a good idea to keep nails trimmed as short as possible.
Studies seem to show that brushing and flossing after every meal is the best way to keep bacteria in the mouth at a minimum. It also helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay while maintaining a fresh, clean smile. Using an antibacterial mouthwash after brushing can freshen breath as it kills any remaining germs and bacteria.
Other ways to help promote personal hygiene and cleanliness include frequent changes of underwear and changes of outerwear when necessary. The longer that clothing remains on the body, the more germs and bacteria attach to it. Clothing also magnifies body odor, so using a good antiperspirant and deodorant is essential.