18 Basic Hygiene Habits Most People Forget to Do

Most people ensure that they maintain a basic hygiene routine, but there’s probably more you could be doing. Today, we’ve compiled 18 personal hygiene habits that most people forget to do, so take notes, and you’ll soon be feeling fresher than ever.

Flossing Your Teeth

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Dental floss allows you to reach parts of your teeth that your toothbrush can’t, helping to remove further food and plaque and, therefore, helping to prevent cavities and gum disease. However, despite these advantages, CNN reports that only 32% of American adults do it. Time to add it to your routine!

Washing Behind Your Ears

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Caring for your ears shouldn’t stop with wax removal. You should clean behind your ears to get rid of any waxy deposits and prevent oils, sweat, and dirt from clogging the pores. Cleaning ears also makes them less favorable for bacterial and fungal growth and eliminates foul odors.

Cleaning the Belly button

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Whether you have an ‘outie,’ an ‘innie,’ or a combination of both, everyone should clean their naval or ‘belly button’ once in a while—preferably once a week. Oiling the belly button helps loosen crud for cleaning, and washing it prevents infections and smells from emerging from it.

Scraping Your Tongue

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Did you know that odor-causing bacteria exist more on the tongue than the teeth? This gross fact is precisely why you should scrub your tongue with a brush or a scraper twice per day. Remember–your tongue is only clean and free of bacteria when it is wholly pink in color.

Disinfecting Your Smartphone

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Here’s another disgusting fact: with over 17,000 bacteria per square inch, your smartphone is ten times dirtier than your toilet seat. It’s one of the nastiest and unhealthiest objects you use, yet you probably don’t clean it often. To disinfect it, use a lint-free cloth slightly dampened with soap and water.

Sanitizing Makeup Items

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Eyeshadow brushes, lash curlers, mascara wands, and even makeup products themselves contain unsafe amounts of bacteria. While you can’t clean items like beauty blenders, you should sanitize your brushes, powders, and palettes with isopropyl alcohol and let them dry well.

Trimming Nails

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Grooming your nails has benefits that go beyond just making them look good. Well-trimmed nails hold less dirt and bacteria and expose you to fewer infections. Just make sure you aren’t biting your nails off to keep them short. Biting damages the tissue around the nails and could lead to infections.

Cleaning Between the Toes

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Washing your feet and regularly changing your footwear are common ways to maintain good foot hygiene. However, why not take yours a step further by cleaning in between your toes? This will reduce your risk of developing ‘athlete’s foot,’ but it’s kind of gross how few people do this!

Washing Your Neck

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Have you ever considered the amount of makeup, sweat, dirt, and bacteria that build up on your neck? This makes you prone to breakouts or even more serious ailments such as dermatitis neglecta. So, during your skincare routines, you should cleanse, exfoliate,  and moisturize your neck, just as you do with your face.

Cleaning Switches and Door Handles

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Light switches contain an average of 217 bacteria per square foot, and Penn State University estimates that up to 14 million bacteria can be on a single doorknob. Since these are parts of your home you use regularly, you should sanitize them regularly as part of your hand hygiene.

Washing Your Back

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Your back may be hard to reach and seem unimportant during baths, but it’s a key part of a comprehensive skincare routine. Regularly washing and exfoliating your back will unclog pores of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria and reduce your risk of developing back acne.

Disinfecting Your Keyboard and Mouse

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You should clean your computer mouse and keyboard, even prying the keys off if necessary, yet few people do. Research published by Reuters in 2008 gives us another grim comparison: keyboards are up to five times filthier than toilet seats, yet only 46% of people bother cleaning them once a month. Ew!

Moisturizing Your Elbows

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This might sound amusing, but you should be moisturizing your elbows to keep them looking healthy. Since you constantly move your elbows, the skin gets dry very easily, but if you moisturize them frequently, you’ll prevent cracks and darkening of your elbow skin. It’s the little details that make a difference!

Washing Reusable Grocery Bags

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In your attempt to save the environment, be careful not to expose yourself to direct health risks. Reusable grocery bags are favorite breeding spots for bacteria that 97% of users don’t wash. To prevent the growth of germs like E. coli, start washing your bags after each use.

Washing Reusable Face Masks

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Reusable face masks block dust particles and airborne bacteria from being inhaled and exhaled, but this isn’t very helpful if you don’t wash them. Despite this fact, this gross habit is very common, even though it will likely lead to more serious health complications than facemasks will prevent.

Disinfecting Kitchen Sponges

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Are your dishes really clean, considering that over five trillion microscopic bugs are on your kitchen sponges? To prevent illnesses, soak sponges in a bleach solution or heat them in the microwave every few days. You can even replace them with brushes altogether, as they’re drier and hold less bacteria.

Cleaning TV Remotes

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The last thing in your living room you probably think of disinfecting is your TV remote—it never seems dirty, right? We’ve got bad news–Forbes provides our final toilet seat comparison of the list. The dead skin that builds up in your remote controls leaves them even grosser than the average toilet seat. Frankly, that’s disgusting.

Disinfecting Steering Wheels

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Finally, with 700 germs per square inch, your car’s steering is even dirtier than your keyboards and TV remotes. We’ll stop with the toilet seat comparisons, but please don’t wait until your steering wheel feels sticky before you clean it. Regular cleaning with a cloth soaked in a mild soap solution should be part of your weekly routine.

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