Personal hygiene to me is pretty important. And I expect the same from people I meet, personally or professionally. I’m aware of the fact that I can’t change someone else’s hygiene habits or make them do anything they don’t wish to (this applies not just to hygiene habits but in general too). However, having said that, certain basic – minimal, elementary – and good hygiene practices need to be followed by ALL. It’s the least you can do for yourself (and others too!).
This is in no way a comprehensive list, but contains dos and don’ts that should be pretty obvious. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Suggested read: Is poor personal hygiene ruining your love life?
Let’s tackle the dos first.
1. Do wash your hair regularly
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Unkempt, shaggy, smelly, greasy hair is a turn off. You don’t want to come off as a homeless person, do you? Wash your hair at least once in three days – that’s the least you can do. whether you have military-short hair or sport a long ponytail, doesn’t matter – wash it! With all the sweat, pollutants, dirt, dust and other unmentionables accumulating in your hair, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by washing your hair regularly!
2. Do trim your nails regularly
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Snipping your nails – fingernails as well as toenails – at least once a week is not that hard. It hardly takes about ten minutes to do so. If you’re a fan of long nails, then keep them clean, without any dirt or other unmentionables sticking to your claw-like nails. It’s just the worst to see dirt under the fingernails when you go to shake a person’s hand. Just imagine yourself doing so, and you’ll run to get your nail clippers!
3. Do use mouth fresheners
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You can’t carry around your toothbrush and toothpaste with you along with your laptop. So the next best alternative is to carry some sugar-free mouth fresheners on you, everywhere you go. They hardly take up any space in your pocket or your handbag, and it’s the least you can do when you’re set to meet several people over the course of a work day. When you greet a person and minty fresh breath wafts towards you, it’s refreshing. Bad breath is odious, and bad breath on a person you need to talk to for long time, is seriously revolting.
4. Do use deodorant/cologne/perfume
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Bad body odor is a badder, meaner, and more odious cousin of bad breath! 😛 Oftentimes, you’re unaware of how much you reek until someone close to you points it out. And if you are unaware or unsure, ask someone close to you to be honest about it to you. Either way, to be on the safer side, it’s better to use deodorants/perfumes/colognes quite regularly. Again, this doesn’t mean you need to douse yourself with the thing. Use sparingly and opt for a fragrance that goes well with your natural body odor, so that it’s pleasant. If you don’t know how to choose a fragrance that suits you, take the help of the person at the perfume counter to pick the right one.
5. Do cover your mouth when you yawn/cough/sneeze
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This one may make you roll your eyes, but you have no idea of how many people don’t cover their mouths when they yawn so widely that a bear could crawl in and hibernate! Or the amount of deadly spit-snot combo that one expels when they sneeze! Or the amount of germs they’re setting free when they cough! So, ALWAYS cover your mouth when you do any of these. You’ll be lauded for not infecting others with your germs! 😛
6. Do wear fresh underclothes
You’d be surprised at how many people reuse their undergarments day after day. This may apply more for women than men, although they too are guilty of doing this. It’s like an open secret that nobody wants to acknowledge. Women spend a heck of a lot on expensive lingerie, which is NOT machine-washable. So, instead of hand washing them at their bathroom sink, they reuse it, thinking they’d wash it the next day. But the ‘next day’ keeps on rolling by, without them washing the thing. If you reuse your underclothes, stop it today and use fresh ones daily.
7. Do wash your hands after using the restroom
Regardless of your gender and what you went in the washroom to do – number one or number two – wash your hands after using the facilities, especially a public/communal one. What will you lose? You’ve touched the bathroom door, the stall door, the toilet seat (in some cases), the flush, and the tissue dispenser. Who knows what all is smeared on these! It’s safe to assume that they are all unclean and wash your hands – EVERY SINGLE TIME – you use the facilities.
Let’s move on to the don’ts.
8. Don’t pick your nose
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Ugh! Picking your nose and examining your booger may be your one guilty pleasure, but do it in the privacy of your bathroom! Imagine yourself decked up in your formal finery, waiting for a client to arrive to discuss an important project that could be huuuuge for your career. But while waiting, you can’t help but pick your nose. And while you’re in the midst of examining the size and shape and color of your booger, your client arrives with their posse. Oh, the horror! And it gets worse because when you offer your hand to shake theirs, they cringe in disgust and wave their hand at you! Ick! Talk about a sticky situation (pun intended)!
9. Don’t clean your teeth
This usually occurs after you’ve eaten something. There’s this one piece of spinach or coriander that gets stuck in the gap between two of your back teeth, and you do all kinds facial gymnastics to get it unstuck, all to no avail! It could be your tongue or your pinky finger that helps you with these acrobatics. I understand and empathize with your situation, but have a care to the people around you who have to bear this side of your unknown athletic side! If it’s bothering you too much, do it in the privacy of a bathroom, or wait till you get home and have access to a toothbrush.
10. Don’t scratch your privates or your armpits
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Men, I’m looking at you as I write this. Granted it’s not just men but some women too who indulge in this, but for crying out loud, STOP! It’s disgusting, not to mention revolting to watch someone scratch their armpits, or God forbid, their privates, in public. Just don’t.
These are some of the basic, most rudimentary good hygiene practices that you need to take care of if you don’t want to disgust another person. Leave alone following them for someone else, but do it for yourself, so that you are clean and healthy.
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