Are we a nation of soap dodgers?

Are we a nation of soap dodgers?

By Lauren Edwards

According to a recent survey, it appears that personal hygiene amongst us Brits has become a tad lax. Over 2,000 adults were asked about their general cleanliness and it was revealed that 50% chose not to shower daily and 13% did not clean their teeth every day. This means that 8.5 million people in this country haven’t cleaned their teeth today, perhaps talking on in breaths so as not to offend?

I have two sons, one of whom always seems to be in the shower. He is horrified by my desire to choose a bath over a shower, viewing my ‘me time’ of bath oils, candles, and a big glass of wine (natch) as “lying in my own filth”. He doesn’t get it. He used to love a good splash about with a glug of Matey bubble bath in his younger years!

My other son needs a little encouragement on the personal hygiene front. He’s not exactly Stig of the Dump, but I do have to remind him to have a shower and clean his teeth on occasion. He is very outdoorsy and will often rock up to the dinner table covered in mud, having been out on his bike, with fingernails that look like he has been digging for potatoes with his bare hands. After he’s sent to the sink to soap up, he will then return to the table using the front of his trousers as a towel, with the contents of his fingernails probably a petri dish for future pandemics.

This is the reason I have always chosen not to eat any kind of baked goods prepared by children. I remember looking on in horror in the primary school playground as the children came running out with their Pudsey biscuits for us parents to eat. No thanks. Firstly, those biscuits all end up mixed together in the oven so there is no guarantee that you have ended up with your own child’s prepared offering. Secondly, I don’t trust my own child to have washed his hands adequately, let alone the child stood next to him now picking his nose.

It was also revealed this week that one in three people admitted to only washing their bed sheets once a year or less. Once a year! I bet even John and Yoko gave their duvet cover a quick rinse during their ‘Bed-in’. It is estimated that we shed half an ounce of dead skin cells nightly as well as sweat out 200ml of liquid. That alone makes me want to immediately change my sheets and also because that slipping into clean sheets feeling is one of life’s little pleasures surely?

Let’s talk pants. A quarter of the men surveyed admitted to only washing their underwear after five washes. Now, that is quite a lot of rotation using the inside out/back to front method! One in five offenders admitted to only washing their socks after ten wears or more, presumably when the socks actually walked themselves to the washing machine?!

However, some of the revelations from the survey were quite inventive. For instance, rather than traditional dusting methods, people admitted using a hairdryer or vacuum cleaner to remove dust or grabbing a bit of dirty laundry out of the basket to have a quick wipe round of dirty surfaces before chucking it into the machine. Hopefully, not using a pair of the five-day old pair of pants.

We have all had to become a bit better at cleanliness having lived through a pandemic this past year. Mask wearing and drenching your hands in sanitiser every time you enter a shop is now the new normal. But does this spell the end of the ‘five second rule’ when a piece of food is dropped on the floor, you give it a quick blow and if it hasn’t been there too long it should be fine? Well, the less time something sits on a surface, the less chance it has of picking up bacteria. But then if your dog, your son’s football boots and the pant dusting method has also touched that surface, I would say if in doubt, chuck it out!



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