Poor hygiene can not only increase the risk of sickness but also affect our social and professional life. But even the best of us are bound to make a few errors when trying to keep up with cleanliness. Here are five common mistakes you should avoid:
1. Wearing shoes without socks Wearing shoes without socks to bare the ankles does have a downside. "On average your feet will sweat half a pint a day; that's a lot to be pouring out straight into your shoe without it being absorbed by a sock," said Emma Stevenson from the College of Podiatry, England. Apart from smelly feet, people are also prone to developing blisters and fungal infections. So rather than going sockless, consider investing in a few pairs of invisible socks. Stevenson also recommended placing dry tea bags in your shoes overnight to absorb any leftover sweat.
2. Not cleaning your makeup brushes Don't underestimate the dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria that can accumulate on your uncleansed brushes. Besides ruining your makeup, you also become more prone to acne breakouts, infections, blemishes, etc. Consequences only worsen if you also happen to share your makeup brushes with your friends. The gesture is appreciated but is best avoided as it can lead to staph infections, pink eye, and other problems.
3. Using Q-Tips to remove ear wax You should not be inserting cotton swabs (or anything of similar size and structure) inside your ears. These products can damage the canal or the ear drum, increasing the risk of temporary or permanent hearing loss. Still worried about your ear wax? Well, the good news is you can leave it alone. Dr. Robert Shmerling from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center explained a normal amount of wax is needed to moisturize and prevent contaminants from reaching the inner ear.
4. Only brushing your teeth If your oral hygiene routine only involves brushing your teeth, it is definitely time for a change. "Most of the bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease lives in ‘hard to get to’ areas between the teeth. The only way to physically remove this plaque from between the teeth is to floss," said Edmund Hewlett from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry. Also, don't skip brushing or scraping your tongue either. You might develop bad breath thanks to the residing bacteria which produce sulfur compounds.
5. Not changing sheets, towels enough Most of your body comes into direct and prolonged contact with your bed sheets and towels, so you may want to keep switching them at regular intervals. Your towel is good for three uses before it is in need of some cleaning itself. Bed sheets are a bit trickier as the answer is influenced by several factors such as the number of people or pets who use the bed, how often you have sex on those sheets, etc. On average, experts said they should ideally be changed once a week.