Personal hygiene myths can have negative effects on your health. Even if it seems like it’s always better to be on the safe side when it comes to cleanliness, sometimes you can easily go too far and hurt your body in the process.

Discover the most common hygiene myths that have been busted by scientific research and learn more about how the myths can impact your life even when you don’t believe in them yourself.

Hand Sanitizer Is The Best Way to Deal With Germs

Even though alcohol based hand sanitizer is very useful in a lot of situations, using it regularly if you don’t work in a hospital simply isn’t justified. 

Washing your hands properly, with soap and water, rinses bacteria and other germs away. Using hand sanitizer kills germs, but it won’t do so forever. We already know that well sanitized spaces, like hospitals, breed stronger bacteria. While that doesn’t seem to be the case when it comes to hand sanitizer, it’s better to only use it when you absolutely need to.

5 Second Rule For Food

The Five Second Rule Should Count If You’ve Just Cleaned the Floor

Since 99% of bacteria gets on your food as soon as it touches the floor, you should give up on the 5 second rule for good. It’s one of the most common hygiene myths and also one of the most dangerous. While foods with a very high sugar and salt content seems to pick up bacteria slower, you’re better off not eating any food that’s been dropped, unless you can sanitize it.

You Need to Wash Your Hair Every Day

Shampooing daily is definitely overkill and it ends up hurting your scalp in the long run. Since shampoo strips away the natural oils on your hair and skin, you might consider washing your hair every other day. You can still use dry shampoo when you don’t wash your hair in the shower, but the idea that hair is dirty when it’s not washed every 24 hours is simply one of the most common hygiene myths.

Bad Breath Is Caused by Poor Oral Hygiene

Halitosis or bad breath can have many causes. Of course, one of them is poor oral hygiene, but you shouldn’t make assumptions. Thinking it’s only about lack of teeth brushing is one of the most common hygiene myths, but in fact dryness is more often than not responsible for breeding bacteria. Other causes for bad breath include gum disease.

Hand Dryers Better Than Paper Towels

Hand Dryers Are More Hygienic than Paper Towels

When you have a choice between a hand dryer or paper towel, go for the paper towel. One of the most common hygiene myths says that hand dryers are better when it comes to less bacteria, but the truth is that using paper towels dries your hands faster, in around 15 seconds. That’s significant because most hand dryers take up to 45 seconds, increasing the risk of giving up if you’re a hurry. Moist hands will attract bacteria so reach for the paper towel, especially in a public bathroom.

You Should Keep Your Toothbrush Away from the Toilet

If you flush before covering the toilet, you’re responsible for spreading bacteria in your entire bathroom. However, if you do cover the toilet, there isn’t much else you can do to protect your toothbrush. One of the most common hygiene myths, that keeping your toothbrush five feet or more from the toilet helps protect it, was busted by the Myth Busters themselves. Experiments proven that even keeping your toothbrush in the kitchen results in the same amount of bacteria on it.

Head Lice And Hygiene

Getting Head Lice Is a Sign of Bad Personal Hygiene

It only takes a few seconds of contact between your hair and clothing or a brush or towel to get head lice. Even if you have the most scrupulous hygiene regime, you still won’t notice lice for the first few days after the infection, so you should drop this personal hygiene myth.

You Have to Clean Again and Again... for the Children!

The hygiene hypothesis states that keeping children away from natural germs in an environment that’s too hygienic results in an increased risk for asthma and eczema. Since allergies have skyrocketed in children in the past few decades, it’s clear that just cleaning every surface isn’t enough to prevent them. Over-cleaning for the sake of the children is one of the most common hygiene myths, but it’s also true that a dirty environment increases health risks for kids.

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