Good hygiene lowers your risk for diseases and illnesses commonly spread through viruses and bacteria. Your hands come into contact with bacteria every time you cough, use the restroom, touch your pet, or touch surfaces, such as stair railings, used frequently by others. Failing to wash your hands and body regularly can cause this bacteria to multiply, increasing the risk for infection and other health problems. Washing yourself and staying clean can kill and remove illness-causing bacteria from your body, lowering the risk for disease. 
Good hygiene is key to preventing infection when wounds and skin irritation are present. Poor hygiene can result in dirt and other bacteria entering and staying inside skin wounds, while good hygiene can ward off this bacteria to prevent infection.  Good hygiene prevents you from spreading bacteria and disease to others, including coworkers and family members.
2. Social and Professional Acceptance
Spending time around those who fail to demonstrate good hygiene can be unpleasant due to factors such as bad breath and body odor, and it increases your own risk for disease and infection. Poor hygiene can have negative consequences on your social life and relationships — including business relationships.
Many employers urge or require employees to practice good hygiene and tend to hire people who look clean and as though they practice healthy hygiene habits. Good hygiene is especially important to employers in the food and medical industries, as poor hygiene can lead to contamination and the spread of disease. 
Children who practice good hygiene can avoid being bullied at school, as evidence suggests that poor hygiene is one of the top reasons kids are bullied.  Parents who teach their children the importance of good hygiene instill healthy habits early on in life and prevent them from experiencing problems with bullies.
3. Higher Confidence and Self-Esteem
Being clean and well-groomed can help you feel more confident and comfortable both physically and mentally. Feeling dirty, oily, and unfresh not only puts your physical health at risk, but it can trigger negative emotions of discomfort, irritability, and anxiety. Poor hygiene can affect your mood, your interactions with others, and the way you feel about yourself.
Good hygiene can boost your confidence and self-esteem and make you seem more positive and attractive to others.  Good hygiene can indirectly boost your success at work, in the gym, and in scenarios that require you to be at your very best.
4. Pain Prevention
Practicing good hygiene can prevent you from developing painful diseases and infections. Suffering from chronic pain can reduce your overall quality of life and even lead to comorbid disorders, such as obesity and painkiller addiction.  Good hygiene can help you stay in good overall health so you can avoid experiencing pain caused by certain medical conditions.
Failing to brush and floss teeth regularly increases the risk for gum disease, which causes chronic pain and tooth loss in its advanced stages. Staying in wet, sweaty socks for hours after exercising increases the risk for athlete’s foot, which can lead to a fungal nail infection that causes pain and inflammation under the nails.  Good hygiene helps prevent the development of medical conditions such as these and can keep you feeling healthy and pain-free.
Understanding Good Hygiene
Good hygiene is crucial to good overall health and wellness because it helps lower the risk for disease, illness, and medical conditions caused by the effects of poor hygiene. When a person doesn’t practice good hygiene, their body can accumulate bacteria that contribute to diseases such as athlete’s foot, head lice, and scabies.  Poor hygiene can also cause parasites to grow and multiply on the skin and in the body, causing parasitic diseases like malaria and toxoplasmosis. 
Good personal hygiene habits include brushing your teeth, bathing or showering, and wearing clean clothes. Performing these habits daily or as often as needed achieves and maintains good hygiene and cleanliness.
Risks of Good Hygiene
There are no risks to practicing good hygiene. Poor hygiene, on the other hand, increases the risk for bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. Serious medical conditions that can develop on behalf of poor hygiene include gastroenteritis, food poisoning, hepatitis A, influenza, common cold, giardiasis, roundworm, and threadworm. Good hygiene can help you avoid the possible risks associated with poor hygiene.
What to Expect With Good Hygiene
Practicing good hygiene requires you to perform a series of basic personal hygiene habits on a regular basis. Wash your body and hair often to remove bacteria and dead skin cells. Brush your teeth after every meal, or at least twice per day. Flossing and brushing regularly help prevent the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth that increases the risk for gum disease.
Wash your hands every time before eating or preparing food and after coming into contact with bacteria and viruses — in restrooms and after coughing or sneezing and taking out the garbage. Trim your fingernails and toenails regularly, and take steps to ensure your feet are clean and dry at all times.
Good hygiene can help you stay healthy and offers countless positive benefits for your physical, emotional, and psychological health.
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Maintaining feminine hygiene is important for ensuring that your vagina is clean and healthy. Start by following basic recommendations for how to clean yourself. Then, take precautions to prevent infections and keep your vagina healthy. You can also try making dietary changes to see if this helps promote better feminine hygiene for you.
Tip: When you’re not on your period, washing once per day is plenty to keep your vagina fresh and clean. However, you may want to wash twice daily during your period to help prevent odors from accumulating.  X Trustworthy Source National Health Service (UK) Public healthcare system of the UK Go to source
Do you ever wonder if your vagina smells normal? Are you concerned about odors or infections? Here are some feminine hygiene tips to help you.
No matter how comfortable we are with our bodies, we all have times where we question how we smell down there. You’ve likely thought to yourself at some point, “Do I smell normal?” “And what’s normal anyway?”
Everyone’s vaginas, even healthy ones, have their own special scent. Still, that below-the-belt area sometimes gets a bad rap. “People think the vagina is the dirtiest place on the planet,” says Alyssa Dweck, MD, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V. “More bacteria are in our mouth than in our vagina.”
She says that the vagina has particular smells, which vary from person to person, influenced by your clothing’s material, your diet and how much you’re hydrated.
Education is important when it comes to feminine hygiene. You likely learned about your body from an array of sources—school, the Internet, BFFs, your mom. Chances are, though, some feminine hygiene skills were never taught to you or have evolved over time. Read on for some helpful tips.
Keep the vagina clean and dry
Cotton is breathable, making it an ideal fabric selection for underwear. It can down on moisture as it keeps your skin cool and dry. With breathable fabrics like cotton, you have a reduced risk of bacterial growth and infections. On the flip side, fabrics like satin retain moisture. That reduces airflow, creating irritation and friction. And that encourages yeast and bacteria growth, which can lead to infections. You should also change out of sweaty workout clothing and wet swimsuits to help prevention infections.
Your vagina knows how to take care of itself. It self-cleans and naturally produces some discharge that helps get rid of germs and bacteria from your body. So, douching or using harsh cleaners or soaps can disrupt your natural pH balance and can irritate your vagina and wash away good bacteria. Plus, douching will only mask the smell—not cure what’s going on. For example, if your vagina smells like something rotting (such as rotten fish), you may have bacterial vaginosis, a common vaginal infection. Stick with warm water and mild soap on the vulva, Dr. Dweck says. “You don’t need to clean the inside of the vagina,” she says.
Maintaining a healthy diet can do your body and your vagina good. Foods like yogurt with live cultures contain good-for-you bacteria that help promote vaginal health. If you’re prone to urinary tract infections, research in Archives of Internal Medicine suggests it may be helpful to take a cranberry supplement daily.
Use fresh towels
Wash and replace towel and washcloths after you use them. Reusing towels isn’t wise because bacteria can cling to these surfaces. And that potentially puts you at risk for an infection.
Practice safe sex
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says that consistent and correct use of latex condoms reduces the risk of any sexually transmitted diseases that are transmitted by genital fluids such a gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. However, condoms provide less protection against STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact like genital warts, genital herpes and syphilis, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “A condom can only cover so much,” says Dr. Dweck.
When condoms don’t protect against STDs, it’s usually because they’re being used inconsistently or incorrectly, not because they failed. For example, some people use a condom just during ejaculation or sometimes have intercourse without a condom, Dr. Dweck says. She adds that you should put a condom on sex toys because certain infections can be transmitted on them. Clean toys with soap and water if the product allows.
It sounds simple but it’s important to wipe from front to back until the toilet paper shows no residue. That will help prevent bacteria from getting into the vagina. Change sanitary pads and tampons regularly during your period. If you’re wearing panty liners, change them frequently. However, if you wear them all the time, you may have some irritation.
Good feminine hygiene is essential to feel fresh and clean throughout the day, but also to prevent the occurrence of vaginal infections or other problems that could affect this sensitive and delicate area. You should carry out a series of daily care tasks that protect the vaginal flora and allow the natural pH value of the skin to remain stable. In this OneHowTo.com article, we’ll explain exactly how to maintain good feminine hygiene.
To maintain good feminine hygiene, it is essential to wash your hands thoroughly before they come into contact with the genital area. To maintain good feminine hygiene it is advisable to wash the genital area at least once a day, preferably just after getting up in the morning, since at night this area can get sweaty. However, if you perform physical activity during the day, are on your period or you feel you need a little extra hygiene, you can wash the area again following the guidelines that we’ve set out in the next step.
The way you wash your intimate area as important, or possibly even more important, than how often you do it. Contrary to what you may believe, it is best to clean your private parts with water and only using a soap specifically for that purpose, one that fully respects the pH value of the delicate skin of the vagina. Above all, you should avoid frequent douching, as it can cause irritation, and avoid using soaps and lotions that are not specifically for intimate areas because they can irritate the skin, destroy the vaginal flora and leave the area vulnerable to infection. You should especially avoid scented soaps as they can cause dermatitis in the area.
When it comes to washing your private parts, we would strongly discourage the use of a sponge or similar item. It is best to use only the fingers, passing them gently over the vaginal area. It’s not a good idea to use deodorants in this area either. Even if they have been developed for this purpose, they can cause irritation, allergic reactions and, more importantly, can camouflage a strong odor which could be a clear sign of a vaginal infection or condition requiring medical intervention.
Another essential measure to maintain good feminine hygiene lies in the correct use of tampons. Tampons should only be used when strictly necessary and not used permanently as they can impede the flow of blood and bacteria, increasing the risk of vaginal infections. During menstruation, tampons should be changed every 4 to 6 hours depending on how heavy the blood flow is. They should never be left in longer than 6 hours.
Similarly, sanitary napkins should also be changed every 4 to 6 hours to prevent infection.
The best underwear for the female genital area is full cotton underwear as it absorbs moisture and promotes ventilation. Thongs can facilitate the transfer of bacteria from the anus to the vagina, so it is best to not use them often. It is also essential to change your underwear daily or more frequently if you notice that it is a little moist. You should wash your underwear with a gentle soap or detergent.
Other steps you can take to maintain good feminine hygiene are as follows:
- Avoid wearing tight trousers that cause chafing and promote the accumulation of moisture.
- When going to the toilet, always wipe the genital area from front to back, as doing it the reverse can carry germs from the anus to the vulva.
- Always dry the area with a clean, soft towel.
- Wash the genital area before and after sex.
If you want to read similar articles to How To Maintain Good Feminine Hygiene, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.
Feminine hygiene is a hush-hush subject in India. Despite increasing awareness around it, many women still refrain from talking about it or sharing tips on how to maintain good hygiene down there. Dr Sanchit Sharma, Founder and Director at Ayouthveda, says, “Regardless of your age, keeping your vaginal area clean not only helps you get rid of itchiness and bad odour, but also protects you from contracting bacterial and fungal infections, some of which can cause extreme discomfort, burning sensations and irritations. Ignoring hygiene can increase the chances of infections as well as lead to many long-term complications. From affecting your confidence to decreasing your sex drive, lack of cleanliness in your intimate area can have an adverse impact on the overall quality of your life.”
Taking care of vaginal hygiene doesn’t require much effort; you just need to follow some basic rules. Dr Sharma shares some below.
Wash Your Vulva The Right Way
While the vagina is self-cleaning in nature, you must keep its surrounding area clean to prevent the growth of infection-causing bacteria. It’s not advisable to use regular soaps as these products disrupt the skin’s natural pH level. This heightens the risk of urinary tract infection (UTI). Dr Sharma advises, “Opt for a gentle, natural intimate wash that is pH balanced and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals such as sulphates, strong perfumes and other preservatives. It is recommended that you steer clear from using sulphate-based washes for the intimate region as these tend to create artificial lather that dries out the skin on frequent usage. That said, make sure to consult a doctor before incorporating any feminine hygiene product into your intimate area care routine.”
Wear Breathable, Cotton Undergarments
Gynaecologists recommend that you should wear comfortable, breathable undergarments made with natural fabrics like cotton. Wearing tight-fitted inners made from synthetic fibres can build up heat and cause excessive sweating, making your vulva more susceptible to infections caused by yeasts and bacteria. Dr Sharma says, “Since cotton is better at absorbing sweat and extra moisture, it helps keep your vulva dry and prevents the growth of infection-causing bacteria. It’s also a good idea to change your undergarments after working out or any physical activity that involves heavy sweating.”
Practise Menstrual Hygiene
Women should change their sanitary napkins or tampons every six to eight hours during normal flow; and every three to four hours if the flow is heavy. Dr Sharma explains, “Using the same menstrual pad for a long period of time can cause rashes, itchiness and a foul odour. Moreover, it puts you at a heightened risk of contracting vaginal infections. It’s also advisable to wash the area regularly with lukewarm water and a chemical-free intimate wash during menstruation.”
Maintain A Healthy, Balanced Diet
Eating balanced meals that include lots of green leafy vegetables, fruits and natural probiotics like yoghurt is the key to control the growth of harmful microorganisms in your vaginal area. Dr Sharma adds, “Avoid indulging in spicy food, cut down your sugar intake and make sure to drink at least three to four litres of water a day to improve your vaginal health.”
Although a taboo topic, it is absolutely essential to create awareness regarding the dos and don’ts of feminine hygiene. It is necessary to ensure optimum vaginal hygiene to avoid the risk of UTI and other ailments.
Between career, relationship, and even motherhood for some, women forget to take care of themselves. But your 30s are also an important phase of your life for inculcating healthy and hygienic habits. Here are some essential points to remember to maintain feminine hygiene in your 30s, courtesy Sarthak Taneja, co-founder, Skin Elements. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Changing sanitary napkins or tampons after 4-6 hours is one cardinal rule for a happy and healthy vaginal hygiene. Discharged feminine blood attracts many living organisms, which duplicate in the presence of the blood, and cause infections, rashes or urinary tract diseases. Changing your napkin or tampon routinely controls the development of these life forms and forestalls any chances of infections. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Ditch the soap to wash intimate area: While cleaning the intimate region consistently is a smart thought, utilising soap instead of designated products during can make things worse. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Vaginas have their own cleaning system which becomes possibly the most important factor during menstruation, and regular body soaps can hamper the normal interaction prompting infections or worse, development of microscopic organisms. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Never douche: A douche is a gadget used to flush water into the vagina to clean vaginal discharge. Douching includes the utilisation of specific synthetic substances which can meddle with the pH down there. This can, thus, disturb the ordinary vaginal microbes. Also, there is no proof that douching can secure you against explicitly communicated diseases or vaginal contaminations. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Quit shaving: Pubic hair has a reason, giving a pad against rubbing that can cause skin irritation or even injury, distance from microbes and other undesirable microorganisms, and nothing to be embarrassed about or humiliated about. Pubic hair removal normally disturbs and aggravates the hair follicles broken, leaving minute open pores. Bacterial microbes, specifically Group A Streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureus which turns into methicillin-safe Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can become problematic. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Avoid scented intimate hygiene products.Anything you use on the vulva can undoubtedly enter the super-sensitive region. It is imperative to limit products with fragrances that can cause dryness and disturb the pH of the intimate region, prompting infection. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Warm water is all you need to satisfactorily clean your vulva. Nonetheless, there are items you can utilise to purify, saturate, or spruce up between showers down there. Furthermore, remember, cleaning the vulva ought to be a part of your everyday cleanliness schedule. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Stay away from vaginal issues with these tips. Are you doing it right? (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Why is vulvar and vagina care important?
Many women experience uncomfortable, vaginal infections (vaginitis) at one time or another. The area around the entrance to the vagina (vulva) can also become irritated. Steps can be taken to relieve and prevent vulvar discomfort and vaginal infections.
Not all vaginal infections are alike and home treatments can worsen some types. If you have any concerns about your vulvar or vaginal health, or notice unusual changes in vaginal discharge, contact your healthcare provider if the problem persists.
What is the vulva?
The vulva is the area of female sex organs that lies outside of the vagina. These organs include folds of sensitive tissue called the labia (labia means “lips”). The labia has two parts. The outermost folds are called the labia majora. A second set of folds, called the labia minora, is enclosed within the labia majora. The vulva also contains the mounded area made by the pubic bone (mons pubis), a small, round organ (clitoris), and the openings of the vagina and urinary canal (urethra).
What is the vagina?
The vagina is part of the female genitalia. It starts from the opening, called the introitus or inner part of the labia, and ends at the opening of the uterus called the cervix.
Why do vaginal infections happen?
Vaginal infections occur when bacteria, funguses or other organisms grow uncontrolled. Some of these organisms already live in the vagina and are kept at healthy levels by coexisting with other organisms. Infectious organisms can also be introduced into the vagina by improper hygiene or unsafe sex.
What is vulvar care?
The goal of vulvar care is to keep the vulva dry and free from irritants. In this way, you can prevent the vulva from becoming red, swollen and irritated. Because many infections are introduced into the vagina, these tips also provide a basis for good, vaginal care.
What are some tips for vulvar care?
- Use warm water to wash the vulva. Dry thoroughly with a clean towel. (If the vulva is very irritated, you can try drying it with a blow dryer set on cool.)
- The vagina cleanses itself naturally in the form of normal, vaginal discharge. Avoid using douches unless prescribed by your physician. These products can upset the natural balance of organisms.
- Wear only white, 100 percent cotton underwear. Avoid wearing nylon, acetate, or other manmade fibers if you have delicate skin or are prone to vulvar irritation.
- Avoid wearing thongs.
- Rinse underclothes carefully after washing or double-rinse. Avoid using too much laundry detergent.
- Wash new underclothes before wearing.
- Use a mild soap (such as Woolite®) for washing underclothes. Avoid fabric softeners (including dryer sheets) and detergents with enzymes (amylase, lipase, protease and cellulose).
- Use soft toilet tissue (white only).
- Use tampons instead of sanitary napkins to control menstrual bleeding. (Do not use deodorant tampons.) Do not leave tampons in for a long period, due to toxic shock syndrome. Do not leave tampons in all night.
- Take sitz baths daily, if prescribed by your healthcare provider.
- Don’t scratch.
- Avoid wearing nylon pantyhose or panty girdles. They trap heat and moisture, providing an ideal breeding environment for organisms. When nylons or leggings are required, wear cotton or nylons with a cotton panty.
- Avoid these feminine hygiene products, which can irritate the vulva: sanitary pads, feminine spray and deodorants, scented oils, bubble baths, bath oils, talc or powder.
What over-the-counter products can be used for vaginal lubrication?
Vaginal moisturizers can be used for dryness, if needed. These can be water- or silicon-based products:
- Replens® (Warner Wellcome) – Using applicator, apply three times a week at bedtime to maintain normal vaginal moisture.
- Gyne-Moistrin® (Schering-Plough)
- Crisco vegetable shortening
For use during intercourse (vaginal lubricants):
- Astroglide® (Astro-Lube, Inc.)
- Lubrin® Vaginal Suppository (Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc.) – Developed for postmenopausal women
- Condom-Mate® Vaginal Suppository (Upsher-Smith)— Developed for use with condoms; same as Lubrin®, but smaller.
- Today® Personal Lubricant (Made by manufacturers of the Today® Sponge)
- K-Y Liquid® (Johnson and Johnson)
Emollients (products like Petroleum jelly) should be used in patients with vulvar irritation sparingly. It is not recommended to insert emollients vaginally.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/23/2018.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. . Accessed 7/6/2018. Vulvovaginal Health: FAQ 190, November 2015 (https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Vulvovaginal-Health)
- National Vulvodynia Association. . Accessed 7/6/2018. Self-Help Tips (https://www.nva.org/for-patients/self-help-tips/)
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Women’s Health. . Accessed 7/6/2018. Vaginal Yeast Infections (https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/vaginal-yeast-infections)
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Hygiene is important, no matter which healthcare professional you ask. Lack of intimate hygiene, especially in women, can lead to several health complications, including cervical cancer, chronic pulmonary disease, respiratory infections, and even death. Lack of accessible sanitation and hygiene products in developing countries like India is one of the biggest reasons behind a woman’s death. And it’s a world problem. Poor menstrual hygiene is said to be the fifth biggest killer of women in the world. Hence, as a woman or a man who truly cares for the woman in his life, it is of utmost importance to learn how to maintain feminine hygiene.
Keep your private parts clean and dry
Keeping your private parts clean and dry will help manage the bad odor and maintain overall health. Hence, it is advised to use toilet paper or a soft cloth to clean it after the loo. It is also important to clean it after performing intimate activities. The vulva on the surface contracts and expands during intercourse. This leads to several spores inside that can act as an entry point for infections and viruses, leading to inflammation and other health problems.
Although cleaning your private parts is vital, you need to do it in the right way to get better hygiene. Also, don’t over-wash or dry it. It contains some good bacteria such as the lactobacillus as well that helps maintain the pH level. Hence, you should not wash them off as well. Having the right level of pH level is the key to maintaining the required level of feminine hygiene.
Use sanitary pads or tampons
The menstrual cycle, or periods as they are commonly known, is when women become most vulnerable to life-threatening infections and diseases caused due to secretions that occur along with blood flow. Using sanitary pads and tampons to soak the secretion and keep your private parts dry can come in handy and prove to be life-saving in some cases.
You might also experience excretions other than the one experienced during the menstrual cycle. However, they are not always harmful nor a bad sign. One way to differentiate between non-harmful and infectious secretions is through simple observations. Non-harmful secretions do not smell or cause itching. Thus, if the secretions smell bad and cause severe itching, you need to visit your doctor for a checkup immediately.
Your lady parts can clean itself naturally with the help of a small number of secretions. These secretions flush out the bad bacteria and release the good ones inside. As mentioned earlier, these good bacteria help maintain the pH level, preventing it from becoming too acidic and causing itchiness.
Many women use a douche to clean up these parts. This item flushes water deep inside to clean the secretions. However, this can wash away the good bacteria as well, tampering with the pH level. Also, there is no clear evidence of whether a douche helps protect against infections. On top of it, the douche also uses some chemicals for cleaning it. Hence, the extreme use of douche and an increase in chemicals inside can be harmful.
Wear clean and washed clothes
Feminine hygiene is not limited to cleanliness; it also includes measures that can help keep your private’s parts clean and dry. Wearing clean, washed, and comfortable clothes are some of these measures. Unwashed and tight clothes can cause sweating and moisture, leading to bacterial growth and further infections. It is best to visit a nearby laundromat frequently to wash your clothes. Wearing clean and comfortable clothes will help maintain the air circulation through your panties and prevent sweat, improving hygiene levels.
There’s no doubt that you can easily maintain your hygiene with the right care. However, it would help if you visited your doctor regularly for routine checkups, especially for cervical screening. Cervical cancer is a common complication caused due to infections. Routine checkups will help early diagnosis of any disease or inflammation, thereby helping with early treatment.
There has been increased awareness related to feminine intimate health and tremendous growth in using feminine hygiene products. According to a forecast report, the global feminine hygiene products market will increase at a CAGR of 6.8% to reach a whopping $52 billion by 2023. However, there are still women who either don’t have access to proper hygiene products or don’t care about it or are ashamed of talking about it. It is high time that you control your hands to maintain feminine hygiene and spread the word about it.