- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Mouth, Gums & Teeth
- Wind: Wind 18 inches of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a one- to two-inch length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.
- Guide: Keep a one- to two-inch length of floss taut between fingers. Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth.
- Glide: Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag motion. DO NOT SNAP FLOSS BETWEEN YOUR TEETH. Contour floss around the side of the tooth.
- Slide: Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.
Mouth wash: If you practice proper oral care, mouth wash shouldn’t totally be a necessity, but it can’t hurt. It helps to eliminate extra bacteria and can help fight cavities. Just make sure you don’t use it as a replacement for brushing or to mask bad breath. Only solving the underlying problems will actually help.
Start by allowing water to run over you for a couple minutes. Warm water can make it easier to remove dirt and residue. Make sure it isn’t super hot, which can dry out your skin.
At the end of your shower turn the water really (or all the way) cold. This will wake you up and get blood flowing. It also closes your pores to allow for less dirt and bacteria to get in to help reduce acne problems.
As we established earlier, you should do any shaving towards the end of your shower. Washing your face should also come towards the end, as this is the area that most benefits from being run under warm water. Of course, all this waiting around may start to feel comfortable, but don’t dawdle too long. As our sister site Jezebel learned when discussing showering with Dr. Sanjay Jain, spending more than 10 to 15 minutes or so in the shower can start to strip away healthy oils and damage your skin more than it helps.
Towels & Clothes
Washcloths and loofahs can harbor bacteria, mold, and yeast, says dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, M.D. If you use a loofah, make sure you replace it at least once a month. Schlessinger says the best way to keep loofahs clean is to dry them completely between uses—even if that means storing it outside of the moisture-filled shower. If you prefer washcloths, grab a fresh one every day, and avoid using it on your face. This is very irritating to the skin and ends up causing dry areas, breakouts, and even sores, says Schlessinger, who recommends washing your face with your hands instead.
- Deodorant: The basic function of deodorant is to combat the funk that your body starts to emit when too much bacteria builds up on your skin. As we’ve covered before, which brand you buy doesn’t matter much and they mostly only differ by scent. Though you may want to consider unscented deodorant, as your personal scent can actually be an important part in your romantic endeavors. For best effect, apply the antiperspirant at night.
- Perfume/cologne: Using an artificial scent is largely a matter of personal preference. For some it can be attractive, others can use too much and make it off putting. If you want to try experimenting with perfumes and colognes, start by learning how much is too much.