Many people shower every day to feel clean and refreshed. Some people like to shower at night before they go to bed. Some people like to shower in the morning as an effective way to start their day and feel alert for work. Professor Sally Bloomfield has argued that you don’t need to shower for hygiene reasons—it only makes you smell better.
According to the professor who is also an expert on hygiene, bathing every day is “really not important” for personal cleanliness. If you hate showering or bathing, then as long as you’re okay with smelling bad, you don’t ever have to do either.
According to Bloomfield, who is a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, people only shower regularly because they want to be considered “socially acceptable.” That is, they clean their bodies in order to get rid of bad smells that would otherwise deter social interactions.
Amou Haji, dubbed the “dirtiest man in the world” (see photo below), passed away at age ninety-four after spending seven decades without bathing. He was a resident of Iran, located in the Middle East.
Professor Bloomfield argued that more individuals should follow Haji’s example and forego showering because it does not have a significant impact on their hygiene. Although she supported the British government’s handwashing campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bloomfield stated that people who do not shower regularly are just as healthy as those that do.
Although Bloomfield says that people do not need to take showers to keep themselves clean and their hygiene levels high, she does take a shower on a daily basis to keep her hair looking “reasonable.”
Professor Bloomfield said “In my opinion, we don’t need to bath and shower every day. In fact, we don’t need to bathe and shower at all. There are microbes on our body that produce nasty odors but they’re not harmful to us. And the reason we bathe and shower is that we want to get rid of those odors and we want to feel comfortable. That’s fine — but as far as preventing disease, it’s really not important.”
The professor continued: “We don’t need to shower or wash at all. The reason we do it is to be socially acceptable. We do it in the summer to get rid of sweat and to make us feel more comfortable. But we also have some harmless bugs that are set up at home in places that are dark and moist and they break down sweat and they break down urine to produce nasty odors, which make us unacceptable to other people. So those are the reasons that we mainly shower ourselves.”
She added, “Hand-washing is still vital to prevent the spread of infections and diseases. We’re very confused about the difference between cleanliness and hygiene. Cleanliness is what we do to look and feel clean but hygiene is the cleaning we do in order to prevent the spread of germs.”