Hygiene is an important part of looking after ourselves as humans – helping to remove harmful bacteria from our skin that could otherwise spread illnesses, keeping our hair, nails and teeth in good condition, and generally making us feel fresh.
Most of us know the importance of keeping ourselves clean – whether that’s with a relaxing bubble bath or simply by brushing our teeth in the morning. This has become increasingly more important in recent years – largely due to global events – but do we have a set standard for our hygiene routine, or does it differ from person to person?
We at Click Pharmacy wanted to know more about how people across the UK keep their personal hygiene maintained. To find out what cleanliness habits the general public has, we surveyed 2,000 UK adults and asked them about how they take care of their hygiene.
How often Brits take a bath or shower
One of the most common ways that many of us take care of our hygiene is by taking a bath or shower. This is often a go-to when we want to feel clean, allowing us to wash our entire body in one go. But, just how often do we go for a shower?
Our survey revealed that over half (51%) of Brits take a shower once per day – with an even split of male and female respondents (51% each). Similarly, 30% of respondents said they take a shower twice or more per week, of which 34% were female, alongside 27% of male respondents.
Interestingly, 10% said they shower twice daily – which was slightly more popular with male respondents (11%) in comparison to females (9%). Other less-popular options included showering once per week (6%) – of which 7% were female, with 4% being male – alongside twice or more per fortnight (1%) and less than once per month (1%).
With energy prices increasing exponentially across the UK over the past 12 months, we were interested to see what impact this has had on people’s hygiene in regards to how often they take a bath or shower.
We found that, unfortunately, 19% said that it had impacted how often they take a bath – while a further 21% said it had affected their shower habits. Of those that said their bathing habits had been impacted, the majority were from Northern Ireland – with 43% of Northern Irish respondents saying they had changed how often they take a bath. In contrast, just 11% of residents living in the West Midlands said the same.
Those that said they had changed their showering habits were fairly evenly split across regions, with around 20% or more respondents from most regions saying energy prices have changed how often they take a shower.
The exceptions included Yorkshire and the Humber, of which 14% said they had changed their shower routine, alongside 16% from the East of England, 18% from the East Midlands, 14% from the North East, and 18% from the South East.
Oral hygiene habits
Our teeth play a vital role in day-to-day life, allowing us to eat a wide variety of foods. In return, it’s important to take good care of our oral health – using appropriate toothpaste and other dental products – to ensure that our teeth remain in good condition and free from any cavities that may otherwise require dental work or extraction.
We asked respondents how often they brush their teeth and found that the majority (73%) do so twice or more daily – of these, 77% were female, alongside 68% of male respondents. We also found that 17% opt to brush their teeth once per day, which was more common with male respondents (20%) in comparison to females (15%).
A further 5% of respondents said that they brush their teeth twice or more per week, while 1% each said that they brush their teeth once weekly, twice or more per fortnight, once per fortnight, and twice or more per month.
Once we had determined how often Brits tend to brush their teeth, we also wanted to know how long people spend taking care of their oral hygiene.
Our survey revealed that over one-third (39%) brush their teeth for two minutes (91- 120 seconds). An additional 21% said that they brush their teeth for around 1 minute and 30 seconds (61-90 seconds), while 17% brush for one minute (30-60 seconds).
Additionally, 9% of respondents said that they usually brush their teeth for 2 minutes and 30 seconds (121-150 seconds), with 6% brushing for 3 minutes (151-180 seconds). A further 3% said that they brush their teeth for over 3 minutes (over 180 seconds), with a final 2% brushing for less than 30 seconds.
The prevalence of additional hygiene maintenance
Although taking a bath or shower and brushing your teeth are the two main ways of maintaining good personal hygiene, there is a wide range of other things we can do around the home to keep ourselves in good health. However, these are often overlooked by many – which can potentially lead to common problems being exacerbated, including acne and dental hygiene.
Our beds go through a lot and often absorb sweat and other bodily fluids while we sleep or lay in them. That’s why it’s important to regularly change out our bed sheets every week, or a maximum of every fortnight, to ensure that where we sleep doesn’t become a safe haven for harmful bacteria and dirt that can clog our pores and irritate our skin.
We asked our respondents how often they change their bed sheets.
Over one-third (37%) reported changing their bedding once per week, of which slightly more were women (40%) in comparison to men (34%). A further 21% of people said that they change their bed sheets once per fortnight – of which there was an almost-even split between male (20%) and female (22%) respondents.
An additional 13% said that they change their bedding twice or more per fortnight, while 10% reported doing so once per month. Furthermore, 6% of respondents said they swap out their bed sheets twice or more per month, while 5% said they did so twice or more per week.
Finally, 4% of respondents admitted to changing their bedding less than once per month, with a further 2% changing their bedding on a daily basis. Surprisingly, an additional 1% said they change their bedding twice or more per day.
While brushing our teeth is important on its own, it’s also crucial to swap out your toothbrush every three to four months to prevent a buildup of bacteria that can actually impact your oral health.
We wanted to know how often people replace their toothbrush or electric toothbrush head.
We found that 42% of respondents were right where they should be, replacing their toothbrushes every 3-4 months. Meanwhile, 20% said they replace their toothbrush every 5-6 months, alongside 21% of proactive people who said they swap their brushes out every 1-2 months.
Interestingly, 3% said they replace their toothbrush more often than once per month, with an additional 4% doing so every 7-8 months. A further 2% said they replace their toothbrush every 9-10 months, alongside 4% saying they do so every 11-12 months.
Finally, just 3% said they replace their toothbrush on an annual basis, while 1% admitted they never swap out their toothbrush at all.
Face-washing and ear-cleaning
Cleaning your face with an appropriate cleanser or face wash on a regular basis can help to prevent a buildup of facial oils and debris that can irritate the skin and worsen facial acne, psoriasis and eczema.
We asked how often people carry out a skincare routine – including washing their face.
Our survey found that 40% do so once per day, which was interestingly more common with men (42%) than women (38%). An additional 30% said they wash their face twice daily – of which 42% were female in comparison to just 17% of males.
A further 11% of people said they wash their face twice or more per week, while 4% did so once weekly. Additionally, 2% reported washing their face twice or more per fortnight, and 1% did so once fortnightly. A final 1% said they did so twice or more per month, while 2% admitted to washing their face less than once per month.
Similarly, ear care is also essential to maintaining good hygiene. A buildup of ear-wax can cause significant difficulties with hearing and can even lead to ear infections in extreme cases.
Our survey revealed that just over one-quarter (26%) clean their ears twice or more per week, while 21% do so once daily – alongside a further 21% who clean their ears once per week.
An additional 4% of people said they clean their ears twice or more per day, while 5% each said they did so twice or more fortnightly and once per fortnight. A further 6% said they cleaned out their ears less than once per month, while 4% do so once per month. Finally, 3% said they did so twice or more on a monthly basis.
Interestingly, there was very little difference between male and female respondents in terms of how often they clean their ears – with many opting to do so on a weekly basis.
Finally, we were interested to find out how hygiene habits have changed as a result of the health instructions that were implemented during the pandemic – including more frequent hand-washing (happy birthday to you…) alongside the regular use of face masks and hand sanitiser.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, over half (54%) said that they wash their hands more frequently following the pandemic. Of these, 55% were female, alongside 52% of male respondents. Additionally, 30% of respondents said that they now carry hand sanitiser with them and use it more often. This is significantly more common in women (38%) than men (22%).
A further 37% of respondents said that they now remain further away from others when queuing, with more women (40%) doing so than men (33%).
We found that a quarter (25%) of people said that they now sanitise gym equipment and other shared items before using them. This was fairly equal for both male (25%) and female (24%) respondents.
Finally, 10% of respondents said that they still use a face mask when out in public – of which 11% were male in contrast to 8% of females.
A further 24% said that they do not do any of these actions as a result of the pandemic – highlighting that these long-term habits have not stuck for everybody in the same capacity.
Throughout this research, we were interested to see how attitudes towards personal hygiene differ for people across the UK. We wanted to know how frequently people take showers, brush their teeth, and otherwise take care of their hygiene needs.
We were also interested in finding out how these attitudes and habits have changed as a result of external factors – such as the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living/energy crises.
Overall, the survey highlighted that many take actions to maintain their hygiene on a regular basis – with most people opting to shower either once or twice per day at a minimum and brushing their teeth twice daily. However, we did also find that some factors are still behind where they should be ideally – including the changing of bedding and the replacing of toothbrushes.
In general, we were pleasantly surprised to see that most people are taking good care of their hygiene and actively ensuring that they keep their teeth and bodies clean.
If you are in need of medical advice or require any further information regarding products to aid in good hygiene or prescription treatment, please reach out to us at Click Pharmacy. We are always available to provide you with help sourcing prescriptions at your local pharmacies, alongside providing advice on medical treatments and hygiene protocols that you may be unsure about.
Disclaimer: The survey was conducted between the 29th of June, 2023, to the 4th of July, 2023.