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To Sam

Personal hygine

hi sam on childline website there is nithing written for this and I asked a councillor and they said I should write to you so please respond so you should change underwears every day but what about bras and vests and socks is tht every day or every two days also your clothes should that be everyday or every two days and havw a bath every two days. finally should you place bedding sheets and pyjamas in wash every week please answer as no one ask you this question and on childline website there is nothing of personal hygine suvh as how many times you should change your clothes and havw bathesetc tp stop you from smelling want to hear from you also attach some links on personal hygine Thanks

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Staying clean is something you become more responsible for as you get older. When you were younger it would usually be parents or carers who made sure you were washed and wearing clean clothes often enough. As you get older your body begins to change and you may need to wash and change your clothes more often. There isn't a single answer I can give you for how often this might be.

Firstly it's good to change underwear every day, though not everybody does. Your underwear is worn next to your skin so has the highest amount of bacteria and microbes from your body. As this is also next to your genitals if you don't change it often enough, there is a higher chance of infections like thrush and urinary tract infections (UTIs). This is the same with socks as you might get bacteria and fungus that causes your feet to smell or develop an infection.

Your pyjamas and bedding should also be changed regularly Wearing underwear with pyjamas does increase the chances of bacteria growing as it keeps heat and moisture close to your body. You should try and wear pyjamas only a few times before washing them, though it does depend on how long you wear them - if you spend a lot of time wearing pyjamas in the house, you'll need to wash them more often.

Bedsheets should be changed once every week or two weeks at the most. It's also recommended that duvets and pillows are washed every few months as well - then replaced every few years. You have to be aware of what your duvet or pillow is made from as not all can be washed in a washing machine.

All of this is general advice and just a guideline - only you can really decide how often you need to do these things. Most of the time there's no drawback to cleaning clothes and washing as often as you like, other than it might make clothes wear out faster it they're washed more often.

Washing yourself too often can actually be bad too - washing your genitals once a day is usually enough. If you wash more than this you might wash away the good bacteria as well.

If you're having problems with smell or staying clean, you could talk to your GP who might be able to give you some advice and recommend products to you.

If your parents don't help  keep you clean and you're not able to do it yourself, this is something you should tell someone about. You could speak to a Childline counsellor who can help you decide if it's something you need to share with anyone else or not.

You can also speak to other young people about their experiences and what they do on the Childline message boards.

Thanks for writing, take care.


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