7 Body Parts You’re Actually Cleaning Totally Wrong

Do you really remember being taught how to clean yourself? I mean, sure, you’re taught how to brush your teeth as an itty bitty kid, but do you actually remember that? Nobody taught you how to bathe either, or wash your face, and you only clean your ears with cotton swabs because you saw other people doing it. And after a while, you get so used to a certain approach to cleaning yourself that you’re basically on autopilot. As long as you think you’re getting the job done, why actively change your approach? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Except, the way you do everything from wash your face to brush your teeth might actually be wrong and not as effective as you think. Oops.

Listen, it’s okay if you’re not squeaky clean all the time, and we all take shortcuts every now and then, right? I mean, be honest: You know you should probably brush your teeth longer than you are right now. But for the most part, how would you even know you’re not washing yourself properly? Well, it’s time for some potentially rude awakenings. Check out these seven body parts you’re actually cleaning totally wrong, without even knowing it.


Teeth

I once read ages ago that you should brush your teeth for a time span comparable to the average pop song. Um, I don't know about you, but brushing my teeth for three and a half minutes sounded excessive then and it definitely sounds excessive now, especially with the widespread popularity of high quality electric toothbrushes. But, still, it's so easy to just give your teeth a quick 30 second scrub and convince yourself that as long as your mouth feels nice and fresh, you've done your job. Uh, no. Here's the reality: You should brush your teeth for about two minutes. I know, that sounds so long, but it's what dentists recommend.

Also, make sure you're cleaning all around your teeth, not just the front and a bit in the back. Oh, and switch out your toothbrush or brush head every three to four months.

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Face

You might think that using hot water on your face helps your face get cleaner. I mean, I get it: Hot water just seems more cleansing than cold water does. But you really shouldn't be using hot water on your skin; it dries it out and makes your skin more irritated, especially if you already have skin that is on the dry side. Use lukewarm water and a small amount of cleanser. Gently rub the product into your face and pat dry with a clean town. Don't scrub! In fact, you should avoid harsh scrubs all together when it comes to your daily routine; they can create micro-tears in your skin and cause irritation. If you must use a physical exfoliant, use a very fine scrub or a gentle facial spin brush.

Oh, and remember to wash your face twice a day: Once in the morning, and once at night. Even if you don't think your face is dirty first thing in the morning, you'd be surprised by how much nighttime sweat and bacteria from your pillow are just chillin' on your skin.

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Ears

If you clean your ears with cotton swabs, heads up: You're really, really not supposed to. I'm not just saying that because you can damage your ears if you go in too deep with the swab. I'm also saying that because when you use a cotton swab, you're often pushing the wax deeper inside of your ear canal. So, yeah, some gunk might show up on the swab, but you're not really fixing the problem. Some people use bobby pins to claw their ear wax out, which might be more effective, but still dangerous because you can hit your ear drum! What you really need to do is buy some ear drops or purchase a gentle spray that will loosen the wax in your ears. Or, if you're really concerned about your ear gunk, just schedule a doctor's appointment; they can clean your ears out in a more professional manner.

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Butt

Yes, we all have buttcracks and they all need to be clean. If you're prone to infection or irritation down there, you should probably avoid using too much soap for your butt; hot water and a well positioned shower head work wonders. But if your butt can handle it--OMG, I'm sorry, guys--then feel free to use a tiny bit of soap to lather up down there. Just make sure you rinse thoroughly and don't overdo it. Seriously, keep your bits as soap free as possible if you want to avoid irritation.

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Vaginal Area

You should know by now that your vagina cleans itself and doesn't need a massive glob of shower soap up there; many soaps actually irritate the vagina, which can trigger an infection. But, hey, the area around your vagina--the labia, vulva and all those nooks and crannies--do get funky. What should you do? Well, here's what you shouldn't do: load up on soap and go to town. Warm water should be sufficient down there. And if you must cleanse your vulva, at the very least use a very small amount of unscented body wash. And I mean small.

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Body

Okay, here's the thing about washing your body: You probably do it too much. It's understandable to want to shower often in the summertime, especially if you're a sweaty monster like me. But if you're not sweating up a storm everyday, you probably don't need to take a full blown shower every day either. You're truly not that dirty, and using too much hot water and soap on your skin can be bad for your skin because it'll get dry AF. So, it's not that you're necessarily washing your body wrong...you're probably just conditioned to do it way more than you actually need to.

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Hair

Every hair type has different needs; some hair types need to be washed super regularly, others don't need a regular shampoo session at all. But here's one thing that all hair types should take to heart: You really don't need as much shampoo as you think. Shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils, something that even those of you with oily hair need to retain. You should only use shampoo when you're experiencing product build up, dandruff, or your hair is truly dirty. Otherwise, a co-wash--washing your hair with conditioner--will suffice.

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How long do you really spend brushing your teeth? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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