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Hygiene Mythbusters Debunking Common Misconceptions About Cleanliness

We prioritise hygiene for a healthy lifestyle overall, but did you know there are a few misconceptions that we have been following and doing for a long time thinking that doing so will result in improved hygiene and cleanliness?

We prioritise hygiene for a healthy lifestyle overall, but did you know there are a few misconceptions that we have been following and doing for a long time thinking that doing so will result in improved hygiene and cleanliness?

As a result, we have compiled a list of common hygiene myths that you should be aware of before spreading further fallacies about health and cleanliness practices.

Always Wash Your Hands with Hot Water for Killing Germs

hand washing

This is one of the most popular hand hygiene myths, in which people believe that because boiling water kills germs as per WHO, washing hands with hot water will have the same effect. However, there is no conclusive evidence that washing hands with hot water kills germs.

Instead, it would harm your skin and prevent you from following the standard practise of washing your hands for 20 to 30 seconds to flush off germs. It has been proven that washing hands under warm water makes you feel more comfortable for at least 20 seconds.

Douching Will Clean Your Vagina

This cleaning myth will allow your Vagina's healthy bacteria to wash away, bringing disease instead of keeping it safe. As there are both good and bad bacteria in the vagina and they work together to maintain a natural acidic environment that keeps the vagina healthy and free of germs, it is best to wash only the outer part gently with your hands.

Douching in the hopes of getting a better clean in your vaginal area is a bad idea. Instead, irritate your vaginal tissues and increase your chances of becoming infected by hazardous bacteria.

Cotton Swabs are a Safe Way to Clean out Earwax

Another myth in health and hygiene practices is that using cotton swabs to clear earwax is safe. Using a cotton swab to remove earwax is a horrible idea since it will push further into the ear cannel, causing irritation, inability to hear well, and trapping bacteria in the ear, as well as rupturing the eardrum.

It is always advised not to place anything inside the ear cannel, since the canal part is quite sensitive and has its own natural cleaning process that pulls wax out of the ear by chewing and jaw movements. You can clean the outside of the ear by using a soft cotton ball or moist wipes such as Dettol and wiping it gently.

Deodorants and Antiperspirants Cause Breast Cancer

People frequently use deodorants and antiperspirants to maintain their bodies odour-free, carry a pleasant smell, and appear presentable in public. However, others believe that deodorants or antiperspirants are one of the causes of breast cancer since their products contain aluminium and parabens, which are absorbed by the skin and accumulate in the breast tissue.

However, according to National Cancer Institute study, there is no solid evidence that these items are the cause of breast cancer.

Antibacterial Soap is Always Better


Popular hygiene misconceptions encourage people to use antibacterial soap frequently in order to achieve a higher level of cleanliness and destroy microorganisms. While it is true that antibacterial soap kills bacteria more effectively than conventional soap, overuse and frequent application may cause healthy bacteria to be displaced by this antibacterial soap and may lead to   making it less effective when you actually need it.

Cleaning Equals Sterilising

Many individuals believe that cleaning equates to sterilising. Cleaning is the removal of apparent dirt and grime from surfaces, whereas sterilising is the killing or elimination of all microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses. It is required to clean surfaces or objects on a daily basis, but it is not necessary to sterilise them on a daily basis.

Dettol provides the most important products for sterilisation, such as surface spray, disinfection solutions, wipes, and sanitizers, for a successful result.


Hand Sanitizer Replaces Handwashing

Following COVID-19, people place greater emphasis on hand sanitizers than on hand washing. In terms of destroying germs and keeping your hands completely free of microorganisms, using hand sanitizer yields the best results. While it is true that sanitizer kills germs, but it does not remove dirt or debris.

Although a hand sanitizer destroys 99.99% of germs and provides a quick and convenient way to stay disinfected, it cannot replace regular handwashing. 

More Cleaning Products Equal Better Hygiene

A common myth is that cleaning with more disinfecting products indicates greater hygiene. While this may make you feel safer from germs and illnesses, remember that using too many chemicals might irritate your skin and body. This can also occur because different disinfection products have different chemical properties. Therefore, mixing or using one after another might result in a harmful chemical reaction or toxic fumes, as well as producing hazardous odours.

So, before mixing or utilising one with another, be sure it serves a purpose and maintains a clean and safe atmosphere. Same applies to the surfaces and objects you are using, or it can cause damage to the surfaces and objects.

Hand Dryers Are More Hygienic Than Paper Towels

Hand dryers produce hot air, which eliminates germs and makes them safer to use. However, according to the research, paper towels are the most hygienic. The air movement from a hand drier can transmit germs from the hands to the rest of the body and other surfaces, instead of destroying or eliminating them. So, whenever possible, use paper towels instead of hand dryers.

Cleaning Products Must Smell Strong to Be Effective

cleaning products

Many people believe that smelling effective after mixing the disinfection solution with water or using the cleaning solution indicates that it has a powerful effect to clean the surfaces or for whatever purpose it has been used. However, this assumption is incorrect; there is no link between smelling strongly and being most effective.

The presence of string scents in a product indicates the possibility of introducing some extra chemical agent that can cause a health danger due to its vapour. So, before purchasing any disinfection product, read the product label and follow suitable cleaning practices.

The Dirtiest Place in Your Home is the Toilet

Surprisingly, the dirtiest spot in your home is not the toilet; it is the kitchen sponges or cloths, cutting boards and even your kitchen sink where the kitchen sponge or cloth remains at the top, we use it to wipe our filthy dishes and sometimes kitchen surfaces, but we never let it dry properly after each use, nor do we allow it wash thoroughly. This is because germs can live in places other than your toilet.

Personal Hygiene Is Only About the Body

a woman washing hands

People believe that personal hygiene solely refers to how presentable you are in terms of keeping yourself tidy and clean and wearing clean clothes. However, it does not stop there; it also entails keeping your surroundings clean and well-kept, such as your home, belongings, and office. Neglecting any unsanitary place or thing can lead to the spread of germs and the possibility of being unwell.

To summarise, these misconceptions about cleanliness and hygiene are rather prevalent, but remaining knowledgeable about all of these hygiene facts and myths helps assure the well-being of yourself and the people around you. Remember that hygiene isn't simply a myth; it's an essential aspect of living a healthy life.

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