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15th March, 20214 min read

How often should I wash?

Medical reviewer:Dr Adiele Hoffman
Author:Helen Prentice
Last reviewed: 15/03/2021
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

There’s nothing like an energising shower or relaxing bath to leave you feeling refreshed. It's good for your health, too: regularly washing your skin will help remove dirt, disease-causing germs and excess oil, as well as unpleasant smells.

Washing may seem like a simple task, but it’s worth taking the time to do it right. So read on for tips to help you get the most out of your cleaning routine.

How often should I wash my body?

Setting aside time to get clean skin is a positive self-care habit. How often should you shower? Try to have a shower or bath every day. Obviously, there will be times when this isn’t possible – in which case, a wash with a wet cloth or sponge is the next best thing.

There are also occasions when you need to wash more than once a day. If you’ve been exercising or sweating a lot, for example, it’s best to wash straight afterwards, as sweat can irritate your skin.

If you do need to wash more than once a day, try to keep your showers short – about 5 minutes – as too much exposure to water can actually dry out your skin.

What products should I use to clean my body?

Many different products claim to help keep your skin clean and fresh, from washes, gels and soap bars to bath creams and body scrubs.

However, it's generally a good idea to avoid harsh soaps, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin. Products containing ingredients such as alcohol, fragrances, alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) or retinoids can strip your skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness.

To help your skin look and feel its best, look for skincare products that have been designed for your skin type – such as oily, dry or sensitive, for example.

What’s the best way to clean my body?

When it comes to a daily cleaning routine, follow these steps to help you make the most of your bath or shower:

  1. Wet your skin.
  2. Apply soap or cleanser to your hands.
  3. Work the soap into a lather with a little water.
  4. Gently massage all over your body.
  5. Rinse yourself thoroughly.
  6. Gently pat (don’t scrub) yourself dry with a clean towel.

Body cleaning – quick tips

  • if you want to use moisturiser, apply it straight after washing, when your skin is still damp, to help lock in moisture
  • after washing, put on fresh clothes that have been cleaned with laundry detergent
  • always wash your hands after going to the toilet and before preparing or eating food

Things to look out for

Washing your body provides an opportunity to check your skin for signs that it might need some extra attention.

If you notice that you have very dry skin or blemished skin, it’s worth getting advice from a doctor or dermatologist. They may suggest an ointment or cream and check if you have a skin condition that needs treatment.

You should also keep an eye out for changes to your skin. If you notice any spots or itchy or crusty patches that don’t go away within 4 weeks, or an unusual lump, make an appointment with your doctor.

Key points

  • washing your body helps keep it healthy by removing dirt, germs and excess oil
  • it’s a good idea to have a shower or a bath every day
  • if you’ve been sweating a lot, wash straight afterwards to avoid skin irritation
  • use water and gentle skincare products, particularly if you have dry or sensitive skin
  • try to find products that are suitable for your skin type
  • when you wash, keep an eye out for any changes to your skin
  • if you notice anything unusual, speak to your doctor
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