NYT: people are showering less due to the pandemic: gross or understandable?

The New York Times has a new article about personal bathing habits that I saw because it was trending on Twitter. They say that people are showering less during the pandemic due to not going out as much. While I understand that your body and hair adjust to less bathing and that showering every day is a relatively modern habit, this just sounds uncomfortable to me. They open with quotes from a mom who said that she only showers once a week now! If a friend told me that, I would wonder if she was ok. However the Times emphasizes that it’s also better for the environment to use less water, and that many people bathe less for that reason.

Robin Harper, an administrative assistant at a preschool on Martha’s Vineyard, grew up showering every day.

“It’s what you did,” she said. But when the coronavirus pandemic forced her indoors and away from the general public, she started showering once a week.

The new practice felt environmentally virtuous, practical and freeing. And it has stuck.

“Don’t get me wrong,” said Ms. Harper, 43, who has returned to work. “I like showers. But it’s one thing off my plate. I’m a mom. I work full-time, and it’s one less thing I have to do…”

Daily showers are a fairly new phenomenon, said Donnachadh McCarthy, an environmentalist and writer in London who grew up taking weekly baths.

“We had a bath once a week and we washed under at the sink the rest of the week — under our armpits and our privates — and that was it,” Mr. McCarthy, 61, said.

As he grew older, he showered every day. But after a visit to the Amazon jungle in 1992 revealed the ravages of overdevelopment, Mr. McCarthy said he began reconsidering how his daily habits were affecting the environment and his own body.

“It’s not really good to be washing with soap every day,” said Mr. McCarthy, who showers once a week.

Doctors and health experts have said that daily showers are unnecessary, and even counterproductive. Washing with soap every day can strip the skin of its natural oils and leave it feeling dry, though doctors still recommend frequent hand-washing.

[From The NY Times]

The article is balanced out with quotes from people who shower about every other day, including a woman who noticed that her hair and skin are not as dry now that she’s skipping daily showers. That makes more sense to me than only showering once a week and doing spot cleaning in between. Yes this was common decades ago, but we’ve changed as a society since then. I tried washing my hair every other day for a while and it did seem to be glossier. However I still showered every day, I just wore a shower cap. I work out most days and I can’t let the sweat dry on my skin and then go to sleep like that. It feels nasty and my sheets get dirtier faster. (I wash them once a week, not everyone does this, but it’s recommended.) Now that it’s allergy season, I wash my hair every day to get pollen out. I like having clean hair and skin. Yes it’s not great for the environment to shower every day, but we don’t have to take long showers. Plus I need the pick-me-up that comes from showering and wearing fresh clothes. I related most to a salon owner, Nina Arthur, who was quoted at the end of the NYT piece. She said while she understood it’s better for the environment to shower less she wasn’t going to stop showering every day and that “I’m not that woman.”



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130 Responses to “NYT: people are showering less due to the pandemic: gross or understandable?”

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  1. Alissa says:

    showering only once a week really grosses me out, and if someone framed it as one less thing I have to do I’d be a bit concerned about them. I shower every other day unless I’ve done something that requires a shower like getting really sweaty or swimming in a pool or something.

    • minx says:

      I’ve showered less in the pandemic, and it doesn’t bother me. I’m definitely washing my hair less and it’s never been in better condition.

      • North of Boston says:

        Same here. My hair has been super healthy since I’ve been showering less frequently. (The cut and style have also been OK, even though I’ve been cutting it myself following some youtube videos … I’m not sure I’m going to head to the salon any time soon)

        That said, if I need to shower, I shower … whether I’m sweaty from working out or have been mucking around in the garden or whatever. I’m not going to put myself on a fixed schedule just because.

      • Sigmund says:

        Yeah, I’m a curly-haired person and my hair definitely does better with fewer washes during the week. I’d guess that right now, I’m doing 2 hair washes a week, and that seems about perfect for my hair.

      • liz says:

        Same. I still shower almost every day, but I’ve taken to only washing my hair 3 or 4 days a week, usually the days that I go running. My hair is much, much healthier for it.

    • Lawcatb says:

      Working from home, I shower every other day in the cooler months (3/4 of the year here in Minnesota). If I get sweaty or it’s a hotter day, I will increase to daily or even twice a day. If someone is only bathing once a week, I hope they’re at least wash-ragging a bit during the week.

    • A says:

      Pre-pandemic, I would hear that my own Dad would refuse to shower regularly (even if my Mom told him he didn’t smell good and needed a shower). Friends have said the same about their fathers. Is there something about some men of a certain age just deciding they don’t want to shower anymore? Unless you’re depressed (which doesn’t seem to be the case here), it just seems so inconsiderate to those around you. It also takes all of two minutes.

    • Steph says:

      I shower maybe twice a week, but I do wash my body with a washcloth soap and water every day. It’s how we were taught F kids to conserve water. Showering every day is a privilege that not every American has.

  2. Darla says:

    It’s gross, and I don’t buy their environmental stories. I’d bet a lot if you follow these fools around they are using single-use plastic water bottles, driving suv’s, leaving lights on, all kinds of stuff.

    Every other day? I mean, maybe that works for some, but as you mention, I work out daily. So that’s a non-starter for me. Also if you are in a sexual relationship, come on. I wouldn’t get into bed with a guy who didn’t shower that day. You know I saw these blinds on Instagram about a list actors who pick up women and then wash their behinds, and everyone was like ewww, so weird. But you know what I thought?

    Damn would I love to just hand men a sponge and tell them you better wash that azz before getting into my bed. LOL I don’t know, i am pristine, and is it really too much to expect the same?

    • Nyro says:

      Wait, the actors wash their own behinds or they wash the women’s behinds?

      • Darla says:

        The women’s! This is from that Deux something account that I found out about here. And now I can’t stop reading it, I wish I had never heard about it honestly. But anyway, I don’t really blame them. Now, the ages of the women they are picking up, I do judge.

    • Gil says:

      I have lived in Japan for almost 7 years and for what I have learnt taking a shower before sex it’s part of this country sexual etiquette. Now I cannot imagine having sex with an unwashed partner.

      • Darla says:

        Oh how interesting. I think it should be.

      • Amanda says:

        Kind of takes away the spontaneity though. As long as I/they washed sometime that day, I’m good.

      • Lauren says:

        Oh yeah, I remember my fun times in Japan. Shower before sex is kind of mandatory. I remember my first time with a Japanese partner, we were making out and he asked me to shower at first I was WTF, but he explained and it made sense.

    • Sarah says:

      I don’t even know where to begin with the judgement in this comment.

  3. Case says:

    I actually find myself showering more, because I feel gross coming home from places like the grocery store that I never would’ve thought about before. I typically wash my hair every other day, but with all the pollen I’ve started doing it every day. I have bad allergies and don’t want to take that to bed with me.

    Even if I don’t go out, I still think it’s important to shower daily. For me, it’s a good way to stay mentally well.

    • goofpuff says:

      I agree, I shower way more often than I did pre-pandemic for that very reason of feeling icky after being outside in places with strangers. I shower whenever I get back from an errand run.

    • February-Pisces says:

      Yeah I showered more because every time I went out I wanted to feel clean afterwards. I eventually shifted the time that I took my daily shower so I would do it once I was home after I’d been out.

  4. Roo says:

    The only time I may not shower every day is when I’m sick and physically can’t do it. Otherwise, I shower ever day. I feel gross if I don’t.

  5. Alexandria says:

    I’m in South East Asia so hard pass. We shower every day.

    • Sid says:

      I’m trying to imagine someone living somewhere like Singapore only showering once a week. Yikes!

      • Alexandria says:

        Yeah I’m in Singapore. That’s not gonna happen unless that person is homeless.

    • whybother says:

      right? cant imagine not showering with our weather

  6. Becks1 says:

    I shower probably 5-6 times a week. There’s usually at least one day I skip, and sometimes two days (but not two days in a row.) I have also stretched my hair washing to every three days. (so I washed it tuesday, and then I’ll wash it today, but then I’ll prob wash it sunday for mother’s day, treat yo’self, lol.) My hair is super fine and greasy and washing it less really DOES help with the oil, and now I found the best dry shampoo ever (redken) and so the second day I can use that and still wear my hair down, and then the third day it’s just up in a ponytail. It looks a little gross but I don’t care at that point, because my Day 1 hair is SO GOOD. lol.

    my hairdresser did tell me that she has noticed her clients hair in general is a lot healthier bc people aren’t blow drying it as much, even if they’re still washing it every day they just let it air dry.

    Back to the showers – I smell after I work out, so I do need to shower even if I’m not washing my hair. the days I don’t shower are days that I’m taking a total rest day.

    • Sarah says:

      This is what I do, too! I have fine, dry hair so wash every other day and on the days I don’t wash it I still take a shower but I just rinse my hair and condition the ends. I have been looking for a good dry shampoo, I will try Redken.

      Unrelated, but I always love your comments about the royals! And I am of course picturing you as Becks from the show You, LOL! 🙂

      • april says:

        I’ve been using Living Proof, Perfect Hair Day, Dry shampoo. It works wonderfully. I saw it recommended in a magazine as one of the best dry shampoos.

      • Lucy2 says:

        Thanks April I will have to try that, Living Proof is good stuff.

        I’ve definitely cut down on the hair washing, it’s in a bun and I’m working from home alone. It feels a lot healthier.
        I went to every other day showering during winter but now in warm weather and gardening and stuff, probably back to every day.

      • Golly Gee says:

        In a pinch, corn starch also works really well as a dry shampoo. Sprinkle it on, let it sit for a minute, then brush it out.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I’m the same, I shower probably 5-6 days a week on average. If I’m feeling really lazy on a weekend I might skip a day, but then I live alone and rarely leave the house anymore, so who would care? LOL. I like to shower at the end of my work day, to sort of wash off the stress / relax, and then it’s less than ten minutes.

      I’ve managed to cut my hair washing down to twice a week max, and I definitely can tell a difference. It’s not only healthier but my hair color lasts longer too!

    • C-Shell says:

      I’ll admit that, since March 2020, I’ve cut down on showering to about 5-6 days a week because I live alone (with my pups) and hardly go anywhere. I still do my face cleansing/moisturizing routine daily. But if I’ve worked up a sweat doing yard work or heavy housework, I hit the shower immediately even if I showered earlier in the day. I can’t stand for sweat to dry on me *shudder*. My hair is naturally dry, so I’ve always shampooed about every 5 days, and now I might stretch it another day because, again, not going anywhere. The best part is I barely use makeup these days — mask wearing has made most of that unnecessary and frankly unpleasant, but the full eye makeup bit has gone by the wayside in favor of swiping on some smudged eye pencil and mascara. Under 2 minutes!

  7. Levans says:

    I may be in the minority here but I have found myself not showering every day like I used to. It is likely linked to a decline in mental health, and staying in the house more due to being high risk for covid complications. My area is not taking covid seriously, lots of folks not wearing masks and I don’t feel safe to be in public. I’m currently seeing a therapist to help with the anxiety and depression. It sort of feels like what’s the point of showering every day. But I’d say I still shower 3 times a week.

    • Darla says:

      Mental health struggles are different for me on this issue. My best friend was going 3 and 4 days without a shower for a while last year, and it was a red flag and we talked about it a lot. Covid put a lot of people into the situation you are describing. I feel for you.

      • Levans says:

        Thanks Darla! Glad you were able to help your friend. It is definitely a struggle and even more so when other people seem to be adjusting well and looking down on the symptoms I’m experiencing. It feels like “Why can’t I just figure it out like everyone did?” I’m learning that many people are just pretending/ showing a highlight reel and may also be struggling too. We need more compassion all around.

    • Cee says:

      I agree. Not taking care of personal hygene and overall hygene is an early sign of depression. When I was depressed I had to talk myself into a shower and clean hair, which now seems ridiculous to me. I also let go of cleaning/treating my face, which is something I love to do. I know that whenever I stop applying serums and eye cream, that’s when I need to call my therapist.

      Hold on tight Levans, everything comes to an end and this pandemic will end, too.
      Every time you shower think about how good it makes you feel, take out the time to do it, maybe light some candles or put on music and sing your heart out.

    • Bess says:

      ITA. I know that it’s taken more effort for me to get into the shower since the pandemic started especially during this past winter.

  8. Nyro says:

    A week? Nah, that’s icky. I can’t get in my bed at night without having just showered.

  9. OriginalLala says:

    I shower most days, but only wash my hair 2x a week (curly hair), but on days when I don’t shower I still wash my privates with a soap and water 🙂

  10. Katherine says:

    I’ve found a few weeks where I go every other day and surprisingly feel fine. Week after week of just commuting from my bedroom to home office in athleisure it seemed sort of pointless to shower daily. Especially in winter. I do change underwear and clothes obv. And if I work out of course. And summer feels like I need to more between sweat and just a nice lukewarm shower to cool off (I don’t have AC lol) I will say my face and skin is in best shape it’s ever been in. I’ve always gone a week in between hair washing as I usually have my hair a vibrant unnatural color so there’s a whole process to washing it which should be done sparingly. But I use dry shampoo and it actually looks great and easy to style which is a win for me with naturally thin and fine hair. I actually think it looks worse with frequent washing. But on days I don’t wash it I still shower. I haven’t minded every other day but once a week shower is a no go for me lol.

  11. fifee says:

    Nope, still shower daily however I only wash my torso with soap and let my legs get rinsed off with the soapy residue and my arms get rinsed with warm water. I wash my hair twice a week and I then do a whole body wash. I dont feel the need to wash every square inch of me daily, only my “bits”, i wear trousers daily, my arms are covered, I dont exercise daily (i should though!) so im not sweaty. The only time in recent years where I havent taken a daily shower was when my depression was/is bad and its probably one of the last things I want to do.

    I remember the weekly bath as a kid and the face cloth taken from top to bottom every night. Its only as a young teen that I remember taking a bath more often, we didnt have a shower back then and it was expensive to turn on the water heater for 5 adults (parents, myself and older siblings) every night. Nothing to stop folk filling a sink with water and cleaning themself and I really hope that those who arent in a showering are at least doing this daily.

  12. Genevieve says:

    Years ago when I broke my ankle, I had to sponge bathe for six weeks. If you’re not physically active, it’s possible to keep clean enough that way. I can understand also if people aren’t leaving the house, the motivation to shower every day can drop significantly.

    But mostly this sounds like some oncoming depression, dressed up in an environmental rationale.

  13. Gil says:

    I shower twice a day. In the morning I take a 5 min short shower to wake up. And at night I wash my body throughly. It helps me to sleep better. I wash my hair almost daily. I know I’m not going out or meeting people but for me shower taking is a self-care activity. Besides I don’t know about men but for me as a woman I feel that my body needs to get refreshed specially after working out. This whole thing of people showering less and not changing their bedsheets often was a big yikes for me

  14. Snuffles says:

    Before I got vaccinated, every time I left the house I would come home and give myself a Silkwood shower and wash my hair. But I work from home and it wasn’t that frequent. So, when I’m not leaving the house daily like I used to, I tend to forget and end up showering about 3 times a week. I’ll be honest, I’m hard pressed to even get dressed. On the opposite end, my oral hygiene routine is flawless.

    • Christine says:

      HA! Same, no blush when asked by the dentist if I floss regularly now. Also, my skincare routine is now incredibly involved. I am a person who generally doesn’t wear make-up, I have no idea what has happened to me during the pandemic, but now I care a whole lot about skin care.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    It is not individuals showering every day that is destroying our planet. It is giant global polluting industries and corporations.

    I can’t believe in a pandemic anyone is presenting it as good to wash LESS. I get home from working in healthcare and I shower first thing.

    • Anna says:

      Exactly. They try to put it on individuals and while we can make a difference in small ways, the statistic I’ve read is that 70% of environmental pollution and destruction is coming from 100 companies.

    • Sandy says:

      Between pollen and COVID, I feel like I need to shower every time I come home.

  16. equality says:

    If you want to be environmentally responsible and still get your daily shower, you can collect the water for reuse to flush the toilet, wash the sink out, and water your garden. People did use to bathe infrequently when houses weren’t centrally heated and running water wasn’t available. It’s also why perfume was invented and, I imagine, used liberally.

    • Genevieve says:

      We used to use bath water on the garden – I don’t recommend it. It’s too alkaline.

      • equality says:

        There are some plants that do well in alkaline soil. You just have to know your plants and do your research. Or if you have other factors tending to acidify your soil, it works.

    • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

      @Equality A primary source from Vic Gattrell’s book, City of Laughter, talking about the uncleanliness of the Regency era – and especially the Bath assemblies: ‘imagine to yourself a high exalted essence of mingled odours, arising from putrid gums, imposhumated lungs, sour flatulencies, rank armpits, sweating feet, running sores and issues, plasters, ointments, and embrocations, hungary-water, spirit of lavender, assafoetida drops, musk, hartshorn, and sal volatile, beside a thousand frousty streams which I could not analyse’.
      Let’s not go back to those days, shall we?!

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        I think I now have to physically pull my upper lip down, or it will be stuck in perma-sneer after reading that passage. It caused a viscera reaction in me, gah!

      • Maria says:

        I shower daily but I hardly think it’s perfectly fair to compare showering once or a few times a week in modern times to an era that had far less water filtration (leading to the infrequent complete submersion of the body in water that we are used to; this didn’t mean people didn’t wash), no antibacterial products, no standardized knowledge of germs, a rather cumbersome and inefficient era of laundry methods, different food consumption and storages (leading to different micro biomes), more often than not incompetent and ineffective medical care (this can cause all sorts of odors if you are ill).

  17. LawyaGal says:

    I have been showering way less since the pandemic began I am not happy about it. I am trying to work a demanding full time job, take care of two small children at home and help my oldest with remote schooling. A shower is a luxury I don’t have time for most days. I work in the mornings and at night to stay employed and barely sleep. I have also given up watching TV, cooking elaborate meals, and reading. I am also struggling with my mental health and hygiene is a trigger for me. Having to do everything every day for everyone is taking its toll. I would LOVE to shower, blow dry my hair and put on makeup every day!

    • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

      I’m so sorry that you’re struggling. Know that there’s always support from we CBers. I hope that in the coming months you can get some time and space for yourself, and some proper rest.

  18. Aang says:

    I’ve never been a daily shower taker. In the winter I go several days in between showers. My hair gets washed when it needs it usually about every 5 days.

    • SurelyNot says:

      same — I’m quietly over here in the corner reading the thread.

      I shower on average 3x a week and wash my hair. I don’t use dry shampoo because it feels dirty, like it has congealed oil on the scalp, but I’m probably doing it wrong because I have friends who love it. I snow ski in the winter, play softball in summer, hit the gym 2-3x a week and hike almost year around.

      • Calypso says:

        Yeah the amount of absolute privilege in this thread. People are confusing cleanliness and hygiene first of all. And also, I’ve lived in countries without access to running water and also places in AMERICA don’t have running water, so bathing every day is indeed a luxury, “cleanliness” used to poverty-shame people, and also…. you’re not dirty if you don’t shower every day. Sheesh. It’s ok to smell like a human.

      • Aud says:

        I tend to shower 3-4 times per week and wash my hair once per week.

        I live in a very dry area. Showers dry out my skin and hair and I end up very uncomfortable if I shower daily. I moisturize and all but it’s still uncomfortable. My hair only starts to feel healthy and glossy 3-4 days after washing.

        I do make an exception if I’ve gotten particularly sweaty or dirty

      • Sarah says:

        @calypso thank you for saying this. The judgement and privilege in these kinds of threads is always quite revealing.

      • SurelyNot says:

        @Calypso — well said.

        The irony is that we talk a lot about checking your privilege or at least acknowledging it and the implication that anyone NOT showering at least once daily is somehow dirty or smelly or unworthy is disappointing.

      • Regina Falangie says:

        Yep. I see a lot of judgment. Everyone has different skin and hair and must make their own choices on how to best take care of themselves. The only gross thing I see is judgment of others. Mind your own ass and everything will be ok.

      • Kristin says:

        Well said guys! I too was seriously side-eyeing the comments in this thread, like, “wtf??” Even before the lockdown I was only showering a few times a week. Now that both my husband and I have been working from home for the past year, we both shower around 1-2 times per week and trust me, we are very hygenic and clean, and we both smell good. I have the kind of hair that is fragile and looks better if I only wash it once or twice a week, and I haven’t been working out much and rarely sweat. Plus we live in Chicago where the climate is cooler with less humidity and you don’t feel as sticky.

      • Darla says:

        give it a rest. this article specifically talks to middle class white people. there’s no poverty shaming going on here, and you know it. make all the excuses for your stank you want to, I don’t want any part of it.

    • ab says:

      my people! I have always been a once or twice a week bather, and it’s never been an issue. body chemistry is a factor — I don’t have a strong smell. also my skin is super dry and it looks better with less time in the bath. I wash my hair, which I wear naturally in locs, once a week.

      the few times I will shower more often are when I’m on my period, or in summer since it gets really gross and humid where I live. otherwise, I’m good lol.

    • notasugarhere says:

      There are studies that suggest less frequent bathing may be better for our overall health and microbiomes.

  19. Miranda says:

    Ohhhh no. No no no. Nononono. I live in NYC and I’m well-aware, especially with summer approaching, that I share my primary modes of transportation with millions of other people. I consider it my solemn duty to wash daily, even though I’m one of those lucky people who barely sweats. You’re not being environmentally-friendly if your odor forces a fellow passenger to reconsider and take a cab instead!

  20. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    I’m completely with you, CB. I can’t wake up properly (not that I ever really do so with M.E.), or feel anything less than grotty unless I wash daily. The idea of a weekly wash – particularly if you work out every day and sweat profusely – is pretty repugnant. I don’t see much virtue in dirt. Why don’t we offer desalination solutions and pipelines to nations suffering the effects of climate change, or dig boreholes in arid regions via charitable donations (as I did in Africa)?

  21. lisa says:

    ewww just no. I have less to do and less places to go. I have never had more time to not jut bathe but exfoliate and moisturize etc. my legs look like Symone from drag race.

  22. Anna says:

    Gross. If you have the means to shower, shower g-d. Wash your ass. It’s simple. The only time I have not showered at least once a day is when I had worked 20 hours straight on 4 hours sleep the night before and was afraid I would pass out/faint in the shower. But it feels gross regardless. People in the U.S. were gross before and the pandemic only showed that just getting people to wash their hands was a huge deal. How disgusting things were before. So now no showering? Come on. Seriously. Why is it so hard for Americans in this country *those who have the means* to just wash. Wash your hands. Wash your a**. Brush your teeth. Just basic hygiene.

    • Darla says:

      I mean, I couldn’t agree more. Americans are some of the dirtiest people on the planet, the last thing we needed was less washing. I have this theory that white people think they don’t smell. Like, literally their isht don’t stink. A lot of countries use bidets very run of the mill…here people wipe with TP and then don’t shower and they think they’re clean? My brother once told me he doesn’t make smells in the bathroom, he doesn’t know why he’s just that way. I am telling you, they are delusional. I am really giving a lot of thought to this as I get back into socializing and dating now. A big plus for a man is that he’s not white. And if he is white, we are going to have to have the hygiene talk early. I like the commenter above who said in Japan it’s simple etiquette to bathe before sex. I am going to adopt that for Darla’s place.

      Also, I smell people when I’m out all the time. Especially in grocery stores. One lady just two weeks ago, I thought I would pass out, and I could smell her ass even on the next aisle when I ran away. Which made me realize she had come from there. She was literally leaving stinkass fumes!

      • lisa says:

        so now im going to spend the day sad that I didnt try to move to Japan 30 years ago

      • Anna says:

        @Darla x 1000000 And yet the narrative they have created is that Black people are dirty. It’s all such a g-damn racket. White supremacy infects every inch of this country and its people. I already had issues around the lack of cleanliness of the average person, but let me tell you, until I can get out of this place, I am masking and gloving.

      • Darla says:

        Exactly Anna,. I think about that a lot. It’s more projection from white people. It’s really something.

  23. SKE says:

    I would absolutely go 2-3 days without a shower but I work out 5 days a week so can’t imagine not showering after that. Hubs and kids usually go 2-3 days between showers, but we are in a relatively temperate climate so it’s easier to pull off.

  24. Stef says:

    Interesting article. I’ve wondered this about other people since the pandemic started: how our daily habits and attentions have changed since working from home, quarantining, etc.

    When I was going into the office and travelling to the USA for in-person meetings 5 days a week, I showered each morning. Now that I’ve been working 100% from home for the past 14 months, I shower 4-5 times a week, and each day I either work out or are leaving the house. My skin feels better and I’m happy with my cleanliness.

    Washing your hair daily is so bad for it, so I wash my hair 2x a week and it generally looks great. It’s down to my waist now and quite healthy. Hair adjusts to the amount you wash it and daily shampooing strips it of it’s natural oils.

    There was one week that I’ll admit, I didn’t leave the house and didn’t shower, I just washed up. I found I was so grossed out with myself that I need to shower a lot more frequently. Showering once a week is not enough!

    • likethedirection says:

      I do believe that this is true for most people but I tried for several consecutive *years* to get my scalp’s oil levels to adjust to every other day shampooing and it just never happened! After buying every dry shampoo under the sun and even trying the baking soda/apple cider vinegar combo, I had to admit that it was not working and that I felt disgusting all the time. I’ve been so much happier since giving up and shampooing every day again, and hairstylists always compliment my healthy hair because I don’t dye it, heat style it, or use products.

  25. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    Here’s the original, science based ammonia -oxidizing probiotic body “wash” company I read of a couple years ago- https://motherdirt.com/?ref=aobiome – AO Biome is a Boston based company aimed at improving skin and reducing water consumption. I did think about getting the face products a few years ago for my teens with acne but never pulled the trigger. They are apparently now also in clinical trials for treating psoriasis.

    In theory, it sounds great, I just don’t think I could go all the way with it. IIRC, it’s kind of an all or nothing concept.

    Like many others here, I’m a 5-6 days/ week person; hair 2-3/ week, depending on how bad the hot flashes are, but my showers are pretty short. Has anyone post menopause noticed less body hair growth? Like it takes a month for me to need to shave anything these days. Weird.

    • SurelyNot says:

      I shave my legs less often, underarms too and I have noticed it takes a wax job much longer to grow back than it did a few years ago, also my eyebrows are thinner –having said that, the lack of body hair growth has afforded me extra time to deal with my newly acquired facial hair. Specifically my lovely little wiry, black haired moustache and the random black hairs that appear on my chin and jawline that grow an average of 2-3 overnight.

  26. Miss Jupitero says:

    I love showers, I love baths, and being without access to a pool during the pandemic has been painful to me. Don’t get me started on saunas and all the cultural traditions that go along with them. Banya!

    If money were no object, I would have a deluxe steam shower installed, with a jacuzzi and a swimming pool, and I’d spend most of the day swanning about in colorful bathing suits and fluffy towels.

  27. Amelie says:

    I’ll totally admit, I have been pretty lazy about showering since the pandemic hit. I’ll shower if I exercise obviously but some weeks i’m not good about exercising so yeah, there have been weeks where several days went by where I couldn’t remember when was the last time I showered. If I’m not leaving the house and seeing anyone and if I’m not exercising, I don’t really see the point of wasting water and showering every day. When I lived in NYC, I showered every day of course. I was on the subway twice a day and just the city in general, you feel gross at the end of the day. But I’m in the suburbs now and just commuting from my bedroom to another room it seems pointless to shower every single day. And I am not a morning shower person. I only take them at night. On the plus side, I have noticed my hair seems healthier because I am washing it less. Basically, if I know I am leaving the house, I will shower before I see people. I don’t see how that should bother people if I’m not subjecting you to my presence when I’m unshowered.

  28. Mina_Esq says:

    First it all, I hate the “I’m a mom” excuse. A quick shower can literally take less than two minutes. I take quick showers every day, and sometimes more than once per day. I wash my hair more sporadically, usually every third or fourth day. In quarantine, i’ve pushed it to once per week because i keep it in a pony tail more often (so doesnt get or feel as bad).

    • Sunny says:

      JW- are you a mom of small kids?

    • Regina Falangie says:

      Mina_esq clearly ISN’T a mom. The shower itself may only be 2 minutes (which, I side eye, come ON) but there’s work to be done before the shower and after. There’s discussions with the kids about where you’ll be, many questions to answer, drinks to be poured, snacks given, messes to clean up, missing objects that need to be found, disagreements to be settled, injuries (real and imagined) that need bandaids, there’s interruptions and big feelings to discuss and hugs to be given. Is your partner around? Do they help? Even if you have a wonderful partner who helps, like I do, if you are the preferred parent there are things that you have to do. So don’t run your mouth with this 2 minute bullshit when you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about.

      Step away from the judgment and you will be so much happier. Imagine the relief you will feel when you understand that you don’t need to judge. It helps no one.

      “I’m a mom” is all that needs to be said. You’re understanding is all that needs to be given.

  29. Sam the Pink says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever showered each day. I’ve had eczema all my life and soap is drying. Skipping showers has done wonders for my skin – overcleansing causes it to become a lot worse. Soap is drying – it shouldn’t be used every day.

  30. Lyli says:

    I don’t have partnered sex and I regularly go 2 days without showering. I don’t smell, I don’t feel disgusting, just normal. I wash my hair every 5 days. Pandemic or not. Although it would likely be different if I engaged in partnered sex. Because well, things can get messy then…

    • SurelyNot says:

      I don’t feel disgusting either. I’ve managed to maintain friendships, a career and relationships with the less than daily scrub routine.

  31. Keraplasha says:

    I have been showering only 1- 2 times a week since covid started. It is 100% because I am struggling mentally and physically. I have chronic pain and working from home while helping my kids on remote learning is soul sucking. I barely make it through the day and never leave the house so showering has taken a back seat. It takes so much put of me to have a shower (due to pain). I grew up showering every other day and washing the alternate day. I will probably go back to that post covid.

  32. JanetDR says:

    I’m showering less because I’m not going in to work. Maybe 3 or 4 showers and a nice bath weekly? Depends on my hair and how much I have to be on Zoom. I’m working just part time so exercising more and I’m not going to shower after a brisk morning walk because I’m going to do a workout in the afternoon. Definitely showering more in the evening! It’s hard to time it because my fine hair will be a disaster if it’s not dry but I’m getting hang of it. Going back to in person work the week after next.

  33. detritus says:

    Depression and anxiety are high right now and one symptom is not being able/not wanting to take care of yourself.

    I would imagine there is an element of that at play, as well.

    • SurelyNot says:

      We should be careful in assuming that choosing not to shower daily in any way equates to someone not being able to or not wanting to take care of themselves.

      Sometimes it really is just a choice.

  34. MCG says:

    I’ve actually showered MORE being at home this year. Sometimes, the shower is the only place to have peace and quiet 😂

  35. EviesMom says:

    Whoa! I shower every other day now that I am at home – no anxiety, no depression. I work full time, have a typical sexual relationship with my partner, parent three kids, walk a dog & SOMETIMES get to use the bidet toilet.

    I used to shower 1x a day and clutch my pearls if I missed one for any reason. But now? Life has changed. I don’t need a shower to wake me up. I smell just fine. I use deodorant, a diva cup, wash my face & feel just great. Huzzah! Ironically my anxiety resolved during the pandemic.

    Have you really noticed people to be smellier now? And if so – pull your mask up. The armchair mental health diagnosis is quite amazing given the one ‘symptom’ you’re given is Less Showering.

    Be kinder. Be more understanding. Focus on what is important (and if it is your OWN showering routine that’s cool).

  36. Leah says:


    Locked up or not I still like to keep clean. I think most people like to feel fresh with clean hair and bodies. I was excited that I was able recently to find my bath salts online which they used to sell at target which is salt and soap mixed together and it gives off a relaxing smell. The other bath salts I have say they have melatonin in them so supposedly after you take a bath a good nights sleep will follow. I haven’t tried it out yet but being at the premenopausal stage a bath before bedtime seems to help with the symptoms.

  37. nicegirl says:

    I agree with EviesMom on her BE KINDER statement.

    As for showering, I have a 14 year old son I’m teaching about hygiene who’s basically missed the entirety of middle school, and the reek can be reached quite quickly in that situation, lol, so that’s where I’m at with this very interesting article and debate. Puberty is a whole different time! Wish me luck, celebitches.

  38. faithmobile says:

    Well I for one am very thankful for the allergy post a while back. Even though it’s not great for my hair and skin, more frequent bathing has lessened my allergy symptoms and I feel more confident knowing that I’m always fresh smelling. I feel that I’m setting a good example for my young children that hygiene matters and their mama takes care of herself too.

  39. bettyrose says:

    FK yeah I was showering less in the middle of this thing. A LOT less. Like, who was I even seeing outside the house? But I’m turning it around now. I just got a haircut (!!!), showering regularly, and I’m wearing makeup for Zoom meetings now. I’m practicing being a real person again.

  40. Imara219 says:

    This seems so nasty to me. Pandemic or nah I wash everyday. It’s a rarity I shower every other day. This NC humid in the summer means I will shower 2-3 times a day. Like how you sex without bathing at least before or after 🙅🏾‍♀️. So many questions 🤔

    • Imara219 says:

      Honestly, I didn’t factor in mental health into the survey because I wouldn’t begrudge someone who is struggling with depression or anxiety regarding their wash routine. I almost feel like that’s another conversation.

      • Darla says:

        It is another conversation, as is lack of access to water. People are conflating it because, well, the one who squeals is the one you hit.

    • bettyrose says:

      Oh, yeah, humidity makes a huge difference. It’s not humid where I live, so that wasn’t a factor. And I wasn’t feeling depressed or anything, but for months I barely left the house or saw anyone except my SO, and so I got lazy. I mean, showering for my SO should be enough, I get that, but we’ve been together so long I didn’t even feel weird not showering. I mean, I was still grooming and wearing deodorant. I have no idea why I’m confessing all this here, but there’s no where else I would confess it. 🙂 Anyway, it’s all in the past. As soon as I was vaccinated, I started returning to a normal morning routine. I still don’t see people very often, but the potential is there!!

      • Imara219 says:

        Lol, we all confess such odd things online, right? Yeah, I understand what you are saying. I guess I perceived this post as a playoff of posts I see on FB, that ask “who washes their legs in the shower?” or “no need to shower in the summer if you have the hose, right?”. Those conversations aren’t reflective of mental health or desperate situations. So they are joking and people rib each other over their choices or stare in disbelief at answers.

        And yes, humidity makes a world of difference, as well, to feel clean. When the heat sticks to you and the temps reach 100+ degrees you are clamoring for an actual hardcore shower or bath. As many times as is possible.

    • SurvivalIsTheGame says:

      Absolutely! Humidity and heat are the ultimate decider, when I’m back in the East Coast humidity there simply are not enough showers in the day for me to feel fresh.

  41. Lila says:

    I love my daily shower. It’s a relaxing way to wake up. And I want to feel squeaky clean.

  42. Maria says:

    Daily here.
    That said I have no opinions on how other people’s routines should be. It’s dependent on access, physical issues, mental health, etc.
    I think it’s important to remember there are lots of people who shower daily but aren’t actually getting clean (like people who don’t wash certain areas, just rinse, etc, although of course skin issues play a role).
    Showering and bathing are simple words but don’t really constitute what someone is doing in terms of washing.
    So this might be a factor in this debate too.
    I feel like we’ve all met people who had odor issues who showered daily but were lax about using soap or doing anything but letting the water run on them; and conversely, people who bathed a few times a week but didn’t smell because they were quite vigorous and thorough about it.

  43. DeltaJuliet says:

    My routine hasn’t changed at all. Unfortunately I still have to go to the office every day.

  44. K says:

    There are many different factors to consider in how often you choose to shower and wash your hair. Depends on how regularly you exercise, how much you tend to sweat, what kind of hairstyle or hair texture you have, if you have dry or oily skin, if you’re very sensitive to pollution or allergens, if you work a job that exposes you to a lot of dirt or germs, etc. Some people just don’t have the time for lengthy hygiene routines (people with elaborate skin care and makeup routines also make me think ‘don’t they have time and money that needs to be spent on other things, just to keep functioning?’)

    Having short, easy hair that air dries straight or doesn’t need styling is a world of difference from people like me with long, thick, curly, dry hair that frizzes up after a shower and takes at least an hour to fully dry and heat style for it to look nice and presentable again. That’s just not a process I can stomach going through every single day, and even when I have for a phase, it stripped my hair of shine and hurt my shoulder from all the time spent waving around a hairdryer! “Rinsing off” my body with a shower cap on keeps me clean between hair washes. So I don’t judge others’ showering habits, as long as they seem healthy (aka not stinky or seemingly neglectful of their body, which could indicate mental health struggles.) There’s no one routine that could possibly work for everyone.

    • Golly Gee says:

      I have hair like yours although it is shorter now, and I never use a blow dryer. Try this and see if it works. After toweling and brushing out your hair, apply a really good strong hold hairstyling paste by spreading it on your hands and scrunching your hair throughout. And here is the key: don’t touch your hair again until it is completely dry. No frizz this way.

  45. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    After reading this thread I’m not saying lol.

    • SurelyNot says:

      I wish I had started with this comment 🙂

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        I have to tell you your name gives me nostalgic pangs lol. Mom would tell me that when I was a toddler, I would step on her scales, pretend to look at the numbers, and with hands on cheeks, proclaim, “Surely not!” 🤣

  46. Gab says:

    I have showered more than once a day to wash all the covid germs off. To me showering less is counter-intuitive in a pandemic. In my mind it worked because I haven’t gotten sick.

  47. SurvivalIsTheGame says:

    So many interesting points in this article and comments!

    In the cooler months I showered every other day vs once a day because I was rarely leaving the house and couldn’t go to the gym anymore. But I live somewhere with a very hot climate half the year and to not bathe every day is just unpleasant for me, and I feel disrespectful to Mr. Who wants to have sexy time with an un-showered person?

    Not taking care of your hygiene and appearance is a massive red flag for depression, when I was severely depressed it was almost impossible to keep myself looking presentable. Now I use a daily/weekly self-care and wellness plan, and I feel a million times better. Self care is a very strong tool against depression and anxiety!

    Not to mention, I’m ready when something happens, and react immediately instead of having to get presentable. Yesterday I noticed a 6 foot snake going towards my neighbor’s garage and I was able to run next door THEN and warn her and her 2 year old daughter who were out there. I didn’t need to spend 5 minutes getting presentable and then warn her. STAY READY! That’s my motto now that I’m older.

    ETA: I only wash my hair 2 maybe 3x a week, and that hasn’t changed.

  48. Monica says:

    I live in California. I shower as seldom as possible. I go through a lot of dry shampoo and baby wipes.

  49. Sansa says:

    lotta judgment in this comment section. shower habits depend on body chemistry and hair type, mental health, whether you have small children, climate / season, water access / money to pay for water bills, and quite honestly privilege and race. people will just roll their eyes at unwashed white ppl, but people of color are unfairly judged by a different standard. the pandemic has upended our lives into disarray and so its not surprising that showering habits have changed , but what that looks like and why are different for people for different reasons. so i’m reluctant to judge.

  50. Marie says:

    I am down to washing my hair every 2 or 3 days since the pandemic started and it is so much healthier.

  51. The Recluse says:

    My 81 year old mom only bathes and washes her hair once a week. I do so every other day because doing so every day is unnecessary AND because we are in a drought here in NM and conservation is a thing.

  52. Watson says:

    The judgement in this thread is alarming.

    I come from a culture that washes everyday. Anything less is not ideal. When i was travelling in villages this meant a bucket of cold water from a well splashed around. It was a necessity in hot humid weather. When I’m in Canada i try and still shower everyday. However, my mental health hasn’t been at 100 percent and sometimes i have a day or two where i don’t do it. I’m exhausted with young kids, working and school part time during the pandemic. I feel smelly and gross when i don’t have the physical and mental energy to do it. It’s rather depressing TBH.

    Edited to add: my skin and scalp are oily so showers are vital for my own cleanliness. If you have dry skin and don’t work out it makes less sense to wash everyday. No judgement from me!

  53. Veronica S. says:

    I mean, are they washing off between those showers using a rag or baby wipes? Because that doesn’t seem as big a deal to me. I tend to shower daily because I exercise heavily nearly every day, but if I’m not, I’ll sometimes just wash down with a rag. I definitely only wash my hair once or twice a week since curly hair didn’t take well to constant shampooing.

  54. Gippy says:

    I showered every day or twice after having my twins – postpartum sweats were the worst especially at night!!! I don’t shower as often anymore. Basically bc I don’t have time, my boys are super clingy. Our bathroom is right next to one of their rooms so they sometimes wake up if we use the shower. It sucks, I know this is just a season and since I don’t go anywhere eh. I change undies twice a day and shower if I get sweaty, swim, or put on sunscreen. I have to agree my skin gets too dry if I shower daily especially if I soap up.

    • Normades says:

      My daughter was the same when she was little, super clingy and would freak if I even went to the toilet. Her room was also next to the bathroom so showering during nap time wasn’t an option.

      I’ve actually been taking more baths and less showers since the pandemic. I’ll put on a sheet mask and soak in the tub. I’ll shower or bathe every other day and I’m fine with that.

  55. Queen of the Office says:

    I shower less, but I live alone and have no office to go to every day. But I find I take more bubble baths to relax and pamper myself to feel better. As long as you don’t stink or bother anyone. It’s not a bad thing.

  56. Silent Star says:

    My philosophy is if you’re dirty or stinky, wash yourself. If not, don’t! And you may not need a full body wash every time either. Wasting water is a bad habit.

  57. whybother says:

    I cant imagine only showering once a week tbh
    even during a lockdown last year where I didnt went outside, I still shower at least once a day
    I even think I shower more post covid every time after I’m doing whatever outside ngl. Not bringing that covid into my house.