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Doctor Reveals the 5 Body Parts You're Not Washing Enough: "Dirt and Grossness Gets Trapped"

She says these must-clean areas are commonly overlooked.

Whether you like it short and sweet or you prefer luxuriating, we all have our preferred shower routine. Maybe you get started on washing your hair right away, or perhaps you prefer taking a few minutes to just enjoy the water. No matter what your preferences are, you almost certainly leave the shower feeling better than you did when you got in—but you may not be as squeaky clean as you think. According to family medicine physician Jen Caudle, DO, there are a few body parts people aren't washing enough—and some aren't cleaning them at all. Read on to discover the five areas Caudle says you need to be getting soapy.

READ THIS NEXT: The One Body Part You Shouldn't Wash in the Shower, Doctors Say.

You're probably not washing your belly button enough, or at all.

belly button
Dmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock

Caudle, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Rowan University, posted a video on TikTok last week to go over body parts that aren't getting enough cleaning time. First and foremost, she wants you to properly wash your belly button.

"That's right, a lot of people don't wash their belly button at all," she says in the video. "Guys, it gets gross. Please wash your belly button." Poor belly button hygiene can cause it to give off an unpleasant smell, according to Medical News Today.

In a follow-up video, Caudle offers some tips for properly cleaning your navel. "If you have an outie belly button, you should be able to wash it, no problem," she explains. "If you have an innie, you might need to be a little bit more strategic about it." In general, Caudle recommends using, soap, water, and a washcloth to clean your belly button, but there are exceptions if a washcloth isn't cutting it.

"If you have an innie, though, that the washcloth does not get fully in—maybe it doesn't get in very far or doesn't clean it fully—this is actually where I suggest a Q-tip," she says, noting that she doesn't typically suggest using cotton swabs in general.

Rubbing alcohol or a saltwater solution can also be helpful, she says, but if you have swelling, pus, pain, redness, or an odor that just won't go away, Caudle says you need to see your doctor.

Ears are another spot some aren't tending to enough.

closeup of an ear
BLACKDAY / Shutterstock

The next body part on Caudle's list was the ears. As a kid, your parents might have stressed the need to wash in this specific spot, but apparently, some of us have forgotten this tip.

"Number two is behind the ears, the top of the ear behind this little area here in the back, and also the lobe," Caudle says, pulling the top of her ear forward to show the area that your washcloth should be frequenting. "I want you to specifically wash that area—uh huh—and one way to know is, if you do this, you rub your ear, your rub somewhere and you smell it and it's gross, you haven't washed it recently."

But leave the Q-tips aside when washing your ears, per the Cleveland Clinic's recommendations. "Clean your ears with extra care," the medical center says. "Don't clean your ears with anything smaller than a washcloth or your finger. Don't use Q-tips, bobby pins or sharp point objects to clean your ears. These objects may injure the ear canal or ear drum."

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You could be neglecting areas from top to bottom.

man scratching foot with gray sneakers in the background

We all got a newfound appreciation for hand-washing early in the COVID pandemic, but Caudle asserts that people still aren't cleaning their fingernails properly.

"The next thing is making sure that you wash, or rather scrub, underneath your fingernails," she explains. "This is where a lot of dirt and grossness gets trapped—our fingernails. We don't often think about it."

Moving farther south, Caudle says that you're not getting your legs as clean as you could be. "Yeah, I want you to actually wash your legs. I'm not talking about letting that soap run down your legs in the shower, I'm talking about washing, wash your legs please."

Rounding out the list of the five body parts you're not washing enough were toes. "You want to make sure you're preventing infections of many different sorts, so make sure you're deliberately washing your toes—and the rest of your body, by the way!" Caudle notes at the conclusion of the video.

Commenters were quick to share their thoughts.

Person taking a shower

The thought of neglecting these areas might give you the ick, and TikTok users would agree. "It's a SHAME you even have to say that," one commenter wrote on Caudle's video, while another said that they were "astonished" that this information even had to be shared with adults.

Many were quick to affirm that they didn't need this advice. "I wash all these parts. Wow," one comment reads, with another questioning the fact that "PEOPLE DON'T WASH LEGS?"

TikTokers also brought up other commonly neglected body parts in the comment section, including behind the knees, behind the neck, and the upper backside.

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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