What Happens When You Don’t Bathe or Shower At All?

What happens when you don’t bathe or shower at all? Several things result, the most common being that you stink, you develop skin conditions and hair conditions. Read further to find out the details.

While this topic isn’t exactly about bath products, it is related to the topic.  Apparently there are people that don’t bathe regularly.  Or others that want to know how long you can go without bathing before there are repercussions.  In this article, I will explore the results of not bathing (or showering) on your body and your health in general!

What Happens When You Don’t Bathe or Shower At All?

While it is okay to not bathe everyday, extended periods of not bathing can have serious consequences.  You can safely go without a bath or shower for up to three or four days.  In this article I wrote How Many Baths Per Week Are Too Many? How Often Should I Bathe? I found two to three showers or baths a week are fine. 

So, should a person go without bathing for longer than four days, consequences will follow.

Here are the results.

What Happens When You Don't Bathe or Shower at All?


This seems to be at the top of the list of not bathing results.  You will stink and people around you will not want to be near you.  We apparently can’t tell if we smell stinky, but we can smell others.  

The smell is from dead skin cells, body oils, dirt and sweat building up on our body.  Washing regularly takes care of all that.  And having a smell is just the tip of the iceberg.  

Skin Conditions

Painful and serious skin problems will be a result of not bathing.  Germs grow on unwashed skin.  Mix in the dirt, dead skin, sweat and body oil and you are setting yourself up for skin disease.  

Our bodies produce some good bacteria that help fight bad germs which can attack our skin.  But they are not able to keep our skin clean.  Not bathing lets the bad bacteria grow.  Now this isn’t always a bad thing, if you have good bacteria growing.  But if you injure your skin, the possibility of infection is greater if you are not cleaning your skin.  And infection can lead to more serious problems.  

Unwashed skin can trigger acne or make other skin conditions such as eczema worse.  These skin conditions should be under a doctor’s care in the first place, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you have unclean skin while trying to treat these conditions.


Ack!  Body lice can find a nice home for themselves in dirty oily skin.  Why would you want to take the chance of that happening?  You can get them from coming in contact with a person who has them, as they can be transferred from direct contact as well as through clothing or towels.  

Hair Concerns

As with your skin, your scalp has the same functions of producing oils and new cells.  Not washing your hair can impact hair growth, or lack of it.  There is the possibility of hair falling out as one consequence.  

Another is that it can cause ingrown hair follicles, which can be painful.  This is true for any places that hair grows, like under the arms and groin area.  

Health Risks of Not Bathing

From the above list, you can see that dirty skin can lead to all sorts of problems, mostly skin related.  It is imperative to maintain clean skin to avoid lice, loss of hair, skin diseases and body odor.  

If you want to continue this path of not showering, here is an article titled What Would Happen if You Didn’t Shower For a Year. No thanks!

What Happens When You Don't Bathe or Shower at All?

Benefits of Bathing Regularly

Now that we know some of the negative results, let’s review the benefits of regular bathing.  Remember, you don’t have to bathe every day, but it is recommended you bathe at least two to three times a week.

You Keep Your Skin Clean

By maintaining a clean skin environment, you will reduce the possibility of skin diseases as mentioned above.  This would also mean you can cut down on the possibility of infections to skin wounds.  This is usually a challenge with children when they get the normal cuts and scrapes.  

Maintain Healthy Skin and Hair

Personally, I feel so much better when my hair and skin are clean.  Maybe it’s psychological, but I have a more positive outlook.  Regular cleansing can provide the healthy circumstances to look good and feel good.

You Should Smell Normal

Remember, you probably can’t smell your body odor, but others can.  No one wants to be subjected to a smelly person in their midst, like say in an elevator!  So don’t be that person!  Regular bathing will make you attractive to be around!

Healthy Heart

A warm shower or bath can help you maintain your heart health by promoting circulation.  Add to that gentle scrubbing and you will stimulate the skin and extremities to function well.

What Happens When You Don't Bathe or Shower at All?

Healthy Mind

A stimulating shower can revive you or relax you, depending on your goals.  A warm extended bath can improve your mental outlook and prepare you for sleep.  Either way, it’s almost as if you are clearing your mind while you clean your body. 

Other Considerations

Be aware that mental illness may play a part in some people’s bathing practices.  Depression has been linked to poor hygiene habits.  Some people experience phobias around washing or of water.  Should a loved one be found to not be bathing, this could be a sign of deeper problems, and it is important to get them mental health care.  Which can be a challenge in itself!  

There are studies that have shown that bathing or showering can adjust some hormonal levels.  Check with your doctor to see if you would benefit should you have hormonal issues.


I hope that you are convinced that a regular bathing schedule is important to your overall health and wellbeing.  Your cleansing regimen doesn’t have to be long.  Just make sure you use a quality cleanser and wash all over to make sure you get really clean.

What do you think?  Have I covered this topic completely?  If you have questions or comments please leave them below.

How To Be Safe in the Bathtub

Bathtub safety should be in place before you step into the tub.  I don’t care how old you are, when the surface is wet, it is slippery.  Anyone can slip and fall, and possibly break a bone.  Let’s plan ahead and be safe before an accident occurs.

In this article, I will discuss some items that you might want to purchase so you can be safe in the bathtub.

How To Be Safe in the Bathtub

How Do You Make a Bathtub Safe?

Start with being mindful of what you are doing.  I admit that if I am hurrying or focused on something else, I get careless.  When you are in a slippery environment, you must be aware of what you are doing and you should do it slowly.  Especially if you are older, like me.  

In fact, this article from the National Institutes of Health discusses this very topic. Read it here Incidence and Characteristics of Bath-related Accidents.

According to my research, these items can make the bath experience safer and therefore more relaxing.

Grab Bars

Grab bars provide extra stability.  Not only do they make it easier to get up from sitting, but the person can use them to step out of the tub.  This can prevent slipping and falling.  

Grab bars come in various shapes and sizes.  They can also be permanent or portable.  You should consider your tub size and shape, the ability of the individual to grab and of course cost.  I have an article I wrote about clamp on grab bars.  It is a place to start.  Here it is: Best Clamp on Grab Bar for Getting Out of the Tub.

You may want to try a clamp on to see if it is helpful.  Then you could install a more permanent model if the situation warrants it.  Clamp on is certainly less expensive.  

Bathtub Mat/Non-Slip Stickers

This is a fairly easy fix, and not very expensive.  If you own your home, you can of course place permanent stickers or strips on the bottom of the tub.  If you rent, then you can still be safe by using a mat that suctions to the bottom.  

In either case you are looking to provide a non-slip surface that will provide stability.  I know you are thinking that you only need these when you shower.  But when getting in and out of the tub, you are standing, so it is important to have some gripping surface to prevent slipping.  

Find something that is fairly comfortable to sit on.  You don’t want stickers that are so scratchy that it is uncomfortable to sit on.  I like my mat because it provides a surface where I can get traction but not be uncomfortable.  

One product I saw was called Gorilla Grip.  Check them out.

How To Be Safe in the Bathtub

Non-Slip Rug

Once we step out of the tub, a rug that won’t slip is just as essential as a mat inside the tub.  You can add some adhesive to a rug you already have, if you are especially fond of that rug.  Generally the adhesive is permanent on the floor though, so that may not be the best option.

A bath rug that has a non-slip bottom would be my recommendation.  You can get them fairly cheap, and start on the road to bathroom safety.  Here’s a simple one that is washable, which I also recommend.  

Gorilla Grip also makes these products.  

Would a Stepping Stool Help?  Inside the Tub?

I have a fairly high sided tub.  I have already bruised my joint on it.  So I am being much more mindful of stepping in and out.  Depending on the height of your tub, you may benefit from a stepping stool.

These products come in stools that can be placed outside the tub, inside the tub and some have a bar to grab onto.  The issue with stools is they can tip over and then cause just as much harm as falling.  So make sure you have one that is very stable.  

If you have to use a stool, it might be a good idea to have someone there to assist you.  Personally, I feel a stool might be a detriment rather than an asset.  


These are fairly expensive options, and should be carefully considered if this seems like a solution to your problem.  

The Mangar Archimedes Bath Lift is a little over $100 and seems like a dependable option.  This unit sits in the tub, so you actually have to get in first.  Then it lowers the seat and raises when you are finished.  

This is a great option for those who have trouble getting up off the floor, something that is more and more difficult as we age.  

There are more expensive models that actually lift you into the tub and lower you, like the ones you see at pools and rehabilitation centers.  

How To Be Safe in the Tub

Have All Products Nearby

Reaching for soap, shampoo and other bathing products can be unsafe if they are not nearby.  Have these on the ledge in the tub.  And make sure you have your towel at hand once you get out so you don’t have to walk across the floor when you are wet.  

What Is the Safest Way To Get Out of a Bathtub?

Most of us don’t own those walk-in tubs, which sound wonderful, so we have to make do with the fixed type that requires us to step in and out.  

If you have good arm strength, the natural thing is to lift yourself from a sitting position, using the sides of the tub. But if you are elderly, or in some type of pain, then that might not be an option.  

I now turn myself over so I am on all fours.  Then I grab the side and lift myself from a kneeling position.  Find a safe procedure that works for you.

Make sure you have a mat in the tub, and a non-skid rug on the floor.  Use a grab bar if need be to steady yourself.  Stand on the rug to completely dry yourself.  Dripping water on slippery floors is a recipe for accidents.  

This video was made by the manufacturer of the product, but it is something that helps people that are unable to get in the tub by themselves.

Other Guidelines

Let’s not forget your bathroom should be well lit.  It may be nice to have a subdued candle lit room, but leave that for the bedroom please.  If you don’t have the best lighting in your bathroom, you can install wireless and battery operated lighting.  This is an inexpensive solution to having a well lit bathing area.  

If you are giving a child a bath, never ever leave them alone. Once they are old enough to manage washing themselves they can have some privacy, but always keep a close ear for any problems. Teach them water safety early so they respect the dangers of unsafe behavior in water.

Make sure the temperature isn’t to hot in your tub. Test it with your hand, or more specifically on your wrist.


This is the first in a series of articles discussing the bathing experience and products that make the experience better.  In the future I will provide affiliate links for products I investigate, but I have no such links in this post.  You are welcome to suggest products and ask questions regarding this topic.  Please do so in the comments section.