Proper personal hygiene is essential to make us feel clean, fresh, and take good care of our skin. That’s why people buy all kinds of fancy body cleaning products, with rejuvenating properties, fragrances, and other substances that help maintain a healthy-looking body. But the number one goal of personal hygiene is to keep the body free of germs and avoid potential health problems, such as infections.

The question is: are you truly aware of how to properly wash your body? All the nooks and crannies? You might think you do, but the truth is that most people’s body cleaning routine has at least one minor flaw. Fortunately, fixing these flaws is relatively easy. So, neglecting the hygiene of some parts of your body has no reason to exist.

Here are 5 body parts you’ve probably been cleaning wrong your whole life (and how to clean them right) :

1. Belly button

Of course, starting with the belly button is needed. Perhaps the most ignored body part of all time when it comes to cleaning. You see, a regular shower is not enough to properly clean the belly button – it must be cleaned carefully at least once a week in a very specific manner. The concave physiognomy of the belly button makes it a place favorable to the deposit of germs. According to The Belly Button Biodiversity Project, a study that analyzed the belly button of 60 volunteers, there can be up to 2,368 bacteria species living in that small space. That’s because its irregularity makes it difficult to clean every corner without some serious effort. From now on, you should use a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol to clean your belly button. Once it is completely clean, grab a new cotton swab and use it to absorb the excess alcohol left in your belly button. Do this process once or twice per week.

Additional tip: since many people have a piercing in the belly button, it’s also worth teaching how to take care of piercings and clean them properly. Grab a glass and fill half of it with warm water and add ¼ teaspoon of sea salt to create a saline solution. Afterward, press the glass against your stomach so that the belly button region is covered in water and hold it tight to soak your piercing for about 10 minutes.

2. Tongue

When you brush your teeth, do you also brush your tongue, or do you ignore it completely? If you ignore it, you are making a critical mistake that can put your oral health at great risk. Throughout the day, a layer of food debris, bacteria, and dead cells accumulate on the surface of your tongue, which can cause bad breath, giving your tongue a white, coated appearance, and even lead to dental decay and other oral health problems. That’s why you need to brush your tongue properly every single time you brush your teeth.

You can use the toothbrush to do so, but there is a much more effective tool specially designed to perform this task: the tongue scraper. Additional oral hygiene tip: you should also floss your teeth one time a day to make sure you get rid of the food debris stuck between your teeth!

3. Elbows

The elbows are one of the parts of our body that we rarely pay attention to. We can’t even see them without making a certain effort! This lack of attention is also reflected when it comes time to shower and wash the body, which is worrying if we consider that we put our elbows literally anywhere (including dirty tables in public places). If you have dry elbows, you may have to use a moisturizing body wash. Having dry and scaly skin on the elbows makes them quite susceptible to small lesions and cuts, which are a gateway for viruses and bacteria. Besides, it’s also important to exfoliate that region at least once a week to avoid a build-up of dead skin. Take good care of your elbows!

4. Under the fingernails

Throughout 2020 we have been reminded of the importance of correctly washing our hands to eliminate all viruses and bacteria from their surface. As such, the correct procedure should already be established in your routine. However, many people neglect to scrub the area under the nails, a place where fecal bacteria, debris, and other germs usually thrive. Using a small brush to scrub that area when you’re washing your hands is the ideal solution. If you don’t have one, a cotton swab dipped in soapy water can be used instead. If you are washing your hands in a public restroom and don’t have either of those options, pay special attention to that area during your regular wash, as in most cases, that’s more than enough to keep it properly clean.

5. Ears

More often than not, cleaning earwax is a real struggle. The technique that most people use with the aid of a cotton swab usually pushes the wax further into the ear and puts you at great risk of developing an ear injury. The cotton swab should be used to clean the outer area of the ear, not the inside! Keep that in mind. To clean the wax, you need to soften it first with a few drops of glycerin and wait 24 hours. Afterward, with the help of an eyedropper, pour some drops of warm water into your ear. After that, to let the water out, turn your head to the other side. This technique will get rid of earwax without the risk of damage. Some people also seem to forget to clean the back of their ears when they shower. Don’t be one of them! This obscure place ends up accumulating a lot of dirt, grime, and oil from your hair, so it needs to be properly cleaned every day. That’s it. Now you know how to clean your body right. It’s not that hard, is it? And it can save you from some potentially dangerous infections.