OK, we all have those lazy weekends where we don’t even get close to the shower. But what if you hold off for longer than a weekend? How about not showering or bathing for a whole month? That could have severe consequences. So if you’ve already started this experiment, or you’re even considering it, we’ve got some tips that can help you survive. Because there are some places that you really don’t want to scratch. Even if there’s an itch.
If you stop showering, could it make you go crazy? Where is the surprising place with the most bacteria on your body? Will you stop stinking at some point?
Step 1: Prepare for isolation
The first few days wouldn’t be a big deal. You’ll even have more free time. If you usually spend 20 minutes a day in the shower, and you stop showering for another 75 years, you would save 9,116 hours in the shower by the end of your life. That’s over 12 months of your life when you could be doing something else, since you’re not showering. You’re welcome!
But after the fifth day, you will start noticing changes. Body odor is produced by bacteria that live on your skin and feed on sweat. Showering removes many of them, so they have to repopulate. In the process, they favor the types of microbes that produce odor. So if you stop showering long enough, at some point, they’ll stop reproducing. But it’s only day 10, and you smell ripe, like a walking dead person. People are avoiding you. Your social life is gone. And since the grocery stores don’t allow you to enter, you could die from starvation. But we’re millennials! You can always order in your goodies online.
Step 2: Stay sane
As days go by, isolation worsens. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, social isolation can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Each of those can be fatal, so you’ll need to monitor your physical and mental health. Seek psychological attention during the experiment. I bet you and your doc would prefer to have your sessions online.
Also, even though you need to stay active, you may not want to sweat too much. Remember that the bacteria on your skin feed on sweat, and that’s what makes you stinky.
Step 3: Don’t ditch soap altogether
Yes, you’re trying to survive if you stop taking showers for a month. But not washing your hands can kill you. Almost everything you touch is covered in fecal matter, including your cell phone, money, beard, and dishwashing sponges. Do you know that gym dumbbells have 62 times more bacteria than public toilets? No more pumping weights for you, buddy. In addition to salmonella and E. coli, you can get hepatitis B and C, herpes, Ebola, Zika, and even COVID-19 from infected surfaces. And all of them can kill you.
But soap is an excellent defense against bacteria and viruses. It breaks down the lipid protective gear that bacteria and viruses use to stick to surfaces and infect your body. Once the soap rips this shield, the water can wash off those baddies. So if you want to survive, you’ll need to wash your hands well.
Step 4: Avoid sharp surfaces
Even though washing your hands helps, dangerous bacteria live on the rest of your body. Like staphylococcus, also called staph. If it enters your bloodstream, it can lead to an infection known as sepsis, and that can lead to septic shock, and that can kill you. Avoid sharp objects that can cut your skin and allow staph to get into your bloodstream.
Step 5: Lose weight
Since you are not using soap, you will need to avoid breeding harmful bacteria on your skin. And guess where bacteria love to live?. Yes, between the warm, moist folds of your skin. You need to reduce the folds on your body, especially if you’re, well, you know, overweight. Sweating will make you even more stinky, but you’re already isolated, so get that cardio done. And you can forget about cheat meals for a while.
Step 6: Don’t push that button
If you’re like most people, your belly button is the dirtiest part of your body. So what would it be like after weeks without showering? Scientists at the U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute found more than 1,000 species of bacteria living on people’s navels. So, you don’t want to touch your belly button before you finish this experiment. Right?
Excellent.! You have been a social outcast, and you smelled like a dead thing, but you survived. Before you celebrate, go and enjoy a hot and soapy shower. But wait, what is that? Oh no! A spider.! Could you survive arachnophobia? Let’s find out here on How to Survive.
- “Septic Shock: Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia”. medlineplus.gov.
- “Staph Infections – Symptoms And Causes”. 2021. Mayo Clinic.
- “Everything you touch is covered in poop”. Nicole Lyn Pesce 2017. New York Post.
- “Why Soap Works”. 2020. nytimes.com.
- “Show Me The Science – Why Wash Your Hands? | Handwashing | CDC”. 2021. cdc.gov.
- “Body Odor: Causes, Prevention, And Treatments”. 2021. medicalnewstoday.com.
- “Social Isolation, Loneliness In Older People Pose Health Risks”. 2019. National Institute On Aging.