Before the eighteenth century, people in Europe and elsewhere in the world, had superstitious and vague ideas about the causes of disease. Some thought that diseases were caused by evil spirits, or by foul air or by the anger of the gods or such other causes. Among those Nigerians who have not studied science, such ideas still exist today. However, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, scientists carried out investigations that led to an understanding of the causes of diseases.
Louise Pasteur discovered that food spoilage was caused by microbes (microscopic living things). Robert Koch (1843-1910), a German physician discovered that each disease was caused by a specific type of microorganism.
These findings raised a question: Where do these microorganisms that cause disease come from? It is now known that microorganisms, (including the ones that cause disease) are everywhere such as in the air, in water, in the soil and on all exposed surfaces. They are even on the surfaces of our bodies. Keeping ourselves and our environments clean is therefore a way of keeping away micro organisms that make us sick.

Meaning of personal cleanliness

Personal hygiene means keeping one’s body clothes and shoes in a clean and neat condition, all the time.

Methods of keeping the human body clean

Each part of the human body has a special way of keeping it clean. The methods of keeping some selected parts of the human body clean will now be described below.

The human body

The human body should be washed in the morning and last thing at night with water, soap and sponge. After washing, the body should be rinsed with clean water. The reason for this recommendation is that we live in a hot country in which people frequently sweat. If the body is not washed daily, the sweat dries on the skin and produces an odour.
Besides, harmful microorganisms grow on the dry sweat on the skin. The body should also be washed after games or serious manual labour. An alternative to washing the body is to rub the body with a wet small towel. This method is often used to keep patients in hospitals clean.

Finger and toe nails.

Human finger and toenails grow all the time. When they grow, they collect dirt between the finger or toe nails and the skin. Harmful microorganisms grow in this dirt, and can easily contaminate food as we eat. Finger and toe nails can be kept clean by cutting them short with nail clippers or razor blades and by washing the tips of our fingers and our toes as we wash our bodies.


Clothes should be washed, dried in the (or in a drier) and ironed to look neat, Dirty clothes should not be packed in a box or hung in a wardrobe. The odour given out by the dirty clothes may attract cockroaches which may eat and damage the dirty clothes.


The ear lobe should be washed along with other parts of the body. The ear passage should be cleaned with cotton wool, never with sharp objects. Sharp objects can damage the ear drum without a chance of recovery.


Shoes should be cleaned with a moist or dry piece of cloth as necessary, and then polished to look neat.


Hands should be washed with soap and clean water after
i) manual labour,
ii) attending a party where a lot of hand- cloth everyday. The upholstery of living-room
III) Each visit to the toilet.
iv) Hands should also be washed before and after each meal, and Cleaning the walls and ceiling
v) whenever they are dirty.


The teeth should be brushed with a toothbrush and toothpaste or with chewing stick first homes clean thing in the morning and last thing before going to bed at night. The correct way to use a toothbrush is to brush the teeth in an up and cleaning methods in order to maintain the teeth from food, which stick to the teeth, and attract bacteria that cause toothache and tooth decay.

Advantages of personal hygiene

The advantages of personal hygiene include the following:
i) We reduce to a very small number, the
disease-causing microorganisms that
come in contact with us.
II) As a result of (i) above, we enjoy good
III) As a result of (ii) above, we can do our
normal work, such as going to school
iv) As a result of good health, we save money
we might otherwise spend en medical
v) When we are healthy we are happy.
vi) We look neat.

Consequences of poor hygiene

The disadvantages of poor hygiene are listed below.
i) Disease causing organisms on our bodies, clothes, shoes or in our homes, may enter.
ii) When we are sick, we cannot go to school
or do our other duties.
iii) When we are sick, our parents spend
money, which the family needs for other
purposes, on medical bills.
iv) When we are sick we are weak, and
become unhappy
v) Poor hygiene makes us and our
surrounding look untidy.


I) Personal cleanliness means keeping one’s body, clothes and shoes clean and neat at all times.
II) There are specific ways to keep every part of the body or home clean.
III) Personal cleanliness promotes good health, prevents diseases, makes us productive, saves us medical bills and keeps us happy and neat.
Iv) Some consequences of poor hygiene

Rex Nseobong

CEO and Founder of BabyNaija. My vision is to make the internet a place like home through BabyNaija.

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