5 Reasons To Stop Taking A Daily Shower

When I was a kid, I was the child victim of an extreme religious cult. I worked 60-80 hours a week. I was required to take a daily shower. It made sense because we were digging ditches and shoveling horse crap. About 8 years ago, I decided to stop taking a daily shower.  

showerhead-172538_1280 Stop taking a daily shower: Photo of outdoor shower head with blue-sky background

Do You Shower Daily?

We want to look good. We want others to think well of us. There’s nothing wrong with that, unless you’re making comparisons in order to try to keep up with the Joneses. But taking a shower every day doesn’t really make a difference.

Read my post: 7 Silly Questions About Hygiene And Simple Living

I became a single dad in 2006. After a couple years of trying to keep up with parenting and my full-time position as a college prof, showering daily became a lesser concern. When I was younger, I had hair. It got greasy easily. Taking a shower every day kept it looking respectable.  I haven’t had much hair for the last 20 years. I decided to stop taking a daily shower.

Why You Should Stop Taking A Daily Shower

  1. You’re not really dirty: Unless you’re doing hard labor, sweating all day, or working at a greasy spoon, you probably don’t get too dirty in a day. In America, we’ve become obsessed with being clean. Unless you stink, you probably only need a shower every two or three days. That’s the norm in many European countries.
  2. You’re killing good germs: Germs can help build immunities. By showering every day we make ourselves more susceptible to getting sick. Most of our hygiene products can damage our skin, too. Check out this article in the New York Times: The Great Unwashed.
  3. You’re wasting water: I don’t live in California, but eastern Washington is nearly as dry. It seems a bit selfish to shower every day while the food that feeds an entire nation is in jeopardy. An average shower takes about 20 gallons of water. I know many people who likely use a lot more. If you stop taking a daily shower, you could save as much as 100 gallons of water per week.
  4. You’re wasting time: By cutting back on how often I shower, I’ve created a few extra hours per week. My old morning ritual took about 30 minutes a day. Now I spend 15 minutes a couple times a week. I’m able to get more important things done, like writing this post to spread the word about the negative side of taking daily showers. 
  5. Nobody really cares: So if you’re worried about your image, guess what? Nobody really cares. Unless you smell like a dirty dog, I doubt anybody even knows what days you take a shower and what days you don’t. Even if they do know, does it really matter? If they do care, they’re pretty superficial. The key is to stop caring what others’ think.

The Outcome

Since I stopped taking daily showers, no one has ever said a word. Sure, if I work hard in the yard all day, I’m going to take a shower. But for the everyday activities of an average professional in America, daily showering is obsessive. As long as you look and smell acceptable, you’re good to go.

Back in the cult, I was once forced to shower in cold water and use a stiff-bristled brush for skipping my daily shower. If they only knew then what I know now. 

If you’d like to learn more about my childhood experiences, I’ve written a book about my years in the cult and dealing with the after-effects. It’s available in several formats at Amazon:

Buy: A Train Called Forgiveness by Dan Erickson

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15 Comments

  1. I’m sorry but I just don’t agree with this at all. You may not think you smell but I guarantee you others notice and are too polite to mention it.

    1. Oh there may be a few days when it gets real hot, but what are you going to do, shower three times each day? Also, scientific studies actually show that men and women are actually sexually attracted to one another based on our natural smells. Soaps, shampoos, deodorants, perfumes, etc. cover those scents up. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t go around stinking, but I just don’t feel like we need to shower daily. Every other day is usually sufficient.

    2. Tina agree! Living in one of the gulf states, it stays hot much of the year, I try to shower every other day in cooler time of year, unless it is really hot because sweat attracts mosquitoes and they carry diseases. I take quick showers as skin is dry.

  2. People are so used to showering every day, but there’s no need. It’s pretty ridiculous, really. A body doesn’t just stink when there has been no exertion. I shower to freshen up when I have somewhere to go the two days or so a week that I teach. I wash my hair twice a week, maybe only once if I’m working from home. As a result, my hair rarely gets greasy anymore and looks better than it has in some time! It really feels good NOT to shower every day. My body just feels better-and I agree with you about the time it saves!

    1. I’ve gotten used to less frequent showers, too. Also, I’ve found that my skin tends to itch more after I shower than any other time. Could there be something in the water or the soap?

  3. Think it’s dependent on lots of factors (like if you sweat as you mentioned) but I have noticed when I’m on your side of the world, I shower less often.

    Some people need to wash up more though. Last I was there, the dressing rooms in popular shops in Europe stink for example, whew! 😆

    I live in the tropics where we shower once or twice a day, but then the temps are in the nineties at least. Also takes me only 5 minutes so it’s not too time-consuming. I have friends who take 30 minute showers everyday though, so I see what you mean about time and water wasted!

    1. Humidity would be a major factor. I live in a dry climate. But when I’m in a humid climate I feel the need to shower more often.

      Something that surprises me is that so many people who call themselves minimalists or who claim to want to live self-sustaining lifestyles will quickly dismiss the idea of showering less often as a valid choice for simple living. Simple living, especially if you have a conscience for environmentalism, means simplifying all aspects of our lives and conserving when we can. I don’t think I’ve ever taken more than a 10-minute shower.

    1. Yeah, you save water and time. I’ve found taking a shower to be a chore since I’ve stopped doing it every day. Thanks for stopping by, Larry.

  4. Another factor is what you are eating. Since going Paleo and cutting out all sugar I rarely sweat. I imagine others have had the same experience. Also, give serious consideration to the products you are using to bath and wash your hair.

  5. I live in the U.K. and everyone seems to be obsessed with showering, I don’t think I know anyone (inc. my grown up kids) who doesn’t shower at least once a day, often twice or more.

    I was looked after by a very clean and sweet smelling lady when I was a child, she washed daily and had a bath weekly (showers were not common then, she didn’t even have plumbing in her house so when we were there it was a tin bath in front of the log fire). Her hair was washed every six weeks and always looked immaculate, held in place by a little net.

    As an adult I joined the daily brigade but in the past ten or so years I have reverted to bathing 2-3 times a week, washing ‘the bits’ with a cloth daily. I also avoid soaps etc as my skin is very dry and sensitive.

    Of course, if I get sweaty or use a chlorinated pool or just want to cool down I will shower more but otherwise it’s just not necessary. I do not smell unpleasant, but nor do I always smell of soap etc. This is no bad thing as people are supposed to have a slight natural aroma, this is how we attract mates, perhaps less covering up of our natural scent would lead us to choose better partners?

    Oh, I also wash my hair every 2-4 weeks, again depending on weather and also how much product I have used. My preference is to avoid dryers and straighteners and just use my fingers which works well most of the time but there’s always the time where it just won’t behave and I resort to mousse or something and then it may need an extra wash. It’s never lank or greasy, it’s overwashing that creates greasy hair I think as stripping the natural oils from your head means your follicles work overtime to remoisturise.

    And, no, I don’t use perfume to mask smells. I am confident that I smell of nothing other than a normally clean human.

  6. Individuals generally bathe for scent and averting it. The under arms and crotch have organs that discharge thicker sweat, which blends with microscopic organisms on the skin surface, making a strong smell. But there are few ways to wipe out them on a regular basis but daily shower is not necessary at all. Thanks for sharing the vital point on it…

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