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Your official guide to top-notch personal hygiene.

February 15, 2016

Here's the gross truth: Research says that 15 percent of Americans still don't wash their hands after using a public bathroom. Even if you do, you may not be soaping up properly. Your official guide to top-notch personal hygiene:

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1. Hand washing

Wet your hands with warm or cold water, then lather up with regular soap. (Research shows that using antibacterial kinds is no better at removing germs.) Scrub for at least 20 seconds before you rinse.

2. Ear cleaning

Skip the cotton swabs: they can push wax deeper into the ear canal and damage the eardrum. Plus, earwax has antibacterial properties. If buildup is a problem for you, it's best to have your physician remove it, or try an OTC wax softener.

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3. Toenail clipping

Cut them with a clean clipper that has been used on your tootsies only. Trim nails straight across and not too short to avoid ingrown nails. Don't cut the cuticles: it can cause infections.

4. Teeth brushing

Using a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush, move the brush in gentle back-and-forth strokes across all tooth surfaces and your tongue. Brush twice a day for a full two minutes.

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