Hygiene after restroom use is centuries behind every other cleanliness habit that our society has developed. The current gold standard is coarse, dry toilet paper that we use to “clean” our body after restroom use. In fact, there appears to be a social stigma attached to any other method of post-restroom cleaning. Society has come to view any adult use of a baby wipe as juvenile, embarrassing, and unnecessary. I have encountered many closet adult wipe users who shamefully hide their wipes from guests under the sink for fear of persecution. I can empathize as a prior closet wipe user.
I was intrigued by the stigma. Why do we demand cleanliness in every other facet of our lives, but we do not demand the same (or better) cleanliness for the indisputably least clean part of our bodies? We would be appalled if a restaurant bathroom did not have soap to clean our hands. We would be frustrated if a hotel did not provide shampoo to clean our hair and soap to clean our bodies. We are even becoming accustomed to large jugs of hand sanitizers in public places, such as grocery stores, banks, and gyms. As a society, our hygiene has improved dramatically over the years, and we are continuing to demand cleaner bodies and cleaner environments in which to live.
Yet, the undeniably least clean part of our body, we continue to neglect. We continue to “clean” ourselves using nothing but dry toilet paper. I have asked friends, “if you were walking barefoot in your yard and stepped in dog crap, would you rub it off with a dry paper towel and call it a day?” I think we would all agree that we would proceed to rub our foot raw with every cleansing agent within a 3 mile radius. In the same way, if you went to the gym for an hour of cardio, would you rub a dry towel over your body, under your arms, and over your hair, and then go on a dinner date? Not unless you wanted a reservation for one. It is clear that a dry towel or dry paper does not adequately remove germs and bacteria from our bodies, yet we continue to assume that dry toilet tissue performs better after restroom use. It does not – and my guess is that you can feel the inadequacies of dry toilet paper for the rest of the day through discomfort and irritation.
I have not quite figured out why there is a general neglect for our backsides. One possibility is that baby wipes (essentially the only cleansing option available before Pristine) were originally marketed for babies, and so adult use of any wipe is seen as juvenile, embarrassing, and unnecessary. In other words, we have concluded that our babies require a clean backside, but that adults evolved a magical self-cleaning feature that only necessitates dry paper. False – adults are just as dirty (if not dirtier) than babies. Another theory is: “out of sight, out of mind.” Our head is anatomically distant from our butt (a veritable North and South Pole), so we are not confronted “face-to-face” with any consequences of uncleanliness. We ignore the South Pole because it is a distant land that does not demand the same cleanliness standards as the North. Whatever the case, it has become the unjustifiable norm to ascribe a different and lower cleanliness standard to our heiny than we do to the rest of our bodies.
Pristine is here to say: “It is time to evolve.” It is time to bring our post-restroom cleansing habits out of the Pleistocene era when our ancestors roamed the plains in loinclothes and into the 21st century where we care about adequately removing bacteria from our lives. We will highlight the many advantages of Pristine in later blog posts. But for now, we want to focus on recognizing, revealing, and deconstructing the stigma of adult hygiene after restroom use. Adults, children, and infants alike should all strive for cleanliness in the bathroom, as we do at the dinner table, at our desks, and in our bedrooms. Our bathroom cleanliness habits evolved from dried leaves and flat rocks to dry toilet tissue – not exactly a “giant leap for mankind.” The time has come to take that next step: to recognize that a problem exists, that we have ignored the problem for too long, that the problem is causing discomfort, irritation, and sanitation issues, and that there is a simple solution at hand.