REVEALED: A fifth of French men don't change their underwear every day

Ingri Bergo
Ingri Bergo - [email protected] • 26 Feb, 2020 Updated Wed 26 Feb 2020 14:56 CEST
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From hand-washing to changing underwear - a new survey has revealed some rather disturbing things about the population of France.


A new study conducted by the French research institute Ifop called "Are the French really clean?" (link here) has looked at how the country's personal hygienic habits have changed since 1951.

The study included 2,005 people who were selected to be representative of the population as a whole.

Of them, a third (29 percent) said admitted to not systematically wash their hands after going to the bathroom.

Even more, 50 percent, said they did not necessarily wash their hands before eating while thirty-three percent said they did not wash their hands before cooking.

Three out of four (76 percent) said they showered or similar every day.

Washing your hands can prevent viruses from spreading. Photo: AFP

Foreigners living in Paris who are used to the dirty Metro might be shocked to hear that less than half (37 percent) of French people said they wash their hands after taking public transport.

But the by far most disturbing finding was that as many as 21 percent of French men only change their underwear twice a week (meaning that if you cross five guys on the street, at least one of them is wearing underwear he did not put on this morning).

Men worse than women

The researchers found a pretty gaping gender gap when it comes to personal hygiene among the French.

The gender disparity between those who said they would wash their hands after going to the bathroom is 7 percent, and even wider for those who wash after taking public transport (11 percent).

Only 6 percent of the women ticked the 'I don’t change my underwear every day' box.

Le Parisien’s tweet below shows the differences between the male and female respondents.


Eighty-one percent of women said they did a full body wash every day, compared to 71 percent of the men.

In fact, the only thing the men said they washed more often than women was their hair.

Of the men, 35 percent said they wash their hair daily compared to 8 percent of the women. But daily hair wash was the only thing in the study that isn't scientifically recommended. In fact, washing too frequently can contribute to a itchy scalp.

This gender gap is new. In 1951, a study by the magazine Elle revealed that about half of the women did not wash daily, compared to 19 percent today. 

The study caused quite a stir at the time. But back then, only three percent of the women in the study had access to basic sanitary equipment.
Fewer people can say the same today (99.5 percent said they had access to a shower or bathtub in the 2020 study).



Ingri Bergo 2020/02/26 14:56

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[email protected] 2020/03/02 14:20
Dear David,<br /><br />You are indeed right, thank you for pointing this out. The mistake has been corrected, it should have said "Eighty-one percent of women said they did a full body wash every day, compared to 71 percent of the men."<br /><br />Thanks,<br />Ingri, The Local
[email protected] 2020/02/27 01:51
A full boddy wash EVERY DAY !! Are they mad? Another example of the success of the cleaning materials manafacturers in selling the need to use their products against common sense and experience. A daily body wash is bad for the skin, and terribly wastful of water and materials.
[email protected] 2020/02/26 20:51
"Eighty-one percent of women said they did a full body wash every day, compared to 71 percent of the women".<br />I reckon you meant "men" for the latter

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