Friday, June 3, 2011

Brazilians: one of the Most Hygienic!

Photo by: Alyssa Braun

The word on the street is that The Global Hygiene Council conducted an international study on Health and Hygiene.  The group scoured the sinks, hands, and other dirty little places of the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, United States, South Africa, France, Germany, Malaysia, Australia, China, India and the Middle East - Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. That must have been interesting...

Anyway, I for one am not shocked by Brazil's results. They say that Brazilians are the one who wash their hands with soap the most!

Seriously, this comes as no surprise. If you are surprised, go to a kiddie park here in Rio de Janeiro and watch the mother freak out when the child touches anything. The high pitched "NO NO, DIRTY!" can be heard from all around. Personally, I think it's a bit evil. You take a kid to a park with sand and they can't get dirty?! Talk about putting a donut in front of a diabetic.

But it is the way of Brazilians! Brazilians are clean freaks. My Mother-in-law gets up every morning, sweeps, and mops her tile floor with a bleach/water solution. Every morning! And she has a maid who comes twice a week.

My dermatologist told me that she has to insist on her patients not bathing their children more than once a day with soap. They think she's crazy but it really isn't good for the skin.

So it's kind of obvious that 67% of Brazilians wash their hands more times a day then everyone else. Case in point, it is fully expected by Mr. Rant that I will take the boys straight in and wash their hands the moment we arrive home from school or the park. For him it's mind boggling as why I wouldn't. And you know what, I normally do. Really people, it's just good sense. That goes double if you've heard about friends finding worms sticking out of their kid's rectum.

I can also see how it doesn't happen. Getting children to a sink is like herding cats, the little suckers go everywhere. Add in the logic of 'God made dirt so dirt don't hurt' and you have yourself a pretty convincing argument for an exhausted adult.

None the less, I will say that Brazil has made me even more hygienic. I am accustomed to a new level of clean and now all else feels dirty. Hell, I won't even sit on my bed, with a throw cover on, in my outside pants. This wild pony has been tamed and taught to run in a circle. Personally, in this case, it may be for my own good.

Question: Do you wash your hands regularly? With soap? For the 20 seconds that is recommended?


  1. I am glad to know that it is a country wide thing and not just my extended family. I think my husband has relaxed a little since moving to the US, but just the idea that I might (gasp) go to bed without taking a shower first (despite the fact that I took one when I woke up and then plan on doing the same again the next day) was appalling. I am a night shower-er now :P On the other hand, he spent his childhood running free through the town with no-one chasing after him to wipe him down (as I hear MANY people in Brazil commenting about) and his immune system is like a rock, so I don't think he is as fearful of germs as other Brazilians. But when it comes to hand washing, showering, etc, wow, Brazil outdoes us hands down. (From Tiffany, Blogger won't let me log in.)

  2. Rachel,

    Please show this to Mr. Rant.

    I"m sure he shares my view that Mr. Santana is one of the most unsung hereos Brazil has ever produced.

  3. My husband still gets a little annoyed with sitting on the couch in your outside pants if you took mass transit. I had never thought about it before and it is kind of nasty. But you have to draw the line somewhere!

    Gritty- on it!

  4. This is interesting to know...I'll be moving to Manaus, Brazil in the next couple of months and I wondered how people managed to look and smell presentable with all that heat and humidity. However I've been told (actually by Meredith at that they've pretty much built a culture around showering there - people shower 3-5 times a day! And she also told me she never met a smelly Brazilian, which is good to know :)

  5. Haha. I was just going to post how I believe that the people of Manaus have excellent hygiene. I seriously never did meet a person in Manaus who smelled bad. Not only do they shower often, but they use the right amount of perfume/lotion. They take care of themselves and teach their children good habits. I loved it.

  6. Working in a hospital I am ALWAYS washing my hands. So much so that they crack.=( On the flip side there isn't a germ out there that I would not be susceptible to. I get home and scrub the heck out of myself, it's just not the same @ the hospital.

    I will admit that I get grossed out by some people. Someone is sick and sneezes or coughs in their hand(s), then have to shake hands with them-come on!

  7. That is why you will never hear of E-coli in the Brazilian food chain.
    You never hear about people getting food poisoning from eating out at restaurants.
    It is safe to drink the water all over Brazil.
    Basic common sense and a little healthy hygiene routine goes a long way.
    Now there is a E-Coli outbreak in Germany and 9 people have died in Europe and 3 have died in the US, the Americans were all tourists who just arrived from Germany.
    Eggs in Brazil are not refrigerated, and you will never hear of problems with bad eggs.
    Food in Brazil is produced locally and farmers use clean water and basically know how to keep "poop" away from food, now how hard should that be?
    Just keep your "poop" away from your food supply and you will be fine.
    Bleach is a Brazilian housewife's best friend.
    Public bathrooms in Brazil are scrubbed daily with lots of bleach and plenty of fresh clean water.
    I think there is nothing nastier than the American mop, I almost threw up at the hospital when I realized the guy cleaning Gil's room was using the same mop and dirty water he used to clean other patients rooms to clean his room, are you kidding me!!! You mop the bloddy and vomit from the room next door, rinse the nasty mop in the dirty bucket water and come use the same nasty mop to clean my floor!! No wonder there is so much hospital infections and people getting different kinds of food poisoning all the time.
    We always have contaminated food scares around here and it's scary, Spinach, Tomatoes, Hamburger meat, it's always the same thing, they find farmers using water with E-coli ( poop ) to irrigate crops.


  8. There is this Swedish movie, with gorgeous Alexander Skarsgård, were the guys has to sit in their underwear on play-nights at their friends house, because the girlfriend don`t let anyone sit on the couch with outside pants on. It`s quite hilarious.

  9. After living in Rio 2 years, my daughter thinks its just the norm to wash her hands and feet when coming indoors. She's going to think North Americans are disgusting when we move home.

  10. Hi
    I am a brazilian and I live in US. I have to agree that the brazilian standarts for cleaning are very , very high (not 100% of the population though) comparasing with people from other countries that I've visited.
    Though Ray & Gil, what you said is not true. Everyday thousands of people end up in the hospital because of food poisining. Everybody knows that if you go to Northeast or North you should not eat salads in restaurants or drink tap water. I saw several friends from work loose their vacations pack because of food poisining they got in restaurants in Northeast. Even in SP there are dirty places, some so dirty that you would never see one like that in US.
    I believe "in general" brazilians have a very clean house and the americans that visit my house here say the same. But don't think Brazil is a "germ free paradise" because it is not. And if you want to meet bad smelled people in Brazil, just take the bus or the subway Meredith

  11. Look to this video and see if what I am saying is not true