Things I’ve learnt – washing & sweating & smelling

In Australia we joke that Poms don’t shower every day. 

This potential myth was confirmed for me by two very popular English frugal blogs I read. Both bloggers said they don’t, and there is no need to, have a full shower or bath every day. Waste of hot water, waste of water and thus a waste of money. 

Mmm! Really? No way!

Heaven knows, in Australia it is common to have two showers a day. God, in summer sometimes I can’t get to sleep unless I’ve had another shower because I am so sticky. And teenage boys definitely need to be encouraged to have a couple of showers a day for the sanity and comfort of all. 

Well, now I know why. (OK, don’t get upset if you’re English and tell me it’s a load of old cobblers. Just bear with me on this. And as another aside, 25 years ago I visited my mother’s cousins in Germany. They didn’t shower every day either. They complained by phone to my mother that I showered every day. In fact one of their showers was used to store things and obviously had not been used as a shower for a long time. Another German relative I stayed at, I couldn’t work out how they showered. They only had s hand held attachment with mo means of hanging it up and no shower curtain around the bath. But I digress. Back to knowing why showering every day might not be necessary.)

You actually don’t sweat in England. You don’t get sticky and smelly. It’s amazing. Even with all the walking, Mr S and I didn’t sweat! Unbelievable! And with all the heating, your skin dries out so actually having a hot shower a day dries the skin even more. 

Of course, I still had a shower every day. It’s just what I do. But I could see you wouldn’t really need it. No underarm smell at all. No stickiness. 


Today I went for a walk with a friend. It may be autumn and cooling down but temperature in the low 20° and high humidity meant I was sticky at the first hill. 


16 thoughts on “Things I’ve learnt – washing & sweating & smelling

  1. This is in part another Sydney-Melbourne difference. I did shower twice a day in Sydney in summer because the humidity is much different to further south. In Melbourne, for at least for 3 seasons a year you really wouldn’t need to shower daily. (Everyone does, but you don’t need it for comfort as much.)

    We stayed in some places in France that only had hand-held showers over the bath. I was perplexed: how could that be a functional system for daily showers? Maybe this is the answer – they’re not used quite as much? That said, in summer we sweated and it was weirdly hot. The temperature might only have been 24 or 26, but it felt much hotter than the same temperature here.

    • Well besides living in Sydney all my life, I normally holiday in hotter and stickier climes. SE Qld and north Coast of NSW. And down the snow we are active all say so need it. A different perspective is good to hear.

  2. From the token Tasmanian – this may be Too Much Information but I shower once every two to three days, mostly just when I need to do my hair. Don’t use deodorant either, and I promise I do not smell – however that may be just me, not the weather – the teenagers still definitely require deodorant.. in summer I swim on the off-shower days.

    Imagine how awful it must have been to live in Sydney in pre-proper plumbing days..

    • Not too much info. I always thought pre-plumbing anywhere would be horrendous. But clearly it is only sweaty Sydney and all points north of Sydney for which this is an issue. And now I’m going to have to amend the myth of non-daily washing Poms to include Aussies. Oh the shame! (At being wrong. Not at Tassies not washing too.)

  3. I grew up with showering every day being next to godliness etc. When I was at uni I made a friend who had grown up in the drought-stricken SA countryside. She was very well-off, lived in an early Victorian mansion on a large sheep property, and in her family no-one was allowed to shower more than once every other day due their only having tank water.

    It occurred to me then that it was a bit rude for everyone in the capital city of the driest state on the driest continent to use all the water, so that was when I started to cut back.. but Adelaide heat is very dry – you may feel like you are being roasted but you never feel like you are in a sauna.

    However, I LOVE hot showers, so when I do have one it isn’t… well… brief…

  4. Like Jo, I’ve lived in places that don’t have access to city water nor a sewer, just a well and septic system. It’s not wise to shower often in that situation and my family would stagger our showers to avoid overburdening either system. It’s definitely easier in the winter, but even in summer, I’m content to go 2 days without a shower. Maybe it’s just what I got used to as a child?

  5. Well, as an ex QLDer and a pacific island import, I’m from a mother of twice daily showers, with no limit in hot summer (three or four realistically!). Dad’s disgusted by three! But she will not budge. And on holidays, she lingers under the hot water – weirdly the hangover of drought in Sydney lingers, but get her to the US and she lets herself have a holiday from short showers!

    So with that background, I’m a once to twice a day shower-er. I’d happily shower once a morning, but the BF is an evening shower-er and therefore thinks it’s icky when I don’t have a pre bed washdown! So I’ve come to just do it, rather than deal with his upturned nose :p Winter nights, I don’t want to undress, and I’m not needing it, so I am more inclined to say ‘nope!’, but in summer, it’s refreshing!

    And whilst I’m feeling verbose – in French classes, our teacher used to tell us the French used to wash their top half at a basin, and then swapsies and do the bottom half (with the alternate half staying dressed, due to cold). I was like ‘that not be true’ but perhaps it was?! Rest assured, I maintained my ‘aussie-ness’ and showered daily when in France – can’t break a habit. And my hair needs daily washing, lest it be stringy, limp and oily.

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