What is Hygiene Poverty?

Hygiene poverty is not being able to afford many of the everyday hygiene and personal grooming products most of us take for granted. The reality of low income is that it restricts people’s options, leaving us caught between being able to heat our homes, pay the rent, eat or be clean.

It is struggling to wash your hair because you can’t afford shampoo.
It is not being able to purchase deodorant because money is needed for the electric card.
It is not being able to replace a toothbrush when needed or sharing a toothbrush because one each just isn't an option.
It is being unable to change your baby's nappy as often as is needed and scraping out the contents before reapplying it.
body wash
It is washing hair, bodies, faces and clothes in the same cheap washing up liquid used for the dishes.
It is being housebound because you can't afford period protection or have to improvise with rolled up loo roll and socks.
shaving foam
It is having to choose between shaving foam and razors or the transport fare to a job interview.
It is going to school with matted hair because there is only one hairbrush in the household and there's no time for everyone to get a chance to use it.
washing powder
It is not being able to launder clothes, school uniform and muddy sports kit when needed.
household (1)
It is being 'judged' for living in an unclean home, because you can't afford the cost of household cleaning products.

The Stats

Over 14 million people in the UK live in poverty - that is one fifth of our population. (source: Social Metrics Commission)
Two thirds of those defined as living in poverty work.
We know that long before people go to a food bank they stop buying toiletries. (source: The Trussel Trust)
Over one third of people living in the UK and over half of 18 to 24 year olds have had to go without hygiene or grooming essentials or cut down on them due to lack of funds. (source: In Kind Direct, 2017)​
8 in 10 primary school teachers say that they’ve seen a rise in the numbers of children coming to school unwashed or not looking presentable in the last five years and have found themselves intervening at an increasing rate. Nearly half of all teachers said they had seen bullying because of hygiene issues. (source: In Kind Direct, 2017)
3 out of 10 teachers regularly buy their pupils toiletry essentials. (source: In Kind Direct, 2017)
Tooth decay remains the number one reason that children aged 5-9 are admitted to hospital. (Royal College of Surgeons, September 2018)