20 Mar, 2024 CareYourWay Team 7 min read (901 words)

Hygiene Tips when Caring for a Bed Bound Loved One

Maintaining good hygiene is essential for all of us, regardless of age or physical condition. We share ways you can help your loved one stay hygienic.


For people who are bed bound it can be a challenge to prioritise a hygiene routine.

A limited mobility and dependence on family caregivers may make it difficult for them to engage in regular self-care activities.

But with the proper planning, support and assistance, it's possible to guarantee that bed bound loved ones can maintain good hygiene. Here are some useful tips to help caregivers and family members in this important aspect of care.

Hair Care

Daily hair care is important to keep your loved one comfortable and to maintain self-esteem.

Simply brush their hair gently using a soft brush or comb. Keep their hair clean, washing their hair in bed using a basin, mild shampoo, and a towel.

Use a hairdryer on a low setting or allow the hair to air dry. You might also arrange for a hairdresser to come and trim their hair regularly in order to keep it healthy.

Daily Bed Baths

People who are bed bound should receive daily bed baths to keep their skin clean and to prevent infections.

Using warm water, mild soap, and a soft washcloth gently cleanse their body, paying extra attention to areas prone to sweating or skin breakdown, such as the folds in the skin.

Necessary tools for a bed bath include:

  • Bath towel, flannel and a hand towel
  • Soft sponge
  • Gentle soap and shampoo
  • Fragrance free moisturiser
  • 2 containers of warm water, one for soap and one for rinsing

Oral Care

Maintaining oral hygiene is vital for our overall health and well-being.

Caregivers should assist their bed bound loved ones in brushing and flossing their teeth at least twice a day using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

If your loved one is able to brush their teeth simply provide them with the tools so they can, helping them to retain a good sense of independence.

Consistent brushing is vital to maintain good oral health.

Nail Care

Make sure to trim your loved one’s nails regularly to prevent them becoming to long or ingrown.

Use appropriate nail clippers for the hands and feet remembering to cut toe nails straight across. File the nails so they are smooth, as jagged nails could lead to an infection from scratches to their fragile skin.

You might also offer to paint your loved one’s nail if they like them painted.

Bed Cleanliness

Bedding should be changed regularly to maintain the utmost cleanliness and prevent any skin issues or infections.

When someone is bedridden the bedding will need to be changed more often as they can quickly accumulate crumbs from food, sweat and dead skin particles.

Use soft, breathable materials such as cotton to reduce the risk of bed sores. If your loved one is incontinent, use protective mattress covers and replace them promptly after accidents.

A clean and tidy bedroom is not only important for hygiene, but can help your loved one to feel happier and more content.

Prevent Bed Sores

Bed sores typically develop when an individual remains in one position for an extended period, leading to reduced blood flow to the affected area.

People who are bed bound are much higher at risk of developing bed sores. To prevent them, caregivers should change the position of your loved one to relieve pressure on vulnerable areas.

Use pillows to support and cushion bony prominences. Keep their skin clean and moisturised to minimise the risk of sores.


Keep an open line of communication with your loved one to address any discomfort or concerns they may have regarding their hygiene and comfort.

Listen attentively and make adjustments to the care routine as and when needed. Encourage them to express their preferences and offer choices whenever possible.

Professional Assistance

If the care needs of your loved one surpass your capabilities, consider using the services of professional caregivers or home healthcare providers.

They have the expertise and experience to provide comprehensive care and support, and can assist with more medical tasks such as diabetic foot care, changing or maintaining stoma or catheter bags, support with shaving, support moving position in bed and stretches to prevent pressure sores.

Above all, caring for a loved one who is bed bound requires, empathy, patience and attention to detail.

By following our simple hygiene tips, you can help maintain the dignity, comfort, and overall well-being of your loved one. You are not only assisting them with their hygiene but also helping them to feel good!

Don’t forget each individual's needs are different, so it is essential to tailor the care routine to their specific requirements through good understanding and regular communication.

This article was last updated on April 3rd 2024 by CareYourWay Team

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