Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Hygiene really, really bad


Hygiene real bad. How can I get him to shower, brush his teeth, cut his toenails? Any suggestions anyone??


@roseo I hate to say it but I have resorted to bribery sometimes…if there is something he likes a lot and doesn’t have but you could get it for him, it can be something small, anything that he cares about…say–" well we can go get that today -but you will need to shower before I let you in my car"… I had to do that with my son, even went as far as to say he would have to walk because I wasn’t driving with the stink in my car…sometimes you have to say it 2 or 3 days in a row…for my son if I make a look on my face when I am near him that looks like: “Pheweee you smell!” he will say that he wants to go take a shower (like it is his idea) but he averages about a shower ever 3-4 days now…which is better than the once every 7 or 8 days from before…It is tough but with persistence it can get better… For a long time I had to tell him to brush his teeth…he does brush them at night now…once a day…I urged him to try to do it in the morning as well and it hasn’t happened yet. I try to get him in to see the dentist twice a year for a cleaning-at least its something. I take him for a pedicure every so often which he kind of likes…but it insures that his toenails don’t grow ridiculously long and become ingrown…This local place near me does a really nice pedicure for $20…it lasts him 2-3 months give or take.


@roseo I took my son to the drugstore to pick up his meds, and said while we’re here, let’s get you some supplies. He picked out shampoo and body wash that is made by axe. It’s a brand that makes grooming items for men, in scents for guys. He also surprised me by getting bubble bath in a aromatherapy scent ( I think lavender).
I found with my son it helps if he picks out his own items.

He also seems to use an electric toothbrush over a regular one, I guess it’s less work with the electric.

Also he likes it when we go out to eat or grab a coffee at the local coffee house. So I’ll say" as soon as you take your shower we’ll go get your iced coffee".

Good luck with your son❤️🌻


@Sparrow I do that too. My son found this french milled lemon verbena soap at Trader Joe’s and one sniff of it and he said “hey mom, can this be my soap?” I’m like…yeppers! It does smell wonderful (when he uses it)…and he likes an electric shaver…and I keep his hair cut short per his request because he doesn’t like fooling with it…


Our son lives with us and when he stinks, I take my son by his arm, lead him upstairs and turn the shower on. He gets in the shower and I take a rag and soap and get under his arms. I tell him to hit the other areas. Sometimes I give him a facial. I have to load the tooth brush and lead him to the sink. Baths must help my son relax because one day this week, he took four baths in one day. My husband used to complain but now anytime he is calm is just fine with us. We try to keep music on and avoid the news which seems to give his delusions more to work on. I also try to keep the gel and good scented soap. One of our splurges is taking him to Fantastic Sams for a beard trim and shampoo. I try to get him to go once a month. They do a much better job than I.


My son has been going thru a time of showering less. He asked for a particular soap and when I brought it, he went and showered immediately.

We have a standing monthly appointment with a stylist who cuts his hair and trims his beard and mustache. Going to the same person every time helps.

He has always been obsessive about brushing his teeth, but has just this year started going for regular dental care.


I do his toenails after a soak in the tub. Much easier and if they get long I noticed he was pulling them off one day and I try to be proactive now.


@Mom2 My son would not let me touch his feet…or I’d happily save $20…and he will never soak in a tub, he thinks baths are disgusting and will only shower…I started the pedicure thing when I noticed he was clipping his toenails short enough to bleed and that worried me.