Smell this: Showering is no longer a morning necessity

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Showering may be a socially-encouraged practice , but is it a health necessity? Chemical engineer David Whitlock says it isn’t. Photo courtesy of

By Daniella Snyder, Web Editor

As much as everyone would refuse to admit, there have been days where we have forgone the shower. And while our personal B.O. does give our lack of cleanliness away, David Whitlock, a chemical engineer in Boston, argues that showering is no longer necessary.

How does he know? He has not done the “scrub-a-dub” in a whopping twelve years.

Whitlock is not avoiding the shower for environmental reasons. He is not avoiding it to keep his acquaintances at an arms’ distance. Whitlock did his research, and he concluded that a daily scrub actually might be removing beneficial bacteria from our skin.

The idea began when he saw a horse rolling around in the dirt to clean itself. Whitlock then discovered an interesting fact: “lobsters have a very strong biofilm of this bacteria on their skin. Earthworms, freshwater turtles, clams, mussels; essentially every organism that is in contact with either water or the soil will have these bacteria living on it,” Whitlock said. They all have this coat of bacteria from the Nitrosomanus genus.

This kind of bacteria will actually break down ammonia, and will produce nitrite and nitric oxide, two powerful antibacterial substances. There is, however, one animal that has no trace of these bacteria on their skin: humans.

So, what did Whitlock ultimately do? He cultivated his own bacteria of the Nitrosomanus kind, and began spraying it on himself daily. He calls the spray AO+ Mist, and the MotherDirt brand sells it. Jasmina Aganovic, president of MotherDirt, confirms that Whitlock does not smell at all.

However, the idea that waning from showering was a good thing is certainly not a newfangled idea. Centuries ago, people believed that prayer was more important than soap for warding off diseases.

Chris Callewaert, microbiologist at Ghent University in Belgium, claimed common sense on the topic by saying, “the skin keeps the body under control and cleans itself.” He went on to dictate that skin is a self-renewing organ that produces all the necessary compounds needed to regulate it.

Apparently, showering daily has become a thing in the past — or at least it should be. Let your body do the work on its own. According to scientists, B.O. will also be a thing of the past, along with having to do the tedious work of bathing.

Still don’t buy it? Fair enough. In any case, our bodies’ biology has our back.

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Author: Daniella Snyder

Daniella Snyder '18 is originally from Northumberland, Pennsylvania. She studies Art History and English. Daniella previously served as a staff writer, Business Manager, Social Media Manager, and co-editor in chief during her three years working for The Gettysburgian. Aside from her work with The Gettysburgian, she works for Residential & First-Year Programs, the Office of LGBTQA Advocacy & Education, and the Schmucker Art Gallery. Daniella studied abroad in Florence, Italy in the fall of her junior year and has participated in the Women's Center's annual production of The Vagina Monologues for the last three years.

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