Cleanliness begins at home

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One of the first signs of a well managed place — whether it is a restaurant, hotel, airport, and office or train station — is its level of cleanliness. If the place isn’t clean, it is unlikely to impress anyone. The same applies to an entire country. Indians who travel abroad are often awestruck by cleanliness levels in the developed world.

Therefore, if we want our country to realise its full potential in the world, we have to make it clean. A land of filth, no matter how talented its people and how wonderful its natural resources, will never earn the respect it deserves.

Perhaps this is a reason why the PM has taken on the Swachh Bharat mission with such gusto. Not only him, several other influencers and prominent people have lent a hand to the cause, often holding a broom along with it.

However, while the broom in hand does make a compelling photo-op and is well intentioned, it will take a lot more to clean India. If we are really serious about this, let us first figure out why we are dirty in the first place, and what it would take to have a cleaner India.

We are not dirty people. Indians keep their homes scrupulously clean. In many parts of India people do not wear shoes inside the house to keep interiors clean. Some of our religious places are kept clean (though there are exceptions, don’t even get me started on Varanasi and Mathura). Diwali, our biggest festival, is the time to spring clean. Indians are meticulous about taking a shower daily, which may not be as common in the West.

So why is our country dirty? Why is it when we step out of our homes, we will find the roadside littered? Is it the municipal corporation that isn’t doing its job? Is it the local politician who should ensure things are kept clean? Do we not have enough dustbins?

None of the above issues fully explain why India is unclean. The reason is that we make it dirty in the first place. And if we want truly to be a clean country we need to take steps to ensure we mini mise filth in the first place, rather than hoping someone will pick up the broom and clean it. Developed countries in Western Europe and North America do not have local authorities sweeping the streets all the time. They have systems in place, and the local population cooperates to not create filth in the first place.

We on the other hand look at our country differently from our homes. Inside our houses, we want things to be spick and span. Outside the entrance door, it doesn’t matter. It isn’t mine. It’s dirty anyway and how does it matter if i dump some more litter on the streets?

With this mentality, you can have an army of municipal corporation workers working 24×7, a hundred celebrities sweeping the streets, the PM making a dozen speeches, i assure you, India will not become clean.

The only way it can and will become clean is if we minimise and prevent creating filth in the first place, and the only way that will happen is when all of us together think ‘what is outside my home is also mine’.

My home says so much about me

Do you sometimes find yourself walking into a room in your home and thinking, “Oh my, what is that stale, unpleasant odor?” Laundry rooms, basements, closets, pantries, bathrooms, attics and garages can often provoke a response like this, but any room can harbor stale air, mustiness or disagreeable odors. The common culprit is usually poor ventilation, so any areas in your home that don’t get a lot of circulation are typically the most likely to fall victim to a “bad air” day. (And, it may be a lot more than a single day. Bad air, which is often related to stagnation, can last weeks, months or even longer.)

Bad air, be gone

If you experience bad air, the first thing you should do is open the windows and let in fresh air. Open two windows, if possible, preferably one at each end of the room. This creates a natural draft known as cross-ventilation. In many cases, establishing adequate cross-ventilation may be all you need to solve your bad air problem.

Of course, the musty room may not provide you with a convenient way to create cross-ventilation. It may not even have a single window, much less two. The areas most commonly prone to bad air tend to be devoid of windows at all.

Fresh air, naturally

If no natural ventilation exists for a certain area, using air fresheners can make all the difference. The last thing anyone needs in their home is a product that supposedly cleans or refreshes the air you breathe, but in fact compromises your health. When it comes to the air you breathe, choose all natural, non-toxic, environmentally friendly products that can help you freshen up the air, while also supporting your health.

This great product Maxxoman Air Freshener can help to purify the air in your home by eliminating many common odors. It comes with a variety of essential oils fusion fragrances like Jasmine, Lavender, Rose & Sandal. This may be the perfect choice if you need a strong air freshener to treat basements, closets, or rooms that have the lingering scent of smoke or mildew. While its natural scent fills the air, this product absorbs odors It is capable of absorbing unpleasant odors in a 100-square-foot space for a period of 30days. You will probably want to use several of these units if you need to cover a larger space, and for best results place the units next to a circulating air source. There is also a version of this product designed especially for treating pet areas, including litter boxes and pet beds.

What Research says about home cleaning?

  • When it comes to household-cleaning chores, women predominantly run the show, but men are increasingly sharing the load, too
  • Large retail chains are popular self-reported places to shop for household-cleaning products, and e-commerce is showing promise, particularly in Asia. Direct online sales strategies and retail partnerships can help sellers merchandise products more effectively.
  • Cleaning tools of the trade are as diverse as the regions themselves. Particularly preferred options include mops and brooms in Asia-Pacific, paper towels in North America, scrubbing brushes in Latin America, sponges in Europe, and cloth towels in Africa/Middle East. Products that complement prevailing habits are likely to hold significant appeal to consumers.
  • New-product development strategies must fulfill primary needs of efficacy and value, but they also must differentiate through secondary attributes that appeal to salient trends like natural, eco friendly offerings and single-dosage packaging. Convenience is also a key benefit that has driven many recent product successes.
  • Some everyday household products have strong regional appeal for cleaning purposes. Especially popular are vinegar and baking soda in North America, rubbing alcohol in Latin America, and soap and water in every region.
  • Laundry frequency reflects the method used for cleaning; and a shift from traditional hand washing to appliance-supported methods in developing countries will be a strong driver for laundry-cleaning products.
  • Value is being redefined in the laundry-care market. Lowest price is not always most important, as products with high-efficiency benefits are popular.

When it comes to home care, who does the majority of the cleaning? Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s predominantly still women. Around the world, 44% of respondents say the female head of household does the majority of cleaning, with the highest percentages in Europe and Africa/Middle East (49% each).

But men are sharing some of the load. Globally, 28% say housecleaning is a shared responsibility between the two heads of the household, and 17% of respondents say men do the majority of cleaning. In North America, men are contributing to the cleaning duties at the highest levels: Nearly one-third of respondents (32%) say the male head of household does the majority of the cleaning, nearly double the global average.

Responsibility for product purchasing largely mirrors who is doing the cleaning—with even greater female influence. More than half of global respondents (51%) say the female head of household buys the majority of cleaning products. Nearly one-quarter (23%) say it’s a shared responsibility, and slightly fewer (21%) say the male head of household is responsible for the majority of purchasing. Just as North America has the highest percentage of men who are primarily responsible for cleaning, the region also has the highest percentage who purchases cleaning products. One-third of North American respondents (33%) say the male head of household is primarily responsible for buying these items, 12 percentage points above the global average.

“The perception that home care is only women’s work is inaccurate,. “The female head of household remains a key stakeholder in the cleaning process in many homes, but as more men play an active role in housework, marketing strategies need to reflect a more balanced approach—from product innovations to marketing messages. This will require a deeper understanding of how each gender approaches the task of cleaning and where gaps in current offerings may exist.”

The Ayurvedic daily programme: rituals

1. Getting up – before sunrise or at approximately 6.00. The doshas present in our body have their own internal clock, and so exercise an authority over time. The Vata dosha is active between the hours of 2.00 and 6.00 in the morning (hence the dream phase during this time) and 14.00-18.00 pm. It’s much easier to get up about 6.00, when this busy dosha is still active, but not when the sleepy, sluggish Kapha comes into play (6.00 – 10.00). We often feel more lively when we get up early than when lying in to 10am.

2. In the bathroom- wash your eyes, face, teeth, clean your tongue, rinse out your nose (this removes dust, bacteria, fungi and dried mucus, hence preventing infection: just immerse your nose in some warm water cupped in your hands, take a gentle breath then blow your nose: repeat 2-3 times; after several attempts your nose will get used to this) 3. Drink approximately 200 ml of warm water, perhaps with a dash of lemon juice and honey (doing this approx. 30 mins before breakfast rinses and gently awakens your digestive tract)

4. Go to the toilet: make a habit of emptying your bowels every morning – just like throwing out the rubbish every day. Eastern medical science attaches great importance to this as constipation (i.e. bowel movement of less than once a day) is harmful. Waste quickly becomes a toxin when held in the intestine, and this toxin can then pass through the intestinal wall if not expelled. According to TMC, the largest flow of energy in the large intestine takes place between 5-7 am, so do take advantage of the body’s natural rhythm.

5. Early morning gymnastics (10-15 min)

6. Breathing exercises (min 5 min)

7. Meditation or prayer

8. Oil massage (greatly pacifies Vata, purifies and warms the body)

9. Shower/getting dressed (try to use natural toiletries and comfortable clothing materials)

10. Nourishing, hot breakfast (ideally porridge, oatmeal, miso soup, vegetables, etc.)

11. Work: ensure a positive atmosphere at the workplace, drink plenty of water and take regular breaks.

12. Lunch (ideally between 12-13, when the ‘digestive fires’ are at their height)

13. Return from work (leave your job at the front door. Good for switching into ‘home mode’ are: giving yourself a scalp massage; taking a shower; breathing / relaxation exercises)

14. Relaxation / quality time with family and friends

15. Evening meal at around 18-19:00. Our digestive system needs minimum 4 hours to digest a substantial meal. When you go to bed with a full stomach digestion interferes with sleep and the tired body does not effectively digest food, which then decomposes in the intestines, in turn producing AMA. In addition, in the evening (20-23:00), as part of the daily cycle, glands and organs produce enzymes and hormones which do essential work such as rebuilding cells. If the body’s energy is focused instead on digestion, then this corrective balance is lost: in the long term risking a sudden onset of the ‘at home in Jakarta’ syndrome, which entails constant repair – and constant harmful elements.

16. Golden milk , helps digestion and induces restful sleep.

17. Meditation or prayer

18. Going to bed: between 22-23:00. This is the best time, during which we more easily fall asleep and when sleep is also at its most effective. Getting up at around 6:00 the next day is ideal, as Ayurveda recommends min 6-8 hours of sleep. However, it is also known that sleep before midnight is much more valuable than during the “Hour of the Spirits.” Every hour of sleep ‘before’ is worth twice every hour of sleep deprivation after midnight. This rule unfortunately works the other way too: every hour lost after midnight is worth double of those before, and is difficult to make up, even if you sleep till the following afternoon.

Reading the above list, I wouldn’t be surprised if you get a headache: so many steps to remember! Try to start by implementing just two or three of these points. It’s always a good idea to plan your routine on paper, as this makes it easier to separate those things which just fly around in the head as a ‘to do’ from those that you really want / can do. In addition, once ideas or tasks take a written form they become ‘real’, finding a spatial and chronological form which somehow assists in making them happen.

If you want to change everything at once, it’s highly likely that you will soon give up. I myself introduced the above points one by one: in the end – at some indefinable point- all of these things become a daily habit and do not require any effort. Contrary to appearances by implementing these steps you actually gain time, by means of: better organisation; improved peace of mind and regular reinvigoration. The reward is better physical and mental health, greater resistance to stress and effective cleansing of the body. Good Luck!

Importance of Gandhian thoughts about Cleanliness

  • Gandhiji said, “So long as you do not take the broom and the bucket in your hands, you cannot make your towns and cities clean."
  • When he inspected a model school, he told the teachers: “You will make your institution ideal, if besides giving the students literary education, you have made cooks and sweepers of them."
  • To the students his advice was, "If you become your own scavengers, you will make your surroundings clean. It needs no less courage to become an expert scavenger than to win a Victoria Cross."
  • The villagers near his ashram refused to cover excreta with earth. They said: "Surely this is bhangi's work. It is sinful to look at faces, more so to throw earth on them". Gandhi personally supervised the scavenging work in villages. To set an example, he for some months, himself used to go to the villages with a bucket and a broom. Friends and guests went with him. They brought bucketfuls of dirt and stool and buried them in pits.
  • All scavenging work in his ashram was done by the inmates. Gandhi guided them. People of different races, religions and colours lived there.
  • No dirt could be found anywhere on the ashram ground. All rubbish was buried inpits peelings of vegetables and left-over food was dumped in a separate manurepit. The night-soil, too, was buried and later used as manure. Waste water wasused for gardening. The farm was free from flies and stink though there was no puckka drainage system.
  • Gandhi and his co-workers undertook sweeper's work by turns. He introduced bucket-latrines and bicameral trench latrines. Gandhi showed this new innovation to all visitors with pride; rich and poor, leaders and workers, Indians and foreigners all had to use these latrines. This experiment slowly removed a version for scavenging from the minds of orthodox co-workers and women inmates of the ashram.
  • The sight of a bhangi carrying a night-soil basket on his/her head made him sick. He explained how with the use of proper instruments, cleaning could be done neatly. Scavenging is a fine art and he did it without becoming filthy himself.
  • He wrote, "Village tanks are promiscuously used for bathing, washing clothes and drinking and cooking purposes. Many village tanks are also used by cattle. Buffaloes are often seenwallowing in them. The wonder is that, in spite of this sinful misuse of village tanks, villages have not been destroyed by epidemics. Medical evidence shows that lack of pure water supply in villages is responsible for many of the diseases suffered by the villagers." (Hairjan, 8 February, 1935)

General Hygiene in Ayurveda (SVASTHAVṚTTA)

Have you ever wondered that many of the modern concepts of healthy living were enunciated in Ayurveda long ago? In Ayurveda, the masures advised for leading a healthy life are called Svastha-Vṛtta. While explaining health, Suśruta says:

प्रसन्नात्मेन्द्रियमन:स्वस्थइत्यभिधीयते।। सुश्रुतसूत्र15:48

This definition encompasses physical, mental and spiritual aspects of health. Health does not mean mere absence of disease but it means that mind and spirit should also be Prasanna (happy). Complete psycho-somatic equilibrium is the key to Svāsthya (health). This concept is in total alignment with the WHO’s definition of health.

Means for Achieving Good Health

For achieving perfect health both psyche and physique must remain in equilibrium. For maintaining physical health, Āyurveda strongly recommends the practice of Dinacaryā (day regime), Rātricaryā (night regime) and Ṛtucaryā (seasonal regime)


This comprises of the do’s and don’ts during the day time. “Early to bed and Early to Rise”. Get up early in the morning before sunrise. This is called BrāhmaMuhūrta. This practice is highly rewarding as it avoids dreams which generally appear in the morning hours.

Drink enough water

Drinking enough water helps in free passage of motion and urine.

Flush out (Mala -MūtraTyāga)

It is very important to inculcate the habit of easing in the morning. Suppressing natural urges (Vega Vidhārana) is the root cause of many diseases

Brush your teeth well

You can prepare your own tooth brush using stick of trees like neem, babbula or khadira. Any good powder which possesses natural antiseptic qualities can be used to overcome the accumulation of dirt, plaques, and tartar. Oil massage of the teeth and gums is necessary if you have any disease of the teeth or gums. The accumulation of coatings on the tongue (Mala) should be scraped by a clean and washed tongue cleaner whose edges are neither sharp nor blunt. The tongue cleaner should be thoroughly washed before and after cleaning. After cleaning the teeth and tongue, you may do some gargling with saline water.

Massage: Oil is well!

It is important to massage the whole body with oil. For massaging, you can use TilaTaila (sesame oil), and SarṣapaTaila (mustard oil) or Nārikela Taila (coconut oil). Mustered oil is the best specially in winter. Medicated oils may also be used. The benefits of oil massage include soft and glowing skin, free movement of joints and muscles, increased blood circulation and fast removal of metabolic waste products besides overall fitness.

Exercise Well

Regular exercise develops stamina and vitality. It develops resistance against disease, clears the channels of body (Srotas). It increases blood circulation and improves efficiency of lungs. An exercise should lead to appearance of sweat on the forehead. The exercises including Yoga, gymnastics, and aerobics should be avoided during the diseased condition like cough (Kāsa), tuberculosis (Kṣaya), and cardiac (Hrid) disorders.

Take bath with warm water free from impurities

Avoid taking bath in places affected by storm or dust storm. You should wash your head with warm water matching with the body temperature. Taking bath regularly increases Jaṭharāgni (Appetite), clears the pores of the skin and makes the skin glossy.

Eat balanced Diet

Diet should be regulated taking into account the Deśa (land), Kāla (season) and Swabhav (habit). Diet should be planned so as to include all six Rasa (taste) i.e. sweet, salt, sour, bitter, acrid and astringent. Diet should be well balanced and consumed according to digestive capacity of individual.

Tips for diet

1. Consume fresh ginger with a small amount of salt 10 to 15 minutes before food.

2. Hard substances should be properly chewed.

3. Prefer curd alongwith or after you food.

4. The food should be tasty, fresh and presentable

5. Food should be neither very hot nor absolutely cold.

6. Drink water frequently. But avoid drinking water at least 15 minutes before food. The quantity of water after food should be small.

7. The food which is heavy (Guru) for digestion should be taken in a limited quantity.

8. Heavy food should be avoided at night. The proper time for night meal is 2-3 hours before going to bed. After dinner it is better to go for a short walk of say hundred steps.

9. Heavy exercise, physical or mental work should be avoided after food.

10. Some rest is advisable after meals for proper digestion of food.


Sleep is most important requirement for maintenance of health and longevity. It is called ‘Jagaddhātri’(Mother of the world) because of its capacity to overcome wear and tear of the body, mental stress and tissue loss.

Some Tips

1. One should sleep with head to the east or north.

2. The bed room should be clean, ventilated and away from noise.

3. The bed must be neat & clean and free from bugs.

4. The bed room should be dust free.

5. Relax your mind by engaging in prayer or blissful music before going to bed.

6. Avoid sleeping late at night

7. A minimum of 7 hours of sleep is recommended to repair the wear and tear of the body.

8. Sleep during the day should be avoided as far as possible. However, if one keeps awake at night,

9. he can take a nap during day time. Day-sleep is not contraindicated in summer. But in winter, the day-sleep increases Kapha, thereby causing respiratory and digestive problems.

10. It is advisable to massage the head, soles and palms with oil before going to bed. By massage,you can enjoy sound sleep.


For all creatures, sexual act is a natural urge. Sexual act is also essential for the procreation of the species. However, exercising discipline in sexual act is important as explained in ancient texts. Even animals of lower form practice certain amount of restrictions but human beings are prone to over indulgence or abuse of the sexual act. Some regulation of this activity is essential.

Tips on sexual behaviour

1. Over indulgence in sexual act is harmful for the body; it may lead to debilitating diseases

2. Sexual act should be performed during night time, preferably during the first quarter of the night so that after performance of sexual act, one can take rest for the whole night.

3. Though different Āsanas (postures) have been described in Kāma-Śāstra, the one in lithotomy/missionary position is considered the best.

4. Masturbation and sodomy are injurious to health.

5. Having sex with a person suffering from any kind of diseases (e.g., STD or AIDS) should be avoided.

6. After sexual act, a glass of milk (i.e. about 250 ml) should be taken to promote health and energy.

7. Sexual act should not be performed during the course of a disease or in convalescence

Social Hygiene

Man is a social animal. One has to work in the society in a manner which is conducive for better hygiene and sanitation of the community. This can be achieved by individual efforts with the cooperation from civil society. Garbage should not be thrown at random; it should be consigned to its proper place. The gutters and the drainage system should not be blocked. Toilets and washrooms should be maintained properly. Water sources should be thoroughly cleaned. The outbreak of any disease must be reported to the authorities immediately so that public health action can be taken.