Love and friendship are great, and they sometimes will drive us to give our very best to the people in our lives. For a lot of people, the truest way of showing love and friendship is by sharing personal items. Sometimes, you don’t want to do it, but because your friend or family are somewhat helpless at the time, and because you care, you don’t mind sharing your own with them. It seems a harmless and caring gesture, but is it really harmless? Well, not exactly.

There are items we shouldn’t share with others for hygiene purposes, as doing so not only endangers us, but our family and friends too.

Here are some of the things we can’t share and why.


The toothbrush is used to wash the mouth. Toothbrush harbours bacteria and other microorganisms after it is used. There is also a possibility of it transferring HIV if its bristles have pierced an infected individual.


It may seem harmless to share nail clippers but there are a lot of medical conditions that could spread through the sharing of nail clippers, including fungal infections (e.g. Athlete foot- a common fungal infection that usually affects the area between the toes with symptoms of redness, cracking and itching), bacterial infections (e.g. Paronychia- an infection of the nail fold where the nail meets the skin of the finger or toe, which causes redness and swelling and in some cases, blisters) and viral infections like hepatitis (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends not sharing nail clippers as one of the preventative measures against spreading Hepatitis C, in particular).


“When you share headphones, you’re doubling the microbial flora in your ears and introducing new bacteria,” says germ expert Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. Most people carry these kind of bacteria without any problem but when it goes beyond the threshold of the body or a new bacteria is introduced, it results into an ear infection.


Certain deodorants are applied on the armpit. Sharing deodorants allows for the transfer of skin cells, hair and bacteria. And when this is in excess, it can result in infections or diseases.


Sharing underwear sounds gross enough to be honest. However, apart from this, it can transfer vaginal infections. Sharing underwear increases the probability of getting sexually transmitted infections (STI) and pubic lice.


How do we apply lip balm? By rubbing it directly on our lips or by taking a swap on our fingertips and then apply to our lips. However, both can transfer bacteria. The lips have extensive blood vessels just under its surface, so bacteria can be passed easily into the bloodstream through the thin membrane. Sharing lip balm with others increases the chances of contracting herpes and mouth ulcer.


Sharing a bar of bathing soap can result into transmission of scabies, herpes, body lice and harmful bacteria from one person to another. And considering, the inexpensive nature of bar soaps and seriousness of the above problems, it is advised that we all avoid sharing a bar of soap or any other personal item.