Don’t Forget to Wash Behind Your Ears

When I was a kiddo, I thought the line “Don’t forget to wash behind your ears” inferred a hygienic imperative. To prevent the worst case scenario (whatever that might be) I scrubbed behind my ears with great purpose. After much longer than I’m willing to admit, I realized it was just a creative turn of phrase. I still wash behind my ears, but without the worry. Funny how things you are told as a child effect your behavior.

About Bengie

Graphic designer by day and web cartoonist by night. Bengie also 'arts' the interactive audio comic Slackjaw: The Working Dead

  • Stev84

    I find that after a while some kind of gunk will accumulate behind my ears. Probably a mix of dead skin cells and skin oil. So washing there now and then isn’t such a bad idea.

  • Aspaceformyheart Awesomeblog

    I’ve neglected this act and gotten HORRIBLE pimples behind my ears as a result of all the dead skin and grease and such that can build up there and not get brushed away in ordinary day to day activities. Pimples which were painful and grotesque. I remember yelping with pain the first time I popped one and felt the pus running down the back of my ear and thinking “So THAT’S what that saying is all about…!”

    I have been much more rigorous about cleaning that area in the shower ever since.

  • Sarah J Iozzio

    I can see the importance of cleaning behind the ears, but there are a few more important areas I can think of that I’d emphasize over the ears if I had kids… ::shudder::

  • Sven2547

    Call me a simpleton, but I didn’t know “washing behind your ears” was a figure of speech.
    Incidentally, it’s a good idea to literally wash behind your ears.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor


  • m6wg4bxw

    Marked as spam.

  • m6wg4bxw

    This reminds of the idiom, “[still] wet behind the ears.” When I realized what it meant, I found it to be somewhat disgusting.

  • Michael W Busch

    Dennis Markuze, we again remind you of the court order forbidding you from posting on comment threads and internet forums.

  • Tanner B James

    I got told that by my mom all the time. I wish though someone had told me that when I got old I would also have to shave back there too.

  • Rain

    I always thought they meant to literally get behind your own ears so that you could wash your ears. I never knew how anyone could do that. So I too figured it was a figure of speech, and that it meant, yes, we can do the impossible if we dare to dream. Even if it means washing behind your ears. Literally!

  • Hat Stealer

    I always just took it as run-of-the-mill advice for good hygiene. The ears are a relativly easy place to forget to wash, and I could see a lot of grime building up back there.

  • Stranger

    In the last sentence, shouldn’t it be “affect your behavior”? I’m asking since I’m not native in English, and “effect your behavior” seems wrong.

    Anyone care to enlughten me?

  • Stev84

    You are correct. This is a pet peeve of mine.

    to effect = to cause
    to affect = to influence

    Using “effect” here may not be entirely wrong, but it does sound odd. To make things more complicated, both words can also be used as nouns with different meanings.

  • Alexis

    Before antibiotics, mastoiditis used to be a big problem. I’ve known several people who each had a huge depression behind the ear, a result of mastoid surgery that removed infected tissue..