“Harry Potter” Mystery: Do Wizards Care About Cleanliness or Sanitation?

While many Harry Potter fans point out how wizards don’t always care about safety, despite the characters claiming so, few have noticed the seemingly little care involved with cleanliness and sanitation too.

Now this post won’t include the unnecessary revelation J.K. Rowling shared about how wizards used to “go to the bathroom.” Rather, I will discuss some moments and details that you might not have noticed, from both the books and movies.

1: Ron grabbing a chicken drumstick with his hand in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone film

Where are the tongs and serving spoons at the Hogwarts start-of-the-term feasts? It seems that the staff just expect the students’ bare hands to be clean enough to take the food from the dishes on the center of each house’s table – for everyone.

As far as I’m concerned, there is no “You take what you touch” policy at Hogwarts feasts – at least not that I’m aware of. Otherwise, wouldn’t someone have said it, whether it’d be J.K. Rowling, or a character – in the movies and/or the books?

The faculty don’t know where the students’ hands have been. All they would know is that each child went from King’s Cross to the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts itself.

The kids’ hands could have touched anything during their transport to Hogwarts.

Yes, they’re not toddlers, so it’s unlikely they’d put their hands in their noses or mouths. But they may have touched other things, such as surfaces on the trains, carriages, boats (which is how the first-years travel to the castle), and their animals, like owls. So, they should not be allowed to serve themselves food with their bare hands.

They also don’t get a chance to wash their hands during the journey (except maybe on the train restrooms, if they go). Therefore, the staff could consider having some sort of hand-washing solution at the tables in the great hall, including the one for the Hogwarts faculty.

Due to the international statue of secrecy and the little to no knowledge of muggle life by many witches and wizards, I don’t know if a lot of pure-bloods have heard of hand sanitizer.

However, if any type of hand-cleaning solutions exist in the wizarding world, magical or not, it would be a good idea to not only be placed at every great hall table, but also for Dumbledore (or any other headmaster in the future) to ask everyone to rinse his or her hands with them. This would work best after the sorting ceremony for the first-years and before the feasts begin.

Not only should everyone wash their hands before meals, but they should also be required to serve themselves with tongs or serving spoons – and never with their bare hands.

2: Do students ever bathe or shower?

While we do see Harry take a bath in the prefect’s bathroom in The Goblet of Fire, we never hear of anybody bathing, showering, or brushing his or her teeth.

Because students are not allowed out of their dorms after hours, I would assume that the boys and girls’ dorms have their own bathrooms, but are never mentioned. After all, anyone could wake up in the middle of the night, having to use the restroom. 

But unless magicians have some magical cleanliness protection on their bodies, everybody would have smelled bad throughout the entire series.

Yes, stating if somebody stank due to poor hygiene would have distracted the reader or viewer from the story. Still – there has to be something, or else I could never view the franchise the same way.

3: Madame Pomfrey has never washed her hands while helping physically hurt or sick students

Medical settings will require doctors and nurses to wash their hands before touching patients – and event mandate that they wear gloves.

School nurses in real life don’t usually have to wash their hands, since students that sick wouldn’t even be there. But at Hogwarts, and presumably other wizarding schools, the “nurse’s office” is called the hospital wing.

Students have gone there with broken bones, for becoming petrified, and other cases where they’d have to go to an actual hospital.

Regardless of the illness or injury, Madame Pomfrey doesn’t seem to wash her hands before touching the students. She has given SkeleGrow to Harry after Lockhart had turned his broken arm into rubber, and created bandages out of thin air. But there is no mentioning of her rinsing her hands.


How do you see the Harry Potter world now? Are there moments I have missed regarding cleanliness?

Published by Sunayna Prasad

I enjoy writing stories, creating artwork, watching movies and TV shows, cooking, and traveling. These are the topics of my posts. I also publish books, where you can learn about them on my website, www.sunaynaprasadbooks.com. Be sure to copy and paste the link and subscribe to my newsletter on the email list button on the homepage.

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