People usually wash themselves periodically. Little children, the sick, the old and people with disabilities may be washed by a caregiver. Often a shower or a bathtub is used for persons washing themselves or others. In Europe, some people use a bidet to wash their private parts after using the toilet and other situations such as menstruation or sexual intercourse. More frequent is washing of just the hands, e.g. before and after preparing food and eating, after using the toilet, after handling something dirty, etc.
Washing usually refers to washing the skin or the hair. Washing the skin is usually done with the hands, but also washcloths, sponges or brushs (see scrubbing) can be used. The water used can be cold, warm or hot. After washing, the lather is rinsed with clean water and finally the wet skin is dried, most commonly with a towel.
Younger children often bathe together, and when doing so, they will often wash each other's back and make a fun game out of it. Bathing together after a certian age may be discouraged by parents because of other "activities" that children may tend to come up with while in that form of undress.
Ritual washing and bathing is part of many religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Washing also refers to washing things, such as in dishwashing, laundry, and car washing.
Washing in ageplay and role play
Since little children are often washed or given a bath by their parents, grandparents, older siblings or babysitters, being washed is also a popular role play in adult/teen ageplay (adult baby, adult child, teen baby, teen child). Washing a person (rather than letting them wash themselves) can also help to humiliate a person (in punishment), and/or to let them feel like a small child - dependent and cared for. See also passiveness.
For washing a person's mouth out with soap as a punishment, see mouth soaping.