There are a number of circumstances that may affect an individual's ability to maintain personal hygiene. Hospitalised patients, and in particular those who are bedridden, may become dependent on nursing staff to carry out their hygiene needs. Assisting patients to maintain personal hygiene is a fundamental aspect of nursing care. However, it is a task often delegated to junior or newly qualified staff. This article focuses on the principles of bed bathing patients in hospital, correct procedure and the importance of maintaining patient dignity and respect in clinical practice.