Obsessive Washing / Cleaning....


Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
Bath time for dad is starting to become a bit of a nightmare. The problem is that he washes himself with such fervour. It reminds me of Lady Macbeth (Out, damned spot, out, I say!) - He scrubs and scrubs his skin. Same with washing hair and brushing his teeth, he just rubs his hair and teeth manically. Nothing seems to calm him down. Have also noticed that he rubs his hands together a lot recently, as if he's trying to rub something of his hands, again this is quite manic and can last for ages. I'm guessing that this is a way of venting is anger and frustrating with his situation, but it really difficult to watch him getting himself in such a state.

Can anyone relate to this
Kind Regards


Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Hi Craig, yes, my Mum used to do that, would be in the bathroom for hours, wash all over, forget she'd done it and start all over again, sometimes in the middle of the night and no way could I persuade her to stop. It does as you say get quite manic at times. Love She. XX


Registered User
Mar 27, 2004
Obsessive Washing/Cleaning

Hello Craig

We don't have the washing, but Margaret will clasp her hands together fingers interlaced and clench them so tightly that she starts to shake. First just her hands and then her arms and eventually her whole body. This may only last about a minute or can continue for a few minutes. She also (not at the same time) will raise both hands and bring them down on her thighs with a resounding slap, it sounds loud enough to hurt but doesn't seem to bother her. She can give no explanation for her actions and if I question her, either gives a nonsensical answer like "I was smoothing the wrinkles from my skirt" or denies that she had done anything and doesn't know what I am talking about.

The advice I have received from the local AS branch is that these movements are involuntary and have no particular significance.

My own view is like yours, I think it is a sign of anger and frustration that she can't express it in any other way.

I find it distressing at times although it is soon over and Margaret has forgotten it as soon as it is finished.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

All the best


Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
Hi all,
This sounds very familiar: my husband either rubs his hands or his thighs incessantly, had several months of rubbing items (especially audio cassettes and cds) against his trousers or pullover as though he was polishing them, he actually wore a hole in his denims!
His washing/cleaning actions are the same: repetitive and frantic! When he manages to 'get his head round' a shave, it is quite frightening to watch the frenzy. He washes and dries dishes over and over again, and cleans the kitchen worktops with such force that he often breaks out in a sweat.
All this is quite stressful to watch, but at least it's 'activity' and exercise, and provides him with a sense of purpose.
Reassuring to read we are not alone ...
Kind regards,


Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
Thanks for all your replies, as you say Carmen, good to know we are not allone

I've done a little research and indeed there seems to be a connection between Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Alzheimer's. It seems that the frontal temple region that is damaged by Alzheimer's can trigger OCD behavior. Now I think of it, this explains a lot of the repetitive behavior (e.g. obssesive folding, repeating questios etc).

Again, thanks for sharing all your experiences
Kind Regards