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A domestic cat grooming itself by licking its fur clean

Personal grooming, sometimes called preening, or simply grooming, is the art of cleaning, grooming, and maintaining parts of the body.

In humans

Main article: Hygiene

Grooming in humans typically includes bathroom activities such as primping: washing and cleansing the hair, combing it to extract tangles and snarls, and styling. It can also includes cosmetic care of the body, such as shaving and other forms of depilation.

In other animals

Blue Ducks preening their feathers

Individual animals regularly clean themselves and put their fur, feathers or other skin coverings in good order. This activity is known as personal grooming or preening, a form of hygiene. For example, combing through the hair or feathers, ensuring they lie smoothly against the skin, and extracting foreign objects such as insects, and leaves, dirt and twigs, are all forms of grooming.

Among animals, birds spend considerable time to preen their feathers. This is done to remove ectoparasites, keep them in good aerodynamic condition, and waterproof them. They use the "preen oil" secreted by the uropygial gland, the dust of powder down, or other means such as dust-bathing or anting. When an oil spill affects penguins, animal conservation that rescue them sometimes dress them in knitted sweaters to stop them from preening and thereby ingesting the mineral oil which is poisonous.

Grooming as a social activity

Main article: Social grooming

Many social animals adapt preening and grooming behaviors for other social purposes such as bonding, social structure enforcement, or dispute resolution. Humans also use verbal means, such as gossip and flattery for the same purposes.

See also

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