Families left crippled by the pandemic are so hard-up, they shower with washing up liquid instead of soap.
Up to a million people get by without toothpaste and shaving gel and also skimp on loo rolls, nappies and cleaning products.
Charities have distributed more than £3.5million of personal hygiene products in the last year – seven times more than in pre-Covid times.
The Hygiene Bank charity, which revealed the figure, said families must choose between food, heating and hygiene.
Many already depend on food banks and some have to use washing up liquid to clean their face, hair, body and even clothes.
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The charity fears thousands of people are effectively being confined to their homes because they cannot get basic provisions, such as sanitary products.
The organisation, which launched three years ago, now has 150 distribution points nationwide.
Founder Lizzy Hall said: “This is a growing crisis. We are only beginning to scratch the surface of the problem.
“We have a waiting list and demand is increasing.
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“Many are working, doing two or three jobs to put food on the table and pay bills, but still suffer the indignity, shame and injustice of hygiene poverty.”
One youth stayed off school because he was unable to keep clean.
But Hygiene Bank turned his life around by sourcing products.
His care worker said: “I barely recognised him.
“The transformation was immediate – from his appearance to his school attendance, which went up to 100%.
“He did so well at school, he is now at university.”
The charity relies on donations and has linked up with manufacturers through high street chemist Boots to boost supplies.
Lib Dem MP Munira Wilson said: “It is a huge injustice that keeping clean is a luxury for some in today’s society.
“This can have a big impact on dignity, self-confidence and mental wellbeing.”