Mysophobia: History Of The Fear Of Germs, Washing Hands, And Famous Germaphobes

A paramedic wears a protective mask and complete sterile dressing to avoid contact with COVID-19. (Photo by Olivier Matthys/Getty Images)

"Mysophobia" is a more polite term than "neat freak" to describe someone with an irrational fear of contamination, dirt, or germs. In the days of vigilant hand-washing and self-isolation, however, it's starting to look like a more reasonable lifestyle than we've previously regarded it to be. Let's examine the fear of dirt and germs more closely.