A surface wash is the absolute minimum requirement in saying that one practices personal hygiene. It is a method of cleaning the surfaces of the body where most of the funky stuff collects. All that is required is a little soap, a hand or rag, and some clean water.
At a minimum a surface wash entails cleaning and scrubbing out the mouth, armpits, genitals, and anus.
Eww, That's Gross! Where Did You Hear This?
Well...my father actually coined the phrase, "surface wash," but the targeted areas are from a routine performed by George Carlin.
That is Still Gross, But How Does it Work?
Yes, sadly I have performed this technique a few times. It can actually be quite handy after a long transcontinental plane flight, and you start to get that not so fresh feeling. I have also used the surfash wash manuver to help me stay awake and feeling fresh when working for long streches of time.