Recently I sat in on a group of preppers/homesteaders, some of whom have become independent from “The Grid”. The subject of bathing came up with a variety of solutions that had been employed. One person had traveled extensively and mentioned that during a recent trip to Ghana they lived in conditions that provided only 1 hour of electricity a day with no running water. The living conditions there were sparse by our standards here but it was “life as usual” to the locals. Their bathing solution was using a 2 liter bottle of water for their shower. This simplicity could be employed here during a natural disaster when water supplies may be limited.
You may be familiar with the terms “Navy Shower”, “Sponge Bath” or “Stitz Bath”. These are methods of bathing where minimal water is used due to limited resources or facilities. Areas on your body that require cleansing are first wet or moistened to loosen dirt or accumulated perspiration. This loosens and dilutes dry material and enables soap to be effective when lathered and subsequently rinsed or wiped off. Although limited in quantity, hand wipes or baby wipes can be useful in the short term.
For those who travel abroad, it becomes apparent that bathing and hygiene vary greatly and are largely a cultural phenomenon. American Industries have effectively promoted their products and have helped to create a fragrant society. European countries lean toward a more humanistic natural presence. Third World countries may be even more relaxed.
Some considerations about frequency of bathing would relate to whether you are solitary or live in the company of others, and whether your environment is healthy or hazardous.
I heard them called other types of Baths or showers also. It is definitely a culture shock to most.
In 1995 I lived through the Kobe earthquake in Japan, which destroyed my apartment building. There was no power or water, but I had some cans of cold Chinese oolong tea, sold in stores and vending machines, that I salvaged from my apartment.
For four days I sponge-bathed myself with this tea, without any soap, and was able to keep perfectly clean. It even cleaned my hair very well. I was told later by a professor of chemistry that tea binds with fats and oils and carries them away. Sure worked for me.
I think that making some “sun tea” by leaving a bottle of water with tea bags out in the sun would achieve the same results. Nothing to lose by trying.
I would think that a man would need a good 2 2-liter bottles, but if Ken managed with 1, my hat is off to him. Another thought: In most Asian or African countries, a good host will provide his guests with a medium size dish pan. In the evening, they will bring you a kettle of hot water. You mix it will cool water from a bucket of water that stays in the bathing/toilet area. That is “shower” to the majority of people and they are giving you their best.
We ran out of propane one winter at our house in the country. So that meant no hot water in the tank. It also meant we had to heat the house from the fireplace, so we were lucky our pipes didn’t freeze.
Anyhow, we’d heat water up to about 95-105 degrees in a pan and then pour it through a funnel to an empty dishwashing soap bottle. That bottle allowed us to open/close as well as give a rinsing squirt like a shower. So, not perfect, but a nice, warm shower on a cold winter’s day.
I keep one in my 72-hour pack.
Great post on an under-discussed issue! We’ve used the spray bottles that can be pumped with air for a makeshift shower. They work well and the water can be warmed up in the attic during sunny days. We have a post on our blog about basic hygiene and sanitation during an extended disaster: http://advancedsurvivalguide.com/2012/02/14/pop-10-sanitation-and-hygiene/
you can use baby wips the baby powder ones really smell good and you keep your water for drinking .