Not a shower person? Okay, how about this, (drum roll please) it takes approximately 70 gallons of water to fill a bathtub. That’s a lot of water huh?
Let’s face it; water has become second nature to us. And by second nature, I mean, we twist, turn, push, or pull a knob or handle, or maybe even click our smart phones, without giving a thought, and presto, water appears from the faucet. It’s that easy. But, of course, this is in a perfect world. What would you do if after you twisted, turned, pushed, or pulled and nothing came out? What if the water flow was cut-off due to a natural disaster, or man-made disaster, like a pipe breaking? Have you given any thought in your preps to how you would bathe, after such a disaster?
Now, a prudent prepper would have five gallons of water at the ready - for each family member - per day for such a disaster. That means one gallon each, for drinking and, four for bathing, personal hygiene, cooking, washing dishes, and … rinsing out clothes; five gallons of water. However, and unfortunately, even the most prepared are not that prudent when it comes to their water storage thinking.
Remember how I said we use up to 25 gallons of water for just a five minute shower, and that after a disaster you’ll be using one gallon? I know, you’re probably wondering, how the heck can someone take a bath with one gallon of water? And I’m going to tell you how. Oh, and I’ve done it lots of times.
Oh, and before I get started, let me say, you don’t actually need a whole gallon of water to bathe. You can bathe with half that amount. I know, I know, you might as well have someone sneeze on you. Okay yeah, that was gross. But you really can. You bathe your whole body kinda like you would hand wash dishes. If you aren’t sure how to hand wash dishes, you might want to check out Don’t Let Dirty Dishes Become Yet Another Disaster. To wash your body you start from the least dirty to most dirty.
Begin by putting a half-gallon of water in a bowl. The water doesn’t have to be hot water or even warm either; room temperature is fine for washing. Start with your face and neck. Wet a washcloth in the bowl of water. Then, apply soap to a cloth and wash yourself. Then, rinse the washcloth in the bowl of water and rinse your face and neck. Move down to your shoulders and upper torso, then your mid-section – well you get the idea – just keep moving down – like the song … “the neck bone’s connected to the shoulder bone and the shoulder bone is connected to the backbone … and, you get the idea. Save your feet for last as they are usually the dirtiest part of your body. Granted, this is not a hard fast rule. My father never went without shoes and his feet were as soft and clean as a baby’s hiney. However, he was a working man and his arms and hands got filthy. So, if you are like my father and wear some kind of shoe all the time, you might work backwards, or in the middle. Just work from the point least dirty to most dirty.
I'm sure this method might disgust some of you. Okay, a lot of you. I agree, washing in such a small amount of water; the water will become pretty dirty looking fast. However, what's the difference between you sitting in dirty water in your bathtub and washing out of a bowl of water? Think about it, the reason we bathe is to remove dead skin cells and dirt from our body that breed bacteria, not to pour 10 to 25 gallons of water over our body or sit in a tub and hope the water miraculously removes the dirt off our body. You need to remove the dirt from your body. Removal can be done with a cloth, a loofah, or even a sponge. In fact, if the truth be known, you don't even need the soap part to remove the dirt – all you really need is the means to remove the dirt. Yep, you heard me right. You can bathe without soap - just water.
It is not the water, but the cloth together with the water that gets you clean. I did a little experiment to prove it. Consider this me taking the hit for you. I took a shower for a whole week without using soap. Sounds gross huh? However, my skin felt so soft and clean! Why? Because I was removing the surface dirt and dead skin cells not the oils and moisture. Bath soaps are drying; striping your skin of its natural oils and moisture; yes even some of those moisturizing kinds. After my experimental showers, I would apply a small amount of olive oil or coconut oil on my body – doing this added even more softness to my skin and helped hold in the moisture. Oh and after my shower experiment, I moved on to the half-gallon of water in a bowl method and you know what? I got the same results.
Disasters don't have to mean not being clean just because you can't take a traditional shower or bath. Actually there aren't many excused for not being clean in a disaster. Hygiene after a disaster will be of utmost importance. Cleanliness is part of avoiding infections caused by germs, viruses, bacteria to name a few.
Did you know that infectious disease is the number one cause of death worldwide? Infections after a disaster most times, are the result of unsanitary living conditions. However, by each of us using a small amount of water to bathe, will give a little extra to wash our hands with during the day thereby avoiding as many germs as possible.
Try these experiments yourself – just as you would practice your other preps – that is, bathe with no soap and only a washcloth of some sort and water in the shower, and then move on to the half-gallon of water in a bowl with no soap or with soap, this is your time to see what works for you. You might just be surprised at how little water you can get away with. And your skin will feel heavenly. - Just sayin’.
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