Lesson learned: hygiene


This may be heretical for the ‘dweller crowd, but I hate baby wipes.   <–  That’s right!  I said it!  I don’t like the smell (fragrance) they put on it.  I don’t like the foaminess.  I don’t like the sensation.  Ugggg.

Another challenge for me is my skin is naturally quite dry.  I am anglo but I get what my melanin-enhanced folk would call “ashy”.  I have to moisturize each day when getting out of the S&B shower.

the plan

The van hygiene plan was two-pronged:

  1. I located the galley and sink near the sliding side door.  I used a long hose to connect the “dish sprayer” so it could be pulled out of the vehicle for hosing off.  That’s awesome for the summer out in the middle of nowhere, but not practical in a cool, crowded area like the RTR.

  2. a rather large plastic salad bowl to use as a sponge bath basin

I used the second option, and bathed in the morning.

For “silent running” in the morning (as described in the water lessons post) I filled the teapot and put about 2c of water in the basin the night before.  In the morning I cranked up the propane stove and boiled the water.  This provided a bit of heat and produced boiling water for critical stuff like coffee.  :-)

I added 2c of boiling water to the 2c of cold in the basin which made it slightly too hot for comfort but that would come down in a minute or so while I took care of a couple quick details:  coffee (OMG OMG OMG) and morning pee/poop routine.  The latter will have its own lessons learned post.

By this time the water was perfect and it was time to wash up.  Having standing room in the high top made this easier, for sure.  The order of events was based on memories of army field hygiene training.  something like:

  1. face, head, neck

  2. arms, legs

  3. underarms

  4. groin

  5. buttocks

I used the very warm water and rinsed-and-wrung washcloth alone, to reduce drying and irritation of my already-dry skin.  No soap, no shampoo.

Some observations:

  • I was really surprised how dusty I was and how much came off in the rinsewater.  Amazing.

  • My skin was the healthiest it has been.  I didn’t need lotion and it didn’t feel like my skin was pulling taut as it dried.  No ashiness.  Different water chemistry?  Lack of soap?

  • The no-soap option didn’t result in smelliness or greasiness.  And I am super-sensitive to greasy textures.  Interesting.

  • Although I brought a small towel I didn’t need it.  Even though the humidity wasn’t as low as I expected (something like ~40% most days) and each section evaporated as I got to the next.  Neat. I think this was from wringing the water out before wiping myself down.


No one else smelled bad at the RTR either, at least none of the folks I talked to.  The mainstream public might be surprised at that.

And there was an entirely-welcome lack of perfume/cologne.  The whole time I walked by exactly one person who wore a fragrance;  it seemed wildly out of step.