Personal Hygiene Without Running Water

Good personal hygiene is extremely important to our overall physical and mental health and can help prevent the spread of diseases. But how do we do this without running water? While the term hygiene covers a lot of ground, we'll focus on the washing of hands and body. A little preperation today will allow you to do both should the faucets stop delivering water to your home. The steps are pretty easy and you probably have most of what you need at home anyway, but having a plan ready to go will help ease some of the stress.

Finding a non-potable water source

Water storage is a precious commodity. You can use it to wash up but do you really want to? Make sure you find a reliable non-potable water source ahead of time - before you need it. Pre-planning will make riding out this type of emergency much easier.

Treating non-potable water source

Any form of personal hygiene is unsafe with non-potable water as it can find its way inside our ears, nose, and mouth which introduces bacteria into the body. Bacteria also clings to our hands and as we are constently touching our faces. Always treat non-potable water before you use it for hygiene purposes.

No City Water
Washing Hands

Alternatives to Running Water

If clean, running water is not accessible, you have two choices:

  • If soap and water are unavailable, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean your hands.
  • Use soap and what ever water you have available. This can include a treated source of non-potible water. You can build a hand-washing station that makes this process a whole lot easier.

Source: University of Vermont

Create a hand washing station

Items Needed
  • Clean water jug with a spigot faucet
  • Water - boiled/treated if non-potable
  • Bleach
  • Measuring cup
  • Heating equipment - if desired
  • Bar or liquid soap
  • Paper towels with dispenser
  • Catch basin
  • Trash can
  • Set up the washing station where all family members have access.
  • If the cleanliness of the water jug is in question:
  • Use 1-part unscented bleach to 4 parts water.
  • Shake it well, covering all surfaces including the lid.
  • Let stand 5 minutes and drain. Do not rinse. Let air dry.
  • Meanwhile, heat the water till warm – preferably 100°- 120° F.
  • If your electricity is out, use an alternative heating method.
  • This could be a solar source - see how to take a shower without running water.
  • Wash using as little water as possible to preserve yet enough to do the job.
Tip

Create a handwashing kit as part of your Family Kit System. It will be ready to go should you lose water or water quality. You can take it with you should you need to evacuate and staying at a hotel or with family & friends is not an option.

No City Water
Taking a Shower or Bath

How to shower or bathe without running water

How can you possibly take a shower without running water? Hikers and outdoor trekkers know the answer to this one. A solar camp shower is an excellent way to have warm water in an emergency. Solar showers come in different gallon size options so the prices vary but overall are very affordable. They can be found online and at camping stores.

A solar shower can be used in different ways.

  • Let the sun heat up the water for your shower/bath.
  • Boil the water for purification and use this heat to take a shower/bath.
  • Use the solar shower to heat water for other purposes.

Using a solar shower

Items Needed
  • Solar Shower
  • Water
  • Soap
  • Shampoo & Conditioner*
  • *Using a 2 in 1 brand of shampoo with conditioner will take less water.
Used to heat the water and as a water delivery system
  • Fill solar shower with water and lay in the sun until it reaches preferred temperature.
  • For shower use: hang the solar shower around your shower head.
  • For bathtub use: hang the solar shower around a hanger that is hanging from a curtain rod.
  • Use as you would normally, but use as little water as possible but still do the job.
Used only as a water delivery system
  • Fill the solar shower with water that has been boiled.
  • Time your shower so you can use the solar shower when the water has cooled to your liking. Be careful not to burn yourself with this method.
  • Use as you would normally, but use as little water as possible but still do the job.
Tip #1

Create a shower kit as part of your Family Kit System. It will be ready to go should you lose water or water quality. You can take it with you should you need to evacuate and staying at a hotel or with family & friends is not an option.

Tip #2

Take your Shower Kit one step further by purchasing a privacy tent should you need to take a shower outside.