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Survival Shower

When I was 19 I spent the summer with a mission group in Ecuador.  It was a life-changing experience!  Since then I have never been able to be content to live just a “normal” life.  In fact, we have spent time in other third world countries and several places in Europe, and it’s clear that in America we have an “abnormal” life because our standard of living far exceeds that of most of the world.

For orientation to Ecuador, we had to learn to shower with a bucket.  When I spent the summer in Haiti a few years later, I had to shower out of a bucket nearly every day (and I was clean and didn’t stink!).  If you learn to do it right, it really isn’t that hard.

First you stand in a metal or plastic wash tub so water doesn’t run off and down the drain.  When water is scarce or you have to hand pump it, you think of those things.  When you are done, you pour that water into a big bucket beside the toilet for flushing. 

Place a bucket of clean water beside the wash tub you’re standing in and use a small cup to dip the water out.  There is one very serious rule that must be kept: you NEVER place dirty or soapy fingers or washcloths into the clean water!  The only instrument touching the water should be the clean cup.  If your fingers are soapy, carefully dip a bit of water out of the bucket, and pour it over your fingers to remove the soap or dirt.  Of course hold the cup over the wash tub you are standing in so it is not wasted.

Make yourself wet, not using more water than necessary, because more water is needed for rinsing.  Lather and scrub yourself, but don’t splatter soap or dirt into your bucket of clean water.  When you are scrubbed, get the soap off your hands and rinse yourself off with the cup.  If you have a lot of hair like I do, it may be easier to bend over a smaller tub in the sink at a separate time using the same principles.

Practice doing this, and teach your children, seeing who can get clean using the least amount of water.  Try to work yourself down to two quarts per shower.  It may come in handy some day!

Survival Shower

Survival Shower

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5 Responses to “Survival Shower”

  1. horsequeen says:

    I have taken baths/showers like that before when our power was out also, but I don’t think I’ve ever only used two quarts! Everyone definitely should know how to bathe like that. It’s actually not so bad.

  2. Beatrice says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the way to take a clean shower using such a little amount of water.It makes a lot of sense. I can imagine a shower like that taken during a blizzard in Kansas (with a power outage )even though a person would be indoors would be wise but a bit chilly. On the other hand any shower is better than none.

  3. Betty Sue says:

    I may have to carefully share this with my husband, lest it become the “new” way we all will need to take showers around here. I can just hear “Honey, can you imagine how low we could get our water bill to be if we all practiced this new concept even 3 times each week!”

  4. Desmond says:

    Hmmm, it’s all a matter of perspective. While in the Baltic State of Latvia I lived with a local family. I made an early decision to not lavish on myself anything an average Latvian could not afford. Taking a daily shower in 2 quarts of water would have been a wasteful luxury in Talsi, Latvia. Instead, I became very thankful to enjoy a heated, oatmeal size, bowl of water to bathe my body in. The Latitude of Riga, Latvia is North of Ketchikan, Alaska. We experienced some very frigid weather during the winter months. Quite frankly, I felt privileged to the heat of a hot bowl of water on a bitter cold morning, before getting out in the snow and walking 3 kilometers to teach at the Christian schoolhouse. Although some Latvians could afford hot water daily, there were many families who only afforded this luxury once a week. I find it amazing how thankful we are before God, when we put all our many blessings into perspective. Keep up the good work; as it continues to challenge us all, to look at the many things we have long since taken for granted.

  5. Annie says:

    I agree, it’s all a change in perspective. We are truly blessed, with full access to long, hot showers every day! In some ways, that puts us at disadvantages, because if we all at once don’t have hot running water, we feel lost, frustrated or even panicky.”