I’m the first to take a day or so off from cleaning up, a little grubbiness is ok, and let’s face it, kinda cool. There is a limit however to that coolness, especially when around others. But it’s not just a smell or appearance problem, it can quickly escalate into a sanitary condition. The thing about it is, it’s not all that difficult to take care of.
My Grandfather used to wander out on the deserts of central Utah looking for twisted cedars to make lamps and furniture out of and rock hounding for whatever he could find. I was with him on many of those occasions. He grew up in the San Rafael Swell area, riding horses all over. While we were out on various excursions, he taught me many things.
One Quart Shower
In an area that could be very short on water many times, conservation was essential, one of the things he taught me was how to take a shower with one quart of water. Really it works best with two people, one to pour and the person washes themselves, I’ve done it by myself just fine too, just a little slower. It can actually be done! The key is water only gets poured on the head and very slowly, just a dribble. Don’t use too much soap, whatever you put on has to be rinsed off. The other key is everything is top down, wash hair first, let that soapy water be used to help wash the lower areas. The best thing of all is how refreshing it feels to be clean after a couple of days.
Without some cleaning up now and then rashes, fungus, bugs and other nasty things can begin to make your life miserable and even threaten your health.
One essential thing I like to have packed is either a washcloth or hand towel, sometimes both. Cloth is best, nothing fancy, just old stuff you don’t want at the house anymore is fine. A washcloth can make quick work of keeping clean, then just rinse it out and hang in the sun to dry and purify.
The other big thing is camp, it can easily become cluttered and even dangerously unsanitary. A few old boy scout rules will help, with disposing of trash by burning or burying, toilet facilities set up properly away from camp and kept covered with soil. Now I know there are a gazillion rules from the government and environmental concerns, so follow those rules when you can.
Here are a few other tips
- Sunshine can clean you up. Exposure to sun on the skin can help dramatically. Use good judgment here.
- There are areas on the body that don’t typically get ventilated well, take extra care to clean and dry these places. They are often the first to cause painful irritations.
- In winter you can do a snow scrub to clean yourself. Snow is abrasive due to the ice crystals it is made of. Work on a little of your body at a time, taking a handful of snow and scrubbing. It will remove dead skin and dirt. And it’s quite invigorating.
- Make sure water is clean, soiled water can quickly turn into life threatening danger, especially with children and elderly. Diarrhea can dehydrate in short order, other bugs can be very nasty as well. A one minute boil is sufficient in most situations. Or SODIS bottle in the sun for 6 hours.
- Cleaning cookware is not difficult even without soap. Many steel items can be burned out in the fire or with coals. Scrubby leaves, branches or small brush can be utilized as scrubbers. Dirt and sand can also be abrasive enough to scour things out. Sometimes even leaving to dry in the sun then just peel off the dried food.
Well I could go on and on, but this is enough for now, just a little something to promote thinking. Until next time this is Perry Peacock, “Simplifying Survival”