Van Life - Bathing & Toilet Hack
Water conservation is something that van lifers are constantly aware of, not just for the environment, but also for personal use. The longer you can make your water last, the longer you can stay out in the back country or these days, in self isolation.
I've come up with a van life idea, more specifically a vanlife toilet idea, that works super well and will really enhance van life for you PLUS it's simple and easy to do. Once you try it you'll never go back.
It all revolves around the need to be clean, the need to smell good, or more specifically NOT TO SMELL BAD, and how to do all this without having access to daily showers. If you love boondocking or off grid living then you will love this.
For starters, you are actually doing your skin a favor by not showering every day, however, there are places on our body that need to be washed daily cause otherwise they become pretty stinky, like under your arms and between your legs and butt cheeks. This is a major consideration if you're into van life or RV boondocking.
And it is all intrinsically linked to how much water is available to you OR that you want to use.
After the great toilet paper shortage and then seeing a whole bunch of ads about converting your toilet to a bidet combined with all the YouTubes about how to cope withOUT toilet paper (TP) I came up with this peeing hack or bathing hack, mostly for women but it obviously can also work well for men too and especially for those of you who are boondocking in a van or an RV or even camping.
The thought of using a 'pee cloth' was repulsive to me, unless you were going to wash it after each use but that isn't going to work efficiently for off grid living.
But what if, you could flush or rinse 'down there' after peeing or pooing, so that using a cloth is about drying not cleaning and way more effective than toilet paper.
So here's the scoop :
Grab yourself a plastic squeeze bottle. Whatever size works best for you.
Now, you can fill this with water and use it like a bidet to squeeze and rinse off 'down there', however, I have found an even more effective way of 'cleaning' down there is to dissolve natural soap in the water and then 'squirt and rinse'.
When you do this after peeing all you have to do then is use a cloth to dry off.
When you do this after No. 2 then use TP to make sure everything is cleaned off, then use your cloth to dry off. It will minimize the amount of TP you use, plus properly clean everything down there.
Using this soap water squirt method, I have my TP usage down to 1 roll lasting me 3-4 weeks (confession: that's a mega roll).
In effect you are literally cleaning down there multiple times each day which means
1. your clothing is going to remain odor free for longer; and
2. you are not going to need to bathe as often to be clean and to prevent 'odors'
You can also use the soapy water for sponge bathing. Just squirt some water onto your body or onto your cleaning cloth and wipe over the areas you want to clean and then dry off with a clean towel. As an added bonus this will drastically reduce how much water you use.
If you have a toilet in your van or RV, then this will add to the amount of water you will need to get rid of, HOWEVER, you will notice that as a result of using soapy water to rinse off each time (women), the liquid waste will not smell as quickly as it does with pure urine.
1. How to get your water nice and soapy without clogging up the nozzle, cause if a bit of undissolved soap gets stuck in the nozzle, it's a pain to get it unclogged.
The trick is to dissolve the soap before filling up the squeeze bottle.
2. Use shredded soap which takes far less time to dissolve than a larger chunk of soap. You can shred soap with either a hand held cheese grater or a salad shooter.
Have two squeeze bottles going at a time, one that is back up while the soap is dissolving and one that is ready for use. You can rotate these two squeeze bottles or of course your back up bottle can be any container you have on hand
3. Did you know that sunshine acts a natural disinfectant? If you are in a sunny place, take advantage of this fact. String up a piece of string and hang your 'pee cloths' up in the sun to dry.
If you don't want to have to shred your soap yourself, we can do it for you.
I've been trialling all this in my sticks and bricks house cause I'm not able to get out and do van life no matter how much I want to. I just have to live vicariously through YouTube. But let me tell you, I am saving water and toilet paper in my regular house by utilizing this hack.
Let me know when you have tried this and what you think.