Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hygiene at sea

Two days ago we were again becalmed and spent the better part of 24 hours motor sailing through the backside of the pacific high. What to do when the winds are as flat as the sea state? Tend to the washing!

Keeping yourself and your clothes clean at sea is a challenge Shadowsiders are well up to. We don't have a water maker on board so we have to be judicious with our fresh water usage. We have plenty for drinking and cooking, just not enough for each of us to take even a military shower every few days, but we have found ways to tend to our needs!

Molly, Lee and I decided to take a group salt water bucket bath in the cockpit. Since the sea state was near placid, it was safe for us to disrobe from our PFDs, tethers and shoes and get in a good scrubbing. Most soap products don't lather in salt water - our two types of castille soaps and shampoos don't for example - so it takes a few passes to really feel clean. Douse with a bucket or two of salt water to rinse. Thanks to one of the sailing blogs I follow - The Boat Galley - I learned about two useful tools liveaboarders shouldn't do without - a pressurized plant/utility spray bottle and a Scrubba bag. For our freshwater final rinse, we used the spray bottle which does a bang-up job of misting/spraying off just about everything from dishes to solar panels to bodyparts with a whisper of water. The three of us rinsed ourselves off with just one 40oz bottle and had some to spare!

Afterwards we turned to laundry. I also learned from The Boat Galley that Method ultra concentrated laundry detergent suds in salt water, so we bought a tiny 50-load pump bottle for the passage. Small on packaging, big on clean! We Washed clothes in salt water in the scrubba bag (you can get it on amazon), did two salt water rinses and then one fresh water rinse in less than 1L of water.

All fresh for a few more days!

- Michelle


  1. Glad you're taking care of your hygienic needs...refreshing to be a bit clean with some clean clothes...the swimming that far out must be amazing....hope the winds return and your progress toward terra firma proceeds on schedule...major heat wave in the northeastern States..keeping cool in the air conditioning...Mols....Sara's safely home from her travels and sends her safe, hale and hardy my daughter ...regards to the captain and crew

  2. As Californians, we should follow your example of water conservation. I'm impressed! The water looks soooo blue! What an incredible experience you are all having. - Burke

  3. Wow I'm impressed too! As always, Michelle does her homework :) Have fun in your nice n clean skivvies!!