The truth is vanlife is dirty. It’s a constant battle to keep dirt out of the van because of all of our glorious time spent in nature. Plus, we have a dog. Nuff’ said. Woof.
So How do we stay clean?
First, we accept discomfort. Sometimes we just feel grimier than is comfortable, thanks to hot summer days and our super human being ability of perspiration! Hot showers are not a daily part of vanlife. For example, last year I went for one month without a hot shower.
But it is this discomfort in part that fuels our growth…
We are forced to let go of conditioning, discover our true needs, and come up with creative solutions.
We create systems within our tiny living space to meet our true hygienic needs. I say “true” because there’s a lot of misleading information backed by gaggles of advertising dollars influencing our desire for products that we don’t really need.
Also, hygiene for us is a ritual. A time to slow down, get grounded and check in with what we need… a key to balance on the road.
The following are the systems we use. We have multiple systems because our circumstances like time and environment are always shifting. For example, if we are in a Walmart parking lot and need to feel clean, we opt for the good ol’ hippy bath (see below for details). If we are in the wild and near a river, we may choose to fill up our hot shower system and take a glorious shower under the stars. And if we pass a crystal clear glacier lake, well, we get naked and leap.
The vanlife shower systems we use
- HotWater-Washcloth (aka the hippy bath). Heat up water on the stove, use a wash cloth (cleaning it quickly by pouring boiling water over it) with a few drops of Dr. Bronner’s soap. Wash the body parts that matter, pour more water over the cloth and then again wipe down the bits. End here or keep going until clean.
- Travel Bidet. This affordable little thing has saved my life hygienically. To use, fill with warm water, take a couple drops of an earth-friendly soap like Dr. Bronners, step outside under the stars, and wash. For me to wash my entire body and hair, it takes about five rounds with a filled bidet. It’s incredible. You can buy the exact one we use here.
- DIY Shower. Corey made a DIY shower in the beginning of our vanlife that is mounted to our roof. It’s affordable, easy to make, and best of all when it’s hot outside, the water inside actually warms up! Here are our instructions for the DIY vanlife shower.
- A Real Hot Shower! Sometimes we stay in a campground or visit a friend and enjoy a real hot shower. And currently we are product testing a van shower and hope to share it soon!
- Ocean, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and lakes. Nothing beats water in its true form. Clean water is essential for all of life here on Earth so we do not use soap in or near a water source.
Vanlife has given us the time and space to cut through our conditioned perception of dirt as bad, while at the same time honoring our hygienic needs. Vanlife unravels the bullshit and helps us re-member what is real.
A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt