Simple joys: How to take a bucket shower

On request, I am explaining how to take a bucket shower, for those of you who are curious. I have been showering this way daily since around January, and at this point, I enjoy doing it this way so much that I don’t think, if i had the option, I’d choose anything else. Perhaps if you wish to save on water, save on electricity, and have a few other handy conveniences (which I will explain) you might want to try this, too.

First of all, you’ll need a place, such as a bathtub or shower, or place where you can splash a little water around and not worry about making a huge mess or damaging anything. This can be done outdoors as well. If so, for privacy, you’ll have to rig a tarp around the area where you choose to shower. Tarps will also be necessary on a cold day. The tarps will keep the heat inside.

If you need a heat source, that is, to heat your surrounding air, choose wisely and take precautions. An electric heater will need to be placed somewhere away from any potential puddles or splashing. I’ve found that space heaters vary widely in terms of how safe they are. Some space heaters should never be used in a bathroom, while others may work okay. Gas heaters must be used with extra caution. NEVER use a gas heater without ventilation. The reason goes beyond the dangers of a gas leak. A gas heater will burn the surrounding oxygen. Without ventilation, you are at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s about the same as running a car inside a closed garage. You get the idea. Please avoid tragedy, since I don’t like losing readership.

If you want to warm up your bathroom safely, using no electricity or fuel at all, bring your pet inside. You will be amazed. Bringing Puzzle in with me does make a difference. She insists on it anyway. Sometimes, her presence is all I need to stay toasty warm, and all fuzzy on the inside, too. Just for her, I make sure to have a pillow or something she can lie on to feel comfy. Usually my bathrobe, my pajamas, or a spare towel does just fine.

In the heat of the summer, you won’t need to heat your water. For the rest of the year, I like to heat it and spoil myself. I use my electric kettle for this. There’s no need to use a gigantic water heater. It’s just me, after all!

I’ve found the best and most efficient way to bring hot water into my shower and keep it hot is to use thermoses. I use two, though really, only one is usually necessary. I boil the water in my electric kettle and then, pour it into the thermoses, cap them, and bring them in with me. Stainless steel thermoses work fine.

I’ve been using two small plastic pitchers as receptacles. There are different ways of doing this but what works for me is to have one as wash water, and one for rinse. Both have handles for easy lifting. I’d say each holds about a liter. You will only be putting about two inches of water into each.

Pour some of your hot water into one pitcher and add cold water until you like the temperature. I have used liquid soap, but recently, I found a bar soap I like better. I find that the most efficient method is to soap up everything first, then rinse everything. You can use various sponges or washcloths, but actually, I find hands work fine. If you use up your wash water, pour yourself some more.

Once you are all soaped up, bubbly and happy, now’s the time to rinse. For me, it’s super important to thoroughly rinse off all the soap. This can be quite a challenge! Here’s a trick: Add a spoonful of lemon juice to the rinse water. Vinegar will work, too, but who wants to smell like a pickle? With the added lemon juice, you won’t need gallons of water just to make yourself squeaky clean. I use a separate pitcher for the rinse water.

You’re probably wondering about how to wash long hair this way. You can, easily and quickly. Depending on your hair, you can just take the whole thing and dunk it. Or splash it on your head. Or pour the water over your head. I honestly don’t  know if lemon juice will do harm to hair dye, though. I don’t dye my hair. If your dyed hair turns some embarrassing color, don’t blame the blogger, please. Tell your boss your dog did it. We all know Fido is the ultimate scapegoat.

After I’m all done, I often have a small amount of unused water in one of the pitchers. What shall I do with that? This morning, and just about every morning, I pour it over my back. Or on my head.  Such luxury! While I feel that warmth flowing over me so lovingly, I praise God with abandon. Today, I am alive.


Feedback and comments welcome!