Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How to Live Without Running Water

I have been living in the sticks now without running water for 4 months.
Until recently, my coworkers had no idea that I don't have running water. Building a house is dirty and sweaty work, no doubt, so how do I maintain my personal hygiene and day-to-day without running water? Read on to learn how.

First, I have several 5-gallon water containers that I fill regularly at the local gas station. The folks there are very friendly and since I fill up my gas tank at their station regularly, they don't mind me filling up my containers. I just throw my empty containers in my car each morning and fill them up on the way home from work.

Lots of folks are curious about bathing. How do I bathe? When I first got here I used a solar shower. It leaked like a sieve and was a pain in the ass to get used to. After two weeks of battling with it, I decided it simply wasn't worth the effort each day. So, do I not shower? Heck no! Of course I shower! So, I let my fingers do the walking and found a local community campground that has showers. For the price of a season fishing pass ($20 here), I can take a nice hot shower each evening. The only drawback is that the campground closes each evening at 10 pm. If I work too late or get involved in a project and lose track of time, I end up having to take an old school "spit" bath (as my grandmother would call it). In that case I use an "invalid" bath. I use special washcloths pre-moistened with no-rinse-needed soap, meant for folks who are confined to their beds, to "bathe." The pre-moistened towelettes, also known as a comfort bath, are a larger size than a baby wipe and thicker. They do a nice job removing dirt, sweat, and stink. The towelettes can be microwaved for a few second to be warmed up, however I found that putting a pack on my dashboard before the sun sets warms them up quite nicely. I have tried a couple of brands, but my favorites are Comfort Bath and Assurance brand. Assurance is a little less expensive for a lot more washcloths, but Comfort Bath are thicker and go a little further. Either brand is highly effective. I have heard of folks trying baby wipes, but they just don't do the same in the removing dirt and stink.

This is how I wash dishes.
Cooking is what most will ask me about next. Prior to getting my kitchen as functional as it is now, I was doing a combination of eating out and preparing simple foods that don't require much. A barbecue and a couple of pots go a long way toward a workable "kitchen." I use a plastic containers to wash my dishes in and then I rinse them. I use a biodegradable soap so that I can use the wash water to water my garden.

Washing clothes is the same thing. I use a three-tub system. One for soapy water, one for the first rinse, and a third for a final rinse with a touch of fabric softener. I use a rapid washer to swish the clothes and move the soap through the fibers. Again, I use a biodegradable soap so that I can recycle the water in the garden. After wringing the clothes out gently, I hang them on the line to drip and then let the wind dry them. Simple. You may be surprised to discover that clothes hung properly on the line require very little ironing. I never show up at work looking dirty or disheveled.

Potty Time
The final topic related to running water that folks ask me about is using the rest room. I use a composting toilet instead of a flush toilet. Using sawdust is easy, has no unpleasant odor, and the compost it pro Luggable Loo and sawdust I get for cheap ($10 for all I can load in the trailer). I use the restroom, shovel in some sawdust, and empty it when it gets full. I have a special place for the compost to "cook" for a full year before I can use it and I have yet to have any offensive odors. I am so used to this toilet now I have to remind myself to flush a standard toilet. '
duces is rich in nutrients. I use a

Don't get me wrong, I am excited to have running water (hopefully by the holidays this year), but I know I can make due just fine without it. We are a spoiled country with our ability to turn on a faucet and have nice clean wire magically appear. With the flush of a toilet we don't give our waste a second thought. Nothing will make you appreciate the modern conveniences of life like not having them at your fingertips! However I think you would find that if you too had to make due, you could, just as I have.