Sponge Bath

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by Motomom34, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    The Sponge Bath. I have heard it called other things but we always called washing from a basin: a spit bath. If water services stop and those on wells need to start conserving water, you will need to be good at taking a sponge/spit bath.


    People are used to hopping in the shower everyday and getting clean. But cleaning yourself from a basin is a skill in my opinion. We have a metal basin and when our well was down, this was our shower. I would bring home water from work (didn't want to tap into my stored) and bathe this way. Soldiers may be experienced in bathing this way plus campers have to do this. We have no running water at camp so I have had experience.

    I wonder how many of you could go one week of no showers, using only one gallon of water a day to perform your hygiene ritual. Share your sponge bathe tips and experiences and if you have never done it, I challenge you.

    PS- I always set a cup of water aside first thing for teeth brushing and face washing.
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  2. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Have had my share of sponge baths / bird baths in the field...often in the dark. I kept a piece of dishwashing sponge in a sealable bag. Much personal hygiene could be achieved with just a mug of warm water.

    Then there is the camel back option....

    But who's peeking at the improv shower apparatus...:oops:
  3. Bishop

    Bishop Monkey+++

    I have had a many a canteen shower one time I took a bath in a mud puddle it was like being in a Hilton bath tub at the time.
  4. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I remember being on an air assault mission in Iraq for a month with no running water. We had one, 2L bottle to wash with, and even though there was no need to heat the water because you could just leave it in the sun to cook, at first it was a little difficult to get accustomed to. Here we were, out at some remote farm house with scorpions hiding at every dark place and the darkest place was our 6 gallon porta-pooper bucket placed inside a little mud and block shack, with one bottle of water to clean ourselves and no real reason to get naked. Just while taking a dump you had a scorpion crawl on your leg and perch itself there, looking around at its territory, as though he was challenging you to a duel.

    The best way to keep clean, is to keep it simple. Go out in the morning when it's daylight, shave and wash yourself down using a wash cloth. Wash your socks and underwear at the same time and hang them to dry, wearing one set while the other is hanging to dry. Condition your body to do its business at a time when no creepy crawlies are infesting every area, usually morning also. You can get pretty good at it, the more you practice. Of course, some folks will still decide to go commando, but their feet still smelled bad and woe be unto them when they ripped the crotch or seat of their pants!

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  5. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    As a kid in about 1944 I was in St Mary's hospital in Rochester MN, a part of Mayo clinic then and still. Once a day we had an alcohol bath, stung a bit and embarrassed the heck out of me as it was a complete bath and was done by a nun. Don't know when the custom stopped, as there were no showers in the bathrooms and only a separate room with tubs down the hall. Don't know if it was to prevent disease, clean you, or what, but in 14 days I never was given a tub bath, only a daily spit bath with a wash cloth and alcohol from a basin. I also remember alcohol baths being given to bring down fevers and washing with a basin on the porch with soap and water when we came in from the barn or from the fields to get at least the worst off before we went into the house. Even those days you used a cooling towel in the worst of the summer and wore it wet around your neck, helped to keep you cool if the air was dry and if it was humid, the cold water on the towel felt very good for at least a while.. I wonder if an alcohol bath would be better under survival conditions in a shelter, as there was usually only about a cup or so in the basin and I guess it was antiseptic and probably would do a number on surface parasites. Haven't bothered to look it up, but the nurses of yesterday had a lot of survival tricks learned in the school of hard knocks that modern medicine no longer uses or teaches.
  6. T. Riley

    T. Riley Monkey+++

    Mom called them "bird baths" and we loved them as a treat not having to get in the tub and take a proper bath. I have also heard them call a "whore's bath", but not from my Mom I assure you..
  7. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    While I have taken a spit bath many times over the years, I prefer this:
    Amazon.com : Solar Shower Bag, RISEPRO 10 gallons/40L Solar Heating Camping Shower Bag with Temperature Hot Water 45°C Hiking Climbing XH07 : Sports & Outdoors

    My RV has a shower but why burn the fuel to heat water when the sun will get it VERY hot and costs nothing?
    When camping with the girls I would set up a small enclosure with a tarp and they could shower off after we got back from riding the quads. The one we have has a slotted wooden case that the shower stores in. It also opens up flat to double as a drain board to stand on while showering. To me this is much better than a spit bath. I typically fill the bag only 1/2 way with water and set in the direct sun. Reason is that the water gets too hot and I will add cold water to get the temp just right. What's left over after bathing gets put back into the sun light to reheat and the process continues.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
  8. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    "Whore's Bath," in my family! Pretty much as Brokor described it, wash cloth, soap, then rinse with a slightly wetter wash cloth. One of the greatest luxuries I can remember is being up in the Korean DMZ, where we only carried drinking water, and running outside during monsoon torrents and getting a warm, hard shower! Oh momma! :D
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  9. Tempstar

    Tempstar Monkey+++

    My Grandmother washed her hair every few days with cotton balls and alcohol, she said it was a throwback to her childhood when water had to be carried in and cooking and drinking came first. She could wash her hair n 5 minutes and it was dry when she was done. And like T.Riley, they were called bird baths in my household and I took many of them growing up. Maybe why I enjoy a long hot shower so much now....
  10. sarawolf

    sarawolf Monkey+++

    We called them both sponge and spit baths. Have taken many of them in my lifetime and taught most of our children when camping if they couldn't go jump in a lake lol. Have had to take more than a few where we live right now. I like to heat the water over a campfire and or our woodstove here if possible. Use a couple cups of water, more if possible, wash wash cloth soap it up wash, wring out soap the best you can, use a bit of water to get out more, wring again and then wet wash cloth in the water and use to wipe off soap. Rinsing my face first.
    As a child I took a whole lot of them in front of the coal oil stove, we didn't have a bathroom in Pewaukee or up by Lily WI at my grandmother's just an outhouse, same at my dad's in Rockford IL. all through into the 1960's.
  11. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Camping I don't care about bathes much , only when I get home .
    However a friend of mine uses baby wipes in place of bathing because of a catheter in her chest for dialysis .
    The baby wipes are good for lots of personal cleaning and requires no water.
  12. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    The benefits may be outweighed by negatives by using an alcohol bath. Ethanol is best taken orally ;)

    San Diego News, California & National News - San Diego Union Tribune

    The same benefit can be had by using a cup of water than a cup of alcohol.

    Spongebob Squarepants could not be contacted for comment. ;)
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  13. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    AlaskaChick has a great Story, she uses to illustrate to her MDs w/o Boarders Trainees, what it is like to live with only what you bring with you... and that includes WATER... for drinking, washing, and cooking...

    During our first winter here, we did not yet have Running Water, let alone Hot & Cold Running Water...
    It was just She and I and our youngest Daughter then about 14 Years old... During a really COLD stretch, both she and our youngest, were getting " rather grungy" so they decided to do something about it.. They had to melt frozen water in the form of ICE & Snow... They found that ICE makes much more water than Snow, even packed Snow... They spent a whole day, (Short Days in Winter around here) melting enough water, to do their "Super Sitzbath" that was accomplished by standing in a 50USG Plastic Garbage Can, in the kitchen, and pouring the Warm Water over themselves, and washing their Hair... I can still remember how joyful they both were after getting everything ready, and then getting everything put away, and cleaned up...

    This story is told every time we remember those early years, of "Life in the Alaskan Bush"....
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  14. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    The boost to morale of feeling clean and refreshed is worth the effort of making it happen, even in more austere conditions. Setting up, and putting away are those parts of the ritual that are worth the payoff of feeling good about oneself. (y)
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  15. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Grand maw would heat up a # 3 tub of water over a wood fire in the yard, We then hauled it inside in buckets , Dump it in the bath tub for a warm bath!
  16. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    Wow! I lived in the lap of luxury compared to some of you folks! We had a hand pump in the cabin kitchen so with the big wood range we heated water in a big galvanized tub, lifted it to the floor, (my folks, I was little) and had a nice bath. To rinse, buckets were heating on the range, mom or dad poured it over each other and me! I have a family photo album with a picture of me, about five, in the galvanized tub toys and ducky in hand, but I'm not showing it here. I'm just much too adorable!!! ;)
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
  17. M118LR

    M118LR Caution: Does not play well with others.

    Modern convince, a cook stove with a side compartment to heat water. cookstove.
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  18. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    One of the reasons I try to take a wash basin or a 1/2 gallon pot when I go out for more than a day.
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  19. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe


    2 gallon garden sprayer

    1 gallon of warm water. Pump for pressure. Stand in tub (you do have running water most of the time - yes?)
    wet down, soap up, rinse, repeat.

    ETA - just the thing for our tiny RV. I get to hold for mama....

    the bath house can be a tad drafty tho....
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  20. sarawolf

    sarawolf Monkey+++

    Hubby liked yours DKR :)
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