Friday, September 23, 2011

NKOTB - Hygiene

NKOTB (New Kids On The Boat) ... A Weekly Series Sharing Our Thoughts and Questions as Beginner Sailors and Future Cruisers.  NKOTB or Experienced Cruiser ... Tell Us Your Thoughts!

When thinking of cruising, we've wondered about the ease of keeping clean and "odor-free" when living on a sailboat away from a marina.  I say "we", but the guys really have it a lot easier, so I don't think Ken's even given this a thought!  My long and hot showers will be missed!  I may not miss the hot water so much since we'll be in a warm climate (and plan on having a solar shower), but I can imagine that trying to keep my long, wavy hair clean and tangle free will be difficult.  Just getting all that conditioner through my hair is an ordeal already.  How will I manage when soaping up in the salty seas?!  I've teased Ken and said that I was gonna start working on dreadlocks ... he said I'd have to walk the plank if I did!  I guess I'll be wearing baseball hats and ponytails pretty often!  I may also have to invest in a bunch of leave-in conditioner.

Then there's the dreaded shaving!  Even though I'd like to think of myself as carefree and low maintenance, I do draw the line when it comes to hairy legs and armpits.  I guess I'm not a hard-core hippie!  As much as I hate to shave, I reluctantly go through this routine every week.  I should be thankful that my body hair is light and I don't have to do this every day.  If so, I probably would look like a hard-core hippie!  Anyway, I would imagine that shaving will take place in the cockpit with a razor and a bowl of fresh water.  Trying to do this in our little "head" (bathroom) ain't gonna happen!

While we're talking about hair ... I shed constantly.  It's a wonder I'm not bald!  When I get out the shower I have a pile of hair to throw away, and I still find it all over the house.  I can picture red hairs all over the cockpit and throughout the boat. 

Then there's the task of keeping clean clothes.  Since we really don't care for the idea of hauling dirty laundry onto our dinghy and spending our day at a laundromat, only to have to haul our clean clothes back ... we (there's that "we" again ... I'm sure this one is an "I")  plan on using a bucket and a plunger to wash most of our laundry!  I believe I've read that I can do this with water and vinegar, but I wonder ... can I use saltwater?  I don't think we'll have a watermaker at first.  If so, I think this will be a lot easier than the laundromat (and cheaper), and maybe even a little therapeutic!  Also, seeing clothes drying in the sunlight brings back childhood memories at my grandmother's house.  Something so "simple" (not easy) can really be rewarding.  I do realize that we won't be able to avoid the laundromat entirely, as sheets and towels will probably require that dreaded laundromat!  But, our daily clothes should fit in a bucket cause they'll mainly consist of swimsuits, shorts and tank tops ... and I'm already working on a wardrobe of "quick drying" fabrics.

So, what do you cruisers use and recommend for shampoo and conditioner in salt water?  How about soaps and body washes?  Any tips on showering, shaving or washing clothes?  We'd love to hear your advice, as well as any information on products that aren't hazardous to the environment when gettin' clean.  Also, after reading other blogs I wonder just how many places have water that's clean enough to swim and bathe in.  I know the Bahamas is great, but what about further South or Mexico?

Oh, and deodorant ... we're gonna need lots of deodorant!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

Note:  Here are the previous posts from this series.  Check them out and feel free to give us your advice.  We've really enjoyed reading your comments!


Windtraveler said...

Well, I wrote a post about this a while back! It's not so bad at all, you'll figure it out!

zee said...

cheryl--i wash mylong hair in sea water first and rinse in sea water, then i use water i kept in a shower bag on deck for the rinse after i dry it a lil. i use a leave in creme rinse for tangles an dput it immediately into a twisted knot on my head. it stays clesaner longer that way.
laundry is in a buckjet with plunger-- first salt then rinse in fresh after drying a lil to make the fresh last longer. you have less water storage than do i, so will be a challenge-- but i did this ion phillips boat too--he hasnt much water storage on board.
i also wear same clothes forever. i figger dolphins dont care, and is not a fashion show.
marinas are for the looongg hot water experience. and laundry
i dont do marinas much-- just in hurrycame season here.....

Sandee said...

We just do what we do at home. We are about to go on our annual bay cruise and that will last for 11 days. We use the same products on the boat as at home. We shower everyday, but there are always water hook ups where we go so fresh water is not an issue. As for the laundry? We'd find a laundromat. Just saying.

Have a terrific day. :)

Leslie Payne said...

Hey Cheryl,
Five thousand miles of cruising, and I never had hairy legs. You can cruise and still feel feminine. I often have my hair up, it helps in many ways. And we do wear clothes over several times, when it's just the two of you no one knows the difference. "Fresh Wipes" or baby wipes are nice to have on hand for freshening up. It's a shower in your hand. As for laundry,we've met some great people at laundromats. Check out my blog for two laundry posts: one in August, and one on July 4 when a man we knew all of 45 minutes loaned us his car!

Emily said...

I had to laugh at your comment about your shedding -- I do the same! And that was one of the things I didn't like at all when we had a boat. Between my constant hair shedding and my husband being furry like a bear, there seemed to always be hair everywhere, no matter how much I cleaned. A 12v DC DustBuster really helped, but with white cabin soles and cockpits don't leave anything to the imagination. If we had bought another boat, I was going to insist on a wood sole just so I wouldn't have to look at all that hair. Oh, we also had a short-haired BLACK dog who shed like crazy. A recipe for disaster! ;-)

Patricia Daspit said...

As for suggestions regarding your future sailing experience.....I got nothin!

I do, however, have a comment about your post. I never would have dreamed that a "sailor" has to consider all these little things we "land-lovers" take for granted. My hat is off to you and your sailor buddies.

PaleMoonDove said...

A friend of mine was a Charter Boat Captain in the Virgin Islands in the 70's. He told the story of he and his lady would bathe in salt water with liquid Joy because it rinsed out and off best in salt water. He said the key was to dry off immediately to keep the salt residue off. Personally...I don't think I want to smell like my "lemon fresh" dishes after bathing...can't wait to read what you come up with on your cruising...Smiles to you both...
Doll (& Capt'n too)

Ken n Cheryl said...

Thanks for all the great tips ... liquid Joy (I don't mind smelling like lemons), a 12 volt dust buster, baby wipes, leave-in conditioner. These are great ideas! We had already planned on getting a 12v dust buster soon. It should be really handy for a lot of things.

We know we won't be able to avoid the laundromat altogether. It does sound like a place to meet interesting people!

Thanks Windtraveler for all of your great posts! I had already read the post that you mentioned, as we really enjoy your site!

Sandra Halling said...

First, I love this series you're doing because my BF has gotten me into sailing in the last 6 months and we now have a plan to go cruising in a few years. I have a TON of questions. He's super easy going and low key about this stuff but I prefer to know my options in advance.

Bless his heart though, he did have a suggestion on the washing clothes front called The Wonder Wash. I looked it up on the cruising world forum and several people commented that it takes up a lot of space on a small boat. Some suggested using dark plastic bags and letting the water get hot in the sun first. Others suggested water & ammonia... that the ammonia smells sweet when dry and softens the clothes. So I guess there are lots of options.

As for soap, there are lot of good reviews for SavondeMer. I smelled it at the Annapolis boat show last weekend and it was lovely. Clean too, so probably not too feminine for the guys to use.

Here are some links...

Linda said...


I guess I'm reading your blog today.

I have long hair, too. I found I wash it less often than I did in my land based corporate life. Like once a week now. When it's just me and Chris, who cares? I pull it back into a pony tail or use a "bear claw" and keep it off my face. Or, I'm wearing a hat, which is also a great thing, along with scarves or a Buff if you haven't washed it in days. And when you are around other cruisers, believe me, no one notices! I use my favorite shampoo - Aveda Damage Remedy. Since, I don't use it that often any more a large bottle has lasted a year! Sometimes I leave my hair in the pony tail and wash the top and bottom and rinse. I wash my hair in fresh water and if you get a rain squall, by all means get on your bikini, grab your shampoo and soap and get out on deck!

And like another friend said, I keep a supply of wips on board, get your favorite ones and stock up. Chris shaves on board, and once even when we were underway, he grabbed the extension chord, plugged in his electric razor and sat out on deck and shaved, I even ran the razor over his back - not that he has a lot of hair, but sure feels good.

No reason not to maintain your feminity, bring all your pretty-girly things, your tweezers, your mani-pedi kit, your lipstick, perfume, favorite shower gels - you can water them down so they aren't so soapy and hard to rinse out of your scrunchie and they will work just fine. My friend Jessica on San-San doesn't go a day without mascara - so if that's your thing, bring it!

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