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A while back I was sent an assortment of personal care items that could be used for bathing and personal hygiene following a disaster when the grid was down and clean running water was not available. The products were from the company Clean Life that is located in Ohio. They have been around for eons, since 1948 to be exact, and the products have traditionally been used in convalescent care, in military field operations and NASA.
I have always been interested in products that can be used without water. When I was an avid boater in the Puget Sound area, water while at anchor in a remote cove or at a marine park was precious. Sure, there were sun showers but a sun shower with salt water is, well, not much of a shower.
In order to give the No-Rinse product a good test, I went without a shower or bath for 5 days. Now I am not a sweaty, stinky person in general (luckily) but still, 5 days is 5 days. So how did it go?
No-Rinse Personal Care Alternatives – A Mixed Bag
The first product I tried was the No-Rinse body wash. This is a very thin liquid product that you can apply directly to your skin or to a washcloth. I tried both and found the washcloth method to be less wasteful. I though it would lather but it did not. That said, it did a great job of freshening up my skin, was surprisingly moisturizing, and was pleasant smelling – sort of like baby powder. I also used it – um – on my private parts and found it totally non-irritating and pleasant to use there as well.
The next product I tried was the No-Rinse shampoo. In looking at the company website, this appears to be their premier product. It is commonly used by soldiers, campers, hunters, fisherman and anyone else who spends time in the wilderness. The way it is used is that you apply 1/2 to 1 ounce – depending on the length of your hair – and massage it into a lather. Afterward, you towel dry until the residual shampoo is removed.
All I can say is this: I have very thick, somewhat kinky hair and using the No-Rinse shampoo turned my hair into dull stringy mess. It was not a pretty sight. I attempted a second application and that made no difference. I will say this, though: my hair smelled nice; it just looked and felt bad.
I went back to read the testimonials on the website and they were glowing so perhaps this is a “your mileage may vary” sort of thing.
The Best of the Best – Body Wipes
In my opinion, the No Rinse Bathing Wipes are the shining star of the product line. These are amazing! They came in a package of 8 wipes and according to the directions, you are supposed to use a separate wipe for each part of the body. I ignored that and used a single 8 x 8 wipe for my whole body, starting with my face.
The wipe is thick and very moist. As a matter of fact, 10 minutes later it was still damp. Unlike the Dove body wipes and others I have used in the past, these are alcohol free. The moistness probably comes from the Aloe Vera and Vitamin E in the wipe. Whatever it is, it is nice. I can envision using these when I wake up in the middle of a summer night and it is hot and I am sticky – this would be so refreshing!
And for survival use following a disaster? These would be perfect, especially if you can stretch a single wipe into a whole body bath. It would, after all, be somewhat expensive to use an entire package each time you wanted to bathe but as I said, one wipe was more than adequate.
Other items offered by this company include a No Rinse Shampoo Cap and an InstantFoam Non-Alcohol Foaming Hand Sanitizer. I did not test the Shampoo Cap and the Survival Husband is somewhat bald so a wipe does the job for him.
The InstantFoam Hand Sanitizer was nice as foam products go. I personally am not fond of foamy soaps even through they are the norm these days in public facilities as well as being used in many homes. One advantage to this hand sanitizer is the that is is alcohol-free. The active ingredient is benzalkonium chloride, a disinfectant commonly used in contact lens solution, nasal drops, and leave-on skin antiseptics.
The foam sanitizer might be a good solution for children who will find it more pleasant to use than the standard, gel based hand sanitizers.
The Final Word
Nothing beats a traditional wash cloth , good old fashioned soap (or Dirt Cheap Soft Soap) and an abundant supply of water for personal cleaning. Heck, a bath or shower is not only cleansing, but can be a relaxing stress reliever as well. But post disaster when facilities are not available may pose a challenge to even the most resourceful prepper.
I believe that there is a place in every survival kit for a pack or two of body wipes (or a bottle or two of body wash) that requires no water in order to be used effectively for personal hygiene. No Rinse – and especially the wipes – are worth checking out.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: Below are some of the products featured in today’s review along with my favorite hand sanitizer wipes.
No Rinse Cleansing & Deodorizing Bathing Wipes: One wipe was more than enough for a complete “bath”. These are a good backup when traditional showers are not available such as the week or weeks following a disaster. Also good for camping, boating, hiking and such.
No Rinse Moisturizing Body Wash: This stuff leaves your skin feeling fresh and clean with a delicate scent.
No Rinse Shampoo: This product has great reviews and lots of positive testimonials. Alas, it did not work for me.
PURELL Sanitizing Hand Wipes: As far as hand sanitizers go, I prefer individually wrapped wipes and keep some with me always – in my coat pocket, wallet, handbag, back pack – everywhere.
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12 Responses to “Product Review: No-Rinse Personal Hygiene Products”
I have been using these no-rinse products for over a year now since I got out of the hospital. For certain physical reasons I can’t use the shower or tub so these work perfect for me. The most beautiful thing is that the wipes are reusable! You can run them through the laundry and they don’t disintegrate. They come out very soft and fluffy and I’m not throwing my money in the trash. I keep the body wash in a trigger spray bottle and use that to wet down the clean wipe and then do the thing. It’s just like pulling a new wipe out of the pack. I also use the laundered cloths to replace handkerchiefs, napkind and tissues. Saves me a ton of money. Hope this helps someone.
Just a quick note on the non-alcohol hand sanitizer…Please don’t use it. It doesn’t work nearly as well as the alcohol based hand sanitizers. On surfaces the active ingredient works great, however on skin it does not. It is a slow kill on skin and the bacteria reproduce at a faster rate than it can kill. I’m the Purell rep and we have a non-alcohol based hand sanitizer that I do not typically promote.
When my oldest brother was ill, I used what the hospital gave me to bathe him with. I had one bottle left after his death and I love it.
I have been stockpiling baby wipes for waterfree cleaning. They are alcohol and fragrance free, very inexpensive (a pack of 70 or 80 for less than a buck) and should be mild enough to use anywhere on the body. Haven’t tried one yet-don’t want to open a pack. I need to buy a container to put them in.
if your packs (as purchased) seal don’t bother with a container. The ones made for these items are less than airtight.
I have found these small packs dry out before they are even opened. I was very distressed because my grand daughter and I were at a baseball game when we tried to use them. She is allergic to the alcohol in most brands.
@Pam – I agree with you regarding baby wipes. They dry out before I have a chance to use them so they end up being a waste of money. Plus, they are useless when I need them.
My wife and I are fairly conscientious about using hand sanitizer in public situations (restaurants, etc.), especially during the flu season. We use cheap stuff. The active ingredient is ethyl alcohol. Hate to put you on the spot but would benzalkonium chloride be better? Just wonderin’.
@Ron – While writing up the review I looked up benzalkonium chloride. It is somewhat toxic (see //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzalkonium_chloride) so personally, I am staying with good old alcohol based products.
Hi Ron, I’m the Purell representative. The Center for Disease Control suggests an alcohol based hand sanitizer for hands that are not visibly soiled. They don’t suggest a product that is benzalkonium chloride based.
Thank you, Gaye,for checking out these products!It is nice to know what to stock up on.
I believe my hair is much like yours, and I would not like to be left with a sticky mess on my head and now way to wash it out.
Wishing you a great day!
@Bridget – I can go a week without washing my hair and still be presentable enough so I guess I am lucky in that regard. Washing my hair – and keeping is straight – will be a challenge if the SHTF.