Hot water is a modern-day luxury most of us consider a necessity, but what happens if you’re in a scenario where no hot water is available?
Instead of freezing in frigid water, learn how to shower without hot water. With a few simple hacks in your back pocket, you can get clean without any plumbing necessary.
Whether you’re roughing it in the woods or your hot water tank broke, read on to learn how to shower without hot water.
1. Use a Solar Shower
Enlist the help of mother nature make showering without hot water more comfortable. Investing in a good solar shower makes the perfect addition to your camping setup or bug-out bag. It also comes in super handy if your plumbing breaks.
To use a solar shower, just fill the bag with water, place it in a sunny spot, and let the sunshine work its magic. It can take up to 3 hours before the water is warm, so you have to plan ahead with this method. You’re also limited to the water inside the bag, and if you’re not prepared, your shower may be cut short.
Solar showers only work during the summer months, so don’t try to warm your water outside in the winter, or else you’ll be left with an ice block.
Still, solar showers provide a cost-free, natural way to heat up water. It’s also incredibly portable and can shrink down into an easy-to-carry size.
If you’re searching for a great solar shower to add to your gear list, we recommend the Advanced Elements Summer Shower. You can choose between different sizes ranging from 2.5-10 gallons, and each model includes an easy-to-read temperature gauge to know when your water’s ready.
2. Use Dry Shampoo
Using dry shampoo is an efficient way to get clean, or at least look clean, when you have to shower without hot water.
Dry shampoo absorbs oil that builds up on hair follicles over time. Just one use can create cleaner-looking hair with a fresh scent.
Dry shampoo’s main downside is that it doesn’t actually clean your hair since it has zero cleansing agents. It may lead to an accumulation of residue that will create a coarse hair texture. If you have sensitive skin, the fragrance might also irritate your scalp.
Still, this method comes in handy when you want to freshen up without bathing in an icy lake. Using dry shampoo helps preserve your hair between washes and is a good sidekick for short-term hygiene.
For this method to work, you have to find a good dry shampoo, and we recommend the Batiste Dry Shampoo for the best results. It has a subtle, uplifting scent that’s not overpowering, and the specially-designed formula works wonders against oily hair. Each bottle is priced to sell, and the convenient size makes it easy to pack.
3. Skip the Hair Washing
This method might be a no-brainer, but if you don’t want to shower in cold water, then don’t. Your hair might actually thank you for it. You might be surprised to learn that there are several benefits to only washing your hair occasionally.
Benefits of Washing Hair Periodically
Washing your hair too often can strip your scalp of its natural microbiome and may cause slight inflammation on the skin. It can also remove natural oils from your hair, making it appear coarse, dry, and dull.
That being said, you still want to wash your hair occasionally. Aside from the obvious hygienic reasons, you can start to develop dandruff, ingrown hairs, and an itchy scalp if you don’t.
Most people can get away with washing their hair once or twice a week, but it all comes down to your hair type. There’s no blanket recommendation, so do what’s right for you.
If you don’t want to keep up your daily hair-washing routine without hot water, try abstaining for a few days. There might be an initial adjustment period where your hair will feel dirty or oily, but that should go away over time.
4. Embrace the Cold Shower
If you’re wondering how to shower without hot water, here’s an answer you might not like. While cold showers feel painful, there are numerous reasons why you should try this unconventional method.
Benefits of Cold Showers
We get it, cold water hurts. It causes your body to tense up, but this reaction is why icy showers benefit your health.
When cold water touches your body, it naturally switches into survival mode. Your circulatory system goes into overdrive, and your heart starts pumping more blood, which helps your overall circulation.
Cold showers also release energy-boosting chemicals and cause an antidepressant effect on those suffering from mood disorders. It supplies you with a much-needed fuel boost in the AM to help defeat morning grogginess.
How to Take a Cold Shower
Dipping your head in an icy spray of water won’t provide all the aforementioned benefits, so make sure you’re doing it the right way for the best results.
Before learning how to shower without hot water, take stock of your own health. If you have a heart condition or some other type of underlying illness, talk to your doctor before starting cold showers.
Easing into cold showers is the best way to begin this healthy habit. Start with minute increments under 60-70°F water and try to breathe through the pain. Next time, stand under 50-60°F water for 5 minutes. Work your way up to taking a full shower under a 50°F stream.
5. Heat Up the Water
This wouldn’t be a complete guide on how to shower without hot water without stating the obvious answer.
Instead of shivering under an icy stream, heat your water first. You can do this in many different ways, but we listed the two most popular.
The Kettle Method
This method is pretty self-explanatory. Fill a kettle to the brim with water, then heat it up until it’s warm to the touch but not scalding. Remove it from the heat, then use it as needed in small amounts. The kettle’s spout makes it easy to aim water over the soapy spots.
You can also use a giant pot for more water, but it will be harder to pour over your body.
If you want to heat up a large vat of water, try using hot stones. This technique only requires the essentials and works well in survival scenarios when you’re left showering without hot water.
A word of warning first: waterlogged rocks can explode under heat since the steam builds pressure inside, so only collect stones from a high and dry location. Play it safe and stay far away from the rocks while they heat up. You’ll know within 20 minutes whether the rocks are going to explode or not.
Collect a dozen egg-sized stones, then heat them directly on the fire for 30-45 minutes. Once they’re extra toasty, drop them into the vessel to heat up the water.
How to Shower Without Hot Water: Summed Up
Whether you enlist the help of a solar shower, dry shampoo, or rocks, you now know how to shower without hot water.
If all these methods fail, you can always succumb to the impressive health benefits of taking cold showers.
Now that you know how to shower without hot water, check out our Hygiene Sanitation page to learn more ways to keep clean in the wild. Or find another portable shower option in the RinseKit.