Strip washing with Rhassoul Clay in one of the World Tiniest Spaces (without turning it into a mud wrestlers changing room).
Mrs Everybodys new blog is all about reducing the environmental impact of living.
Strip washing, using a flannel and a basin of water to wash just the parts which need routine washing: face, neck, armpits, the nether regions and feet is one of the greenest ways of washing, saving litres of water and the huge energy costs in heating the water. When Mrs Everybody was a child, growing up in the sixties and seventies, strip washing at a sink was the way she washed every day. She had a bath once a week whether she needed it or not! Only the newly built houses had showers.
The other day Mrs Green, an avid clay user asked Mrs Everybody how she managed to strip wash with clay without creating a huge mess in the bathroom. Hmmm! She hadn’t actually had a strip wash since she had left home. Over to Mrs Everybody:
I had memories of luke warm water, soggy flannels, damp towels, a soggy carpet, a cold bathroom, and tepid water dripping up my arms. However this is 2009 and I had just brought my tiny downstairs shower room into commission. It is a warm room with hot water, a large mirror and good lighting. So location sorted. The tiny shower room with basin and loo was built on one side of my former galley kitchen where the hob had been located. So think small. Think aircraft loo and basin!
Well Mrs Green, this is exactly how I did it. I made up some rhassoul clay in a bowl, with a wooden spoon and hot water. While it was hydrating, I changed into my dressing gown in my bedroom and I brought the following things into the little room:
I took my watch and dressing gown off and noted the time. I had given myself 15 minutes for my first strip wash in about 25 years. I filled the sink (the size of a dinner plate) with hot water and hesitated. How indeed was I going to avoid making a huge mess?
A towel, flannel, headband, hair clip (to keep long hair out of the way), my alum crystal, argan oil, and a mat to stand on, oh, and a fruit smoothy.
With my hair out of the way, I smoothed a fine layer of clay on my face and neck, some under my arms and then my nether regions. Rinsed my hands, and then massaged the clay on the face, underarms, and the other parts in that order, keeping the clay moist.
The clay started to dry around my eyes – the clay should always remain wet on the body, so I wetted the flannel in the hot water, wrung it well and placed it on my face. It gave me the loveliest feeling and somehow made me want to take up a yoga pose. I begun to consider how I could get into the tree pose, about the only pose possible in this space, while keeping the flannel on my face – then I remembered the time, plus strip washing is associated with austerity, not pleasure!
No mess so far, but now for the rinse. The sink was too small to fit my face anywhere near it and perhaps this is the key – I couldn’t rinse by the ‘splashing technique’ but needed to use the flannel. So I stretched the flannel all across the face and with both hands drew it down, removing almost all the clay in one go. I rinsed the flannel and continued, removed the clay from the neck, remembering to clean behind my ears! By this time the water in the sink looked like a puddle which a tank had just driven through. I let the water out and refilled the sink, rinsing the under arms and all the other parts. On finishing, I let the water out of the basin, and wiped the basin out with the flannel (destined straight for the washing machine). The sink was cleaner than it had been in the first place, no splashes on the mirror. Zero mess.
I completed the wash by applying, some alum deodorant under the arms, argan oil on my face and nails, combed my hair and brushed my teeth. Time check: 15 minutes. However I realised that I forgot to do my feet. I will have to work on that!
In the meantime, with World Water Week coming up on March 22nd and with everyone wondering how we are going to save the planet from the carbon crisis – Why don’t you give it a go? Or, if you are already using clay and alum already in this way then share your insights here!
Tips: The Everybodys make the clay into the yoghurt like consistency, but some people may prefer it a little bit thinner, especially those with very hairy skin! Sometimes the Everybodys make up the clay for several days in advance, which is really helpful when they are in a hurry.
Technical Info: Mrs Everybody’s shower (not a power shower) releases 12 litres of water per minute, so that’s 120 litres of hot water for a 10 minute shower. For her strip wash she used just two small basins of water, total of 4 litres, that is 30 times less hot water than used in showering. Switching to strip washing will decrease her energy bills and carbon footprint. You will find a table showing you how to calculate your water flow on the Rhassoul and Alum Crystal page. For this water flow experiment you will need a bucket, a measuring jug and a watch or mobile as a timer. There will also be more about measuring water flow in the next blog.
Recommendations: Find out how Mr Everybody copes with clay in his beard and hairy arms.
Challenge others to strip wash and gather feedback and tips Take part in your own Strip Wash Challenge, buy Rhassoul Clay and Alum for £11.00
Check on how the journalists are getting on with their strip wash challenges. See the Very Lowest carbon Footprint Strip Washing Challenge to Journalists
Notes: Let’s find out how Mrs Green is getting on now that she has been challenged back!