What about hygiene? (And its High Philosophy)


In Nature

When I'm in the canyon, I wash in the creek as often as possible, doing a full body plunge, winter and summer.  In the hot Utah desert summer, I plunge into the water and scrub my skin and hair every day, and I plunge in the water for a swim up to four or five times per day.  In the winter, I try to do a full-body creek bath at least once per week, but usually twice per week, on days when the sun is out.  I love plunging into icy water, getting me high and exhilarated, with a warm feeling on my skin afterward.  However, some very cold weeks when I lack energy, I do full body sand baths.  The Quran recommends bathing with sand when one can't bathe in water.  

I do not use soap, except when I'm in civilization, to wash my hands, socks, and underwear, or if I have been doing work with paints, grease, or other substances, or if I've been train-hopping (which gets me full of greasy soot that only comes off with soap).   [See "Soapless Philosophy" below.] 

In Civilization

Many classic Bohemian and homeless types are so greasy and stinky you don't want near them.  Urban homeless types have more of an excuse, since it is often very difficult to find places to bathe when you are on the streets.  But I have found, if you put your mind to it, have self-respect, you can stay clean.  I find bathrooms and park spigots to bathe in.  I have often waited until night time and gotten completely naked in city parks under water spigots.

I would recommend, if you see a smelly homeless person, stop condemning them and, instead, have basic compassion and offer them a shower.  You have no clue how difficult it is for them, so get off your high horse.

I don't let go any opportunity to bathe in civilization, whether in a river, canal, public restroom sink, park spigot or an offer from a house-holder.  If I can't bathe my whole body, I wash my face, armpits, crotch, and feet every day.  Not missing any opportunity to wash feet and socks every day is very important when you're on the road, because feet and socks are the greatest stinker.  I always carry an extra pair of socks, washing a pair every single day, meaning I almost always have a wet pair drying on my pack.  I try to wash underwear and tee-shirts at least every two or three days, too, also carrying an extra of those, too.

It is un-natural to be dirty and stink

Animals have the sense to bathe, primp and preen.  Many "natural" Bohemian types stink so badly it's almost painful to be around them.  Natural doesn't mean lazy, and it doesn't mean lack of respect for yourself and others.  And people automatically think not using soap and skin products also means not using water. 

Soapless Philosophy ~ "Libertarian" Economic Philosophy?

I don't otherwise use soap for two important reasons:  (1) Soap pollutes the creek.  (2) Soap strips my skin of both necessary oils and necessary living flora, disrupting the natural balance.  When the natural balance is upset, you begin to stink, and you then need soap again to wash away the stink, in a mad cycle of addiction.  Why does no wild creature on earth use soap?  Notice how wild creatures' coats and feathers are sleek and shiny, without putrid body odor.  I also noticed, in traveling in close proximity with people on buses in third world countries (Latin America, Southeast Asia, and India)  in the 80s and 90s, I smelled no unpleasant body odors.  But traveling on buses in the USA, people's body odors could be unbearable.  

Long before I gave up money I gave up soap, shampoo, and skin products to test my hypothesis.  Note: I did not give up bathing, but skin products.  I washed constantly with water and nothing else.  My first month or so doing this, my skin and especially my hair were greasy, and I'd develop body odor quickly.  This meant I bathed in water more often.  However, after a month or so, my skin and hair reached equilibrium, and were no longer greasy and smelly.  The natural organic chemistry and living flora of my skin reached balance.  

This is the very principle of living moneyless:  stop manipulating the balance, the balance between credit and debt, and credit and debt perfectly balance themselves out.  If you want wavy water to calm down, get your hands out of it.  This is also the principle of meditation: if you want your thoughts calm, you can't do it with thought.  If you want the natural environment to balance out, stop managing it.  

This is the laissez-faire economic principle that many Libertarians and Randians think they are practicing.  However, true laissez-faire doesn't work in a money system, because the very nature of money itself is control of credit and debt, a lack of faith in nature's perfect balance of credit and debt.  Free means no money, and "free market" is an oxymoron.  Your philosophy must be consistent across the board or it won't work.  This is why mega-corporations adore so-called "Libertarian" principles, because they appear to be about giving up control, and this is what makes them so deeply deceptive.  The corporate greed-head adores the idea of you or any government giving up control over the corporation, under "free market" principles, that the corporation may then turn the tables and have total control over you and over government, using a slight twist to Libertarian-speak to promote its deception!  

Okay, I confess, it's funny going from bathing and soap to Libertarian economic theory.  Just wait till we get to pooping and peeing! 


Sand and dirt are excellent deodorizers, as they not only rub away excess skin oils, sweat, and dead skin, but they also restore its natural living flora and skin suppleness. Even after bathing in water, I also rub sand or dirt in my armpits and crotch.  When I am in civilization, I use a mixture of cornstarch and baking soda to rub in my armpits, an Amish practice.  I find baking soda and cornstarch in dumpsters, or friends give me a little.  It works better than any store-bought deodorant.  But dirt and sand work just as well, too - just not so accessible & acceptable in civilization.  

Pooping & Peeing

I pee far away from my camp in random places, because it doesn't take long for pee to stink to high heavens.  At night I keep a bottle, jar or can nearby to pee in.

I poop in random holes I dig far away from my camp, away from streams.  I bury it at least three inches deep.  It decomposes more quickly in the topsoil, where all the organisms are, than it does deeper down.  In the desert it also dries pretty fast in the hot summer, and I find that random animals, including ravens, like to dig it up and eat it.  Nature takes good care of it.  When I am by myself, I don't dig deep pits or keep using the same pit.  That doesn't feel natural and doesn't disperse my nutrients.  If I am in camping community with others, I dig a compost pit or use a composting bucket, since random periodic poopy places would make a too high and unsanitary impact. 


Toilet paper is my absolute last resort.  Toilet paper is barbaric and wasteful and doesn't get you clean.

I most commonly wipe my butt with sand or dirt, scooped up with a flat rock or stick.  I also wipe with leaves (preferably dead semi-moist ones on the ground, or fresh deciduous, juniper or sage-brush leaves, or random plants).  But be careful, some plants are irritating.  Mullen feels soft and fuzzy, but causes a rash in some allergenic folks.  I also sometimes wipe with old newsprint paper. 

When I am in civilization, I carry a bottle into the bathroom with me and wash my butt with water, like they do in India and southeast Asia, rather than use toilet paper.  Once you start doing this, you realize how barbaric toilet paper is, and you don't want to use it again because it doesn't get you clean.

The Philosophy of Pooping, Peeing, Breathing, and Dying in Nature

Giving, expecting nothing in return, is the most holy act a person can do.  This is why pooping, peeing, breathing, and dying in nature are the highest of holy acts.  You do it egolessly, without thought of doing anything righteous, without thought of reward.  You usually don't give it a thought that you are freely giving food to the universe, contributing back to all of society.  One's waste is another's food.  This is pay-it-forward in its purist form.  Whatever you do with thought of self-righteousness is not righteous.  Now if only all our acts could be just like pooping, peeing, breathing, and dying.  Die daily and be born again daily.     
Subpages (1): What About Grooming?