Survival Guide to Homelessness

No matter where you go, there you are.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Hygiene on the Road

You've seen the movies. On road trips you've done it yourself. You pull over at the Shell station, find that the bathroom is not filthy, just ill appointed, a galvanized steel toilet and sink, cracked tiles, a scratched steel mirror, rusty pipes, a small pool of water somewhere near the middle of the room. You lock the door behind you, do a half strip, wash under your armpits with frigid water, shave, brush, someone knocks, hurry up in there, you finish, gas up and leave. That's a shower at the Lincoln Hotel, the Volkswagen Motorlodge. That's Zen and the Art of Homeless Living. Everyone knows it. Jewel describes her life in a van, prior to recording stardom, in just this way. If that's the way you want to bathe, be my guest, but day in, day out, you're going to get pretty stinky and pretty tired of it.

It's important to know some "roughing it" techniques. Below I will teach you to make an adult version of baby wipes in a bottle, for a scrub down in the car, and offer you a great alternative to a dry shave, but first, let's talk about available facilities, and last, let's talk about a real shower.

Restrooms
Of the three types of restroom baths available, for those days when a shower is out of the question, gas stations are the worst. Gas stations are just slightly more sanitary, on average, than a portapotty, and frequently the water doesn't work. Gas stations are for those moments of desperation, when your creativity has failed you. This is equally true for public park and bus station restrooms. I'd rather spray down with a garden hose, or with the wand at a do it yourself car wash stall. That's not terribly fun either, but if you have a bathing suit, you can make it work. That is for the bold, for you are bathing in full view. If that's your style, you might also consider the showers that are often on public beaches or at public swimming pools. They're cold, but free.

Fast food joints are somewhat better than gas stations for a quick wash. Many allow you to lock the door and scrub up privately. Many require quarters for entry, though, or are for customers only, and maybe it's me, but I don't like having to run a gauntlet of minimum wage hall monitors to get to the lavatory. Laundromat restrooms rank higher, but nearly always require quarters to enter.

That leaves supermarket restrooms. I always favor these. They are always free, and the employees will tell you where to find them without any resistance at all. Unfortunately, they often aren't very private. No locks. Happily, they are not heavily trafficked. When you simply need to use the restroom, this is the best type of business to approach. Other interesting places to find a restroom are the lobby of a hotel and any floor above the fourth in an office building. Why above the fourth? Because many office buildings lock restrooms on the lower levels, and don't bother to higher up. Just go in dressed decently and pretend you've gone to the wrong floor if you are confronted by a security desk when the elevator doors open.

Creativity at the Dashboard
Sometimes you'll have neither time nor the inclination to search out a restroom or a shower room. Take heart. You can stay clean another day with one or two preparations while you sit at the wheel of your car.

Don't like a dry shave? Nobody does. Buy yourself some generic sex lube. It's only a couple of bucks at Walmart or Target or, really, any drugstore. A little dab and a disposable razor and you can get a nice shave. Rub a thimbleful of water over your face and wipe off to finish. It may sound funny, and of course your razor is ruined unless you rinse it out right away, but this works very well. It's one of my favorite tricks.

A dab of sex gel will help you comb out your hair in the morning, too, and it disappears completely into the hair, as if it were never there.

For washing up, make my homemade, adult version of baby wipes in a bottle. First, find some hand and body lotion that has a scent you'd like to wear, buy some baby oil, and get some relatively scent free shower gel or shampoo. Pour a couple of teaspoons of each into a small water bottle, say half a liter. Maybe skimp a little on the baby oil and be a little generous with the shampoo. Fill the bottle halfway with warm water, cap it and shake to mix. Now take a napkin from your favorite fast food place, saturate it with the mixture, and give yourself a good wipe down. It takes the smell off, trust me. Add a bit of witch hazel to the mix if you like an astringent quality.

You can brush your teeth with two mouthfuls of water, one to rinse your mouth with, and one to rinse the brush with. It isn't that hard.

Shampoo? 16 ounces of water can get the job done on short to medium hair. Put a bowl on the ground to catch the water you use to get the hair wet and use it again to rinse with. Conservation takes on new meaning when you don't have endless running water at your fingertips. You can do things in creative ways.

I don't like to do this too many days in a row. I've always been a real fan of hot showers.

Locker Rooms
Showers. Beautiful hot showers are available at the locker room nearest you. You can find a locker room on campus, if you're a student, or if you pretend to be a student. Colleges often don't check student id to get into the shower room. No one seems to take advantage of this fact, which always sort of surprises me, because there are certainly a lot of homeless students, but the locker room on campus does not seem to have entered homeless culture. That's good for you. It's good for me. If a lot of people start using them, colleges may decide to restrict access.

The most reliable shower, though, is a membership at a gym. Watch out for contracts. You don't need to be signing one. You don't know where you will be in two years, and no one needs Bally's trashing his credit. Clubs, including the YMCA (which tends to be more expensive than the competition) will charge an initiation fee of a couple of hundred bucks, and then you pay monthly dues of 20 to 40 dollars, depending on the level of access you want. You want unrestricted access to the shower room and plenty of convenient locations. Other features matter only if you like to work out.

If you can't pay the initiation fee and you want to spoil yourself with a shower, get 10 or 12 bucks together and buy a day pass. It only gets you in for the day, but the water is nice and hot and there is plenty of it. If you feel like putting up with a sales pitch, it is often possible to get into the facility for nothing for the day. That trick only works once at most gyms.

If you're in it for the long term, a gym membership is the only way to go. I had one with 24 hour fitness for the five years I was out of doors, and I calculate that it cost me under 50 cents a shower. Well worth it for the good shave, bright lights, and hot water, and on top of it I learned yoga and stayed in shape. It was also a nice, warm place to go when it was cold or stormy out and I just needed to get out of the weather.

90 Comments:

At 5:33 AM, Blogger The Lioness said...

Hey, you changed your profile description! I rather liked the old one, with the wife and the kid and the happy now. I came via Noorster a few days ago, I am hooked. I oscilate between being amused and touched. I think it's mostly touched bcs it rather sounds like you will be doing many people a service by writing this blog/obe-day-book and THAT's a heartbreak. (Could you make it so that more posts open per page? For those of us with unfathomable server problems it'd make it easier to read you - rather than have to open each one individually we'd just scroll down. Also, the unsuspecting stumbling upon you might stay longer as well). I'll go link you NOW. Best of luck to you, congrats on the new living arrangements!

 
At 6:36 AM, Blogger Noorster said...

I rather like the new profile description. It reads like an anthem.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

You can still read my profile description on my profile page, Lioness. I felt the statement about rights was more important, because when people have their rights abused they often forget they have them.

I'm very happy that you are enjoying and finding humor in my writing. I have just one more thing that I hope to accomplish, and that is that you will start to feel that homelessness is not necessarily tragic, and does not occasion pity. If I can show you that lifestyles which are not traditional, in a mainstream sort of way, can be the source of happiness for the people living them, then my work is done.

I deleted two duplicate posts from friend Noorster. I only tend to censor redundancy.

Michael

 
At 5:08 PM, Blogger i_r_beej said...

If i may be so bold, i'd like to suggest a better formula for the cleaning wipes.

Substitute baby shampoo for the regular shampoo. The residue is less potentially irritating. You can get store-brand baby shampoo (or baby wash-- the stuff that is tear-free) for cheap cheap cheap compared to "adult" shampoos and soaps.

I'd recommend a ratio of 3 parts baby oil (again, store brands are cheaper) to one part baby shampoo. Add in .25 parts or less of rubbing alcohol for a mild antibacterial effect. Of course, these ratios can be adjusted to suit your particular preferences.

We use this to great effect as actual baby wipes. Cleans like crazy and hasn't caused a rash or other irritation in almost two years of use!

 
At 10:02 PM, Blogger Todd Boyle said...

I lived in a truck for years. Showered at colleges and universities a lot, and public swimming pools which were cheap to free at the time. Much of the time I was in the cascades above Eugene, on BLM land and just boiled a 5 gallon bucket of water and dipped it over my head, a quart at a time. 5 gallons of hot water is plenty.

I neglected to mention, the best place to take a shower is most definitely at the homes of friends,
Now I have a house and three bathrooms. (I got tired of the cops hassling me and worked 20 years. ) I would allow people to use it for the next 10 years if by doing so, I could be accumulate points towards similar access to showers, laundrym, etc. in future decades when I really need it. There MUST be some type of big, virtual collaboration or coop. It's a wonder to me, that none exist. We are all forced to use money, operate a bed/breakfast with al the regulations and pay taxes and pay for wars and destruction, which is a real drag.

Todd
www.refusenik.org

 
At 9:27 PM, Blogger tekiegreg said...

another thought....Truck stops!!! Usually for $3-$7 you can get a shower without much trouble and no further committment...

 
At 7:54 PM, Anonymous John Lawrence said...

The YMCA has another advantage. If you like to travel, you can use your Y card all over the entire country. I've used mine up and down the west coast and the east coast. Most places will let you in free, but some charge $3.00. In addition to the showers, most have saunas. I like to swim so I make use of the facility other than showering. After that, some vitamins and a cup of coffee, I'm ready to start my day.

 
At 9:17 PM, Anonymous crow in snow said...

My first choice for restrooms on the road is usually hospitals. Nobody keeps toilets cleaner.

 
At 7:49 AM, Blogger Six said...

I just tried to find out the cost of a full membership at the YMCA, but they wouldn't give me any information over the phone. The guy who answered said I'd have to come down there to find out. What's up with that?

 
At 9:55 AM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Simple answer: the guy you spoke to was not empowered to sell memberships.

 
At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Frank said...

Hi,
I didn't see one type of public restroom which I find the best one in fact: college/university ones. These can be located right in the middle of the city, easily accessible, and during most times they are empty - you have all the time and privacy you need.

These places are also a great place for finding free coffee/tea (if you know the right places), on some occassions there could even be free food (certain college occasions with guests). It can be a clean, warm relaxing place to be. You might even find a good place to sleep - hell, college students sleep everywhere, too.

 
At 5:37 AM, Anonymous TooUnfazed said...

Hotels and motels often have free breakfast until 10 am. Always be dressed clean and neatly and you will not be challenged. If challenged have a room number available and state your husband/boyfriend/father is checking out shortly. Or, you are there to pick up a colleague for work. Use big words, act like you "belong". I have made a study of free food, free bathrooms, and free shelter in my area, just in case! Offices are easy to access and clean up in during the week, not so good on weekends. Grocery stores have free food out all the time. If you quietyly read and act inconspicuous you can stay in a library all day long.

 
At 1:14 PM, Anonymous Aaron said...

Hey hey,

I hate to sound like a broken record, but this is an awesome site. A lot of my family is moving to Alberta, Canada lately, and I may remain in Ontario to stick it through university, so ... who knows? This could be a great summer experiment for myself. Anyways, what sort of thoughts do you have on keeping dishes clean? ie -- a Wok, the hotplate, utensils, and plates?

Thanks,
Aaron

 
At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a Msg. in the army for 22 years, and there you spend a great amount of your time "under the stars".
I discovered a little trick..., 2 parts water, 1 part rubbing alcohol, 1 part witch hazel. If you would like add a little lotion or after shave of choice.
Put a wassh cloth into a ziplock bag and fill the bag with 50% of your solution.
This wash cloth will keep you fwwling clean and fresh for some time.

 
At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This website is a gift from Above. I've been reading it with great interest so far, because I am getting closer every day to chucking it all and leaving this life behind.

I have been robbed of modern conveyances before, namely when I have fallen behind on outrageously high utility bills and had water, power and/or gas shut off for months at a time (it would take me that long to save up some $800 to pay for the overdue bill, plus re-connection fees, plus service charge, etc etc). On many occasions I have had to live like a caveman in my own home, surviving in the same manner described here.

I'm so grateful for the tips I've already picked up, for I know now that living cheaply/free is much easier than one suspects if one is prepared to make the appropriate sacrifices. As far as showering goes, I agree that nothing beats a hot shower. I tried bird-bathing in public bathroom sinks, or in my own frigid water, but I have also been fortunate enough to be employed by a university where I have full, free access to the fitness center facilities.

The only real worry I had was going in there day after day, making it more and more obvious that I was just there to shower, not to work out (some days I would, but I'm not exactly a health nut). One method I used to temporarily ease this concern was to contact a local gym and ask about one of their "free trial memberships," which usually lasts one week, though you might be able to fanagle a 30-day one if you're charming enough, I suppose.

Depending on the size of the city, you could rotate through about ten health clubs, spas, etc, and not have any hot water/hygiene issues for months on end. I would also recommend looking into mega-churches. If you go in as a typical visitor on Sunday morning, and the church is big enough, they may have a gym/locker room, and the crowd will be sizeable enough that you can drift in and out for months without being noticed. Believe me, I spent the first 30 years of my life going to Christian churches; you can be an anonymous face in the crowd swallowed up in a place like that.

I have more tips to share, but I suppose I'll post them elsewhere. Thank you all very much for what you have posted thus far. I really would like to turn this into a lifestyle that is just as livable as any other.

Alan Bumm

 
At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

State Parks have coin operated showers. Some have "hike/bike" campsites for $2. But in Central California (Pismo Beach/Oceano, etc.) they've recently been done away with from drinking parties/abuse of the campsites.

 
At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Jeremy said...

Another way possible to get a free shower is at a hospital. More often then not you can walk into a hospital and go to any floor and walk around without any hassle. And more often then not there are always rooms that are vacant and out of view from the nurses station. And you know what's in most every hospital room, you guessed it, a shower. I wouldn't suggest doing this very often, just when you are in a quick fix. The nurses will eventually recognize you and become suspicious. Also however, there are entrances to hospitals where no one sits or frequents with single ocupancy bathrooms that you can lock the door and do your business. Just a thought. email me with any comments or suggestions. Jeremy_in_gc@hotmail.com

 
At 9:58 PM, Blogger bishop9001 said...

one thing you can do if you really need to wash your hair. walmart, and probably walgreens as well, sells no rinse shampoo. its got a light scent, and doesn't need water. its only like, 3 dollars a bottle, too. it works great.

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger rasa said...

You can buy a portable shower from any sporting goods store also. Some of the even come with curtains. All you need is a secluded place and about a galloon of water. You can even leave the showers out in the sun to warm the water before usage.

 
At 9:55 PM, Anonymous rabbitstew said...

What about campground showers? No one will check to make sure you are really camping there, will they?

 
At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lemon juice is the best deodorant ever. You absolutely will not smell. I can't believe people wast money on deodorant. Just a splash of lemon juice under each pit. The best.

 
At 1:29 PM, Blogger Wolf_$hadow said...

Hi I drive truck cross country with my hubby. When we fuel at truckstops we get 1 shower put on our loyality card per 50gal. We never use them all. The best way to approach us is to knock on our truck door, and ask if we have any etra showers, if we don't, you can asks either, if we can asks over the CB/or if you can use the CB, to see if anyone else has any. The showers are hot and they come with soap and towel. Another possiblity for a shower is a trucking company terminal, if they have over the road operations than they probably have showers inside(most likely in the restrooms) and to avoid confronting anyone use would need to grab some papertowels to dry off. This would work best at larger terminals. Most have a drivers lounge inside(not unusuall to see drivers sleeping on the couch or chair just watching TV, many also have free wifi. If confronted, just say you want to put in an application and thought it would be best to clean up first.

 
At 12:06 PM, Anonymous bucket bather said...

A solar shower. It's basically a heavy lined plastic bag with a black backing to absorb sun heat during the day. They often even have a pouch for storing liquid soap. It's good for warm weather, but not too good if it's cold to take a shower outside. If you're in a truck or a van you can take a bucket bath.... When I was in india living on a rural homestead/ashram we took bucket baths. You heat up a pot of water, then pour it into a 5 gallon bucket. Add cold water until you get the quantity/temperature right. Take a plastic measuring cup/small pitcher to scoop the water and dunk on your body. Lather the soap and rinse.... it's the most water efficient shower possible. You can waterproof your van with a sheet of plastic on the floor (a pond liner is the most durable). Angle the vehicle towards the door so the water drains out.

 
At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm thinking about becoming homeless, moving to a new city. My plan is to rent a storage space to live in, get a gym membership, and find a job as a dishwasher, while also eating at soup kitchens. I'll buy some buckets with lids to use the bathroom in, if I can't get to the gym in time. I have to wait to get my tax refunds first.

 
At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you just want to clean your hair,try corn starch. sprinkle it over your head,rub it all thru your hair,voila,cleaner than it was.

 
At 1:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You cna't live in a storage space.

Public pools are great. I always have a swim suit.
Some people are suggesting paying like $10 for a shower - far better investment is $14 for a night at the youth hostel.
At most YHI youth hostels you'll get
* a comfy bed (if your roomies aren't jerks and talk all night)
* a pleasant evening environment with stimulating, interesting, mostly non-stressed people (which is great for your mental health)
* a night watching TV if you're a media addict and missing it
* a kitchen you can cook in. If you do a little planning you can go there with groceries and get a lot of stuff done you can't do in the car.
* sometimes hostels are great places to pick up useful info about living on the cheap.

I just got back from months as a volunteer in India, and of the 71 of us at this big school, nobody took hot showers - once you adapt, it feels normal to use a bucket of cold water.
The way you take a bucket shower is get a bucket of water (like a pickle bucket) and a cup (plastic measuring cup works great). SIT on
a stool or another pickle bucket and pour water over one part of your body. Soap up, more water to rinse, and if it's cold dry that part before going on.
hair you do standing up, pretty much like normal.
The big secret is to not drench yourself like with a normal western style shower.

Oh, and if you're wondering, you can get free water a lot of places. I'll stop when I see somebody watering their lawn and politely ask. But be careful where you get water you're going to drink.

 
At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was homeless for eight months in a town that is jammed with tourists for the better part of the year. Lots of tourists means lots of hotels of course. Hotels have much to offer...breakfast in the morning with a complimentary newspaper, coffee and iced tea throughout the day, swimming pools. In the bathrooms of upscale places you can often find hand towels and tampons, and in a pinch I would even occasionally go to the front desk and claim to have forgotten a toothbrush or a comb or some other little necessity. The key of course is hygiene. Your clothes, your hair and your body must be clean. You might get away with unfashionable, but you wont get away with unkempt. I think that attitude is very important as well. If you behave as though you belong it's unlikely that anyone will question you. Mix it up a bit too. Don't use the same hotel more than a couple of days in a row. Just let go of the fear. Walk in like you belong, wander around and see what is on offer.

 
At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me and my husband have been thinking about giving up the house, our cars, pontoon boat and utility bills with the mortgage for an adventure accross country in a winabego(mobile home). We are sick of all the bills and the society living. We are a young couple and did what society wants people to do. Get married, buy a house, work good jobs to support the community. We bought our recreation vehicles(that we can only use when we are not working 40 to 60 hrs a week. We are sick of it. It has not made us happy. I think most americans are not happy to be paying a mortgage and working that much they just do it cuz they think that is the only way to survive. So forget the comforts of home. Get rid of everything that is not really needed. Save some money and just live on the cheap with someone you love that you actually will get to spend time with now. Just think of all the things you could be seeing around the county that most people only dream they can travel to see(when they get enough vacation days saved up). Most people around us in our middle class society say that we are crazy, but there are a few that seem to be quite jeolous of our atitude towards life and living for adventure. Everyone says they will travel when they retire, but I have had 3 phone calls this week with news of someone I know dieing before they were 50 yrs old. No ones future is garenteed and I say if you want to do something GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND DO IT!!!!!! To everyone with the same outlook on life as us, Mabey we will meet you on the road!

 
At 9:00 AM, Anonymous lauren said...

that is a GREAT idea and exactly what i want to do. im paying nearly 2K a month just to barely survive and im always broke. i dont have credit cards, loans or anything... and im not happy!

 
At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is getting to the point in many peoples lives,that they work,commute 50-70 hours a week all included such as commute,etc.Being homeless has its downs, I got hurt badly at work and I've ended up homeless on and off for ,four times going on five.I am applying for SSD,SSI and it is a ridiculous wait when you consider every one of your paychecks has SSI/SSD and Medcare taken right out of your check before you see it!!So,if you get hurt and dont have any family your options of survival,besides Jail,are getting very creative of not looking homeless and not having money to fit in with main stream,SO Social Security Disabilty can and will take up to three years or more!!! The Government wastes no time taking the money out of peoples pay checks before you see your net pay!The BEST thing that has helped me is to meet decent people who have had a bad spell in their life.Sincerly, former Phyc.Tech-Robert-now in Key West Florida.

 
At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Dwixi said...

I would use swimming pools for showers :) Where I live there are really cheap ones for like $2 to get in!
Also.. It would be nice to go somewhere that there are warm private wasterfalls you could use for free to have a shower in :)

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger Cyndy said...

Hey I am a nurse and I want to go homeless for the experience of freedom. Any women out there to talk to m e to share the best places, worst places?

 
At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Danny said...

There are some places with showers that you can get into for free.

For example, my indoor sports club. You pay to play indoor soccer/cricket etc, but the area itself is not restricted. It's very easy to just walk into the showers there.

Also, local pools if you have a little bit of money to spare. It probably costs about 3 or 4 dollars to get into the pool here. Depending on how many times you need to shower this can be cheaper than buying a membership.

The school campus suggestion is a great one too.

 
At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah I used a 24hr Fitness myself because although they're a bit spendy ($179 "initiation fee") for $29 a month I got 24hr access to a shower and a workout and of course the all important hot-tub. And if you pay a bit more you can use your membership at any other 24hr fitness site. Not a bad deal as they're in all the major cities and usually in a lot of smaller ones near major cities. Other options include: most small cities have their own community center often with a gym and there are no fees to join just the daily/weekly/monthly dues. Also try an independent gym as they can be great deals too.

 
At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some gyms have a month to month arrangement. That's good. When I belonged to a gym, that's what I did since I couldn't afford the quarterly, bi-annually, or yearly fees. Not quite as economical, but it should work.
Also the local "Y" where I live is free to those who need to clean up. A good deal, and a rarity as I understand it.

 
At 6:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thought is apartment building gym showers. I worked for many years as a newspaper delivery guy, and the "rec rooms" are often open until 10:00pm and open early like around 5:00am. In a complex with 300 units, who's to know? And they're free unless you have to have a pass-card. Many don't have this requirement, or the gate is busted and maintenance is sloppy.

 
At 1:49 PM, Anonymous NotHomelessInside said...

Hey I just found your blog on the net, and I think there is some good info here. I definately will get something out of this. I am living in Kansas City MO and they have good programs for homeless. Shelters are a good place to be if you can afford to spend 1dollar a night. or clean the most horrid bathrooms imaginable and clean up after 200 stinky hobos (no offense I'm in same situation) then you get a free night.

 
At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Lyric said...

I ran across this site because I am scared to death. I am going to be homeless in 2 weeks and there is nothing I can do about it. I left an abusive relationship and lost everything. I was relocated shelter to shelter but now I am here in FL, I can't find a job because of having been in 4 states in the past year. Everyone asks and if I say what happened their eyes turn glassly and then it's the "well we are still interviewing this week and will call on Monday" I never get a call. If I don't say and just put personal reasons, in the interview they want to know if it is jail, ect. In 2 months, I have applied everywhere - at least 60 jobs and never past an interview. I don't have a car to live in. I am really scared and would love some advice. I'm not a kid, i'm 45. mojorisinkitten@yahoo.com

 
At 5:00 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

My advice to you, Lyric, is learn to lie. Stop wearing your troubles out in the open. Stop telling people you want to hire you about abusive relationships and shelters. Think about it from their point of view. Would you hire someone who came to the interview talking about abusive relationships and homelessness?

Instead of homelessness, you've been traveling for the last year. You promised yourself you would see the world long ago, and you finally saved up some money and did it, but now you want to settle back down to the business of living in society. You are eager to be a solid, stable employee.

Good luck.

 
At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Rachel said...

I'm a homeless teenager, so here is a tip from my experience. Another option for bathrooms are churches. You need to dress up a little depending on the church, but the bathrooms are clean and not very busy. The people are usually very friendly. Some churches have attached gyms with locker rooms that you can shower in. Also, at some churches there is free food - one place I went to once in Atlanta, Georgia had cookies and lemonade. It's a nice treat! As long as you don't look too suspicious or dirty, they will never know. A warning though: many churches do have security people. Stay away from the children's area of the church, especially if you are a man. Don't rifle through any desks, and don't go into restricted areas. Don't harm anything or anyone. If you blend in well enough,no one will notice you. If someone does, just say that you are visiting your atheistic sister for a few weeks and were looking for a place to worship for those weeks. That usually works. Good luck and don't get caught! ;)

 
At 7:36 PM, Blogger Matthew W. said...

Hi, I've not been "homeless" but...have traveled & lived out of my car for short periods. Here is one item I came up with that is a must (are Ya' ready?) - a cleaned/washed out spray doc or similar manual pump sprayer.
Heat water over Your campfire, pour it into the sprayer,pump it up,find a private place in the bushes (or where ever)and You've got a nice hot shower that can get into all those nasty crevices!

 
At 12:41 PM, Anonymous NG said...

Baking soda is a wonderful multi-purpose hygiene item. Available at every grocery store, and at 50 cents for a very portable 1 lb. box you can't go wrong. A little goes a long way!

-Shampoo: A teaspoon or three in a cup of water works as "no 'poo" (and a solution of lemon juice/water in the same ratio is a conditioner). Wasn't great for my hair but lots of people love it.

-Deodorant: I dilute a teaspoon of soda with 2oz water in an old spray bottle and apply about 6 spritzes per underarm. (Let it dry before you dress!) Been using this every day for over 2 years and at worst I only ever smell kind of "basic" (from the soda), so I top it with a couple spritzes of a $1.50 body spray or dab a perfume sample under my arms. Never any b.o.

-Also try spraying the solution on your feet/in your shoes, or sprinkle soda in your shoes to neutralize odor.

-Toothpaste: Wet toothbrush bristles, dip in baking soda, brush as usual. It doesn't taste great, but it will leave your teeth feeling very clean.

-Bathing: For those of you trying the bucket showers, try adding a palmful of baking soda to the water. A paste of soda and water makes a nice gentle face scrub.

 
At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just went homeless a few days ago, but one concern I have is, I currently work at a office job, and required to look nice. Either way..If i dont have my shower, I look disgusting.

I also have long hair, which gets nasty/greasy after sleeping(happens everyday). Which requires a shower everyday to look half decent. I have thought about cutting my hair alot..

So before that I go to that extent, any suggestions?

 
At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I should also mention, that where I live..Its a little hard to find all these public places to shower at. I live in a small city.

 
At 12:27 AM, Anonymous jsmithican said...

I find using a plant mister bottle works really well for sprintzing wrinkles out of shirts which some may need to look good. I wear as much black or dark clothing and shoes to hide the fact that they might not have been washed very recently. what a great site!

 
At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Several folks have mentioned hospitals as a place to sneak a shower. Be very careful! Most hospitals have security on duty around the clock.

Man spends night in vacant hospital unit

A homeless man could face trespass charges after allegedly spending a night in a vacant hospital unit.

Bismarck Police Sgt. Dwight Offerman said security found the 48-year-old man in Medcenter One's neurology unit Sunday afternoon.

The man said he arrived via bus from Fargo on Friday afternoon and didn't have anywhere to go, Offerman said.

The man apparently stayed Friday night in the part of the hospital housing the neurodiagnostics unit and sleep center, hospital spokesperson Kim Long said.

Offerman said the police report indicated the unit, located in the main hospital building, is not staffed on weekends, and the doors into it were unlocked.

Long said security officers found him Saturday morning.

"It was just a one-night stay," she said.

The police report said the man was admitted to the hospital after being discovered, Offerman said. The man has not been arrested, and the report will be forwarded to the city attorney's office.


Makes you wonder why the man was "admitted" to the hospital. Did they throw him into the psychiatric ward? You know, not having enough money means you are CRAZY! Am I right?

 
At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah I live near Seattle and used to work downtown in a recently refurbished building and wouldn't you know it the bathrooms on the parking floors had showers because the previous tenant was trying to be "green" and with a monthly parking fee of about $140.00 you got a key to these bathrooms, and if that wasn't enough to keep me going on the top floor of the parking section they had power plugs installed in 4 stalls for the day when the company was going to have electric vehicles (and the power was on 24/7!) all you needed was a 115volt twist plug (easy and cheap at Home Depot.) So not only did I get a cheap shower (with unending hot water because they used "demand" water heaters) but also a place to park and plug in the electric heater/fan in the back of my van to stay warm. It was an excellent deal as long as I had the money (and job) to pay for it. Don't have a job or car or money right now though. Oh well.

 
At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ive only been homeless for a brief period of my life, but ive spent alot of time on my bike doing long distance touring... one way i like to get a good shower in, although hard to predict, but i take advantage of an otherwise sucky situation... on the road, if i see storm clouds heading my way, i put my bathing suit on and pull out a bar of soap... this is actually very common in some third world countries... i spent three months in the philippines and as soon as it started raining, all the kids would run out side and take a bath... it can be a little cold, but if you have no choice but to get wet anyways, you might as well take advantage of the situation.... when life hands you lemons, make lemonade

 
At 10:59 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

I love that. Storm showers.

 
At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the church idea mentioned above, I'm in Utah and LDS (Mormon) churches are plentiful here but they are also located in most areas throughout the US.

If you act like a Mormon, are carrying a well-worn Book of Mormon with you (you can get these free from any Mormon and most hotel rooms have them) and look like you "belong" they can be great places to clean up.

Stake Centers (their word for these church houses -- *NOT* their temples BTW!) all have baptismal fonts and also have male & female showers/locker rooms. Also, most Stake Centers are open early mornings to late nights (members are usually playing basketball late into the evenings on almost every night of the week, incl. Sunday).

 
At 6:45 PM, Blogger aGoGo said...

Does anyone know if you can lock a locker for months at a gym? I would like to keep extra cloths. I actually have several locks and could benefit from using a few lockers to store cloths and stuff.

I read all of the posts but saw nothing about the ocean, lakes or river bathing. Like a few of you, I am about to hit the streets for the very first time, Ouchy Baba. I am not in this situation because I am lazy or because of drugs or anything, just bad luck. I left a great job for better offer, then new company went out of business owing me for 2 months = $9200. Got burglarized April 12th and lost cash and about $35,000 in "back up valuables". Scrambled for May bills by selling stuff on Craigslist. Got all but full rent. I am covered for half so on May 15 I'm screwed. Trying to interview but with just one week left I need a miracle. I plan to go homeless in Laguna Beach, CA. I gathered 450 email addresses from the Chamber of Commerce, Bussiness Groups, and Civic web page. I intend to introduce myself via email and blog as thier newest homeless resident and challenge them to come meet me in the park so I can introduce myself. I plan on challenging them to help get me employment. I will continue a blog that will either praise them or shame them... lol. This is a rich community and they have about 50 cronic homeless. They don't do much to help them because they say that they are beyond hope (sad thing to say). I am going to give them a poster child. If they don't decide that I am worth helping then they will have to face the fact that as much as they profess to care, they don't. We will see how it all works out. I don't want to be homeless. I like to work and I don't mind working hard. I have worked 2 full time jobs to get going and will do the same again if the opportunity arises.
I do like the idea of gym showering. I will have to call to see what the membership costs are. I will have to be very careful with the money that I will have but I would not mind a month to month while I hit the streets.

Anyone in southern cali can reach me at aGoGoDaddyo@gmail.com

Let The Games Begin !!

 
At 9:29 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

In general, gyms will not allow you to use their lockers for longer than your visit. If you try, they cut the lock off and donate your stuff to the local dumpster. Your results may vary.

 
At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Water is the biggest problem at our jungle camp. There are three of us now so every other day we walk about a half mile to a spigot attached to a building. Each is responsible for his water. Get permission from owner. I recommend always asking permission first. I have never been refused in nearly three years of homeless camping. We usually procure the water in the early AM as we have to cross tracks and a very busy industrial roadway. This also makes us less conspicuous and not a nuisance to our source. We have a good relationship (here we can take a quickie shower on warm days) and always roll up the hose after use. I think they know we are trying to be good neighbors. Once someone left some canned goods that came in really handy. We are usaully done way before commute hour. Even the cops who know us well by now will wave. Our problem is mainly with newby campers who leave a mess. We always fix this and the owner knows and appreciates this. Don't foul your nest. Keep your campfires low.

 
At 1:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about natural hot springs? (where you can find them)

 
At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pet shower hoses can be purchased for under $6 and with a stretchy rubber end attaches to garden hoses AND most sinks! wala, a nice hot shower in any single stall batthroom with a lockable door and a center floor drain can be yours!

http://www.opentip.com/product_info.php?ref=8955&products_id=155644&affiliate_banner_id=1

 
At 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see a bunch of comments suggesting using a "solar shower" for cleaning up - maybe while wearing only a poncho for privacy.
I just discovered that those 5-liter "boxes" of wine (which are trash when empty) have a double-wall plastic bag with spigot. Put them into a cloth bag with handles on top and a hole for the spigot on the bottom and you have a solar shower, minus only the shower head.
Now, I don't suggest drinking 5 liters of wine just to get a "solar shower" but I sure hate seeing all those bags just trashed!

 
At 9:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You all have had great ideas! I'm currently not working. I didn't get fired, I quit a good paying job. The high stress of the job and constant mandatory OT anywhere from 5 to 15 hours a week pushed me over the edge. I worked this job for 10 years and just couldn't take it anymore. I had no life. Went into depression with lots of bone and joint problems to make things worse. Sold all my belongings packed a suitcase and flew out to Boulder/Denver. Didn't find a job, so I'm back here with mom and dad. So far so good. I'm not a kid by the way. I'm 41. Starting my life over hasn't been easy and I'm wondering if I'll end up homeless because I'm not finding work. ?I'm wondering, how would one maintain a homeless lifestyle while holding down a J.O.B.? Has anyone thought about finding work at a campground? You could camp for free but have money to live on. Just thinking. I highly recommend "expedition underwear" for cold climates. I have these and they are a must!!! They wick moisture-which is absolutely necessary! Sometimes I think living in South America would be better because the poor indigineous people plant themselves on land nobody owns and they county officials don't hassel you. DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST! Think about it: Subtropical climate with fruit trees, build a hut way up in the Peruvian jungle. The indigenous people are sooo kind and have sustainable skills. BINGO!
Also check out Ashrams. You MUST work while there but you get free food and a roof over your head, but you MUST be serious about your spiritual practice. Also consider becoming a WWOOFer(research it)and you WORK HARD on a farm, they'll give you a place to stay and you'll get fed healthy food. DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST! BESH WISHES TO ALL!

 
At 10:22 AM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

I do not recommend using ashrams as a survival nest. Homeless and desperate people are prime targets for cults. Stay away.

Leaving the country also sounds excessively risky. You are going from a culture that you understand, which is offering challenges to a culture you don't understand which will offer challenges you don't understand. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't. You should be conservative about the changes you make, particularly when you are making decisions that involve your way of life and survival. Be prudent.

As for homelessness and employment, check out my article titled Employment.

 
At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in the paast i used the hospitals for washing up

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger Tina said...

I have been homeless 2 times for just a short time each time. Once I had a membership to the cities rec centers. One had a pool, though the hours where wierd. $10 a year.

Now this is probably illegal. An apartment complex didn't always lock the empty apartments. I usually stayed there at night and showered in the morning and left, very eary. I am not saying where this place was.

 
At 8:41 AM, Anonymous Magpie said...

If you are on the coast, beaches can be plentiful. Wear a bathing suit and definitely utilize the public beach showers. You can get as clean as you want, but people might look at you funny if you start shampooing your hair and using bar soap. Try to blend in and look like you were just there for a day at the beach. If you're shy about using these showers, try using them when a lot of people aren't there, like really early in the morning or after dusk. But remember that it's more dangerous at night and you must be on guard. There are some sick folks out there.

If you live in a rainy location, such as the southeast USA, you can also try to find a location away from people and scrub up when the heavy rain comes.

 
At 7:36 PM, Blogger androgenoide said...

It depends where you are, but signing up for a phys ed class at a junior college is probably cheaper than a gym membership and being a student can bring other perks as well.
Tuition costs have shot up in recent years but a one unit class here is probably still under $50 for three months. Your student ID will also allow you free access to online data bases and, possibly, qualify you for lower rates on a variety of services around town.

 
At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many RV Parks that have facilities such as 24 hour restrooms with showers and laundry rooms. The offices usually close at 5:30 or 6 pm and if you go there after the office is closed, especially late at night, no one will know if you are renting a RV space, or not. You will usually find the restrooms are complete with liquid soap and paper towels.

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger rv guy said...

Try a local ymca. I shower there frequently just signing a wavier free. Memberships are 16 to 50 dollars a month. Workin out, swimming, chili in a hot tub and the old s, s, and s makes ya feel pretty good and lookin right keeps me under the radar. It's amazing how much better u will be treated if u r just clean and in shape.

 
At 12:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your blog. I don't know if you still check it or not. I was just looking for ways to stay warm in my car due to working 16-18 hour days and not having much time to go home and sleep and lo and behold your blog popped up. Excellent ideas. Homeless people see the world in a totally different light. Thanks for your insight. You have opened my mind to new ideas. Thanks for sharing.

 
At 2:29 PM, Blogger kquest said...

Jan.8, 2012 I think I have almost perfected the art of washing your hair on the fly. Ok for one thing your DON'T use shampoo, it is too sudsy and uses too much water. I have found the best soap to be the natural middle eastern soaps, one made out of olive oil. There is another I like better but I can't remember the name of it now. Anyway so you suds up with a little bit of water then you only need a few cups to rinse. It doesn't leave your hair so fluffy though but it is very clean.

 
At 4:21 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

I like body wash, but whatever works for you is what you should use. In the end, it's a very personal decision how to shampoo.

 
At 12:19 PM, Anonymous VanDwellingJ said...

I have found that living here in Florida and near the beach, I can put on my bathing suit, go to the beach and park, pay the meter $.50 (they are up to $1.50 an hour during the week or $2 on weekends) which gives me 18 min; you could put less in the meter if you want to just shower. Then I then can go take a quick swim in the ocean, get out, go take a rinse/wash at the public shower and be back at my van to change out of bathing suit, and be done before my time runs out.

 
At 2:25 PM, Anonymous VanDwellingJ said...

Another idea that a friend of mine suggested is to go to the city municipal swimming pool. For a charge of $1.00 here where I am in Florida I can take a swim and then go into the locker room and enjoy a nice hot shower and shave with limitless hot water. The city pool is open 7 days a week. This pool also offers a $25.00 annual pass which I have purchased. Not a bad deal for a year worth of use. Something to look into in your area.

 
At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you iron your clothes while homeless. Must look nice all the time.

 
At 1:08 AM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

Dry cleaners.

 
At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never tried a shower-besides a shower- seems like a waste of water. But for a good supply of washwater cheap, try lining a tote bag with a regular grocery plastic bag. You can cary it anywhere and it holds a good few gallons for a nice cat bath. You want to do the hair first and then it smells good, like shampoo. A Friend.

 
At 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I came across this site today. While I am not homeless I've been in a few situations that created a need for me to get creative.

One good tip I learned I the "homemade" shower. Take a gallon plastic milk container. Preferably a milk jug with a screw top. Take a nail, or something sharp the size of a nail and punch holes on the bottom part of the jug. 20-30 holes should be enough. And take a rope and tie one end to the jug handle, and the other handle will be use to tie to a tree branch later and hang overhead.

Fill up jug at water source. I usually filled up at a water hose, and never ran into the issue of dripping a water trail. Even though the jug has holes in it, the faucet will usually fill up the jug completly before it has a chance to empty all the way out into the drain. Flip it upside down so it doesn't drip out as you go back to where you will shower.

Take the other end of the rope and tie it to a tree branch, or something above your hear. I've tried it before and it usually gave me a 10 min shower. On warn days I propped before using it up while the sun warmed it up.

Another variation to this, but I never had a chance to try it out, just going off what a friend told me. They had a permanent "campsite" and just left the empty jug hanging on the branch. And took a funnel and another jug(without the holes) filled it and used that to fill up the "shower". You can "MacGuyver" the rope to allow room to raise an lower the jug by puttin a nail in the tree and tying it off there. Make sure you bend/curve the nail over because you can easy hurt yourself or someone else by leaving a random nail protruding out of a tree.

Obviously this works best if you are in a secluded rural area with lots of woods. Sorry in my instructions were too wordy or not clear.

 
At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgot another option a buddy of mine used when available was cheap motel rooms to take a shower and a warm place dr the night. He only did this when he had 3 other people to pitch in for the room rent. Usually 40 a night in most cities. The management isn't usually too suspicious, just a long as you and your company aren't too loud, and be as inconspicuous as possible. The rooms usually once one queen or two full depending what u ask for. And the flipped a coin for bed privilege or just rotated. Sometimes depending on who they were, they just shared two to a bed.

 
At 6:37 PM, Blogger Michelle Zahrte said...

I use to go to a truck stop ask the towel lady for an "extra" towel and wait for someone to leave a shower and run in a quick shower or if have money pay the 7 dollars. Glen Helen camp site had hot showers too.. I use to sleep in my car and cover the windows with black trash bags

 
At 2:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, just found your site, and wonderful suggestions. I am a retired British lady, living in Spain. I have bought a converted Leyland LDV van, and intend to drive to UK next month (having no permanent home there). I agree about ideas for creativity, but surviving in England with that climate and outdoor showers might prove a challenge! But will initially look into sports centres for showers, but unlike the U.S. everything is much more expensive here with few facilities.

 
At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always found the best place for showers on the road was the larger camp sites. Sometimes they're gated want to charge access to the site but I just tell them I'm thinking of staying and can I have a look around, never been refused yet. Showers are usually pretty well maintained and often free.
Paul

 
At 1:38 PM, Anonymous creativethink said...

i was homeless for a couple of months before,and i don't have a car or know how to drive, so i know what it feels like , i still remember one freezing cold nights ,it snowed real bad, i crumble walked alone along the streets ,looking for any type of shelter ,till i reached a hospital, i slept for an hour or so,it felt so warm,i wont forget the feeling there ever..then had to be waken by security, to start the sufferng again..wondering through dark streets , i hate it...i remember thinking it would be better if i had a car to sleep inside...don't like those days...
good blog u r running here my friend...please keep helping.

 
At 5:39 PM, Blogger JuJu said...

I have a membership to the local recreation center. I live in a large city and there are several rec centers and the card works at all of them. IT cost me 19 dollars a month to take a shower every day and use gym facilities and even take classes. My city even has a low income membership so once I am approved for that, it will be even less.

 
At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've used gas station, fast food, mall, grocery store, university/college, and train/bus station bathrooms to scrub myself down when a wet wipe just wouldn't do anymore.

I find the best way is to get in the bathroom early in the morning 4-6am, if possible, before a lot of people are in the vicinity.

I don't stand at the sink. I wet towels to wash and rinse and take them into the stall with me. Brush my teeth. Fix my hair. Then I wipe the floor and disappear.

 
At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One place no one thinks of is public golf courses. Most of them have showers and they hardly ever get used. I used to work at one. As long as you don't look like a bum they will think you are just going to change. Plus a lot of the time one man will pay for the foursome so the people in the pro shop don't see who plays.

 
At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"BATH IN A BOTTLE" hand lotion and water, shake it up in a water bottle, rub it on, rub it in and wipe it off with a terry towel, it's time consuming, but, amazing how clean y9ou get. I also sometimes use rubbing alcohol,but, now the medical profession are not giving patients alcohol baths, because it kills the good and bad bacteria on your skin. I am going back to living in my car, I need to pay off debt. I did this in my 20's and feel more mature, that i can handle it mentally, it can get depressing, but, with modern technology...cell phones, internet everywhere, I don't think i will miss having a residence. I noticed when the power went out, I thought to myself ' I am paying all this money to live in a box with only the convenience of elctricity.

 
At 2:17 PM, Blogger Lila said...

hey places like ymca also have financial assistance.some places will grant u free whil others have a low min payment,,,, worth applying for! then u can use everywhere!

 
At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to point this out and add this, which is one of the things that ruins assistance or help for everyone is the fact that when people talk about free stuff or means of doing stuff they don't talk about the fact that it's stealing when one takes something without paying for it. Ketchup packets, napkins, tampons from lobby's, toilet paper from rest rooms, even water from places that is not designated for what you are using it for, such as bathing in a store or gas station restroom when it is meant for washing hands is stealing. SOMEONE has to pay those bills for the resources one is taking. Gas station restrooms? It isn't Chevron, Texaco, and or Shell, etc. who is picking up the bill for the water used; it's the local guy who owns the station; the gas companies only put the gas in the station's tanks, but it's a local owner who pays the bills, owns the building, etc. Same with fast food restaurants.... it isn't McDonalds, etc. who is paying for the ketchup you are taking, it's the franchise owner; the little local guy who you are taking from. The people who own these places are paying to use the company logo's and purchase the company "supplies". Remember this the next time you "take" something instead of paying for it; this is one of the things that ruins it for everyone.

 
At 6:03 PM, Blogger Mobile Homemaker said...

I can't help but respond to this last bit of moralizing about how taking free ketchup or napkins or straws or toilet tissue is stealing from some poor franchise owner. I have one nice, intellectual response which is, repeat it with me, the cost of doing business. My second response is visceral, and has to do with the fact that people too poor to feed or house themselves have been dealt a raw deal, and people rich enough to run a McDonalds or a 76 Station are among the elites of the world, even if they are bottom rung elites. That response is best expressed in a slightly vulgar way. Who gives a fuck?

 
At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another tip for showering. Get some hospital scrubs, wonder into the hospital as if you belong, go to the patient floor, go to an empty room (If you go in an occupied one just apologize wrong room and move on), then slip into there bathroom and have a hot clean shower.

 
At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is how I wash my hair on the road living in my van.

I know it is very tempting to use the warm water in a public restroom to wash your hair. The bad downside of doing so is it tends to make a mess that you must ether clean up (requiring more time) or leaves a mess, making the owners of the restroom mad at you (and telling you not to come back!) Here is my way of doing this which avoids these problems (and you will be welcome back.)

Go to the store and buy six 32 ounce juice bottles, the short fat ones that have a screw off top and are short enough to fit under the facet in a public restroom sink.

Then get one of those cloth shopping bags with a handle and a flat bottom. Trim one or two pieces of cardboard to fit in the bottom of bag to create a flat bottom to the bag.

Then place the six bottles in the bag, place a towel on top of them, carry it into a public restroom, fill them with warm water, and walk out (total time in restroom less then 3 minute, and no mess.)

I then drive someplace discrete, put on a dirty t-shirt I was planing on washing anyway, wrap a big towel around my waist to keep my pants dry, kneel down on ground, lean over and pour a bottle of warm water over my head to get it wet. Then lather up good with shampoo, and use another bottle to rinse it off. I like to do a second lathering up with shampoo to get my hair really clean. Then use remaining warm water to rinse it all off.

I then throw everything back in my van and drive away. I now have clean hair and I will be welcome back when need warm water again.

 
At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good blog - I'm hoping that I don't have to use the information, but will definitely keep it in mind in case I do.

Not sure if this is covered in other posts, but state parks that have beaches or pools will also have showers. If you are thinking of spending $5-$30 for a day pass at a gym, you might consider spending $5-10 on a day pass at a state park (where you can get a full shower), or an annual pass which would allow you to get a shower every day for the season.

 
At 7:45 PM, Blogger Sheryl Isaacs said...

Since almost becoming homeless, due to my clinical depression and adhd, I always feel like homelessness is around the corner at all times. So, I know lots of tips. To talk more go to my little home shop on etsy at ArtisanHealing.etsy.com
Cleanest restrooms 1. Hospital, 2. Bank, 3. Library
You can actually live at the hospital. Just don't start a conversation with anyone and they will be none the wiser. You can sleep in the waiting room, just be sure to move between the different ones, so no one gets suspicious. You can spend hours at the library, and no one cares, as long as you have a book.

 
At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband & I are five days into living in our car and facing eviction from that due to lack of funds for gas. On the morning of the first night in the car, I thought we should’ve just moved into the car weeks ago, while we still had some money. Instead, we spent our last $200 on motel stay for just three more days of comfort. So far, other than the shower problem, it’s actually not so bad. But I would not wish this life for anyone.

Thank you for your body wash recipe, I'm looking forward to getting cleaned. Just yesterday I mentioned maybe having to cut my waist length hair. Other than a shower or one of those large utility sink you see in the Laundromats, it's difficult to properly wash and rinse. Having had long hair for 30 years, it’s another sacrifice of, as you say, being "wrong."

When you mentioned the campus showers, it reminded me of when I took an aquarobics class years ago when I was at university. There were women of various ages; women who are not in their 20's. One can check for schedules and show up at the shower with everyone else without questions asked.

 

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