If you’ve read our story of getting off the grid, you probably remember that when my husband and I did this that we went all in. You probably also remember me saying that we really weren’t very well prepared for the challenges that would be coming our way.
Earlier this morning I was thinking back to the things that presented the most challenges for us and I was reminded of how difficult it was to maintain our standards of cleanliness. In visiting with other families who followed a similar path, they conveyed that this was a challenge for them as well.
If you make a clean break (no pun intended) from the power grid with the intention of building as you go, you won’t have many of the “conveniences” that you’ve come to rely on. These conveniences may include: a washing machine, a dishwasher, a big hot water heater, and a nice tub or shower.
When we took the plunge and went off grid, we had to do our laundry in town, we got our hot water from the 5th wheel’s little 6 gallon water heater, we washed our dishes in the sink in our 5th wheel, and we showered in the 5th wheel’s tiny shower.
At first, our new lifestyle felt like an extended camping trip but we soon realized the importance of maintaining proper hygiene standards. We weren’t equipped well for this when we first started out but we were able to manage to keep things clean by following some strict rules.
- Rule #1: Keep plenty of hand sanitizer available – This really came in handy because it could be used to sanitize our hands when our little hot water heater was working to reheat the water in the tank.
- Rule #2: Keep sanitizing wipes on hand – These wipes are really nice because you can grab one in a pinch to wash up with.
- Rule #3: Learn to conserve hot water while showering – We quickly learned that even though we only had a 6 gallon hot water tank, we could take nice showers by turning the water on while we were getting lathered up. Then we turned the water off while we were washing. When it was time to rinse off, we turned the water back on again. You would be surprised how long 6 gallons of hot water will last using this water conservation technique.
- Rule #4: Teach your kids that towels are still clean after showering – It took us a while to convince our children that if they washed up well in the shower, their towels would still be clean after they dried off. We learned that you can save a lot of money on laundry if you get in the habit of hanging your towels up after showering so that you can use them again before putting them through the laundry.
- Rule #5: Always wash your dishes in hot water – Many of you have probably “made do” by washing your dishes in cold water when you were camping but this isn’t ideal for removing germs and bacteria. We had limited hot water available due to the small size of our hot water heater so we learned to heat up a big pot of hot water on the stove to provide an extra supply of hot water while washing our dishes.
- Rule #6 – Don’t lower your hygiene standards – We learned that it was important for our family to insist on maintaining good hygiene standards but we saw others who moved up to the mountain to live off the grid who didn’t do this. At first they were clean but as time went on, they let their standards for cleanliness slip a little here and there until eventually, they didn’t seem to have any standards at all.
Just remember that if you do actually move off grid without having all of the conveniences that you are used to in place a head of time, you can AND SHOULD still do all that you can to maintain high standards of cleanliness. Proper hygiene and sanitation is good for your morale and it will also help prevent the possibility of becoming sick.
Before you leave, why not take a minute and read about how we were able to set up a homemade solar shower. You can read that article by clicking here: Check Out Our Simple To Make Homemade Solar Powered Water Heater Experiment.