Have you ever asked yourself how do astronauts bathe and clean themselves in space? Some people think that it is not very different from the process followed on Earth, and they are partly right, but there are also many differences.
How Do Astronauts Wash
Hygiene in space is not easy. To bathe and clean themselves in there, each astronaut on the spacecraft has a bag with everything they need (comb, razor, deodorant, toothbrush, and toothpaste). None of the products in this bag have strong odors, although they have a similar composition to what they would have on earth.
However, toothpaste is thicker so that it sticks to the toothbrush and does not float away due to the lack of gravity.
Specifically, the astronauts shower every two days; but, instead of going under the faucet, they rub their bodies using wet towels, then put soap on and remove it again using another towel. These towels are very thin and made of very absorbent material.
To wash their hair, they use a little water, which they store in a container, to get their hair and then apply a special shampoo that does not require rinsing. As you can see, during the whole process they use the minimum amount of water. Water is a scarce commodity on long-duration space missions; astronauts make the most of it.
What About Their Clothes
In addition to all the difficulties we have already discussed, one factor we have not talked about is the clothes they carry inside the ship. They do not have washing machines as we do on land.
Specifically, the astronauts change clothes once a week. They can’t afford to change clothes every day either, because there are no washing machines (it would be a very high water cost).
All the clothes worn by the astronauts (pants, shirts, and underwear) are disposable. That means so when they change, they put them in a bag and throw them away.