Dry shower: how to wash the body without water

Taking a dry shower is not something desirable, but in certain circumstances, it may be necessary.

Dry shower

Dry body washing cannot replace a shower altogether, but it can certainly make us feel cleaner and more comfortable.

The shower, by definition, washes away the impurities of the skin by means of water and soap, but when the water is not there there is only soap left and it must be a particular soap to play its role. 

After years of pandemic we have all learned to use hand sanitizing gels. Here, these gels, variously reformulated, can guarantee us a dry shower that removes impurities and bad odors, even without water.

The sanitizing gels, by now we all know, contain high percentages of alcohol whose purpose is, on the one hand, to reduce the bacterial load and, on the other, to make the product dry quickly in contact with the air.

Dry shower products can also contain alcohol, but not all of them have this formulation, which may not be suitable for sensitive skin.

Alcohol, on the other hand, has hygienic capabilities but also the power to make you "shiver", since on contact with the skin it generates a cold sensation.

Dry cleaning the whole body can be problematic, generally we concentrate on the exposed areas (hands and face) and on those with more perspiration such as armpits, chest, groin and feet.

But let's cut to the chase: what products exist for showering in the absence of water?

Searching here and there I think I have identified three that differ in their "approach" and formulation:

  1. sanitizing wipes
  2. dry gel for the body
  3. body foam without the use of water

If you do a little bit of thinking, you can guess that these products are not dry wipes, they obviously contain water otherwise they would be unusable.

A dry shower is never totally dry unless you resort to extreme methods of survival, i.e., those that our ancestors used a few million years ago and that many animals still use, such as turning in dirt or mud to get rid of oily body secretions.

Sanitizing wipes

We all know about sanitizing wipes, while not everyone is familiar with the other two products.

Sanitizing wipes are great on the go and allow us to clean ourselves even without water. They are lightly soaked in cleanser and once wiped on the skin leave a nice fresh feeling.

The fresh feeling may not always be "nice". Quite often on the packaging it talks about refreshing wipes. This is especially nice in the summer but in the winter, on the other hand, can be quite annoying.

Wipes are ideal when there is no water and can be declined in many variants, even in special gloves for cleaning the disabled and elderly, to say.

They are therefore very comfortable and have among the few disadvantages to be quite bulky. Bulky if we expect to have to take with us enough to withstand a prolonged water shortage.

It all depends on how clean we want to feel, of course, there are those who feel the need to rinse their hands after touching anything, and obviously the wipes are not biodegradable and dirty ones you should keep them with you if you do not have a wastebasket available.

Personally I would use the wipes primarily for intimate hygiene to "remove" dirt, combining them with one of the other products I'm going to outline.

Dry shower gel

The dry shower gel is also very popular with users, some of whom however complain about the not too pleasant smell and perhaps the excessive fragrance, when you would have preferred a product without any smell.

The dry shower gel you can find here:


is unisex and does its antibacterial action very well. With a neutral Ph that doesn't dry out the skin, it's formulated to be totally biodegradable, for those who care about not polluting the planet with soaps either.

Dry Shower Foam

And we come to this last product that looks like a mousse (like the kind found in many public restrooms and used as an alternative to traditional liquid soap).

This foam is free of parabens or formaldehyde but does contain alcohol. The product is called Muc-Off and you can find it here:


This foam has a pleasant coconut smell (for those who like the smell of coconut, of course), and thanks to its foam formulation is easy to spread on the skin.

Once same you spread it until it dries completely, or you can use it on top of a small cotton wipe.

In short, whether you're a cyclist, a hiker, a camper or a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, know that the options for taking a dry shower that takes away our smell and embarrassment exist. These are all products that are used without water and can be used in an "emergency".

Always remember that a good dry shower product should not be too aggressive on the skin but, at the same time, should have a sanitizing action and not simply cover up odors.

DIY Editor
Do-it-yourself enthusiast. I started with the renovation of my flat and then I changhed this passion into my job.