One of the best superfuities - Instructables.com is so freakin' useful since it gives me the opportunity to learn at least one new word every day, so today it's the awesome word superfluity - when you're out there in the great outdoors with your pockets full of nothing, is body hygiene.
Body hygiene. Yep, we're really going thàt way in this 'Survive in style' series.
I know, the feeling IS great - knowing that you're stinking like a skunk that just threw all its body fluid against the wind - once we've got Rage Against The Machine, now we have Skunk Against The Wind - and not caring a single second about it.
Searching food, making shelter and enjoying the simple life are so much nicer than caring about such a trivial thing as 'being clean' - I know you worked hard the whole year to get all this money just to go out there and live for several weeks without spending it.
I know, all this. But there are limits, though. Bad body hygiene is an open door for deseases, mental breakdown & social isolation. And thus cruelly mortgaging your chances on a decent survival-date.
You really need a wash, from time to time. Please.
I don't want you to smell good, I just want you not to smell bad. You may smell bad, in fact, what counts is that sticky fermenting stuff all over your body.
Get rid of it!
'Got no soap!' - I just knèw you'd say that!
You know what? MAKE IT, that soap!
Step 1: Go to SIS (2)
Depending on the region where you're stinking you might need a mug - not to brew a magic beer that cleans you on the outside while it passes through the inside, but just to crush leaves. Really.
In fact, the interesting part is not really those leaves, but what they carry in them. Some plants contain a lot of saponins, molecules that protect them against fungi & other parasites. These saponins also have a surface tension-lowering effect and are thus excellent emulsifiers. Read: they dissolve grease & fat aka that stuff that makes you a walking stick-on-everything.
Saponins let soap be soap.
So I invite you to spend just 15 minutes or those thousands of minutes ahead of you to make a decent recipient.
As you see, I even modified mine: I just cut it in eight and remplaced the hemp by nice paracord.
Honestly: isn't it the coolest 15min mug you've eve seen?
Step 2: Carve a Pestle
A nice piece of wood is all you need.
Step 3: Stinking in America
Finding natural soap in North America is as easy as opening a beer bottle with a cucumber and a freezer.
In semi-arid regions: grab some yucca, crush the roots, add some water and soap you have.
In California: find the California buckeye (Aesculus californica), crush the nuts, add some water and soap you have.
In the other regions: start walking to a semi arid region.
In fact, since yuccas have been spread all over the world, it's not that difficult to find them also elsewhere than in the Americas. It's a great escaper from garden centers and once they're nicely installed somewhere they're there to stay. We have one in our garden for example, that has been there for almost 20 years. Just too bad my wife didn't allow me to dig a few roots. It seems that we 'have a real bathroom'.
But sometimes sacrifices have to be made. I discovered a secred egg-cache - playful chickens, you know - and since they had created it on a bunch of baby-yuccas I decided to take good profit of the situation.
The eggs were mine, the baby-yuccas were mine. Minus one piece of baby.
So I did grab some yucca, I did crush the root and I did add some water to obtain a kind of gelatinous stuff that cleaned my hands and my contaminated soul. It worked for the first. It failed for the last.
Step 4: Stinking in Eurasia
On the good side of the Atlantic - haha - we have a real problem, called the Absence Of Widespread Yucca & California Buckeye.
Does that mean we have to stink & make the best of it anyway?
No we don't, since we have Ivy.
Ivy (Hedera helix) is a parasitic plant that climbs upon vertical surfaces like walls & trees, extracting water & nutrients from them. This climber stays green the whole year and gives perfect shelters for birds & rodents.
But most particular of all: the young leaves contain a lot of saponins - up to 8%.
Quite Important Note for those on the bad side - LOL - of the Atlantic: apparently Ivy has found its way over there too, which means that we're stinking as equals by now! We have your Yucca, but you have our Ivy...
Step 5: Crushin' Ivy
Grab a handful of leaves, drop them in your mortar and crush them like if your life on depends.
Empty the mortarmug by tapping it upside down and release the mash.
Step 6: Foam Party
Add some water to the mash, rub it between your hands and see the foam coming all over you.
Undress completely & repeat the same action to the rest of your body.
Clean you will be.
There's only one side effect: you might attract lots of Ivy-beetles and Ivy-moths the next few days.
So watch out for SIS(5): DIY Roundup Shampoo.
Step 7: The White List
There's more soap in the world than yucca & ivy. Many plants contain saponins - it's just a question of knowledge & finding them.
Using natural - and biodegredable - soaps on your next trip will be so much better ànd cooler than the commercial stuff.
The soap is out there. Use it.
Horse chestnut - use the crushed chestnuts (thanx member ChefJohn1955)
Philadelphus sp. - use leafs & flowers
Snowberry - use the berries
Clethra alnifolia - use the flowers
American Pokeweed - use the crushed root
Bracken - use the rhizomes
Common soapwort - use the crushed root (thanx member ysabet)
Sapindus - my favorite - use the nuts