Van life hygiene products

Living the van life offers freedom and adventure, but it also brings unique challenges, particularly when it comes to maintaining hygiene on the road. While it may seem daunting at first, with a little creativity and some practical tips, you can keep yourself clean and fresh even without the conveniences of a traditional home. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various van life hygiene tips, products, and solutions to ensure you stay hygienic and healthy while living the van life.

Table of Contents

  1. Showering on the Road
  2. Bathroom Solutions
  3. Doing Laundry
  4. Keeping Your Van Clean
  5. Hygiene Products for Van Life
  6. Additional Hygiene Hacks
  7. Summary

1. Showering on the Road

Showering is a basic necessity, and finding ways to stay clean on the road is crucial for your overall well-being. While you may not have the luxury of a hot, running shower every day, there are several options to consider:

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a. Gym Memberships

Joining a gym, such as a nationwide chain like Planet Fitness, can provide you with regular access to showers at an affordable price. These gyms offer 24/7 shower facilities, allowing you to freshen up and maintain personal hygiene. Additionally, you can take advantage of the gym’s other amenities, such as exercise equipment, to stay fit while on the road.

Pro Tip: Use a body scrub or Korean washcloth during showers to thoroughly cleanse your skin.

b. Portable Showers

Investing in a portable shower can significantly enhance your showering experience on the road. Options like the Hozelock Pump Shower, Battery-Powered Portable Shower, and Camp Shower Bag offer convenience and flexibility. With these portable showers, you can heat water using a solar shower bag or other methods, providing you with a comfortable showering experience wherever you go.

c. Natural Water Sources

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When you’re off-grid or in nature-rich areas, take advantage of natural water sources like rivers and lakes. While the water may not be warm, it can still provide a refreshing bathing experience. Remember to use eco-friendly soaps like Dr. Bronner’s to minimize your impact on the environment.

d. Wipes and Dry Shampoo

For times when a traditional shower is not readily available, body wipes and dry shampoo can be lifesavers. Body wipes, such as Dude Wipes, are larger and made with plant-based fibers, providing a quick and convenient way to freshen up. Dry shampoo helps combat greasy hair by absorbing excess oil, allowing you to go longer between washes.

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2. Bathroom Solutions

Dealing with bathroom needs while living in a van requires some creativity and resourcefulness. Here are some practical solutions:

a. Going Outdoors

When nature calls, going outdoors is often the most straightforward solution. Find a private spot away from water sources, dig a cathole at least six inches deep, and cover it up after use. Remember to follow Leave No Trace principles and pack out any used toilet paper. For women, products like the SHEWEE can provide a convenient way to stand and urinate, reducing the need for privacy.

b. Portable Toilets

If you prefer a more comfortable bathroom experience in your van, portable toilets offer a practical solution. Bucket toilets, like the Luggable Loo, provide a simple and affordable option. You can line the bucket with biodegradable bags and dispose of waste properly. Alternatively, chemical toilets, such as the Camco Standard Portable Travel Toilet, utilize chemicals to minimize odors and make waste disposal easier.

c. Public Restrooms

When in urban areas or near public facilities, make use of public restrooms in places like gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Apps like Flush Toilet Finder can help you locate nearby restrooms, even without an internet connection. Remember to be respectful and clean up after yourself.

3. Doing Laundry

Keeping your clothes clean and fresh is essential for maintaining good hygiene. Here are some strategies for doing laundry on the road:

a. Minimize Washing

To conserve water and energy, wear clothes multiple times before washing them, especially if they are not heavily soiled. Hanging clothes in the sunlight can help naturally freshen them and kill bacteria. If needed, use fabric fresheners to eliminate odors.

b. Hand Washing

For smaller loads of laundry, hand washing is an efficient option. Fill a collapsible laundry bucket with water, add eco-friendly detergent, and scrub the clothes thoroughly. Rinse them well and let them air dry.

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c. Laundromats

When you have larger loads of laundry or prefer a machine wash, visit local laundromats. Plan your laundry day and wash everything at once to save time and money. Some laundromats may require specific payment methods, such as laundry cards, so be prepared.

d. Portable Washing Machines

If you prefer more control over your laundry, portable washing machines like the Scrubba Wash Bag or hand-powered washers can be great investments. These compact devices allow you to wash clothes efficiently without the need for a traditional washing machine.

4. Keeping Your Van Clean

Maintaining cleanliness inside your van is crucial for a comfortable living environment. Here are some tips for keeping your van clean:

a. Regular Sweeping

Keep a small brush and dustpan on hand to sweep away dirt and dust from your van’s floors and surfaces. Regular sweeping helps prevent dirt build-up and keeps your living space tidy.

b. Wipe Down Surfaces

Regularly wipe down surfaces, such as countertops and tables, with a mild cleaning solution or natural alternatives like vinegar or baking soda. This helps remove grime and prevents the need for harsh chemicals.

c. Organize and Minimize Clutter

Designate specific storage areas for your belongings to prevent clutter. Keeping your van organized not only makes cleaning easier but also creates a more pleasant living environment.

d. Use Outdoor Mats

Use outdoor mats outside your van’s entrance to prevent dirt and debris from being tracked inside. This simple addition can significantly reduce the amount of cleaning required.

5. Hygiene Products for Van Life

Having the right hygiene products can make a world of difference in staying clean on the road. Here are some essential items to consider:

a. Body Wipes

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Body wipes, such as Dude Wipes, are perfect for quick refreshment when a shower is not available. These larger wipes are made with plant-based fibers and provide a convenient solution for staying clean.

b. Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo is a van life staple for maintaining fresh hair between washes. It absorbs excess oil and adds volume, allowing you to go longer without traditional shampooing. Look for options like Batiste or Living Proof.

c. Biodegradable Toilet Paper

When using natural outdoor bathroom solutions, it’s essential to use biodegradable toilet paper. Brands like Seventh Generation and Who Gives A Crap offer eco-friendly options that break down quickly in the environment.

d. Eco-friendly Soap

Opt for eco-friendly soaps, such as Dr. Bronner’s, which are biodegradable and safe for the environment. These versatile soaps can be used for body, hair, and even laundry.

6. Additional Hygiene Hacks

In addition to the tips and products mentioned above, here are some extra van life hygiene hacks to help you stay clean on the road:

a. Outdoor Showers at Beaches and Parks

Take advantage of outdoor showers available at beaches and public parks. These facilities are often free and provide a quick rinse after swimming or outdoor activities.

b. Portable Bidets

Consider using a portable bidet for a more thorough and hygienic cleaning experience. These devices, like the Portable Travel Bidet, provide a convenient way to cleanse after using the bathroom.

c. Shoe Deodorizers

Combat smelly feet by using shoe deodorizers or foot powders. These products help absorb moisture and neutralize odors, keeping your van smelling fresh.

d. Odor-Reducing Laundry Bags

Invest in odor-reducing laundry bags to store dirty clothes until you can do laundry. These bags help contain odors and prevent them from spreading inside your van.

e. Natural Air Fresheners

Use natural air fresheners like essential oil diffusers or sachets to keep your van smelling pleasant. Lavender, citrus, or eucalyptus scents can help create a relaxing and refreshing atmosphere.


Living the van life doesn’t mean sacrificing hygiene. With the right strategies, products, and a little creativity, you can stay clean and fresh on the road. Whether it’s finding shower solutions, managing bathroom needs, doing laundry, or keeping your van clean, there are options for every situation. Embrace the adventure of van life while maintaining your personal hygiene, and enjoy the freedom and flexibility it offers.