Personal Hygiene on the Appalachian Trail

Options for cleaning oneself on the trail include sponge baths in cold water from your canteen with biodegradable soap. Biodegradable soap can be purchased from a camping store. Popular brands include Dr. Bronner's and Camp Suds.

Be sure to perform your sponge bath at least 200 feet from water sources and to pour the used water directly onto the soil and not back in to streams and lakes. The same applies for rinsing after brushing your teeth.

Deodorant is optional. Many hikers only become self-conscious of their odor when heading into towns. Some will carry a travel-size deodorant and use it sparingly when reentering civilization.

Methods of cleaning clothes is a personal preference. Some of the biodegradable soaps are multi-purpose and can be used to clean clothes as well. Other hikers depend on the soap dispensing machines from laundromats in towns; however, these can be expensive.

About the Author Steve Burge:
Steve Burge was the original founder of AppalachianTrail.com. He was a teacher for many years before starting a web development firm.
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