How to take a bath in a five gallon bucket

Written By: Miranda - Jun• 16•12


Items needed:

  • 1 five gallon plastic bucket (as might have contained drywall compound)
  • 1 water source (stream, pond, neighbor’s house, etc)
  • 1 heat source (stove, fire)
  • Large pot or several small ones (for heating the bath water)
  • Towel, washcloth, soap, shampoo. Biodegradable soap/shampoo such as Dr. Bonner’s is preferred but not necessary


  1. Get about ¾ of a five gallon bucket full of water from your water source.
  2. Heat ½ (half) of the water to just about boiling
  3. Pour hot water into the cold water in the bucket. This will generally result in a comfortable bathing temperature. In cold weather you may want to heat the water a little more as bucket baths cool off quickly in a cold room
  4. Reserve one large saucepan or kettle (something you can hold with one hand) of the warm water.
  5. With your towel, washcloth and soap within easy reach, kneel in front of the bucket. Wash and rinse face.
  6. Still kneeling in front of the bucket, starting with the top of the head, slowly lower your head into the bucket until hair is fully submerged.
  7. Remove head from bucket and apply shampoo.
  8. Again, beginning with the top of the head, lower head into bucket until hair is fully submerged. Agitate hair to pre-rinse.
  9. Remove head from bucket and wrap wet hair in a towel.
  10. Come to a standing position and step into the bucket. Using your washcloth, wash body starting at the top.
  11. Remove towel from wet hair
  12. Using the clean warm water reserved at the beginning of the process, starting at the top of the head, slowly pour the clean rinse water over the hair and body.
  13. Step out of the bucket. Dry.


Now use the leftover water on your garden.

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