Survival Hygiene – Can You Shower Without Power?

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Mike Roth

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Can You Shower Without Power?

When the power goes out, our regular routines can quickly crumble. From lights and appliances to heating and cooling systems, we rely heavily on electrical power lines to conduct our day-to-day activities. But, can you Shower during a power outage?

From utilizing portable camping showers and solar-powered water heaters to harnessing the natural elements around you, we’ll show you how to make the most of limited resources. These practical suggestions will not only help you stay clean but also conserve water in the process.

Can You Shower Without Power?

Whether or not you can take a shower during a power outage often after a storm, depends on various factors, including the type of water heating system you have and your water supply.

For most homes, showering during a power outage is not feasible, even if the outage is relatively short-lived. A traditional hot water heater or water tank retains hot water for some time, even after the power goes out, but such systems are almost always powered by an electric water pumping system.

If you are a rural prepper, odds are that you do not have access to natural gas lines at your home. Even if you have a stand-alone gas hot water heaters that you keep filled and connected to gas powered appliances/systems, most of those now function on an electric start or manually lighting the pilot light to use.

Unless you have a gas powered system and light the pilot manually for use or have a solar-powered water pump on your well, expect to get creative when figuring out how to get clean and remain clean when the electric is out.

Preparing Water for a Power Outage

Being prepared is key to successfully navigating a power outage. When it comes to showering without power, having the right items on hand can make a significant difference. No worries; there is no need to suffer through a cold water shower during a power outage; there are ample ways to maintain proper temperatures when getting clean.

Here are some essential items to consider having in your emergency kit:

1. Portable Camping Shower

Portable Camping Shower

Investing in a portable camping shower can be a game changer during a power outage. These showers are designed to be used without electricity and can provide a refreshing bathing experience. They often come with a water reservoir and a nozzle that allows you to control the water flow.

2. Solar-Powered Water Heater

These devices use solar energy to heat the water. They can be used with a portable shower or any other bathing method you prefer. The water is heated to a warm level even during winter months and cold air.

Solar-powered water heaters are one of the most popular methods for off-grid showering. This portable solution harnesses the sun’s energy to heat water and requires no power source other than natural sunlight.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up a solar shower:

  • Purchase a portable solar shower bag or make one yourself by using a food-grade plastic bag and attaching a hose with a nozzle.
  • Fill the bag with water and hang it in direct sunlight, elevating it for better water pressure.
  • Allow the water to warm up for several hours, depending on sunlight intensity and desired temperature.
  • Attach the hose with a nozzle to the bag, securing it tightly.
  • Test the water temperature and adjust by adding cold or hot water as necessary.

Benefits: Solar showers are portable, require minimal setup, and utilize renewable energy. They are an excellent option during sunny days and can be used in various outdoor locations.

Limitations: Solar showers are dependent on sunlight, making them less suitable for cloudy or winter days. They also have limited hot water capacity and require advance planning to heat water in advance.

3. Propane Water Heaters

Portable Propane Water Heaters

For preppers seeking a viable hot shower option when the power is out, we recommend portable propane water heaters. They are a fantastic option. These systems utilize a propane source for warming water, providing consistent hot water for showering.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up a portable propane water heater:

  1. Purchase a portable propane water heater suitable for your needs.
  2. Connect the water heater to a propane canister following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Place the water heater in a secure and well-ventilated area.
  4. Connect the water hose to a water source, such as a bucket or stream, and attach the showerhead.
  5. Open the propane valve and adjust the water temperature to your preference.

Benefits: Portable propane hot water heaters provide hot water consistently, regardless of weather conditions. They offer a greater volume of hot water compared to solar showers, allowing for longer showers. They are suitable for long-term off-grid living.

Limitations: Propane-powered heaters can be bulky and require propane canisters, making them less portable for certain situations. It is important to monitor propane levels and ensure proper ventilation to avoid safety hazards

Water storage containers: Having extra water storage containers can be very beneficial during a power outage. You can use these containers to store water for various purposes, including showering.

4. Generators


If you rely on well water, consider backup options like A Generator – preferably a multi-fuel type

Well-pumps take a lot of power to work, connecting a cord from a generator running essential appliances in the house to the well quite simply is not going to work unless you invested in an enormous and highly powerful commercial-style generator.

A multi-fuel generator gives you more viable options to power the engine during a long-term electricity outage – remember, propane and diesel fuel are far more shelf-stable than gasoline.

5. Manual Well Pump

Manual Well Pump

Pumping systems of this type will give you unhampered access to the water in your well, albeit slow access. Getting to the water is the biggest part of the battle when trying to plan a sustainable off-grid shower.

Once you have a 5-gallon bucket of water pumped from your well, you can then fill your solar showers or heat the water on a wood stove, over a fire, or in a pot hanging in the fireplace, and then pour it through a bucket, metal tub, or tank that holes have been cut into, and take a quick and warm bath to get clean.

Some people also store large water tanks as a contingency plan, ensuring they have an alternate water source for essential needs like drinking and hygiene.

Off-Grid Shower Essentials

Off-Grid Shower Essentials

Stock up on clean towels and washcloths that you can use for washing and drying off. It’s a good idea to have multiple towels and washcloths available, especially if you’re expecting an extended outage because you will not be able to wash used ones with any type of regularity.

DIY Solutions for Heating Water

DIY Solutions for Heating Water

When alternative power sources are scarce, preppers and survivalists can turn to DIY solutions to warm water for showering.

Here are two effective methods to for heated water:

  • Rocket Stove: Build a rocket stove using bricks or metal cans. This stove uses small pieces of wood as fuel and efficiently directs heat toward a vessel for water heating.
  • Fire: As noted above, heating cold water pumped from a well, creek or pond, can be easily accomplished using traditional off-grid heating and plumbing sources. Harness the power of a campfire by placing a cast iron pot or camping kettle filled with water over the flames. The heat from the fire will gradually warm the water, acting like an off grid traditional water heater so you can take a hot shower.

Benefits: DIY solutions are often low-cost and rely on readily available resources like wood, making them practical in survival situations.

Water Conservation During Power Outages

Water Conservation During Power Outages

During an outage, it’s essential to be mindful of water usage, as you may not have access to an unlimited supply. By understanding the impact of power outages on our daily routines, we can better prepare for such situations and ensure we have the necessary resources on hand.

Here are some tips for conserving water during a power outage:

  • Shorten shower duration: Limit the time you spend in the getting clean to conserve water.
  • Collect and reuse water systems: Place a bucket or container in your shower to collect water while you wait for it to warm up. This collected water can be used for flushing toilets or other non-drinking purposes.
  • Turn off the water: When you’re lathering up or shampooing your hair, turn off the water to save water. Only turn it back on when you need to rinse off.
  • Consider sponge baths: If your water supply is limited or you’re unable to use a shower alternative, consider taking sponge baths.

Water Quality Concerns

Another concern when the electricity is out, is water quality, especially if do not have well water that is safely clear and you live in an area where the power loss affects water treatment plants. 

Consider boiling the water before using it for hygiene purposes, though this would be more feasible for sponge baths than for showers.

Safety Precautions for Showering Without Power

It’s essential to keep safety at the forefront when considering showering during an outage.

Electrical Hazards

One of the key concerns is the risk of electrical hazards. The chances are slim, but you should always be cautious. 

Even if the power is out, assume all wires and electrical fixtures are live.

While showering during an electrical outage is often feasible, it is crucial to consider the type of water heating system you have and, most importantly, to prioritize safety above all else. 

By being prepared and educated, you can make more informed decisions during inconvenient situations like power outages.


Off-grid showering is an essential aspect of maintaining personal hygiene and well-being during survival situations.

By utilizing alternative energy sources such as solar showers, portable propane water heaters, and DIY solutions, preppers and survivalists can ensure cleanliness regardless of the availability of electricity.
Each method has its benefits and limitations, and considering factors like portability, ease of use, and availability of resources will help determine the most suitable hot shower or cold shower solution for different scenarios.

Knowing what to expect and how to adapt can greatly reduce the inconvenience and potential risks of losing electricity.

When you’re prepared, it’s much easier to navigate the challenges when electrical lines are down. Therefore, you should plan for alternative hygiene options, and backup water sources.