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Cartoon of the International Space Station

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A Day in the Life Aboard the International Space Station

    Cartoon of astronaut scrubbing his back in space

    Cleaning yourself in space can be difficult. Image Credit: Fred Sayers

    Morning Routine in Space

    Astronauts living and working in space have the same hygiene needs as people on Earth. They wash their hair, brush their teeth, shave and go to the bathroom. However, because of the microgravity environment, astronauts take care of themselves in some different ways.

    Astronauts wash their hair with a rinseless shampoo that was originally developed for hospital patients who were unable to take a shower.


    Many astronauts have a personal hygiene kit that is attached to the wall. The kit contains the personal hygiene items each astronaut has chosen to take. Personal preferences, such as the brand of toothpaste, are accommodated if possible. Dental hygiene is basically the same as on Earth.

    Because of microgravity, the space station toilet is more complex than what people use on Earth. The astronauts have to position themselves on the toilet seat, using leg restraints and thigh-bars. The toilet basically works like a vacuum cleaner with fans that suck air and waste into the commode. Each astronaut has a personal urinal funnel, which has to be attached to the hose's adapter. Fans suck air and urine through the funnel and hose into the wastewater tank.

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