Morning Routine in Space
Cleaning yourself in space can be difficult. Image Credit: Fred Sayers
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.
Swapping Sweat for Water
NASA tests a life support system that could provide drinking water to people living on the moon or Mars.
Doing Laundry in Space →
Expedition Six Commander Ken Bowersox demonstrates how he cleans his dirty clothes inside the International Space Station.
The Clean Water Diaries
A test volunteer learns about Space Living 101.
Living in Space
What is it like to live in space?