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 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. 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. 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 that has to be attached to the hose’s adapter. Fans suck air and urine through the funnel and the hose into the wastewater tank.
- Shannon Walker: A Day in the Life on the International Space Station — What’s it like to live on the International Space Station? Astronaut Shannon Walker takes readers through her day!
- The Clean Water Diaries — A test volunteer learns about Space Living 101.
- Living in Space — What is it like to live in space?
- Video: Everything About Living in Space — Astronaut Reid Wiseman takes five minutes to answer as many questions as he can about living on the space station.
This video topic is part of A Day in the Life Aboard the International Space Station resource and STEM on Station site.