Astronauts in space face unique challenges when it comes to personal hygiene. The lack of gravity, limited water supply, and confined living spaces all present obstacles that must be overcome. Here are a few examples of how astronauts handle daily personal hygiene matters:
- Bathing: NASA uses a water recycling system that recycles urine and condensate from the air into drinking water and also uses it for hygiene purposes. Astronauts use wet wipes or a no-rinse cleanser instead of showering.
- Hair care: Astronauts use a vacuum cleaner to remove loose hair. They use hair clippers or scissors to trim or cut their hair, because hair clippers and scissors do not produce hair clippings that float around in the air.
- Oral hygiene: Astronauts brush their teeth using a toothbrush and toothpaste that do not produce bubbles or crumbs that could float around in the air.
- Skin care: Astronauts use lotions and creams to prevent dry skin and rashes caused by the dry air in the spacecraft.
- Laundry: Astronauts wear reusable clothing, and items such as gloves, socks, and underwear are washed by hand and air-dried.
- Waste management: Astronauts use vacuum toilets that suck waste into a container, which is then sealed and stored until it can be disposed of upon return to Earth.
- Exercise: To combat the effects of microgravity on the body, astronauts must engage in regular exercise to maintain their muscle and bone mass.
Overall, astronauts have to be creative and resourceful in order to keep themselves clean and hygienic in space. They use a variety of techniques and technologies to maintain their personal hygiene, taking into account the unique conditions of space travel.