Up until recently I could have counted the number of times I’ve taken bucket baths on one hand – that’s one clean hand, attached to a freshly showered arm and self.

The electricity cuts have led to water cuts in our area, so we now have running water from only about 2am to 10am most days. Sometimes a little more, sometimes quite a bit less.

The bucket in our bathroom - what the two of us use from 10am to 2am

So part of the daily routine now includes refilling the buckets located around the house that we then use throughout the day for washing dishes, refilling the water filter, cooking, cleaning and showering. (Oh, and flushing toilets as needed.)

Cheikh is the resident bucket bath expert, having learned and fine-tuned the skill while living with the Dieye family in their village. Me? Pretty much a newbie. However, I do think I’ve come a long way in the past couple of weeks.

My favorite little cup

Here’s what you’ll need for a bucket bath:

– About a gallon of water in bucket.

– A scoop, like a little plastic cup with a handle.

Soap and a washcloth.


And here are some tips:

“Squat – don’t stand. You’ll use less water.”
– Cheikh

“I’m convinced that the key to actually feeling clean at the end is a good foamy lather, so a thicker washcloth is better than a thin one. One of those body poof thingies also works well.”
– Khady

“Don’t forget to refill your bucket while you can when the water is on in the mornings!”
– Aminata

“If the water is cloudy or brownish, let it sit a couple hours so that the sediment falls to the bottom, leaving clean water on top.”
– Cheikh

“Wait until just before bed to take your bucket bath. If you take one earlier in the day, you’ll just get hot and dirty again.”
– Khady