How do astronauts wash their clothes and shower in the ISS where the water supply is very limited?


How do astronauts wash their clothes and shower in the ISS where the water supply is very limited?

In: Engineering

They don’t, being in space can get rather stinky after a few weeks in space, though the general environment is relatively clean human bodies aren’t.

The water is recycled, even urine is recycled. [there’s a shower unit on the space station that they use, though there’s a suction device to remove the water after use. ](

There still isn’t a way to wash clothes in space. Instead astronauts incinerate them during reentry into earths atmosphere.

All that water is collected, condensed, purified, and reused, even breath, sweat, and urine. The Russian side of the ISS doesn’t like to reuse their urine, so the US side will go over and collect it and purify it out into potable water every once in a while if water supplies start to run short.

The water supply isn’t “limited” in this sense because every drop is recycled multiple times.

Water is not in such a limited supply. They have spent a lot of time and effort to make very efficient life support systems that is able to reclaim all water on ISS. So if the astronauts wants water to clean their clothes they are more then welcome to do so. However there is issues with cleaning clothes and other things due to the lack of gravity and specialized equipment. So in general astronauts do not wash their clothes. However they do find that as the clothes are not as tight fitting to their skin and are not touching the ground or chairs as much the clothes do not get as dirty. But when they do get dirty they get thrown out with the rest of the trash. Astronauts often compare a trip to the ISS with a long camping trip for this and several other reasons.

They wear clothes until they’re too smelly to stand, then they’re thrown away. Astronaut Scott Kelly has said that people don’t smell as bad in space because the clothes don’t cling to them and rub against their skin, and they don’t sweat much except when they work out.

Astronauts don’t wash their clothes at all. They simply discard them as trash once they’re done. They wear them for longer than we do here on Earth – a couple of days for socks and underwear and sometimes weeks for pants and shirts. Clothes don’t dirty as quickly in microgravity because they’re mostly floating around the body and not making much skin contact.

As for bathing, they essentially take towel baths. They wet a towel, apply some soap to the skin, scrub, and wipe it off. [Here’s a video of astronaut Karen Nyberg washing her hair]( where she talks about the bathing process.