Man Survives Without Using Soap For 18 Months—Could You?

Illustration for article titled Man Survives Without Using Soap For 18 Months—Could You?

What would happen if you went a year and a half without washing with soap and shampoo? Would your girlfriend ditch you? Friends loathe having to invite you 'round? Or, like Richard Nikoley and Sean Bonner, would life just...go on?

Nikoley's gone without either for 18 months now, and Bonner, inspired by Nikoley, just a year. Both claim life is much easier now, with Nikoley seeing some pleasant bonuses:

"What I've found over these 18 months is that I never even thought of the money I was saving. Hell, a decent sized bottle of shampoo and body wash would last me months anyway. Oh, and then there's the travel size versions. No, what has made this experience oh so satisfying is that I don't have to worry about any of that anymore — ever. Don't have to buy it. Don't have to carry it. Don't ever run out of it. Don't have to get it tossed in the dumpster by TSA goons."


Bonner, writing on Boing Boing, can't see himself ever going back to buying bottles of chemicals:

"The future? I will definitely be sticking with this. I'm still annoyed it took me 35 years to learn what I clearly already knew as a baby kicking and screaming when my parents tried to wash my hair. At least that's what I want to assume I knew back then. I know now, but I'd still rather not think about how much I spent on soap and shampoo and related products over the years when they were likely causing all the problems I was trying to protect against."

Funnily enough, he recounts a time when a hairdresser washed his hair with shampoo before he knew what was happening—and suffered dandruff and unruly hair for weeks afterward.

Supposedly one in 230 million people around the world are allergic to water, and cannot bathe without their skin being brought out in rashes, so suffer far worse than Nikoley and Bonner would if forced into a shower with a bar of soap. But would you go 18 months without using cleansing products on your skin or hair? [Richard Nikoley and Boing Boing]


Image Credit: Modern Emily

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I'm A Different Bird

Sorry, but no. We started using soaps for a reason — because of their magnificent antibacterial properties. You may be fine not using it for a while, but you will stink, and you will eventually get sick.

That said, you probably don't need to use it every single day (I do, because I'm hairy and sweaty, but other people could probably get away with 3x a week), and you don't need any fancy fragrances or antibacterial agents (soap's a pretty dandy antibacterial agent on its own, and the added ones in some soaps don't really do much besides help breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria). Just use the plainest soap you can get; I usually use Ivory.