How to Take a “Birdy-Bath”

Alternate title: How to tell when I start to go insane.

I would never have known unless this situation arose, but I depend on showers. They wake me up, make me clean, and give my life order. They are a vital part of my routine. So when my hot water shut off 2+ weeks ago, I did not panic, I expected the issue would be resolved that day or the next. Nope. Ice cold. So in addition to calling everyday to complain that my hot water was not working, I developed a system for getting clean.

ice cold
Andre 300 knows a thing or two about cold showers.


(thanks to my neighbor for the very accurate description) (other names include “ho-bath”–not as classy )

  1. Make sure the setting is just right: For me, that means at night, where I have plenty of time to gather hot water from the kitchen sink into bowls, which I place in the tub.
  2. Use bowls of hot water to get wet: In this instance I splash water on myself with my loofa.
  3. Get loofa soapy: The sexiest part of a birdy-bath is soaping up. This part is pretty self-explanatory.
  4. Use remaining water from bowls to splash off the soap residue.

Oh, notice how this did not mention washing my hair? Well, glad you asked! That’s part two! In a series of awkward motions, I gather my head under the kitchen sink where there is warm water, and I get my head wet. Then I get a glob of shampoo and rub it in as best I can. The tricky part comes when I have to rinse out my hair, but I don’t find out until I brush my hair that it feels a little too squeaky, if you know what I mean. Caution: sleeping on wet hair will cause awkward hair bumps in the morning.


For two weeks I used the birdy-bath method with minimal success on keeping my sanity. Most of the time I felt worse because doing this ridiculous routine was such a disruption in my tried and true routine. I have made slight progress on the hot water front, however, and now I can get hot water if I have the sink and shower running at the same time for at least 10 minutes.

Now that you know my routine for staying clean when showers are all but a distant memory, please refrain from calling me “Heather Feather.”

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