async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: How to Get Clean After a Run Without A Shower

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

How to Get Clean After a Run Without A Shower

This post contains affiliate links. This is an update of a previously published post.

Ewwwwww, right?

It's hot and it's humid. I've been running on the trails. There's dirt and there's bugs. I'm wearing bug spray and sunscreen. Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Sometimes after my runs, I have places to go and people to see. I don't always have time to stop at home and shower. What's a runner to do?

While it's not optimal, I've figured out a few ways to freshen up after a hot, sweaty, dirty run.  Here are a few my tips to help a runner get clean after a run when there isn't time or access to a shower.




1. Give yourself a few minutes to cool down. Have a post-run drink and snack. If you start your cleanup while you're still sweating, it will all be for naught.


2. Plan ahead. I always have a canister of wipes in the console in my car, which come in handy for quick cleanups. After a long sweaty run, the wipes PLUS a change of clothes and underwear help me get ready for the next thing on my to-do list. Be prepared for anything, and I mean anything.


3. You can use wet wipes in lieu of a shower but have you ever tried the Shower Pill? I received a sample from a race goody bag and I saved it "just in case". Now I buy them in bulk. Guys, this is just the greatest thing ever. The Shower Pill is a thick absorbent wipe that cleans and deodorizes. I use it to wipe down my whole body, starting with my face and work my way down. I always feel clean after I use one. It feels like I am using a washcloth.


4. My hair is usually as sweaty as the rest of me, so for convenience, I just brush it back into a ponytail. A quick hack is to sprinkle a small amount of baby powder in your hands and run them through your hair near the scalp. Brush it and go. If you need to fix your hair and your hair is dry, you can use dry shampoo. I've never used it, but friends that have just rave about it. The brands that I see the most positive feedback about are Batiste and Living Proof. Hair Dance is a natural organic product with a lavendar scent. I have no experience with dry shampoo so let me know if you've tried any of them.

You could just use coconut oil to smooth it down.

5. Baby powder or deodorant can absorb sweat and odors. Especially if like me, you just keep sweating for a while after you stop. On the go, deodorant wipes are the most convenient. Dove Cucumber and Green Tea Wipes are quick and convenient and will keep you from pitting out your clothes. I also found these SweatBlock Clinical Strength Antiperspirant Wipes that are meant to treat excessive underarm sweating. 


6. Once you dry off, you can put on the clean, dry clothes and underwear that you packed ahead of time. Take your sweaty running clothes and rinse them off in the sink. I put mine in the back of my car where they can dry in the heat of the day. Once I get home, they go into the wash. I'm still using SportSuds laundry detergent for my workout gear!


It's amazing how much better I feel after my quick bathroom cleanup. I can do what I need to do and not worry about offending anyone. But I won't lie, this is no substitute for a shower!

Have you ever had to run and go somewhere after without having access to a shower? Do you run commute? What are some tips or products that worked for you?

I'm linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics and with the Runners' Roundup: DebbieDeborahJenRachelSandra, and Lisa.  





86 comments :

  1. I had to go to Dimity's (RLAM) house after running a half in Colorado and I was so self-conscious I'd stink! Thankfully I do carry Shower Pill wipes. My only issue with them is if I leave them in a hot car they dry out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was my first time using the Shower Pill but it won't be the last! I'd be pretty sad if I opened mine up and it was all dried out.

      Delete
  2. I also sweat a lot and am smelly and sweaty after a run. I have to shower. I once tried something similar to a Shower Pill but still felt icky. Oh and the cat photo cracked me up! I am all about cats. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Desperate times called for desperate measures and the Shower Pill was awesome. I didn't feel icky at all after. Maybe you want to give it try?

      Delete
  3. These are great tips! I'm also a fan of ShowerPill, especially after runs in the summer heat.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm not a big sweater (you know, like a cardigan), but these past few weeks of humidity have been a whole different animal! I just use regular baby wipes. Much cheaper (though smaller) than wipes marketed toward athletes. I like Pampers over Huggies brand. The Pampers brand are thinner, but I like the texture better and I feel cleaner after using them. The Huggies brand are thicker, but almost feel 'gummy' or like they leave behind a light residue. I keep a couple of wipes in a Ziploc bag in my SPIbelt for long races so I can at least wipe my face down (and then sometimes my pits) after the finish. That's usually enough until I can get to a shower.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another good option is the Walgreens Certainty brand adult washcloths. They come 48 in a pack for something like $5.99. My mom has a terrible time with stairs, and our only showers are on the 2nd floor, so we can only get her up there a few times a week. She uses them daily as what she calls a 'sponge bath' and they work very well.

      Delete
    2. Oh, good to know! I never thought about "adult" washcloths. Sounds wrong, tho, doesn't it?

      Delete
  5. I LOVE Shower Pill! They pretty much live in my gym bag.

    Oddly enough, my hair doesn't seem to get *too* sweaty. Maybe it just absorbs all the sweat and turns it into frizz?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe your head doesn't sweat? My hair is just dripping after a run. It's so gross.

      Delete
  6. LMFAO. SO my husband does not shower much. AT ALL. I cannot show him this post because it will give him excuses NOT to shower more! LMFAO! That being said, I do think WET WIPES are a runner's saving grace FOR SURE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the no shower thing would be a deal breaker for me!

      Delete
  7. I don't think I could ever do anything without shower after my run. Even with the dry shampoo my hair is dripping wet afterwards. I have heard of those shower pills and got a few in a swag bag from a race before but have never used them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had never used the Shower Pill before but let me tell you, I'm going to stock up!

      Delete
  8. I love shower pill! I keep one in my gym bag at all times and I also like to have them for post-race when I'm having brunch with friends right afterward. It makes brunch more enjoyable for everyone :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've never heard of the Shower Pill but it sounds like something I need. I sweat like a pig no matter what the temperature is but definitely more lately. My husband attempted to pick up my sweaty clothes on the bathroom floor while I was in the shower and he got totally grossed out on how soaked they were. :-P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's really frightening as a woman in her 50s how much sweat I can generate by doing absolutely nothing.

      Delete
  10. I love dry shampoo! My Ragnar team really made fun of me when I used it on the race but hey my hair did look cute in all the photos :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. These are great ideas! My hair is pretty wet after a run in the summer so I dont think dry shampoo would work- Id probably just also try to put it up, or maybe wear a hat to hide the sweat!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think changing clothes and liberal use of deoderant is key. Dry shampoo is tricky because it has to be used on dry hair and sweaty hair doesn't count. So I usually put the hair in a pony and ignore it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have heard people rave about the Shower Pill....but have yet to find it anywhere around me (I need to UP my Sherlock Holmes skills). My trick for icky hair is to shake out my hair and pull it back up in my usual messy bun (a visor hides it like a charm). I use dry shampoo, but am not convinced it's the ideal product for me...seems to make my hair feel dirtier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How about Amazon? That's where i"m getting my Shower Pill from!

      Delete
  14. I love Shower Pill! It is my stink savior! It stood up through my first Ragnar and I assume it will do the same for my Ragnar trail race in November..

    ReplyDelete
  15. My trick is to work in a lab where I'm very unlikely to be the smelliest thing 😉

    More seriously, I will just wipe/rinse sweat off and I that seems to carry most of the stench off. And dry shampoo, because I'm a hippie who doesn't wash my hair every day anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't wash my hair everyday but I've never felt the need for dry shampoo! Maybe my hair smells and I don't know it?

      Delete
    2. I don't think my hair smells - it just starts looking flat after a couple days.

      Delete
  16. I don't seem to be able to find shower pills here in the UK. But I'm lucky, I have quite an uneventful life and I don't seem to have ever needed to be somewhere after running. I have run to parkrun then volunteered there and had to wait aaaaaages to stop sweating so I could put my flourescent gilet on and not make it gross. I'm also a dripper and a hair-sweater, though I usually wear a buff so could just hide it in there (itch itch, itch itch).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the buff is definitely a "sweat saver!" LOL I can only find the Shower Pills on Amazon.

      Delete
  17. Great post!!! I laughed my way through it, but you gave some great, useful tips here. I belong to a running club where we have a post-run party, including dinner every week. I marvel at how great my friends look after a run in 90-degree heat and humidity! I always look like a sweaty mess! Now I can clean up after my run, before dinner and look...well, at least presentable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See! This is exactly how I felt at the rugby match. I showed up in my sweaty running gear, watched a game, dried off in the sun, and then went to freshen up. I felt so disgusting until I got cleaned up.

      Delete
  18. This is something I do all the time. Not always because I don't have access to a shower, but I really don't want to shower every single day. I hate having to dry/do my hair every day and it saves water. So I use wipes when I know I can get by without showering it all off. I also try to keep my pony tail a little loose while running (sometimes that drives me crazy) so that the sweat will drip down instead of get caught and make my hair extra gross. I wash it every 3ish days.

    ReplyDelete
  19. All of these are great tips, but I'll be honest - this only does me for an hour or a quick errand or fast meal. I am a SWEATY individual, and while I don't know that I smell terrible (I think there's a difference between body odor and sweat), I just want a shower after a hard workout.

    That being said, we do what we need to do. No shame in that game!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and me both, my friend. This is a desperate times, desperate measures post--at least for me it is!

      Delete
  20. YES - all awesome tips! I am super anti shower even on days I don't run LOL. I love the ShowerPills and use dry deodorant all the time :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm learning all sorts of hygiene habits with this post! LOL!

      Delete
  21. All great tips, Wendy. I've tried a couple of samples of post workout wipes that I've either received from a race or in a Stride Box. In all honesty, I get super sweaty and a shower is often my only lifesaver.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Geezzz what a jerk am I? My husband made plans with his parents for right after a long hilly bike ride for me and all I did was put on clean clothes and hope no one sat down wind of me.... I'll have to try the wipes. Most times I can find a bottle of water that has been rolling around in the car for a while and 'wash' myself down with that and hopefully a towel not full of bike grease.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pretty sure you didn't offend anyone--if your family is like mine, someone would have said something!

      Delete
  23. Hahaha....this was hilarious but serious at the same time. Awesome tips! I don't really sweat that badly but then again I am not running in crazy temps and humidity. My hair does get pretty wet so I just throw on a cap. But, I do need to find out more about those shower pills.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since I've become a--ahem--certain age, I seem to sweat even more than in the past. I don't think I smell, but that's just my opinion...

      Delete
  24. I sweat so much so I totally understand this issue! I definitely need one of those heavy duty wipes for a quick clean. I don't make a habit of it since I do sweat a lot but there will be times where I'll need to go somewhere after a workout!

    ReplyDelete
  25. These are great tips! Wet wipes are awesome inventions! I need to go get some baby powder, haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Baby powder really has so many uses besides keeping baby's bottom dry!

      Delete
  26. I've never heard of those deodorant wipes but that Shower Pill is the bomb dot com! We took them hiking because we knew we wouldn't have access to a shower for a few days. I've used them before at last year's BlogFest but this was my husband's first go. He came out of the tent practically dancing after he got "cleaned up!" haha! Smart idea packing extra clothes to change into. Sometimes, I also have "personal issues" when I run and it's uncomfortable even driving an hour back to the house.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I am lucky and I don't sweat much. And I usually run after work and then go home.

    They say that it is healthier to sweat. So keep sweating.


    ReplyDelete
  28. Great tutorial! That's pretty much what I do after each leg at Ragnar and it's not so bad; but like you, I can't wait to get home and get in the shower.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This is really useful, Wendy!
    I have never heard of the Shower Pill - I just googled its availability here in Europe and it doesn't look like it's easy to get.
    I have often been in such situations. Usually it's because of bad planning. Then I end up doing a cat wash in a sink of a public bathroom. As you say, planning is key!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so surprised you can't get the Shower pill over there. It's a great tool!

      Delete
  30. Now that I'm mostly running at home, it's not a big deal. I may not shower right away always (because I know I'll be doing more fitness at some point), but I use a towel to wipe off & change clothes. I feel so much better once I'm all showered and not disgusting anymore!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With the blast furnace we're living in here in the Midwest, I have to shower ASAP. But even before i do that, I wipe down. I just feel so gross these days!

      Delete
  31. Baby wipes are my go-to, when I'm on the go, but that's not the case much these days. Re-doing my "messy bun" usually seems to disguise all the residual gunk (sweat and leftover hairspray) until I get a chance to wash my hair. Even spritzing a little bit of body spray in my hair does wonder for freshening up...it gets rid of the "outdoor" smell.

    ReplyDelete
  32. When I still belonged to LA Fitness I would always have a shower pill wipe in my gym bag. Now I keep one in my car so that i wan wipe off after an OTF workout or outdoor run, especially if I'm going to be running errands directly after my workout.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I usually always shower because it's Florida and it's like 9 billion degrees outside. But I love Shower Pill in the rare occasion I don't have time for a shower! Or I used to use them a lot when I did mud runs- those "showers" at mud runs are more like hoses, and the Shower Pill can help get extra dirt off of you so you can change into clean clothes and enjoy the after party!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I am still sweating after my showers! I love a good baby powder and I also like dry shampoo it works! Summer running ugh

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't tried dry shampoo but it seems like there are some great options!

      Delete
  35. Great tips! Ive only been running from home so I can shower pretty much right away. But lately I feel like my face stays red and I'm still sweating even after I shower! I've never tried the shower pill but it sounds great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After a run in the summer, I have to wait a while before I shower, otherwise it's for naught!

      Delete
  36. Shower Pill is a great product.They were essential for Ragnar. In summer, I am just too sweaty to take any shortcuts. Other seasons I can get away with changing my shirt if I need to run an errand on the way home from a run.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been so humid this summer--I have to wipe down after I run!

      Delete
  37. Good stuff Wendy. I'll need to check out the Shower Pill.
    I do use the SportSuds laundry detergent. I love that stuff. It really works great.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Speaking of cooling down before starting cleanup, have you ever taken a shower while still sweating? It does not end well... lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so weird to be showering and sweating while you're showering...I just can't do that!

      Delete
  39. Shower Pill is my saving grace! I always keep them in stock. Those wipes and a fresh change of clothes will get you far!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always keep a Shower pill and a towel in my car, especially after a trail run.

      Delete
  40. Sometimes I go to the store after my long run. I do make it quick since I already feel grossed out. Other than that I rarely go anywhere else after a run and just come home. When I run by my house I sit down on the front steps to cool down before going inside. There's been times in which I took a shower right away and was still sweating afterwards. Not fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't you get cold at the store? The sweat cools me down, which is good but if I don't dry off quickly, the AC makes me cold!

      Delete
    2. Sometimes. That is why I make it quick. :-)

      Delete
  41. I could never run commute. It's just too hot and I sweat too much. I am always good for a wipe down and fresh clothes, and then going out to to eat or to the store really quickly, but I also believe in the power of a good shower LOL. That's the Florida in me.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Great tips, Wendy! I was glistening like a pig this morning after my hot, humid long run! :) I will have to check out that shower pill. We sometimes run and don't have time to shower before driving for Meals on Wheels. I do have the wipes but baby powder for hair and body does sound like a good idea too.

    ReplyDelete