Please recomend a work-out wipe-down towel
March 23, 2010 8:16 PM   Subscribe

What product do you recommend for a post-work-out wipe-down when no shower is possible? (Sweaty details inside.)

I sometime ride my bike to work. No shower is possible, for a variety of reasons. (Please don't suggest a shower.) I would like to wipe down with something. I have been using a wet towel and deodorant but I think an all-over wipe with some alcohol and possibly a light scent would be better. I do not sweat a ton, but I'm worried that maybe I smell and don't know it. (I strongly suspect that I do not smell, but worrying about it is annoying.) Are there any products that you would recommend? Bonus points if I can buy it on the web. Thanks

PS - when you search for "wipes" on the web, most of the non-baby size products seems to be about incontinence. Yuck, but, maybe those would be OK for my purposes?
posted by Mid to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Hand sanitizer is mostly alcohol, really cheap, available at any drugstore in large quantities, and you can get generics with "lemon" or "aloe" or etc. pretty scents.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:24 PM on March 23, 2010

Baby wipes can work, but there are stronger versions of wipes out there. Wet Ones seem to be a little stronger/liquidy in my experience. Cottonelle has wet toilet wipes as well which are basically something between toilet paper and a full baby wipe. They have a resealable "replacement" pack for the plastic boxes that travels better than the plastic boxes do, IMO.

Additionally, there are NoRinse products and these have worked well for me in the past. I have not tried their wipes product, but the NoRinse shower product squirted onto a baby wipe, or even a paper towel, can work well. You could also lather with the NoRinse product and wipe away with a dry towel. That works too.
posted by thorny at 8:25 PM on March 23, 2010

Baby wipes are good but I have also used the facial cleansers/make up removers that are similar to baby wipes (basically the same thing). There are brand name ones and generic ones.
posted by kat518 at 8:29 PM on March 23, 2010

Why use anything fancy? fill a sink in the bathroom with warm water, and give yourself a sponge-bath.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:32 PM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

I cycle to a teaching job a few days a month, summer and winter, and find that a wet facecloth, liquid cleanser and deodorant serve me well. I absolutely must have fresh clothes and underwear to change into, but once I'm wiped down and swiped, I'm fine. (My students can submit anonymous reviews. Believe me, I would have heard about any stink issues from them or the training centre staff by now.)

I wouldn't worry too much about cycling sweat making you stinky, because there's two kinds of sweat.

Eccrine sweat, which results from exertion and heat, is mostly water and salt and a little urea. Apocrine sweat, which comes from emotional stress, is a fatty sweat that stinks as bacteria start breaking it down. So if you've had a calm ride to work, the sweat you're washing off your face and back and everywhere else is eccrine sweat. If you've had some close calls with cars, you may have some apocrine sweat, too, but that is secreted in the armpits and groin rather than all over your body, so some scrubbing there and deodorant as needed should do. You don't have to disinfect your entire body.
posted by maudlin at 8:38 PM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Thayers Witch Hazel on a washcloth works very well for a general freshening up without water. The "medicated" menthol variety is nice if you want a little minty freshness. I've also used the Rose variety.

I'm sure a regular drugstore variety witch hazel would be just as cleansing and much cheaper if you don't care about the scent.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:40 PM on March 23, 2010

Why use anything fancy? fill a sink in the bathroom with warm water, and give yourself a sponge-bath.

This works in a one-person bathroom, but in a bathroom with stalls, I have to change and clean in a stall, as starting off a teaching day by meeting one of my students when she's fully clothed and I'm not? Awkward.

I bring two facecloths, one hand towel, liquid cleanser, and stick deodorant. I wet both cloths, put cleanser on one, then go in the stall to strip, wipe with the wet cloth everywhere sweaty, use the soapy cloth on potential problem areas, and rinse with the wet cloth again. Then I dry off with the hand towel, drop the towel and both facecloths into a plastic bag (which MUST be opened immediately when I get home that night), get dressed and spruce up hair and makeup before class.
posted by maudlin at 8:49 PM on March 23, 2010

Sprinkle on some body powder after you wipe down (I like Gold Bond, but I buy the generic version and it's just as good). It will help you feel fresh and dry.
posted by amyms at 8:55 PM on March 23, 2010

Back when our kids were in diapers, we used to make our own wipes. We used expensive name-brand paper towels, a certain round Rubbermaid container, and the following recipe to make cheap disposable baby wipes that could easily be adapted to your needs.
  • Cut paper towel roll in half so that each half would fit in the Rubbermaid. Don't skimp on the paper towels, as you need them to hold together when they're wet.
  • Put 2 cups hot water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, a couple squirts Dr. Bronner's liquid soap into the Rubbermaid. Swirl around to mix.
  • Put half a roll of paper towels in, seal the lid, and flip it upside down. (Watch that the seal doesn't come loose, as the physics of the air meeting the hot water tended to make it pop open after it had sealed.)
  • After 5 minutes or so, you can pull the cardboard tube out of the center of the roll. It comes out in a spiral and brings with it the beginning of the first wipe. As needed, pull wipes from the center and keep it sealed when not in use.
The quantity of water is a hazy memory - if the first batch is too wet, cut back for the next ones. And if they dry out, you can add a little water and microwave 'em to renew them.

If I were using this for my own bike commute cleanup, I'd go easy on the olive oil and use the peppermint flavor Dr. Bronner's. A little rubbing alcohol or witch hazel in the mix might help too.
posted by richyoung at 9:53 PM on March 23, 2010 [15 favorites]

Get the fragrance free baby wipes. Believe me, it's not weird...that's the same thing as the facial cleansing cloths that women use to remove make-up. They're cheap, portable and easy to toss. Before you run, however, do put on some deodorant, then in the bathroom use paper towel or dry towel to blot any sweat, paying attention to underarms or anywhere else you sweat more, your back, your chest, etc. Then use the baby wipe to go over those areas, then with another dry paper towel or a towel, dry yourself off. Then put on the deodorant. You should, wash your face, tho...splash some water.

You can also spray some cologne on the baby wipes when you pack them so as you remove additional sweat, you can put on some cologne without putting on too much.

You can also get yourself some antibacterial hand sanitizer that comes in a foaming dispenser, and when you pack a sheet or two of the baby wipes, you can squirt a pump or two with it in the zip-loc bag. That way you can remove any odor causing bacteria with the alcohol in the sanitizer.
posted by icollectpurses at 10:49 PM on March 23, 2010

Visit the camping section at a superstore or sporting goods store. They should have some wipes that are for exactly this purpose (cleaning up in the absence of a shower).
posted by mmoncur at 11:35 PM on March 23, 2010

I recommend the "Comfort Deodorant Bath" pre-packaged rinse towels from from Sage Products. I got turned on to these when recuperating from a leg fracture. These are great for camping, earthquake emergency supplies, etc. Available all over the place.
posted by buzzv at 12:17 AM on March 24, 2010

Watered down H202 works awesome.
posted by cowmix at 12:18 AM on March 24, 2010

Oops: direct link to mfg's product description
posted by buzzv at 12:19 AM on March 24, 2010

Disclaimer: I am a dirty hippy.

Why not just a towel to wipe down areas wet with sweat, and then some deodorant (if you must). Save the planet, man.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:06 AM on March 24, 2010

alcoholado/bay rum is a great disinfectant/clean fragrance splash. costs about $3.50/bottle at walgreens/bodega/grocery store, has a pretty good amount of alcohol and a mild, distinctive, pleasant (to most people) aroma.

splash it on your pits, wipe dry, swipe on some deodorant and you're good.
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:08 AM on March 24, 2010

Keep in mind that using a lot of alcohol-based cleaners may dry your skin out with repeated use, so bring a light moisturizer.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:12 AM on March 24, 2010

The folks at our local bike shop recommend Rocket Shower arrgh flashnav sucks. Looking at the ingredient list, it seems to be primarily witch hazel with some essential oils for temporary fragrance.
posted by Lexica at 10:59 AM on March 24, 2010

The advice from ultralight backpacking forums: 1-4 packets of handiwipes, those alcohol-soaked mini napkins. Swab your pits, genital area, feet, and ass (in that order, if you're ultra-lighting with only one), and you'll be decent enough to enter town & buy stuff (plus you'll have inhibited ick in your perpetually-moist spots.

Should work in a pinch for exercising, although this advice may be a bit more minimalist than you desire.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:11 PM on March 24, 2010

Thanks, all. I am looking for a disposable wipe-type solution, so those got the best answers, but all of this was helpful. Maudlin gets the "best practices" award, but there is no way that I could keep up with all that towel washing.
posted by Mid at 6:45 AM on March 25, 2010

I do this occasionally (when I'm not heading to the office, which thankfully has a shower). I figure that if baby wipes are good for cleaning poop they're good enough for cleaning me. There are brands that advertise as flushable which is handy if you're in a stall. Don't know if that designation is based on any real details of construction or is just a marketing designation, though. If it helps we haven't had any problems flushing wipes designated thusly at home.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 2:33 PM on March 25, 2010

Update - I have been using these with some success. Would be better if they were a little bigger, but they get the job done.
posted by Mid at 1:48 PM on August 2, 2010

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