The head. I swear, every conversation with a fellow boater will turn into a discussion about head maintenance! For those of you that don’t know, the technical term for a boat’s “bathroom” is the head. Why? Well long story short, in old ships the toilet was located in the head of the ship more commonly referred to as the bow. Typically the bow was down wind on a sailing ship and the odor would be blown away from the ship. Fast forward many years in the future and the name stuck and our hygiene practices advanced.
When we lived on land, I gave no second thoughts to pouring bleach and other harmful chemicals in and around our bathroom appliances to keep everything sanitary and “clean,” but living on Avocet has made me rethink my methods. Did you know average household bathroom cleaners contain chemicals such as ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorus which is dangerous to marine life? I sure didn’t. After I learned that I googled ways to clean sustainably and to my surprise I found the easiest way to keep our head looking and smelling fresh, clean and sanitized.
As it turns out all you need is: baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils (if you want some scent added to your clean-routine!) When it comes to cleaning the head, I primarily focus on the toilet itself since that is where it can get real gross real quick if you are not careful. With that said, I found that the best way to clean our toilet was to first sprinkle baking soda in the bowl, then rinse it with about one cup of vinegar. Before pumping out the liquid, I scrub with a brush to ensure any residue will come off when rinsed. After the quick scrub, I pump out the mixture and rinse with fresh water. For a clean smell, I mix a couple drops of essential oil into the freshwater-filled bowl before pumping out again. After that quick 10 minute process you will have a clean head! BONUS: You can also use vinegar to remove water stains and buildup from faucets and shower heads by filling a plastic bag and rubber banding it around the fixtures. Wait 10 minutes and voila! Squeaky clean.
I hope this quick little how-to was helpful! Just for fun, below is the “Head Rules” I created and hung in our head so our guests know the proper head etiquette. For more info and humor regarding the topic of head maintenance and the live aboard lifestyle in general, I highly recommend the book Poop, Booze, and Bikini’s by Ed Robinson- it is one of our favorites!
Want to know more about how we live life aboard SV Avocet? Follow us on Instagram @svavocet!