Life on the Road: How We Shower in Coffee Shops

When you live inside a tiny car, bathing is a lesson in creativity.

Follow the Peace Love Car’s adventures all over North America!

Most people can’t imagine living inside 28 square feet, but I have been traveling in the Peace Love Car for more than three years, and let me tell you: It is a grand life. We see new sights  every day, visit friends all over the U.S., and avoid paying rent. Though, as with any lifestyle, it has it’s ups, downs and tradeoffs.

The Peace Love Car offers all the ‘comforts’ of a tiny house… with the exception of a bathroom. Yes, that’s all it is missing. We have a bedroom (passenger seat folds down completely), a kitchen (camp stoves), an ‘attic’ (Yakima boxes), a basement (storage under the seats), a garage (where we keep our bikes) and even a porch (the Yakima box has a tiny roof, and we even installed a light), but when it comes down to a toilet, we’re out of luck.

This just means we have to be ingenious about all types of nature calls. Sleeping at rest-stops is the easiest solution. People are used to passersby sleeping in cars, no one ever interrupts your sleep, and there’s a bathroom for you to use at any hour. We only do this while traveling in a hurry — which is most of the time! The disadvantage: no place to shower.

Showers are a little harder to find. Free showers I mean. If we are camping, we take advantage of nature’s ability to provide free-open showers (aka rainstorms). But we cannot do this while traveling in cities. In cities we often use coffeeshops. Yes, coffee shops!

Coffee shops have private bathrooms in which, with a little ingenuity, anyone can take a sponge bath. I started doing this after a particularly long three-day drive — and I really wanted to go on a run. Can’t run and then stay smelly!

All I need is a little organic soap (we love JTree Organics Tea Tree Mint), a thin handkerchief and a small towel.

The trick is this:

  • Get the handkerchief wet and bubbly and scrub your entire body.
  • Then remove the soap by rinsing and scrubbing over and over, until the water rinses clear.
  • Then dry off with your small towel.

If you do this correctly, there shouldn’t be a single drop of water or soap on the ground. Try it next time you are on the road and in need of freshening up! A few rules apply:

  1. Leave the bathroom cleaner than you found it
  2. Avoid crowded spaces and/or taking longer than 5 minutes, and
  3. Get a coffee!


To share your own adventures with us, tag #RoadToWanderlust on Instagram for the possibility of being featured!

peacelovecar-sidebarAbout the Road to Wanderlust

What if home were 28 square feet inside a 1988 Ford Festiva, and your days were filled with adventure? Meet Sam, Raquel, and the Peace Love Car – two charming wanderers and their trusty (if quirky) steed.

Follow their adventures together at