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Care and Use of your Pee Rag

Who needs a pee rag? You do!

The pee rag is a popular item among environmentally conscious women. It's an excellent way to reduce use of disposable tissues, preserve the beauty of the outdoors, and be prepared for that restroom or portapotty that's out of paper. It's an essential for any woman on the "go"!

It's hanging on your pack for leave-no-trace hiking and backpacking. It's clipped to your belt or tucked in a pocket for walkers, bikers, and backpackers. It's stashed in a pocket or purse for women who are traveling or just out on a busy day. Moms carry them in purses and diaper bags for their kids on the go. And you can keep a stash of them beside the commode at home to reduce your usage of disposable tissues, or to reduce the strain on your septic system. What's not to love?

But hey, what if I'm new at this? What to do?

First rule: Pee rags are for pee, not for poo. (For #2, we recommend disposable tissues. When away from home, carry sealed baggies for their disposal. Enough about that!)

After you pee, just use the pee rag for a quick dab to dry yourself. Urine in fact is sterile, so it is safe to handle even a "used" pee rag. You can hang it to dry and then use it again. But, it can start to smell a bit funky after a while so we recommend rinsing it out whenever possible. If you're backpacking or traveling for several days, wash by hand each day with a couple drops of camp soap, rinse, wring out and hang to dry.

If your pee rag is damp after washing, you can still use it. Extra bonus... Think of it as a traveling bidet! In fact, a rinsed-out pee rag makes a great personal-parts cleaner for the end of the day when you've been hiking or biking. Hey, you know you won't mistake it for your face washcloth, right??

If you're on a short outing, shopping trip or day hike, carry a baggie to stash your damp pee rag until you can get home to wash it. See specific instructions below for laundering in washers and dryers.

How do I identify my pee rag?

This is actually pretty important. We recommend having a pee rag that looks unique! Not just a bandana or washcloth. ("Hey! I just dried the dishes with your bandana! You can thank me later...") No, you want something that is clearly a PEE RAG. And, if you and your friends all have pee rags, you'll feel a lot better if yours is clearly identifiable. That's one reason why we offer so many fun colors and styles! And, we identify them with a tag or hanging loop.

How do I safely wash my pee rag? How do I dry it?

If you're on a trip for several days, rinse out your pee rag whenever you have the opportunity. Since urine does not contain oils, rinsing will keep it pretty clean. Wring it out, then hang on the outside of your pack or panniers to dry. Each evening, we recommend giving it a more thorough washing with a few drops of camp soap. Rinse, wring out extra moisture, and hang to dry.

When you get home (or if you're using them at home), pee rags can be laundered in a washer and dryer. Be sure to first remove any attachments such as carabiner clips or those plastic grip clips. Pee rags with ribbon-type hanging loops and plastic rivets or snaps are safe in the washer, but use low heat if putting them in the dryer. 

HINT: Before adding your pee rag to your washing machine with your other laundry, give it a sniff. If it has been regularly rinsed it will not have a noticeable smell, and is safe to wash together with your other clothes. If it smells funky, we recommend hand-washing separately, or machine-washing in a separate load with other pee rags.

Pee rags are typically one of the following materials:

Cotton: Bandanas are cotton. Absorbent, but slow to dry. Safe in the washer and dryer, but do not use bleach or fabric softener. Bleach will fade the color; fabric softener will clog the pores and make it less absorbent. Or, hand wash and hang to dry.

Microfiber: Microfiber (superfine polyester) is absorbent and also quick to dry. Safe in the washer, gentle cycle (like your microfiber quick-dry sport shirts); dry on "Low Heat" setting. Generally OK if you must bleach, but do not use fabric softener as it will make the fabric less absorbent.

Viscose Shammy: Viscose is a cellulose (plant-based) material. Highly absorbent, a viscose shammy pee rag can absorb up to ten times its weight in liquid. It looks and feels like a soft thick felt, but in fact is more similar to a thin strong micro-sponge. It is safe in the washer (gentle cycle); dry on "Low Heat" setting or hang to dry. Do not use bleach or fabric softener, as it will clog the pores. Hint: When your shammy is wet it is quite pliable. If you smooth it out flat and then hang or lay flat to dry, it will dry looking fresh and new. If it is tumble-dried or left to air dry when crumpled, it will have a more rumpled appearance.