In planning for the Northern Central Trail Marathon, I had booked a 3:10pm flight home. Even with the 40 minute drive from Sparks to BWI, that should have been more than enough time… except that the race started at 8:30am (late for a marathon!) and that I was very tired and really took my time on the course. Oops! As a result, I made it to the airport in time for my flight, but didn’t have a chance to stop by my hotel for a shower and clean up before boarding.
Luckily, a few weeks ago, I read a really interesting article about sweat and what makes us smell after a workout. The piece noted that most of your sweat remains trapped in your workout clothes, and not on your skin, so the most important thing is just changing into clean clothes. That made sense to me – except for an incredibly intense workout or one in the summertime, I’m usually pretty dry once I get my workout clothes off. Furthermore, it suggested using wipes to help you clean up post-workout. Well, I was in luck now! I had just been asked by Showerpill to try out their wipes and tell them what I thought. While I had tried them several times (with good success) following some lunchtime Crossfit workouts, what better way to really test them out than cleaning up after a full marathon?
After reaching BWI airport and taking off my medal to go through security, I ducked into a bathroom next to my gate. Five minute till boarding – would that be enough time? The bathroom was packed, so I wasn’t able to grab a handicapped stall for extra room, but the bathrooms at BWI turned out to be pretty decently-sized anyway – big enough for me to bring my suitcase and laptop bag in with me and still have room to change.
First step: get the sweaty clothes off. It took a bit of wriggling, since I was wearing tights and a form-fitting top, but that was quickly done – and I immediately felt a lot better just having the sweaty gear off me! But now for the disinfecting… bring on Showerpill!
Showerpill is a cloth-like disposable wipe that’s a lot thicker than a regular baby wipe – it kind of reminds me of a Swiffer wet pad. It comes folded up in a sealed pouch that’s about 6 inches by 3 inches (though unfolds to 9″x8″), which is easy to toss in just about any bag (including a small purse). Since I never check a bag when I travel, I like that I can toss a few packets into my suitcase and not have them take up almost any room. Convenient! The packet material is sturdy enough that you don’t need to worry about it puncturing or opening accidentally, but it also has a convenient notch in the side, making it very easy to rip open. In the half dozen or so times I’ve tried Showerpill, I’ve never had trouble getting it open, even when my hands were wet or sweaty. (Hey, sports gel manufacturers – please take note of that!)
Once you remove the Showerpill wipe from the packet, there’s really not much more to it – just wipe it all over your body and then toss it in the trash. The packet instructions tell you to try to fold the wipe so that you only use the surface of it once but can still get all over your body, but I usually just wiped indiscriminately (though saved the particularly sweaty areas for last). There seems to be plenty of the active chemical ingredient (benzalkonium chloride) to go around, probably because of the thickness of the wipe, and I’ve never had any problems with it going dry because I “used it up.”
Once you rub Showerpill on your skin, you will definitely know where you have used it and where you haven’t, since it makes your skin a little bit wet and takes a few minutes to dry. I initially thought of that as a flaw, because you can’t just wipe and then immediately put your clothes on. However, I realized that it’s actually probably a good thing that you have to stand there and let it work – that allows the antiseptic to do its thing and fully evaporate. (I also discovered that if you’re really in a rush, you can dry off with a clean gym towel, but I would guess you wouldn’t get the maximum disinfecting benefit if you did that.) I did a bit of research into benzalkonium chloride and couldn’t find any reported side effects except for people who have allergies – and if you have minor cuts or scrapes (hello, clumsy Laura tripping during a race!), the antiseptic won’t hurt and in fact can help prevent infection. So that made me pretty happy as well.
As far as the smell, it’s not the standard smell of a baby wipe, but it’s similar in that it’s kind of chemical and disinfectant-ish. While it’s not particularly yummy-smelling, it’s not unpleasant either – just neutral. Also, once the wetness goes away, you’re left without any smell at all – neither sweat nor chemical! If you’re someone who wears perfume, you could definitely put that on after using Showerpill and not have any fragrance clashes.
So did it get me clean after my marathon? Yes – I definitely give it two thumbs up. After I had changed, no one seemed to look at me even the slightest bit askance in the boarding area. Furthermore, I was flying Southwest Airlines, where you choose your own seat once you board the plane, and two people wanted the middle seat in my row (one ended up going further back because there wasn’t space in the overhead bins nearby). I’ll take that as proof that I didn’t smell!
While I wouldn’t use Showerpill all the time (a long hot shower just feels great after a workout!), I definitely plan on buying some for certain situations. Lunchtime Crossfit, dashing to the airport after a race, or even heading to brunch with friends after a long run – all of those are times where five minutes in the bathroom with Showerpill would definitely come in handy. I know my runner friends are quite used to all of us just keeping our running clothes on and heading straight to brunch/the bar/whatever, but Showerpill would probably make the other patrons in the restaurant a lot happier 🙂 Showerpill sells for about $10 per box of 10 wipes, so it’s not a crazy investment – and it makes me feel a lot better about getting on with my day after a workout, even if I don’t have the time/facilities to take a real shower.
Disclaimer: I received free ShowerPill samples as part of my affiliation with FitFluential LLC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated in this post are my own.