'Mother Dirt' Product Does Away With The Need For Showering, But Would You Want To?
If you could go years on end without showering, would you want to? What if you could and still technically remain clean? Well, that option is said to be here. A natural product called "Mother Dirt" has come out that purportedly eliminates the need for showering — for years, if you really wanted to. We're not sure why anybody would want to, but it may be a great idea for astronauts, campers, survivalists and anybody else not in a position to shower at will.
There are other applications where lack of showering might also apply, such as aquagenic urticaria, an allergic reaction to water, or people that are bed bound due to age, illness or weight. But for most people the concept of not bathing regularly is entirely foreign. As modern beings, we've learned to love the luxury of it. Give us a long, hot shower or a good soak and we're happy. Now, it looks like the future of alternative hygiene could be here, and it comes in a mist.
Mother Dirt is the brainchild of David Whitlock, a man who says he hasn't showered in over 12 years — that's correct, 12 years — and swears he doesn't stink or come across as dirty. If you're wondering why he developed the product, it's not because he suffers from ablutophobia, an irrational fear of bathing. Whitlock was dating a woman with horses that wondered aloud why her equines liked to roll in the dirt.
After originally hazarding a guess about the animals wanting to repel insects, he soon came to the conclusion that it was actually about wanting the right kinds of bacteria on their skin. It seems the bacteria in soil that metabolize ammonia are ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) that, according to Whitlock, are capable of basically keeping us clean and odor free. That's the science behind Mother Dirt.
After deciding the bacteria were very important in physiology, Whitlock thought he might be on to something and wanted to investigate. How important a role these bacteria played, he wasn't sure yet, but it wasn't long before the scientist began experimenting with the concept.
After harvesting some of these bacteria that he had isolated from the soil and realizing that they were safe, he washed for what was essentially the last time and began applying them to himself in a liberal fashion to see what would happen. It should be pointed out here he didn't just smear bacteria all over himself. They were enriched in a culture containing ammonia and minerals and made into a mist.
Since Whitlock no longer showers, he applies the odor neutralizing compound to himself every day, sometimes several times a day. He's been doing this since 2003, and by all accounts he does not smell bad — that's according to Whitlock and Mother Dirt's General Manager, Jasmina Aganovic, who sat next to him during an interview with Yahoo's Katie Couric. Couric, for her part, looks as though she's really grappling with the idea of all of this throughout the taping of their brief chat, so much so that it's almost comical.
So why Mother Dirt? Well, Aganovic decided she wanted to bottle the stuff and sell it. Whitlock then teamed up with other like-minded scientists to begin AOBiome, a Massachusetts-based startup in Cambridge that researches the peculiar role bacteria plays in keeping us clean and relatively disease free.
Mother Dirt Product Line
So far, there are three products in the new line by AOBiome. They consist of a shampoo; a cleanser that can be used in the shower, if you still want to get wet; and a bacteria-rich mist that can be used to balance skin pH after bathing or between cleansing efforts. The last is the product Whitlock has been using for all these years for his freshening sans water routine. Instead, he uses the mist under his arms and on his entire body in place of soap and deodorant.
The implications of a product that could eliminate the need for antiperspirant deodorants could be significant, for the aluminum in most of the products for controlling sweat and odor has long been debated for potential health risks.
In recent years there have been numerous debates as to the part aluminum may play in Alzheimer's, due to increased levels of the chemical element found in sufferers of the disease. Either way, getting away from the chemical could only be considered a plus. Additionally, there's the question of our over sanitizing ourselves with all of the antibacterial soaps and hand gels currently on the market.
Not everyone is on board with the theory David Whitlock and the rest of his team have put forth regarding ammonia oxidizing bacteria. Some scientists point out that not enough studies have been conducted to validate the group's findings yet and that body cleansing isn't a one-size-fits-all prospect.
While more research and clinical trials will surely be undertaken, the AOBiome line could be considered a promising step in the right direction for more natural products, which has become a booming industry over the last decade or so.