The Drill Sergeant’s Guide to the Most Efficient Shower of Your Life

It might not be the most glamorous shower ever, but it sure is quick.


We all know that being in the military means being trained to do things in the most efficient manner possible, and according to this article on, that also applies to taking a shower:

“In Marine Corps boot camp, the first couple of weeks will be spent doing things ‘by the numbers.’ This is true for hygiene time as well. When everyone is packed into their showering area, a drill instructor will give you an allotted time (by counting down from a certain number) to clean individual parts of your body and then rinse. Being able to take a full shower without a DI giving commands is also a rite of passage.”

Sounds relaxing!

But considering some people do manage to spend more than 15 minutes in their daily shower, it seems like a few of us could use some lessons in efficient showering. To that end we enlisted Chris Shellaby, drill sergeant at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to provide some pointers. Here’s his take on the military-style shower:

“That first night or so, we have them lined up outside of the shower—there are only so many shower stalls inside of the latrine, so one door is an entry door and one door is an exit door,” Shellaby explains. “In their right hand, they have bar soap. In their left hand, they have a washcloth. They also have a towel draped over their shoulder.”

Once the showers begin, Shellaby emphasizes that each person has approximately two minutes to get as clean as possible. His advice for achieving cleanliness in such a short time: “Hitting the hot spots,” he says. That’s military slang for scrubbing the armpits, behind the knees, in the creases of the elbows and anywhere else that’s extra prone to sweaty, smelly buildup.

Of course, the possibility of punishment might also help these boot campers speed through their showers. “Every morning, when they come downstairs, we check the back of their neck to make sure they’re actually cleaning themselves,” Shellaby says. But for the average civilian, making it to work on time might also provide some motivation.

So, there you have it: The most efficient shower basically consists of frantically cleaning all of your creases.

Hey, whatever works.