Indoor Plumbing

Deanna wrote: I have so many questions. But I’ll ask two. I didn’t read the other questions (I’m in a bit of a hurry here) so I hope I don’t duplicate. 

How often do the Amish bathe? I would think that with no electricity, it would be difficult to have enough hot water to make it very easy to bathe often.

Do most Amish have running water inside?

How do they deal with the issue of practically everyone being related?

I think being born Amish would have been nice in some respects, but looking at the big picture the answer would have to be a resoundiing no. The big reason would be that I could not obey without question. It would not be possible. Over the years, I’ve reflected on the things that I admire about the Amish and, frankly, there is no reason that I can’t implement much of the simplicity and beliefs into my own life.

I’d write more, but I have to get. Very thought provoking questions! 

Deanna, talking about thought-provoking questions: yours are very much so. 

The question of whether most Amish having running water inside their homes, the answer is simply I don’t know. Most of the Amish in my home community do, as do most of the Amish I know. However, there are many stricter communities that still do not allow that, and I honestly do not know what the ratio is of Amish who allow it/have it and those who don’t. 

When I was growing up, we bathed once a week, on Saturday nights. As we girls got older, we bathed more often, but that is when the “official” bathing happened. I actually have fond memories of the Saturday bathing and braiding time when I was very young, which I have described in an earlier post. To read this, you can click here.

I appreciate my indoor plumbing more than anything else that I did not have in my past. I find it such a luxury to have warm water spray out of my shower wall every morning and to have a toilet that flushes. Sometimes there really is progress.
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9 thoughts on “Indoor Plumbing”

  1. My question is…are they allowed to use deodorant products?

    And also for the ladies…are they allowed to shave (underarms/legs)?

    Also are they allowed to use sanitary napkins from the store or are they making their own as I’ve seen on some uber frugal blogs.

    Their facial skin is so pretty in most cases. My Mom says it is because they don’t wear makeup. Are any lotions allowed? Or is it just good clean living?

    I’m sorry if these questions sound trite but they are just some I’ve always wondered about.


    PS…I’ve ordered your book on Amazon and looking for it any day now!

  2. Saloma, I enjoyed reading back to the post of your memories of Saturday nights, hair braiding, and your sorrow with the loss of you mother. I could relate on so many levels. It was very touching.

    Thank you for answer all of our questions in such detail. I’ve been waiting to post about the giveaway until your life settled back down a bit. I didn’t want you to miss my thank you :)

  3. Tammy, yes on deodorant products, lotions, sanitary napkins and no on shaving underarms and legs.

    I hope you enjoy my book. I would love to hear from you when you’ve read it.

    Peg, the Amish normally use gas-powered engines to pump the water for their indoor plumbing.

    Thanks for your comments and questions.


    1. Reading about the bathing, the Amish were no different us in that respect. When we were kids we would bathe only once a week too, but ours was on a Sunday night ready for school the next morning. If I remember rightly too we used the same bath water with the younger members of the family getting the water last!

  4. My grandmother passed away 2 years ago at 93. While we are not Amish, she did grow up on a farm without indoor plumbing as we have it today. They did have a spring under the house, so there was a pump in the kitchen. The wood stove was always going a little bit, so they had some hot water in the resevoirs. I lived with my grandparents during college in a house with running water and a hot water tank. My grandparents bathed once a week, BUT they also washed up in the sink a lot using very little water. They always smelled clean and fresh. I hope Farrell’s family did the same. Only one bath a week with nothing else would be unbearable in the summer time w/o Air conditioning especially with farm chores daily.

    1. Jaroslaw, I do not think your grandparents would have had a spring underneath their house. They probably had a cistern which would be a huge (4 – 5 feet in diameter) clay pipe; its purpose was to collect the rainwater from the roof of the house. The ones I am familiar with were actually beside a house or maybe under an open porch but not under the house because you would not want the moisture in your house.

      You would not have a spring under a house for the simple fact that a spring is an opening in the earth where water comes out after travelling by gravity from a higher point. The spring water will flow continuously, forming a creek as it continues to seek the lowest point possible.

  5. Leaving your family and never seeing them again due to persecution and religious differences or abuse issues is difficult. I didn’t grow up Amish, I grew up “anti-religion” with people around me with differences. I was rebellious in the suburbs.

    I’m “shunned” and sick, nontheless. I will never see my family again and feel their offended presence with me wherever I am being poked with invisible rods. I don’t like them and we’ll never reconcile.

    The simplicity of the Amish is desirable, looks quaint & fun but I’d run, also. Where I’d go? I wouldn’t know.

    Your story is special. I watched your documentary on YouTube “The Amish: Shunned” and thank you for your story.

    You live a nice life and thanks for attempting to rescue a girl trying to leave her old world ways. It is inevitable that she’d want to return to her family alone in a world leaving everyone she loves behind.

    I’m struggling with these issues at age 38 and haven’t re-identified since 24. I still have no idea of who I really am or how to fit.

    These stories make sense to me.

  6. Hi Saloma,

    I’m not sure if you’re still reading and replying to older blog entries or not, but thought I’d chime in.
    I live in northern Maine, with an Amish community in nearby Smyrna, and a much more conservative Schwartzentruber community in Fort Fairfield. I haven’t been to the one in Fort Fairfield yet, but visit the store in Smyrna all the time.

    They sell many kinds of personal care products, household cleaning products, and laundry care products. My Amish neighbors find my current situation, of using river water, to be pretty primitive in comparison to their homes. Most still have outhouses, perfectly permissible here in rural Maine.

    The women I’ve seen are all very simply dressed, and aren’t the least bit unkempt. Same with the men, even though they work hard outdoors. I honestly think regular hard work and a simple diet minus the coffee, diet soda, cigarettes, and other bad habits, makes the body’s perspiration much less offensive.
    With such large families, washing up can be a big production. One of my friends, Jonas, has an outdoor boiler for the large quantity of hot water his family of eight needs.

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