Hygiene isn’t very sexy but it is one of the most important aspects of surviving any catastrophe or major event. This is especially true if the event is long-term. The last thing you want to do is contract a disease or infection when the world is in turmoil. Let’s take a look at the 52 hygiene items I suggest you have on hand to weather a survival scenario.
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Bleach is used to treat drinking water and to make cleaning solutions that will sterilize. (Bleach should contain between 5-6% sodium hypochlorite)
For cleaning surfaces where you prepare food mix 1 tablespoon of bleach per 1 gallon of water. For human waste and diaper changing areas disinfect with a bleach solution of 1 Tablespoon bleach per 1 quart of water. Wipe area well and wait for it to air dry. Bleach solutions are only good for one day so remake daily.NH DHHS Division of Health Services, Health Officers Manual
Interested in stockpiling for emergencies? Check out the Ready Squirrel article, “Canned Protein: 28 examples For The Apocalypse.”
#2 Eye Dropper
Use an eyedropper to measure bleach for water treatment.
As a general guideline, use 8 drops of bleach to a gallon of generally clearCommander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC)
water for best results. Based on the environment or cloudiness of the water, you may want to change
the number of drops to 16 per gallon for cloudy or murky water.
#3 Microfiber Washclothes
Microfiber towels dry quickly so they are a solid choice in an emergency situation. When you are sleeping outside in a tent or if you are without power and municipal water supplies having quick-dry towels makes life a lot more comfortable. To clean microfiber towels use a laundry bucket and hang them to dry.
#4 Microfiber Camp Towel
When hiking the Vermont leg of the Appalachian Trail I used a large microfiber towel. I’d clean up at night when we hiked into camp and the towel would be dry in the morning. A little tip, tie a wet microfiber towel to your backpack as you are hiking and, weather permitting, it will be dry in an hour.
If you use cotton towels they will pretty much stay damp.
#5 Bar Soap
I keep my hair short so sometimes I will wash my hair with bar soap as well. This is a trick I learned from my depression-era grandfather. It works.
The downside to bar soap is it can get messy if you don’t have a container or Ziploc bag to keep it in. If I’m out and about I actually prefer liquid soap in a bottle but bar soap is handy in camp.
#6 Baby Wipes
Baby wipes are pure gold for staying clean in a natural catastrophe or disaster. I used a lot of baby wipes when I hiked the Vermont leg of the Appalachian Trail. Staying clean isn’t just healthy it is also good for morale.
You can clean your entire body with baby wipes, also check out products like Epic wipes, huge wet wipes the size of a small bath towel.
A comb is part of most standard grooming kits. My hair is super short so not much combing going on. If you are surviving in the desert a comb is the best way to remove jumping cholla cactus from your body or clothing.
I was out jogging when I live in Arizona. I brushed a cholla cactus and one of the spiked balls stuck deep in my calf. I had to walk all the way home to get a comb.
#8 Fingernail Clippers
Clippers help maintain good foot and hand hygiene and stop in-grown nails. If you’ve ever hiked long distances with your nails cutting into your toes you know what I mean.
Toenail clippers are also good for cutting fishing lines or small strings.
Useful for removing splinters or cactus spines to reduce the possibility of infection.
#10 Metal Nail File
A metal nail file can be used to clean up fingers or an in-grown toenail. They can also be used to file small projects you are doing around camp.
Flexible athletic tape that you can use to cover blisters and hotspots on your feet.
A small mirror can be used for hygiene and for signaling others in an emergency situation.
#13 Hair Ties
A couple of hair ties or rubber bands are good to have one hand. Use them for bundling and keeping small items together. I.e. paracord, pens, and pencils, or packs of Q-tips and cotton balls.
#14 Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera is the best solution for soothing sun burns and chapped or dry skin.
Keeping your mouth clean is good for morale and it’s good for staying healthy. Go for the full-sized toothbrush and avoid using the dinky travel versions as they aren’t as effective in getting a good brush.
Get a minty fresh mouth as the world crumbles. Go with a full-size tube if you are sticking around camp and the travel size to reduce pack weight.
Listerine fights mouth bacteria.
#18 Dental Floss
Use dental floss in place of a toothpick, it keeps your mouth fresh and seconds as a super light-weight string.
#19 Toilet Paper
Running out of toilet paper is a real pain. You can wipe with leaves but you better know your plant identification.
#20 Feminine Pads
Sanitary Napkins/ Tampons/Menstrual Cups. Sanitary Napkins can also be used as a wound dressing.
A device that allows you to clean the unmentionable areas of your body without taking a full-blown shower or bath. This isn’t something I would use but I can see where it might be useful under certain circumstances.
Consider packing some paracord to use in a wash station. Clean towels in a bleach bucket and hang them on a paracord clothesline. Paracord is a multi-use item that you should have in your emergency survival kit.
#23 Antibacterial Soap
Great post potty hand cleaner; seconds as a firestarter
Have a shovel in your emergency hygiene kit to bury nasties and organic materials for composting and to keep bugs off of any kind of human waste. Keeping your survival camp clean is an important aspect of staying healthy in a survival scenario.
#25 Trauma Shears
Trauma shears for cutting bandages.
#26 Bucket Toilet
Use kitty litter, sawdust, or a trash bag liner. You can purchase a lid that looks like the lid on a regular toilet. I’d probably just use the bucket but that’s up to you.
#27 Wash Bucket
Fill the bucket with clean water and bleach or laundry detergent; use it to clean clothing and surfaces.
#28 Trash Bags
For waste disposal. Trash bags are an excellent resource; they are very useful in survival situations. If you use trash bags for your poop bucket get a smaller size that fits in the bucket. Large contractor trash bags are so handy I can’t list all of the possible uses. Trash bags can also second as a rain poncho, a waterproofer, or a shelter builder.
If you have a baby don’t forget diapers and rash cream. Consider the extra, wipes, hand sanitizer, and trash bags you will use.
These are a luxury but they are worth considering if you have a good supply of clean water. A couple of years ago I helped a friend build an off-grid cabin. We were out there for several days at a time without running water. I made it a habit to fill my sunshower first thing in the morning and lay it on a large rock in the sun. Great for morale.
I don’t consider this a necessary item but you might. Use it for the sake of the people around you.
All-purpose biodegradable camping/ backpacking shampoo and all body wash.
Use a washtub to clean clothes or as a backup for other cleaning chores.
#34 Clothes Detergent
Plan for some kind of soap to clean your clothes and rags
Protect your lips from drying out and cracking.
Use to clean your ears, apply antibiotic ointment, clean electronic gear, or as a firestarter.
#37 Cotton Balls
Good for cleaning around your eyes, cleaning blisters, applying antibiotic ointment, or as a firestarter
#38 Antibiotic ointment
Like Neosporin, and a safety pin for cleaning blisters. Neosporin provides infection protection and seconds as a fire accelerant
#39 Merino Wool Underwear & Socks
Merino wool is anti-microbial so it’s easier to keep down odors and other funk. Keep an extra set of underwear and socks in your hygiene kit
Tissues are a great thing to have for wiping the schnoz and around the eyes.
Kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria
#42 Isopropyl alcohol
Kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, can be mixed with water and used in a spray bottle to clean surfaces, can be used to disinfect an injury, can be used in a backpacker’s alcohol stove.
#43 Spray Bottles
Use spray bottles to make your own cleaners with water and bleach, or water and isopropyl alcohol.
#44 White Vinegar
Can be used as a natural cleaner, it will kill about 80% of bacteria and viruses, can also be used to clean clothing and disinfect surfaces.
#45 Baking Soda
Alternative toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, shoe deodorizer, cleaning agent.
#46 Hydrogen Peroxide
Used as a cleaning agent
#47 Buckets and Lids
You never know what you will need to clean or store. A clean bucket with a lid will keep stuff clean and dry. and Can be used to organize your supplies.
#48 Portable Urinal
For Male or Female
#49 Shower Shelter
if you want to get fancy you can put up a tent-like structure made specifically for sunshowers or use it as an outhouse in conjunction with your potty bucket.
#50 Gold Bond Medicated Powder
Controls moisture, soothes skin irritation, and reduces odor
#51 Zinc Oxide
To keep the sun off and keep from getting blisters that need to be cleaned.
#52 Bug Spray
Reduces infection and discomfort from bug bites. I can think of 3 times in my life when I didn’t have bug spray and needed it. Please, don’t let this happen to you.
That is all for now folks. Let me know if you have suggestions for other hygiene items in the comment section below. Keep on prepping.