Field Hygiene and Sanitation in SHTF

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Often we preppers focus on the big picture items, food, water, power, weapons and ammo to defend it.  However there are more dangerous things out there that can kill you, in fact in a total collapse you will be more likely to die from disease than roving gangs or starvation.  In WWII alone 38-55 million civilians died with around 25 million MORE dead from disease, this just goes to show you that with the massive amounts of battles, fire bombings, etc. massive amounts of people died, but still half were claimed by disease.

What lesson does this teach you?

That your vigilance is needed in the world of sanitation and hygiene as much of and more so than actually worrying about “combat”.

How can you better implement a sanitation strategy to your home/group in the event of a SHTF scenario.

First you should implement better hygiene and sanitation in your daily life now, as with anything in prepping the more you make a part of your normal life now the easier it will be in the future.



This is basic, what we were taught as children “wash your hands before dinner…wash behind your ears.”

While it may have been annoying at that time, it was still good advice.  Once again listen to your mother and you may just survive this world!

Now you may think you need to have anti-bacterial soaps, however recent studies have found that anti-bacterial soaps are no more effective than anti-bacterial soaps when used by healthy people.

Something like Irish Spring Soap will work just fine and you can pick up large amounts of it in bulk.  However you may want to have some Anti-Bacterial soap on hand to use for people who may get ill, are weakened by other issues, etc.

wash your hands vigorously, scrub under your nails with a good nail brush especially before you eat or touch your hands to your mouth in anyway.  A good habit to develop is to just keep your hands out of your mouth.



As with washing your hands keeping your body clean is of the utmost importance.

As best you can with what you have available take showers or baths daily, if you cannot wash yourself using a rag with soap and water.  The cleaner your body is the healthier you will be.

An easy and cheap makeshift shower is just a 5 gallon bucket with handle.  Using a nail and hammer, drill, etc., bust holes through the bottom.  You don’t want too many holes, fewer is better, you can always add more, if you have too many you will lose too much water to quickly.  Concentrate the holes in the center of the bucket.  Use the handle to hang from a branch and pour water into the bucket, or fill it up and hang it immediately.  Be naked before hand and get under it, and you have yourself a decent little makeshift shower.

If you do have power/water in your home you will probably want to conserve the water/electricity depending on where it is coming from.  The best way to do this is to institute the “Navy Shower” policy.  That is you turn on the water, get wet, turn it off.  Then soap up and wash yourself from top to bottom.  Don’t forget the crotch, butt and feet.  Then turn on the water and rinse off, and shut off immediately.  Its amazing how much water we waste just lounging in the shower.

A good loofa, sponge or pumice stone is great for getting off the dirty layer of muck and grim on your body or hard to get off dirt’s, oils, etc from your hands.  I had a friend tell me before I went into the Marines (who was a vet himself) to always make sure i keep my butt clean, i didn’t understand at first, but after my first few  week long forays into the field i realized that not doing so let to quite a bit of discomfort from what we called “swamp ass”.



It is paramount that you keep whatever you eat on and drink out of clean.  I recently had a bout of the stomach bubbles due to not keeping my cup clean on a recent hiking trip, this is just a pain now, but could spell death if your are not careful in a real survival situation, it was a good wake up call for my complacence in situation i consider second nature.

Always wash after eating and before eating if it was exposed to dirt and grime.

Water is better than nothing, and sand/gravel works well for a pre-clean scrub if you have nothing else. However this will not prevent any yuckies that may have formed on them.  I personally have bulked up on storing dawn dishwashing liquid.  You can pick up a gallon for around $11 on Amazon.  A quick word on Amazon Prime, its a great service and i have had it for 2 years now, basically it offers you free 2 day shipping on amazon prime items, most of them are. its around $90 but when you factor in shipping on a lot of this stuff it pays for itself very quickly.  Considering you could order 500 lbs of stuff and not pay shipping, that is great.  You can try it out for 30 days for free by going through this link.   



I don’t need to go into this on this post as i just wrote a post about this recently called SHTF LATRINES: How to Poop when the water stops



A few other things to keep in mind…

  • Keep your socks dry when out and about, always carry a second pair, if the first get soaked take them off, and hang them around your neck or off your pack so they can dry.  Foot rot is not your friend
  • Foot and Body Powder are great if you have them, i would recommend storing some away, they can usually be picked up when walgreens, riteaid, etc have those clearance bins for dirt cheap.
  • It is also important for you to keep your clothes clean.  Now getting dirty isn’t something to be avoided like the plague, but it defeats the purpose somewhat if you keep yourself clean but never clean your clothes for weeks on end.
  • Zinc Oxide and other creams are good to keep some minor rubbing on your thighs, butt, etc from becoming infected.





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