It’s no secret that one of the biggest issues post-collapse is going to be hygiene that could cause anything from minor illnesses to pandemics. Let’s not forget that in the Victorian era, one of the biggest concerns people had was their health. Since they lacked our modern day conveniences, you can imagine why. You can imagine that, in a post-apocalyptic scenario, proper sanitation may be hindered by any number of things:
- lack of running water
- having to dosage daily water needs
- lack of clean water for personal hygiene when bugging out
- trash (particularly in cities)
- rats and other rodents who will probably multiply post-collapse
In addition to these, lack of hospitals and dental equipment will not only make things painful for us when we have a medical problem but it might actually kill us.
Keeping in mind that I’m not a doctor, let’s talk about some of the ways to stay clean in a post-collapse environment, keeping in mind that in a worst case scenario, that it could take months or even years before things go back to some sort of normal.
There are pros and cons to shaving and even though I like having one right now, I’m pretty sure I won’t want one after it hits. Why? Well, according to an article on USA Today showed that some of the bacteria and microbes that are found in beards are the same ones found in fecal matter! Now, imagine how many more microbes you would have post-SHTF, when you won’t be able to take care of your beard like you do now.
Now, I know looking dirty would allow you to better blend it but let’s just keep both our options available, shall we?
Also, consider how uncomfortable you’d feel if you had to wear a gas mask over your beard.
Use Rainwater for Bathing
Bathing in rainwater on hot summer days is one of my most cherished memories from when I was a kid. We’d take a big bathtub outside, fill it with water, and then let it sit in the sun from about 11AM to 2PM. Of course, this assumes you have some way of harvesting rainwater.
Make Sure You Have Baby Wipes
They contain minimum amounts of water, meaning they won’t make your backpack that much heavier. Considering they have a shelf life of up to two years, there’s no reason NOT to get them.
Use a Solar Shower
Solar showers are just bags with shower heads attached. You leave them in the sun for a few hours for the water to heat up then, in order to use them, you just hang them in a tree. There are two big advantages to them:
#1 is they are very light when they’re not filled with water, meaning you can put them in your bug out bag, keep them at your bug out location or even take them with you camping.
#2 is they allow you to wash with minimum amounts of water.
Use Baking Soda as Toothpaste
Some people claim it’s actually better than toothpaste. Since it has a 3-4 years of shelf life and you can use it for a whole bunch of other things, it makes perfect sense that you’d use it to clean not just your teeth but your fridge, your kitchen, greasy dishes and much more.
Though I’m no dentist, I can tell you that floss is more important than brushing your teeth (proof). Your toothbrush simply cannot reach those really tight spaces between your teeth to remove food and plaque. So please, stock up on as much floss as you can because it’s cheap and may save you a lot of pain.
Use a Cloth to Wash Up
If showering isn’t an option or you just want to use the least amount of water possible, simply use a moist cloth to clean your skin.
Stock-Up on Nail Clippers
Nail clippers, just like scissors, are one of those impossible items to DIY in a post-collapse society. You probably won’t have means to buy them or barter for, either. So what will you do if your only pair of nail clippers is lost in the coming disaster?
Since they’re dirt-cheap, you might as well get at least 4 or 5 of them and keep them in various, strategic places: your bug out bag, your car’s BOB, at your bug out location and so on.
Keep Your Distance
Just because you’re careful with hygiene, that doesn’t mean everyone else is. Avoiding human contact may not be something everyone agrees with but the truth is, humans can carry a slew of microbes, germs, bacteria and other organisms that you’ll want to avoid at all costs.
Don’t shake hands unless you have to, don’t kiss anyone unless you really have to and if you see someone looking pale, avoid that person at all costs. I know its common sense but if you don’t make sure your kids know about this, they might infect your entire family.
Get a Mobile Washer for Doing Laundry
You can find them on Amazon for 20 bucks but they’re gonna make things a whole lot easier for you when you have no electricity to use your washing machine. In fact, if you’re worried you have a few extra pounds, you can use it to burn some calories and save some money on electricity.
Since fungus thrives in moisture, you need to keep dry as you’re bugging out and you start sweating. Remember doctors many not be available and if you can’t take care of it, it’s gonna start spreading.
Truth be told, I could go on and on with tips and tricks to staying clean in a post-collapse society but as long as you’ve got the basics covered, you should be fine.
Dan F. Sullivan
This article first appeared on American Preppers Network and may be copied under the following creative commons license. All links and images including the CC logo must remain intact.