Every now and then it can be good fun to get dirty. What is not fun, however, is experiencing the negative effects of getting dirty and/or staying dirty once TEOTWAWKI has arrived. Sure, our society is in good shape now with soap, detergents, running water, toilets that flush, showers, washing machines, and dishwashers, but when you remove all of these things from the equation, things will change dramatically. What is clean today could quickly become pretty gross tomorrow.
The thing about cleanliness is that once it is gone, our health becomes compromised. Think about a time when a garbage truck won't come through your neighborhood twice a week and waste begins to pile up, attracting flies and vermin. Instead of arguing with your neighbor over his dog relieving itself in your yard, now your neighbor himself is doing the same thing right alongside his pooch. Contamination will be a real problem and once it sets in, it will be difficult if not impossible to stop, leading to the rapid spread of disease and decline of health on a large scale. The way to combat the spread of disease is to have good hygiene. Though it may be more difficult to stay squeaky clean once the SHTF, this is not something we can afford to write off. Instead of accepting a life of filth and disease, fight back in advance by stockpiling appropriately and developing a plan for alternate means of hygiene will you still can.
Handwashing in a basin may be become a thing of the past, but it will still be possible to do after the SHTF. You will just need have access to water and remember to purify it before doing so in order to achieve complete cleanliness. Even then you must remember to wash hands in one tub of water and rinse in another as dipping washed hands back in dirty water nullifies the effort. Make sure your survival plan includes tubs for washing and brushing teeth as well as means of purifying water. Remember, too, that rain water is your friend and being able to catch it will prove invaluable once the municipal water supply fails.
Many of us are guilty of this now and will likely be just as guilty down the road, but that towel hanging in the bathroom that everyone dries their hands on is a bad idea. Cloth towels that are unable to be laundered will turn into a breeding ground for germs. For the sake of sanitation, invest ahead of time in paper towel for the drying of hands, but don't stop there. Another thing you won't be able to wash after the SHTF is utensils, glasses, dishes, pots, and pans. Though it is inevitable that pots and pans will need to be washed, don't waste disinfected water on unnecessary washing and instead stock up on disposable things such as plastic utensils, solo cups, and paper plates.
Some of the modern conveniences that are a common sight these days and should be embraced in the name of survival hygiene are wipes. It sometimes seems like there is a wipe for everything be it a baby wipe, electronics wipe, bleach wipe, wet wipe, or something else in the same vein. Take advantage of the wipe market by adding some to your stockpile but take care to store them in a cool place and rotate stock as they can and do dry out even in closed packaging. And while you're at it, get some antibacterial hand sanitizer and perhaps some dry shampoo.
Finally, don't forget about things such as gloves for cleaning, masks to prevent inhalation of airborne particles, trash bags for containing waste, a safe location for and means of burning trash, as well as Lysol and bleach for cleaning/killing germs. Even though the world we currently live in is very much anti-waste, a necessary part of survival is going to include disposable items in order to prevent contamination and illness. Though it may break some hearts to use a paper plate, at least they'll be alive with a heart to break.
What hygiene items do you plan to include in your survival stockpile? What measures do you plan to take to prevent the spread of illness and disease? Let us know in the comments.