The Importance Of Cleanliness After The Collapse


The next time you’re sitting on ‘the throne’, just imagine what it was like for our ancestors who did not have indoor plumbing… While there are remote areas today where the ‘outhouse’ is still in use, for most of us it is difficult to imagine a way-of-life during the time before modern conveniences of indoor plumbing, running hot & cold water, ‘paper towels’, dishwashers, ‘washing machines’, soaps and detergents of every variety, toilet paper, etc..

Instead of visiting the indoor ‘throne’, one would have to trudge outside to the outhouse (no matter the weather or time of day) and perform one’s duties. And it doesn’t stop there… someone had to be responsible for the dirty job of maintaining the situation.

While this article is not about the outhouse, it is about the importance of general cleanliness after the collapse, and the preparedness considerations which coincide with maintaining a clean and healthy way of life during such a time…

It is amazing how many people use ‘paper towels’ as their first choice to clean up a mess. Not only is it expensive (comparative to an ordinary washable towel) but it is not sustainable. You can stock up with paper towels, but when they run out – you’re out. Then what?

The answer is a good supply of a variety of washable towels ranging in size from small to large. Don’t stop there though… imagine if there’s no electricity and your washing machine doesn’t work. That’s right, you’ll need to wash them by hand. How will you do that?

You will need a variety of buckets and basins. But it doesn’t end there… you will also need a washboard of sorts, the ridges of which help to loosen out the ‘dirt’.

Do you have a water supply nearby (other than your faucet tap)? Do you have a means to collect it and store it? Do you even know where the nearest secondary water source is?

Oh, and what about soap? Do you have a variety of bar and liquid soaps stored up? Enough to last quite awhile?

What about plenty of clothes-line rope and clothes-pins for hanging your clean towels and clothes (you’re dryer doesn’t work)?

For every aspect of preparedness to do with maintaining sanitary conditions for cleaning, cleanliness and sanitation, just think about how you will go about doing it without today’s modern conveniences (just in case)…

Think about the things that will be especially important to have on hand to keep a clean and sanitary environment, perhaps without all the conveniences, disposables, and appliances that you’re used to today.

-Washing the dishes?
-Washing the clothes?
-Cleanup of counters, tables, spills?
-What else??

Here’s something to consider… today’s First Aid, antibiotics, doctors and hospitals, all contribute greatly to a longer ‘shelf life’ of we humans. During a time (not so long ago) you could easily die from an infection of an ordinary cut. Without such modern luxuries, how will you minimize infection from day-to-day activities? This will become a very important consideration. When your antibiotic cream runs out – then what?

What are your thoughts on this preparedness category (importance of cleanliness) and what are some ideas how to go about preparing or implementing behavioral changes to accommodate this?


  1. For us old country folks an out house, ringer washer and clothes line is not unheard of. We still use a clothes line to dry some of out laundry. It has been a while since I have used an out house, but it is doable. I have a wood burning stove to heat my shop that I made myself and enough supplies to make another for the house. We have a garden to feed ourselves. We also can and freeze to eat thru the winter. If you really want to be a survivalist you need to learn how to live like your grandparents did.

    1. +1 On living like our grandparents.
      You make it, you grow it, you use it, you wear it out, or, you make due without…

      You are friendly to your neighbors, and help others when they ask.
      If you need help, always ask if you can’t do it alone.

      Save your money for quality items that can’t be made at home.
      Don’t waste money on junk.

  2. My grandma boiled clothes and cloths for sanitary use. She also used powdered borax in washing to remove dirt and stains and brighten clothes. I used it to preserve fish skins when I did my taxidermy on them and it killed the fishy smell.

    I use 1/2 cup Clorox bleach per gallon of water to kill viruses and bacteria on hard surfaces, then rinse. I use it in my dog pen. Clorox comes in dry powder form to last longer now.

    I have a large supply of body soap. I even had a bar of 100 year old homemade lye soap, still worked well, and used it in my historical re-enactments. Hard soap lasts a very long time.

    I used a plastic tub and my old washboard this winter when the septic froze up. When wringing out clothes, wear rubber gloves to prevent chafing and stress cuts and bruises on your hands, otherwise if I could have found a hand crank wringer it would have been easier.

    I rarely use antibiotics on cuts and scrapes. I wash my wounds with hand soap and water and if need be, I use nature’s natural antibiotic remedy used for centuries- Honey as a salve to keep it clean and to stop bacterial growth. I used honey-mustard on a bad burn up and down my arm I got from a hot pan of bacon grease at a primitive event years ago and it healed very well, no scar at all, relieved the pain, and no infection. Wearing this food all over my arm made me desire a hotdog and toast for a week. I learned a lot from those old timers, passing down old remedies.

    When I camped primitive, I showered with campfire hot water put in a garden sprinkler can. Some people had black water plastic containers heated by the sun. Mine was much warmer! The warmer it was, the better it cleaned the oils from sweaty skin and scalp. Try washing pork grease in lukewarm water and tons of soap–it won’t wash away. Now you can buy propane heated portable showers.

    1. Stardust

      sounds interesting…”honey-mustard” salve.

      how do you make it? how long did you leave it on?

      I had always been told that mustard couldn’t be left on long as it might burn. (when used as chest compress). Maybe it is different mixed with honey?

      1. Maybe it refers to commercial mustard? That often has vinegar in it. And vinegar would burn.

        1. Lauren
          doesn’t seem to be. just looked it up

          “A mustard plaster is a poultice of mustard seed powder spread inside a protective dressing and applied to the body to stimulate healing. It can be used to warm muscle tissues and for chronic aches and pains.[1] It was once part of conventional medical treatment

          How it works

          An enzymatic reaction in the wet mustard powder produces a chemical called Allyl isothiocyanate, which is absorbed through the skin as a transdermal drug.It provides warmth and functions as a counterirritant, meaning that it stimulates nerve endings in the skin and thereby distracts the body from deeper-seated pain

          Side effects

          If left in place for too long, it can produce significant first-degree burns to the skin”


        2. Anon , have you tried it or do you have plans to mix some up ? If you experiment with the process please document the effects and post up!

        3. East Texas mom

          no, have not tried it. I just recall from when I was young, it was sometimes used, and there was a stated concern re “burning”..

          I had it put on my chest once when I was a teen, cant recall exactly what I had. But, I do recall it did not seem to do anything one way or the other for me, back then.

        4. I mixed honey and plain yellow mustard from a jar on top of it for two days, then got rid of the honey and went only yellow mustard. Changed the plaster twice a day for several days. Mustard actually cooled my arm, did not burn it and aided in the healing without scars.

          AS far as the post below, It seems funny I would add first degree burns to my 2nd degree burns given if that statement was true. A side effect could mean one out of a thousand people or one with very sensitive skin. Be careful, because there are also 1st degree burning side effects to anti-biotic creams, sunscreens, and lotions as well.

        5. Stardust

          thank you for the explanation..

          so you used mustard, as purchased from the grocers for hotdogs?

          I wonder,
          I think that has vinegar and turmeric in it? (don’t have a bottle right now to check).

          I recall when I was young, folks would put actual vinegar on sunburns and swear it did away with pain/healed it quicker.

          I wonder?

        6. Turmeric is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, although the amounts used in commercially prepared mustard might be so low as to be useless. I’ve never tried vinegar on a burn, but since most of my sunburns are 2nd degree (blisters) it might not be a good idea. It’s a thought for the future, though.

          Vinegar would definitely aid evaporation, taking the heat with it. When I was growing up we always had aloe vera gel in the house, a necessity since my brothers never learned how to put on hats or sunscreen.

        7. Lauren

          all true

          if anyone does try vinegar, please let us know.

          although I knew folks who swore by vinegar on sunburn, I do not recall seeing them do so. Also, maybe a sunburn is different than a “burn”?

          for myself, I have for forty years, put a burn under running cold water tap. It gets very cold, and gets to a point where I could hardly stand the cold. Leave under for as long as possible. I had what I thought was very bad burns heal quickly and without scar this way.

        8. Anon & Lauren
          Have been using it for sun burns since the mid 1960’s on sunburns. My mom used it on me, and when a friend was sunburned I did not use the paper towels method we used cotton balls and dabbed it on her skin.

          Day one she looked like a cooked lobster-bright red, an by day 2 she was a mildly pink and by day 3 you would not know she was burned. Her epidermis(white as milk)would burn quite easily, an she so longed for a tan. I kept telling her it was not wise, but we were teenagers and tans were popular then.
          When I suggested applying vinegar on her skin she said but it stinks, my reply was better to smell like a salad then the be in pain for weeks.

        9. Try Propolis. It’s the substance with anti-bacterial properties (among others) that Bees use to maintain their hives. Removed as a solid, or powder it can be dissolved in either rubbing alcohol for topical use, or ethel alcohol (such as plain grey goose) to use internally.
          Often used in cosmetics to provide cleanliness, also in topical ointments.

        10. Starust

          I just googled “Vinegar Sunburn”
          and i’ll be darned…first listing was this..

          “It can help ease sunburn pain, itching, and inflammation. Soak a few sheets of paper towels in white vinegar, and apply them to the sunburned areas. Leave them on until the towels are dry. Repeat as needed.”

  3. Actually, this is probably my biggest concern. It does no good to have years of supplies, food, ammo, and developed skills if you come down with cholera or dysentery. On top of that there won’t be any vaccinations. Polio, smallpox, tb, pertussis, lockjaw. The list goes on and on. There’s only so much you can do to prevent or treat all of these. We all do what we can and pray for the best.

    1. You’re right. Plus this particular preparedness category isn’t as ‘sexy’ or popular or dramatic as some others – and therefore I believe that many may be ignoring it…

    2. Look into ferments such as used in Kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchee, and many others. Your body is about 97% bacteria & yeasts. Trillions of the little buggers & associated bio-films. This is your “Biome”. Your Genome by contrast is 3% of you ( by DNA) while the Biome is NOT your DNA! The biome is now thought to be responsible for most of your health & wellbeing. Our bodies radiate a bio-cloud 15-20 feet or more around us, and interact with everything they come into contact with.
      If you truly want to keep your health & wellness you should be aware of this constant interaction, and encourage the acquiring of friendly (Pro) Biotics found on the surface of virtually everything you consume or come into contact with. Your body surface is literally covered with friendly & defensive probiota. You shouldn’t over wash for this reason.
      As a defensive (survival) position, everyone needs to learn as much about these small defenders, and their care & feeding.
      At this time I also want to pay respects to ALL our NON-surviving neighbors (not our ancestors, they survived) that contributed to our healthy biome by coming into contact with biota that at first killed them and allowed our ancestors to survive & thrive. They are responsible for our immunity to such things as molds (cheeses) yeasts (beers & wines) and biofilms (ferments) that we tak for granted today.

  4. Just started sewing reusable toilet paper from soft flannel clothe. Will need about 300-500+ pieces sown into double thickness so we don’t have to do the laundry everyday. I figure for 4 people, 300-500 is about right. Not pretty to wash, but hey, but this has to be done as paper may not be available. Not to much different than underwear when you think about it.

    1. You can always use water instead of toilet paper/cloth – just like the majority of the earths population use,

  5. Walmart super centers sell 100,000 gallon use Sawyer mini water filters in the camping section for about $20.00 a piece. That’s cheap clean water.
    Even if you have a well, I would buy one or more for traveling or to insure clean water. These take out 99.9% of germs and bacteria. For heavy metals you have to buy more expensive products. If you can not find the Sawyer in Walmart, they can be bought online through Amazon, Ebay, and Walmart online.
    Make sure it says Mini. Mini Sawyer is good for 100K+ gallons.

  6. Everyone should have at least one 50# bag of lime on hand to cover all that crap and other stuff after SHTF. I use about 50# of agricultural lime a year in the gardens. I suppose now I need to pick up several hundred pounds of it so I can have something to sprinkle in the outhouse hole when the time comes. (Don’t have an outhouse but after SHTF will probably have to make one)

    I used an outhouse when I was young and even had to use a chamber pot a number of times. Neither are pleasant, especially the chamber pot. I think I’d rather go out in the cold and use the outhouse before resorting to using a chamber pot again. That was disgusting, and I was only 5 years old then. A chamber pot is not very pleasant, especially after several other people have used it throughout the night and it also stinks up the house even if you put a top on it. I’d rather use a hole in the ground.

    1. @ CrabbeNebulae
      HAHAHA have to chuckle a bit, I have a sign at the beginning of my driveway. “I have 50# of Lime and a backhoe, DON’T mess up”

    2. Which is why is why most have a 5 gallon bucket with a tight fit lid lined in trash bag.

  7. The human animal is a rather dirty, nasty, and at times discussing growth at times. Billions and billions of dollars are spent on literally thousands and thousands of cleansing products every year, yet; how many times have y-all been near someone that quite literally stunk or look like they have not washed their hair in a month? People that seeming don’t know to take a shower at least once a week? WHY!!!???

    This is a modern age we ALL live in, there is NO reason to not be “clean”, NOW before anyone jumps my $hit, I know there are certain reasons some people can’t or are unable, but I mean come-on-man…. I would need to say that 99% of the people of the US and most of the world are near a place to “clean up” every day or night.

    Honestly I know a few people that just don’t…. Try walking down the local Wally World. OMG people TAKE A SHOWER and wash your clothes. It’s not that hard to do, take a little pride in your appearance.

    SO, take that short little Rant, and hit the public with a SHTF…. How are they ever going to keep clean? Does anyone save more than 1-2 bars of soap? And know how to use it without standing in a shower for 30 min? Now let’s add Dish Soap, Laundry Soap, Shampoo, and Bar Soap. Ok now how about Anti-bacterial and Disinfectant creams. Add a LOT of First Aid “stuff”, and you might be started on being ready for a SHTF. Anti-Biotics? How many will die from a simple cut that can’t be “cleaned”?

    How about making Soaps? Lye Soaps? Rendering Fat and mixing with Ash? How about natural soap alternatives? Heck standing in a river and a hand full of sand will scrub a LOT of that “nasty” off you.

    Now I know if\when TSHTF nobody is going to be bathing 7 times a week, but y-all might figure out how to keep clean, in that river, lake or a bucket of water (try that bucket of water sometime, not as easy as one might think). And I have not even started on the lack of TP and Kleenex, Paper Towels and so on, yes I know that a lot of y-all have addressed that, but how many hundreds of us have not? And let me tell you, dried leaves or a corn cob are NOT a good idea.

    Point being; educate yourself on ways to “clean” yourself without using those thousands of products, educations is a wonderful thing.

    1. @ NRP

      I for one, am not gonna use sand to wash my um, sensitive bits, no thank you. I’ve been stocking the soaps and shampoos. Planning on seeing if I can go for an alternative plant based soap as a back-up. Thought about using lye etc to make soap but what if circumstances are such that its not possible. Found a possible solution to this problem but without actually attempting it, don’t want to put it out there as a solution.

      Anyway, I’ll save the sand scrub for the bottoms of my pots and not my bottom.


      1. kawartha kween

        glad you mentioned plant based soaps.

        I now recall, few yrs back, reading about several plants that (I think) was used in India yrs back as soap, to wash hair/body/clothes.

        am going to see if I can hunt up what.

        1. @ Anon

          That would be soap nuts. Apparently they’re easy to find.


        2. kk

          good to know, thanks.

          also found this. (apparently there are quite a lot)

          Natural Remedies: Growing Soap Plants
          The Natural Remedies column shares information on growing soap plants that are useful as a soap with little processing, including: amole, buffalo gourd, soaproot and yucca.

      2. I have body wash, conditioner, detergents, shampoo in gallon vinegar jugs now.
        Bought body wash, shampoo, etc. in regular bottles for $1–got rid of bottles and saved a little shelf space.
        I have shelves of gallon jugs of liquid laundry detergent-will never run out..and yes, I make my own detergent with Borax, Arm &Hammer, and chipped fels-naptha and it is stocked.

  8. I’m not ignoring the topic Ken, just having lots of trouble with your site loading properly.

      1. @ Ken. It seems to have worked itself out. The page would not fully load, just blank background. I would exit out of explorer then try again. Kept doing it. I thought maybe your site was getting more traffic and your web host site couldn’t handle it. I didn’t have any issues on any other sites, so I don’t think the problem was on my end.

        1. Not still using Windows XP PG?

          Windows XP will not load a lot of graphics anymore. Adobe products – Flash and Acrobat no longer supported.

        2. No Windows XP here Bone Idle. This only happened on Ken’s site. I haven’t had any problems on any other sites. All seems to be working fine now.

  9. You can grow Lambs ear. Seeds from Ken’s favorite site.
    Or Mullein grows wild. A bit easier than corn cob down there.

  10. We just recently cleared up a boil/staph infection. I used 6-8 drops of Tea Tree essential oil on a half cotton ball. We taped a good bandaid over that. 12 hours later we checked it and had 80% improvement. Treated it again after washing and virtually gone by the next day. I was amazed. We had been treating it with the stuff from the doctor for 2 days without any noticeable change.

    1. East Texas mom

      good info. Thank you. I always like to hear about personal experiences with “non traditional” medicine. Makes me more confident to try them.

  11. I drove for mass transit for awhile and I will testify that the stinky ones ALWAYS sit next to the driver. I had a few that had me hanging my head out the window retching and you are not allowed to kick them off.

    I do have lots of soap.
    I make colloidal silver
    Learning about essential oils
    Have one of those plunger washer things for the just in case.
    Save all the old towels etc for rags. I used to give them to the vet.
    I need to put the solar shower on my list to get.

  12. I’m a peeper and have been reading this site for quite awhile. Enjoy it very much and learn something every week. I purchased a one gallon garden sprayer.. I think you might shower using the sprayer and a nonsudsing soap (Castile). Haven’t tried it yet but will soon.

    1. Good idea! You could warm up some water to use in the sprayer… (a pot on a fire, etc..)

      Adapt and overcome

    2. We used the sprayer shower when the bathroom was being redone, It helps to have a partner to help with the sprayer. We used regular shampoo and soap.

  13. Hey friends,

    Just poppin’ in for a minute.
    We got our first lamb on Wed. She’s a bottle baby. Mama ewe had nothing to do with her. Anyway she’s great, growing fast and sleeps well hallelujah!
    More ewes due any day!

    Great topic:

    I just got a sturdy pair of friskars pinking shear to cut our home made reusable TP. I don’t sew, though my younger DD is learning.
    Anyway, I read somewhere if you cut your square with pinking shears they won’t get frayed (at least not as easily as un-pinked or sewed).
    I heard flannel sheets work great for this. I need to pick up a few more and get started on this important project.

    Also if you have a little spray bottle with water and a few drops of lavender,
    spraying the backside can help the cleaning process before using the homemade cloths.

    If you are looking to bug in make sure you have some luggable loos (5 gallon buckets with lids that also serve as a seat, lined with heavy duty bags) ready to go, in case of no plumbing/water. I also bought some RV potty powder to use just in case.

    What else? Washing hands does use a lot of water, so in case of emergency or just as an alternative…
    Again, I already do this but keep spray bottles (1 pint) add 10-12 drops lavender or tea tree oil or combo. This makes an instant sanitizing spray for hands.

    May you and your families, pets, farm animals be healthy and blessed! :)

  14. The active ingredient in bleach, sodium hypochlorite, naturally breaks down into salt and water. The rate of breakdown increases rapidly when bleach is stored in extreme hot or freezing temperatures, or when a bottle is more than one year old. Generally, bleach stored at room temperature (~70°F) has a shelf life of one year. I have a pool started storing extra powdered chlorine tablets in order to make home made bleach.Mix 2 level Tablespoons of Chlorine to 3 cups of water.

    1. Also 1 lb of chlorine can make about 10000 gallons of water safe to drink.

  15. 100% cotton diapers and diaper pins. We always have several packs of Large—so many different items can be cut and sewn from one big diaper. And some people may have to be the caretakers of the very elderly, who may or may not become incontinent at a future time. Double-sided sticky tape or velcro may be a better option for them, esp. if they have behavioral issues from neurological decline such as dementia. Tape or velcro would remove the possibility of Self-injury from sharp pins.

    DIY salve for diaper rash or other skin problems that may become infected without adequate hygiene: Zinc oxide powder, non-nano and uncoated, pharmaceutical grade, blended w/ organic coconut oil or shea butter or whatever you like best, and some drops(however many you want,)of EO’s for their healing and preventative properties.

  16. This is a very important issue that we all need to make a priority. It’s up there with water, food and security.

    As Ken said in a response to Vickie “it’s not a sexy topic”. But it is a very important topic when THSTF. I’m not in the medical field but the more I research I do, I find that cleanliness is becoming a major prep.

    Diseases can spread so easy in a SHTF scenario just from common house flies coming into contact with your food after said flies have visited your outhouse or decomposing animals or humans for that matter.

    Any of them can be life threatening without the proper treatment and if you have to deal with them over and over then your medical supplies will be quickly depleted.

    Adapt and Overcome.

  17. Yup, and back in the day the folks couldnt just call their bud with a backhoe or excavator to come out and dig a pooper. That was some serious hand work,
    Indoor plumbing consisted of someone else hauling in the water and hauling out the chamber pots.
    Can you just imagine how ripe humanity smelled?
    Enjoy it while we can, things can change quickly

  18. I am hearing a lot about reusable rags and washcloths in place of toilet paper.
    My only question is, after you wash them, where is it safe to dump the feces water?
    And I assume whatever water you are using to wash them would have to be boiled.
    We have a pool so I suppose we would use that water.
    But if we didn’t have a pool, I guess we would have to use water from a nearby lake/stream etc.? Oh what fun!
    We need more buckets. Someone posted on here, a little while back, that their local bakery gives them their buckets for free. I’m going to inquire about that over here!
    I am also thinking that a good pair of strong rubber gloves, that go up to the elbow, would be a good investment for jobs such as cleaning these soiled washcloths.
    Would be good to have lots of hand sanitizer as well.
    We don’t have a cat, but I bought kitty litter, as suggested here, for using in a luggable loo (bucket toilet)
    But where would it be safe to dump those buckets?
    People with septic systems will fare better because they can just use the toilet and add water to flush.
    But eventually those septic tanks will be full.
    For those with septics it’s a good idea to keep a large supply of the “tank attack” bugs to put in the toilet every month.
    I was also thinking in terms of getting rid of the dog poop (we have 3 dogs. Maybe I could just take the lid off the septic tank and dump it in there?
    Right now, what I do is clean it up with a plastic bag and put it in a huge heavy duty bag that’s lining a tall garbage bin out back. Then, once it’s full, I put it out to the trash. Garbage men must hate us on that day! It’s probably not the most environmentally friendly way to do it, but we have a high water table here and a well and I don’t want crap seeping into our water. Anyway, in a grid down situation, where garbage men aren’t coming, I’ve gotta figure out a way to make the crap disappear! :)

    1. I have a large hole to dump dog poo, but it disappears into small granulated bug poo fertilizer after the dung beetles and insects take care of it in the summer months.

      When I lived in Pa, the dog poo would disappear from the surface of the dirt in two days, and I identified a rare type of endangered beetle that took care of it all. A state conservation officer inspecting my property came out to check but told us not to tell any one because the Fed EPA would do something stupid to prevent me from entering the pen, clean up, or ban us from walking on our property. We were increasing the population of this endangered beetle with what we were doing and that was just fine with him.

  19. On the subject of cleaning your butt after #2, as any world traveler knows,(I said ‘traveler’, not ‘tourist’.) there are many areas of the world that your hand and a bottle of water make do. In the Arabian countries, where a common meal is set out to be shared by all, the right hand is used for food and the left for #2. By cutting off a thief’s right hand, it is banning him from the food ‘table’, and making a beggar of him for life.

  20. Has anyone any experience using composting toilets over the long term? Might be an option.

    1. Composting toliets are the cats meow for those who want an easy stink free way to deal with this issue. You don’t need to buy one. You can make them.
      The best book on this is called “The Humanure Hanbook”. About $10-15.00 including shipping on Amazon. Highly recommended. Wood chips make a great medium to collect #2 along with a drain for pee. These are easy to build.

  21. Nobody even mentions a pandemic …. not going to be anything like having TOOOOO much soap and disinfectant if one hits … you’ll be spraying down your boots every time some infected breaks your perimeter line …. go out foraging you better have a washdown shower ready … have a good supply prepped and have more targeted in case of a pandemic ….

  22. For a few years, while I was in grade school we had no running water in the house. I remember bathing in a washtub with hot water added from the stove. We also used a metal bucket with a metal dipper for our drinking water. To wash our hands, we had a metal wash pan with a bar of Lava or some borax soap in a dish next to it. No, we didn’t throw out the wash pan water after each washing – water had to be hauled in a milk can from the spring. We used the wash pan water several times and then poured the grey water on various plants in the yard or garden. Fond memories but not a way I would choose to live now.

  23. Blocks of high quality body soap can be bought on Ebay in blocks from 10-25 pounds and cut with a pastry cutter. Pastry cutter are about $5.00
    Large bars end up costing about .75 cents a piece. You can even buy shea butter, goats milk, aloe, and gluerine base. If you want to add scent you can but not necessary. The quality is superior to most store brands and costs less.

    1. That’s right MM. It’s called melt and pour soap. Some people prefer not to mess with the lye and wait for several weeks for homemade soap to cure up. It’s a great shortcut. It can be scented and colored and poured up into molds and ready for use more quickly. …….I actually prefer to take the long route and make my own from scratch.

  24. Grapefruit Seed Extract is great to have on hand,(NEVER taken internally full strength). Very wise to consider dental hygiene as well.

  25. Here in Canada’s far north a lot of people still live with no indoor plumbing. An outhouse is not the end of the world. I’ve lived 21 of the last 25 years with one. Mine is not some dark smelly shack. I built it with 2 windows, cross ventilation, a small sink(a blue 5 gal. Jug with tap and a splash of bleach in the water takes care of hand washing in the warm months, winter you have to go inside to wash your hands). Lime is great but a 5 gal.pail of ash from the wood stove and a small scoop works well to keep doors down. Some air freshener for when company shows up and bug killer for the summer months.
    TP is a pleasant thing to have, but it sure is’nt a necessity. When I was a child my mom( born during the 30s) kept TP for when guests showed up. Family used the Sears catalog. The secret to using shiny paper is to crumple each sheet into a tight ball, smooth out and do it again. Crumple the softened sheets into a loose wad and clean yourself up.
    Store all the TP you can, it’s great stuff but a stack of old catalogs does’nt take a lot of room, and they’re free! Just don’t use them in a flush toilet. Can you spell ‘ plumbers snake”
    Situated at least 100’ from a water source, screened to keep flys out and with a deep hole, an out house can be a healthy and not unpleasant way to dispose of our waste.
    And put the woodpile along the path, when you come back inside, bring a few sticks of wood for the wood box!?

    1. Nnw

      I read somewhere, and maybe it was on the blog, cant recall..

      if you are using catalogues / newsprint for tp,
      always keep a few sheets folded in your back pocket. The body heat
      and general movement/sitting will make it very soft and malleable.

      if you give it a try, let us know.

      1. @Anon, That brought back a great memory of my Granpa! I was following him around on the farm and he tore a couple of pages out of a large catalog, folded them and put them in the back pocket of his overalls. I of course being the talkative nosy little brat that I was (and still am), asked “what’s that for?” He said, “for later”. Now I get it!

        1. Beach’n


          sounds funny, but it also sounds like it would work.

          I have to give it a try (putting catalogue pages in my back pocket)
          and see “how soft”…

      2. Yes, Anon, you read about the Sears Roebuck catalog page in the back pocket here on MSB. It’s something I learned years ago from someone who was a foreign exchange student back in the 50s or 60s. I don’t remember where he was, but it wasn’t a place with much running water. I haven’t ever tried it myself, but it does seem to make sense.

        1. Wendy

          Thanks…Thought it might have been here I read it.

          It does seem like it might work.

  26. Here is my best thing for burns,bug bites,cut and scrapes. I use 50% Aloe Vera gel (food grade)and 50% Colloid Silver. (I make my own Silver).Mix half and half together and shake well. Put in in a spray bottle and have it handy for any burn or other needs. This is some of the best stuff for burns as it cools it right down and there is no scaring. Don’t be afraid of putting it on a burn every few minutes until it cools. The silver keep infection down.
    One other thing you can use in a pinch is Egg White on a burn. It works well also.

    1. @G…….that’s a fantastic recipe! I’m tempted to mix some up and bottle it in a roll-on reusable container. I found glass ones on ebay and a few other places. A few drops of essential oil added in, might be beneficial too. Thanks

  27. The most important thing to do to prevent disease is to wash your hands. We have 2-5 gallon water cooler type containers (the kind they use for base ball games) that we can put on the sink to use as ‘running water’. I figure we will put a bucket under the sink, after disconnecting the plumbing, to catch the water. We’ll use that to flush or water plants. We are lucky to have many sources of water on our property, including springs, lakes and a large creek. The creek would be considered massively contaminated and unfit for human consumption even with disinfection but will be OK for watering, etc.

    I have made homemade soap for years. It can be used for washing people, animals, clothes, dishes, and just about anything else. I have used in to clean my tile floors and wood decks. Soap making is a good skill to have, as you can manufacture all the ‘ingredients’ on the farm. Fat, wood ash, water.

    Another thing you can do now is to let nature takes its course for many viral diseases that you catch. I mean things like the flu, colds – anything that gives you a fever and makes you feel icky, but will resolve itself. You need to build up your immunity. Stop popping the Tylenol. Let a fever run its course – your body is fighting the viri. Of course, use common sense, if you are REALLY sick, see a doctor. I was sicker than a dog for my first years as a nurse, but now I seldom come down with anything. You can build up that immunity.

    Play in the dirt. Let your kids play in the dirt. Wash your hands before you eat and after using the bathroom.

    Also, nutrition is important to prevent disease. Add sunshine and fresh air (open the windows whenever you can). Avoid crowds, especially the Great Unwashed at Wally World. In the winter, I disinfect my house and dishes with a mild bleach solution after we have a crowd over for dinner. That includes a gaggle of school-age grandkids.

    When I read One Second After the first time, I think the one thing that stuck with me is the number of deaths from disease and chronic conditions AND how weak people became from a low calorie diet. They couldn’t bury the dead. It was a light bulb moment, that’s for sure.

    Stay well, my friends.

  28. From my 3 years living off grid:

    The handiest thing I used to clean things I don’t use now in my modern home is the Rubber-roller clothing wringer which operates by hand crank. Each place I lived without electricity and running water had at least one along with a full compliment of wash basins and washboards. (clotheslines too)

    We used lots of chemicals back then to include loose laundry detergent, bleach and alcohol based cleansers to clean up urine. (No pods of dish soap or laundry detergent.) I also used a lot more Dr Bonners Peppermint Soap purchased in bulk from a health food store in town. I do not think there is any getting away from the use of these chemicals to maintain our current standard of cleanliness. I also wore kitchen gloves a lot more back then when hand washing my clothes.

    During the winter months, I would load up the truck and go to a laundry in town and spend a morning or afternoon and read the paper in a cafe while my clothes and fleece blankets were spinning in the drier. The Laundramat and the shopping center were my once-a-week social hub where I got a chance to talk with the locals about news from the outside world. (didn’t watch a lot of tv then either) Clothes don’t dry too good when there are snow flurries on your clothesline.

    These days I am not sure where I would find the old fashioned clothing wringer anymore. All else can be purchased from a hardware store. Beware that the rubber rollers can be tough on large coat buttons.

    Grid down and no toilet paper? All cotton based clothing would be recycled into rags and washcloths and yours truly would be headed to the fabric store and wally world to get any and all T-shirts, underwear, socks and cotton diapers I could carry. With the rise of the internet, I do notice that there are fewer catalogs available these days.

    1. amazon and Lehmans both sell manual wringers. I’ve thought about getting one for several years just haven’t done it.

  29. To NRP:

    Most of the time I did try to take a shower and wear clean clothes prior to going to town however, there are times when you are on somebody else’s schedule.

    Case in point: During extended droughts in Southern California, we often went from fire to fire getting sleep in the crew van when we were not cutting fire line. Showers were often not available and were a luxery. I still remember the city folk getting out of our way as we entered the Safeway market, we smelled like goats as we picked up lunchmeat, fresh fruit and other things to eat before we went to our next fire to cut line and eat C-rations.

    When you go without running water, hot showers and washing machines, your personal hygiene will take a hit. When I see people in Wally World with reduced grooming standards, I tend to see a person on limited income, Possible mental illness or simply fallen on hard times. (When I see young people wearing fire dept T-shirts, Nomex trousers and heavy leather boots, I realize where they have been and step out of their way these days.)

    You are one bad day away from being one of the malodorous people within Wally World.

  30. Two 5 gal plastic buckets with lids, cut a hole in the middle of the lid just big enough to place a handle of a plunger through, One for washing clothes and one for rinsing. A commercial grade mop bucket with the handle to ring the excess water out after washing and rinsing. I think most of us can figure out how handle these tools.

    Chlorine tablets used for swimming pools can be used to make bleach for years but only as needed.

    A couple of five gal buckets of bath soap bars should last a family for a few years.

    Food for thought: If anyone has to be in a crowd after SHTF please consider having a set of unwashed clothes to wear so you won’t standout in a crowd with the unprepared.

Comments are closed.