List of Preparedness Supplies For: Cleaning


For the preparedness-minded who are storing more than just food storage for TEOTWAWKI, there are all sorts of categories that you might be considering for a well rounded base of supplies. What about the supplies that you might need for ordinary (and extra-ordinary) cleaning and sanitation?

Here are a few thoughts, and a list to get you started…

The most common ingredient in most cleaning applications and processes is WATER. So with regards to being prepared for sanitation and cleaning, you must have some sort of water supply. Since the electricity often ‘goes out’ during disaster, or in a post-collapse world of sporadic or non-existent power, will your water always be flowing from your faucet? Think about that… Maybe there’s water near or on your property. Maybe not. Whichever it is, you will need to have a process to collect and store water – and/or backup alt-energy for one’s well pump, or a means to go beyond your property to collect and return with water. It’s obvious that you will need water for drinking – but in the context of sanitation and cleaning, you will also go through some amount of water. You can never have enough!

I have written all sorts of articles which are buried in this site regarding water. Here are a few which are somewhat in this context…

Water Barrel Storage For Emergency
The Average Gallons Of Water People Consume Each Day
How To Flush A Toilet Without Running Water
Water From Source To Home After The SHTF
Water Sources And Treatment

Okay, without electricity and/or while living in a SHTF post-collapse world, the things that you were accustomed to using for cleaning and sanitation might be partially or entirely unavailable or useless for awhile (or longer). Things like vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, garbage disposers, electric ‘anything’, your trash pickup, a flush toilet, paper towels, toilet paper, diapers, soap, etc.. and possible even your municipal water supply.

In addition to all of your other ‘new’ concerns will be those related to cleanliness, cleaning, and sanitation.

Without cleaning, bacteria will have the opportunity to multiply, which can make you ill, or worse. Your health and well being should be on the top of your priority list in a SHTF world. A clean kitchen and all associated tools and utensils (for example) before and after food preparation to avoid contamination, etc. Illness or infection can rapidly lead to serious or deadly health concerns without ready access to medical care, and prevention is the key.

In no particular order, here are some preparedness items to consider for the purpose of cleaning and sanitation in a post SHTF world. I’m also counting on you to add to this list in the comments section ;)

One more thing… with regards to cleaning supplies in general, you will be much better off with industrial grade (janitorial?) equipment for longevity. Lots of what’s made today for the consumer is not meant to last (I know – no big surprise there…)

Carpets will be nearly impossible to clean, however all else will benefit from the good old fashioned broom. Consider a variety of styles – some for inside and some heavy-duty for outside.

Keep a ‘good’ mop (and backups) for your floors. Plus, replacement heads.

Keep plenty of these, since they have plenty of uses.

Rags and towels (lots of them)
You will need more rags, towels, and similar materials than you might think – to satisfy the many cleaning chores both in and around the house, etc.. Eventually your supply of paper towels, etc.. will run out.

Handy for cleaning and other uses.

Scrub brushes
Big and small – varying bristles and purposes. Different sizes.

Rubber gloves
Especially when using cleaning chemicals or harsh cleaning materials, you want to protect your hands.

Spray bottles
You can make your own cleaning solutions with the simplest of ingredients. Spray bottles are a great way to keep these solutions at the ready, without evaporation.

Dust pan and brush
Pretty obvious as to the use.

Already mentioned above. Consider ‘gray’ water for your cleaning purposes (water runoff from roofs, etc.), unless of course you have an abundance of water where you live.

Not only can you use bleach to disinfect water making it safe to drink, but it’s a terrific disinfectant for cleaning too. Hospitals use it for that. Disinfectant Bleach-Water Ratio. Note however that bleach will lose its strength over time (apprx. 50% in one year).

Dry Calcium Hypochlorite
(Pool Shock) You can make your own bleach or disinfecting solution with calcium hypochlorite and it will last forever if kept dry and cool. Be cautious with storage as it will corrode metals. I keep mine in a plastic 5-gallon bucket with a sealed ‘Gamma Lid’ (screw-on lid). Search the web for various ‘formulas’ to mix.

Borax is an all around great cleaner with a multitude of uses, for just about everything!

Bars of regular soap, including heavy duty ‘Lava’ soap, as well as liquid soaps are great cleaners. They are inexpensive and can be stored easily.

White vinegar
Vinegar is an effective sanitizer. Vinegar has all sorts of uses.

Toilet Paper
While any consumable will eventually run out, it’s not that difficult to store ahead a supply for one year. Here’s how many rolls of toilet paper the average person uses in a week (and one year).

Galvanized Trash Barrels
I have a number of these (various sizes and purposes) which are great for outside (and inside) storage of ‘whatever’, including trash. Galvanized will not rust. Also good for EMP protection.

Outhouse or portable toilet
Could you make your own?

Outhouse odor control (there are additional methods too).

If you have your own additional suggestions, comment and add to the list!


  1. FYI, I’ve removed previous comments to do with burning trash in galvanized trash cans (as well as my previous reference within the article) due to health & safety concerns. Although in an emergency – all bets are off, apparently the zinc is not such a good thing to be exposed to while breathing near a galvanized can filled with burning rubbish…

  2. Ken,
    A point of interest, galvanized wood stove ( any stove really) flue pipe is a serious health hazard.

  3. I’m not one of those ladies that uses one thing here, another here, etc.
    Pretty much Comet works for most of my jobs, esp. in the bathrooms (and Borax for my laundry is handy for other jobs too.

    Instead of lime, I have many bags of kitty litter. Hope it works.

  4. I remember my grandmother telling me to “use elbow grease”. She had hardwood floors and linoleum and cleaned the floors with a rag on her hands and knees. No pets or “outside shoes” were allowed indoors. Laundry was washed and dried outside, etc. Cleaning without electricity and indoor plumbing is beyond hard work!

    1. I love it! Elbow grease!

      Today, everyone’s looking for a ‘new formula’ chemical spray or liquid which will magically ‘disappear’ the dirt and grime ;)

      You’re right – you can quite effectively clean things with simply a water soaked rag and elbow grease! Just be sure to rinse in a bucket to keep the rag fairly clean… Thanks for your comment.

        1. Thanks for the memories… I was asked to help clean something and I asked “with what” she said “elbow grease”. I was looking in the cabinet when she asked me what I was looking for, “elbow grease” I replied! That was 60+ years ago and her house was spotless.

        2. Hey Beach’n

          Do you know where I can pick up some of that “elbow grease”? I been looking all over the stores, I can seem to find it at all. Does it come in pints, quarts, gallons or even in 5 gallon size?? Wondering if I can order it on Amazon?

          HAHAHAHA, Gata love it.
          Keep smiling people, Life is FUN!!!!!!

        3. Years ago I was dating a gal who very much wanted to impress me. Knowing that one way to my heart was through my stomach, she asked me about what kind of cooking I grew up on. I told her that my Mom made everything from scratch. Well…apparently she spent most of a day searching stores for some product called “Scratch”!
          Poor girl. Never knew what happened to her.

  5. for those times when water might be in short supply, it is handy to stock up a good supple of rubbing alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide. Both can do a pretty fair job, on a cloth/paper towel of wiping down something. Many cleaning products are now advertised with Hydrogen Peroxide too.

    I have been told, although I couldn’t find it when I looked, that Horse Supply stores often carry two or five gallon buckets of Hydrogen Peroxide, as they use it to add to water to wipe down/clean Horse Facilities.

  6. remember
    bleach and peroxide don’t last forever
    they get weaker with age

    1. Satori

      I knew bleach had a six month optimum shelf life, but thought Peroxide was much longer (years?)

      not so?

      1. Peroxide has a very short life. In fact most peroxide solutions are stabilised with sulphuric acid and kept in black plastic or brown glass. Once opened peroxide will deteriorate over weeks. We unopened it will probably not last for more than a year or so.

        Pool chlorine in dry form is one of the best storage materials for disinfection. Got enough solar power and salt? Make your own!

  7. Besides elbow grease, I keep baking soda and Everclear. Baking soda makes for a good scrubbing paste (clean my stove top with it) as well as deodorizer, toothpaste, etc. Everclear when used with a spray bottle and microfiber cloth cleans just about any surface. I’ve been told by a pest control friend that alcohol will kill dustmites (at the higher percentages of alcohol) so I use it to clean glass and dust furniture. I hate the smells and the buildup of traditional furniture dusting sprays. And of course Everclear will have many other uses, if needed.

    1. I think your doing it wrong. If you just drink the everclear you won’t give a damn if your house is dirty or not LOL

  8. Does anyone know…. are there different types of pool shock, is one type better or safer than others?

  9. Anon, as an aside, Hydrogen Peroxide in the critters drinking water helps keep them very healthy too! Breaks down into oxygen and water. Please refer to online sources for concerning ratio info for various critters.

  10. Fifty years ago I worked in a few machine shops. The oil used to lubricate the cutting tools would splatter onto the concrete floors and generally make a mess. Since it would often become a slipping hazzard we had to clean it up, something more then wiping it off the surface. They would use a mop or rag dipped in kerosine to scrub the area first then spread cat litter on it and rub it in with a coarse bristle brush/broom. Amazing. The concrete looked like it had never had anything spilled on it.

    Another suggestion is Home Depot has spill kits. One is a 5 gal bucket with absorbent material and other cleaning items to handle a wide range of chemical and other spills. Another is simply a large bag of absorbent material that you can dump on a paint spill or whatever and it will pull up all the spilled stuff and can be swept up.

  11. this is embarassing, but as someone who grew up in a carpeted home & currently uses wet swiffers on the floors in my place… how do you use a mop? I know it involves dipping it in water & slushing it on the floor… but is there a special technique? I assume you should wring it out prior or you end up with tons of water on the floor… how do you clean a mop? I assume it gets dirty from the dirty water it will get dipped in near the end of cleaning..

    1. well, I am not a mop user, but from what I recall,
      the old fashioned technique is to buy a pail with a slotted inset, into which you twist the mop to wring out excess water,
      or sometimes you can buy a mop pail with similar inset and lever
      sometimes there is a lever on the mop

      to clean said mop
      would think (from t.v. commercials) all “modern” mops have heads which come off, and toss in washing machine.

      technique to wash floor, is to sweep across floor with mop, sort of twist and go back, rinse mop, sqeeze had to rid water, repeat/repeat

      having said all that, think about it..
      mop in water/mop the floor/mop in water=rinse/
      repeat repeat

      seems totally filthy to me, you are putting mop in filthy water, then swishing that on floor and repeating

      by the end you may well big up all noticeable “chunks” of dirt, but,
      seems to me
      you have also well spread any bacteria around the entire floor.


    2. OMG, I hate to say it. @clueless and Anon
      As a single guy at 61, not by choose BTW, you need a good MAN to show you moping-101 HAHAHAHA
      Anon almost has it correct, but you change the water often and use a disinfectant cleaner as you go. Also a little liquid wax helps the “shine” of the hardwood floors…
      But what would I know, just an old fart… LOLOL
      Have fun while we can….

      1. Final Exam question for “Mopping-101”
        What do you need for squeezing out a wet mop?
        Answer = ELBOW GREASE! HA

      2. NRP

        hate to quibble (maybe I really don’t?)…..

        but, as a young un watching my Mom clean (and she knew how to clean),
        adding disinfectant / cleaner pretty much just dissolves the dirt etc in the bucket. It is in fact, still there. So…one is left with an ever increasing sludge (although at this point with enough disinfectant the bacteria is now dead)….And with each repeated “mopping/rinsing” an ever increasing thickness of sludge is spread over the floor.

        Oh, and that wax you suggest putting in?…sure that one is not new either, ….old trick, makes the “finished” floor shine a little, sludge and all.

        What that wax really does, is nicely seal in the sludge on the floor (abeit with all the bacteria now dead fr disinfectant)….

        I have heard (years back) my Mother discuss this, and others, and they suggest the only way to actually clean your floor..1)sweep up as much as possible 2)wasteful, but truly best way to clean floor use paper towel to wipe with disinfectant water, and chuck paper frequent 3)when floor looks clean, then you can go over it with fresh disinfectant water /mop 4)after all that, then you can go over it with wax.

        Just for fun, NRP, if you have been doing this for a while (mopping with sludge water with wax added), try this little test (my Mother and some others showed me on similarly cared for floors)..

        take a paint scrapper or table knife, or such, and scrape along the edge of the floor and in a couple of places. Chances are you will scrape up a nice sludge coloured wax coating..Scrape enough, and you might uncover enough to discover the floor colour has changed a fair bit over the years with covering it up with sludge coloured wax.

        1. Anon
          I like your ideas of testing my floors, I will do so. I do believe that with “changing” the mop bucket water/disinfectant/wax-soap quite often, every room, I have rather clean floors though. Maybe not so much though. :-/

          I do have a question though, I have been having problems with the “mop-method” not working so well on the carpets anymore… HAHAHA Gata have fun my friends. I sure as heck don’t want to get into a pissing match on how to clean a floor.

          I will try your way just to see if I can get better results, I’m always up for better ideas.

          Have you tried one of those fancy hand-held “steam-mops”? I’m figuring those would just make even more of a mess….

          One last question if I may, I clean the floors once every 6-8 months, is that enough? or should I move it up some to 3-4 months???? HAHAHAHAHA

          Keep smiling my friends


        2. NRP…

          grin…love the discourse. I still remember when my Mother showed me the “sludge” she scraped up with a table knife, and suggested I never again add wax to the wash water…grin.

          re those steam ones..well, I have so little floor to wash, I do it by hand (rest is carpet).

          re the 6 to 8 months..well, that is not as ridiculous as many will suggest..grin…Every time one cleans the floor with chemicals, one is breathing up chemicals, and most of these are not so good for a body. A person gets accustomed to one’s own “dirt”, so to speak, grin.

        3. Anon
          Thanks for keeping a sense of humor, and yes I do wash the floors more that 8 months. and those chemicals, your right, NASTY, but the Gin I drink occasionally is probably not so good either.

          One thing “carpets” now you want to talk nasty, ohhhhh yucko, I’m in construction and as such the “company” removes old carpet a lot. I don’t care how clean you keep a house, that stuff is OMG Nasty. It seems the harder people try to clean carpet, the more it drives “stuff” into the pile.

        4. NRP

          OMG….YES Carpets are NASTY

          but, it is what was here when we purchased, and frankly can not afford to replace…

          and….I am wondering…what would we replace with???

          seems like nasty chemicals in everything, seriously.

          at least with our VERY old carpets all the chemicals have worn off/ off gassed (true). it (for me) is a big factor.

        5. NRP

          been thinking it over..(grin),

          I suspect that Gin is much lest nasty than cleaning chemicals….

          (now if it was wine…maybe not, apparently it has arsenic (to clarify), milk/eggs (god knows what for), and more..sounds dodgy)

        6. Well the wine, or in my case homemade Mead. is a better choice, Home-grown fruit, Raw local honey, good clean water and yeast. Drink of the Gods as “they” say, whoever “they” are. After all, to much Gin makes hard to see the floor until ya hit it LOLOL.

        7. NRP

          gosh, you are good to go, then. In fact, that homemade wine/ingredients sounds downright nutritious

        8. NRP…

          thought I would post this, “in support of” your idea of not washing floor for eight months..grin..

          Student wears unwashed jeans for 15 months

          No harmful bacteria found in Alberta student’s jeans experiment so fashion trend is safe — but stinky

          EDMONTON—A University of Alberta student has discovered through science that a current fashion trend is safe, but can be a little stinky.

          Josh Le donned the same pair of skin-tight jeans for 15 months without washing them. The idea was to break in the raw denim so the fabric would hug the contours of his body, leaving distinct wear lines and creases.

          Curious about the health risks of wearing such a grubby garment, Le asked his textile professor to test the jeans for bacteria before he washed them for the first time.

          The results showed high counts of five different kinds of bacteria in the denim, but nothing that posed a health hazard.

          “I was blown away. I thought there would be a lot more bacteria than was present,” Le said Wednesday. “It sort of shows that it is okay to not wash jeans.”

          There were times when it had a bad odour, like in the seventh month,” Le said. “That’s when I threw it in the freezer and magically when it came out it was odourless.”

          ((( guess this might equate to throwing open the windows in a blizzard???)))

    3. First, sweep the floor as well as possible.

      I use two buckets for mopping. The first one holds clean water. The second one starts off empty. After each pass on the floor, lightly dip the mop in the clean water, then hold the mop over the second bucket to wring out the dirty water. Then put the mop back in the first bucket to get quite wet, hold over the second bucket to wring out the extra water before placing the mop back on the floor. When you finish, the first bucket of water should still look clean–this is the water you have been putting on your floor. The second bucket will be full of filthy dirty water. If you only use one bucket, you WILL be putting dirt back on your floor.

  12. vinager, good for every thing from soaking rusty metal parts to cooking.

  13. I don’t like to use a bucket at all, sweep well, rinse mop under running water, mop floor, sprinkle Comet on problem areas, rinse mop clean under running water, repeat.
    I don’t like the steam mops because bacteria need heat and moisture to grow, seems like the steam mop just supplies perfect growth medium for them. Stay safe!

  14. Instead toilet paper, use bidets, online stores carries them. Some variety does not need power. That helps greatly if you have functioning toilets while running out toilet paper.

    Another option for tampon and pads for ladies, using the silicone moon cups, which are reusable. Some websites now sell them at much more reasonable price compare to a few years ago. Check for that.

    Also consider essential oils for antiseptic properties, add them to your cleaning solutions. Tea tree oils, and 4 thieves blend.

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