Sanitation & Hygiene in SHTF

In most disaster scenarios, sanitation is a major problem. After an earthquake, flood, hurricane, tornado, in a war zone, or especially during a pandemic, your area will soon be contaminated with germs and disease. That means water, food, public restrooms, really any public area is dangerous.

First, sewers and septic tanks are likely to leak or overflow into the surrounding ponds, lakes, and pipelines.

Second, without garbage trucks, dead animals and trash will quickly pile up and create breeding grounds for germs.

A man peeing outside with his bicycle in India, color image

Sanitation and Hygiene in SHTF (Man Peeing Outside in India)

Third, most people will not dispose of their waste properly, and it will seep into waterways.

Finally, oil and gasoline from damaged or submerged vehicles is likely to spread into the earth. To make matters worse, the stress of the situation is likely to weaken your immune system. So what can you do?

Ideally, you’ll want to stay inside as long as possible. But if the crisis lasts for long, you’re going to have to go outside eventually. Here are some supplies you should start stocking up on as you get an opportunity to:

  • Drinking water. You’ll need at least a half gallon per person per day. The more the better because you’ll also need clean water to bathe yourself with. If you run out of clean drinking water, you’ll have to boil whatever water you can find. A rolling boil for 10 minutes should do it. (Rain water must be boiled, too.) If you don’t have room to store a lot of drinking water or don’t have enough fuel to boil water everyday, I recommend buying a water filter from cheaperthandirt.com, you can see some reviews about the filters they offer with this youtube video.
  • Food. Storing food in Mylar Bags, you can achieve a shelf life for certain foods of 30+ years.
  • Baby Wipes. These are great for cleaning yourself if you don’t have enough clean water for bathing.
  • Trash bags. You’ll need somewhere to put all those dirty baby wipes. You can never have too many trash bags!
  • Disinfecting Wipes. Great for cleaning any surface areas that are touched often.
  • Hand Sanitizer. Use it when you get up, after you go to the bathroom, before cooking, before you eat, basically all the time!
  • Toilet paper. There’s an old survivalist joke that when TSHTF, toilet paper will be worth its weight in gold.
  • Paper towels. For drying off after washing yourself. Don’t use the same cloth towels over and over.
  • Feminine hygiene products. Self explanatory.
  • Toothbrushes and Toothpaste. Remember, the mouth is the dirtiest part of the body.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide. For treatment of minor cuts, scrapes and burns. Can also be used as a gargle or mouth rinse.
  • First Aid Kit. with band aids, gauze, tape, and all the essentials.

Remember, the best way to prevent disease is to avoid getting one in the first place. Wash your hands!

Reference: http://matthewzornes.articlealley.com/sanitation-and-hygiene-when-the-shtf-1972539.html

Permanent link to this article: http://www.NatesHomestead.com/sanitation-hygiene-in-shtf/


  1. Heidi

    Someone had suggested that if you were in a permanent location, to use a diaper Jeanie. One for waste, the other for urine. I thought that was pretty creative. After every use, you just twist it, and you can use it for several times before it’s full and you have to take it out to bury it. The bags even come scented.

    1. Nate

      Yeah, that is a pretty creative idea. I will have to look that one up.


      1. Heidi

        Thanks, but I can’t take credit for it. I saw it on Dooms Day Preppers. They were the only family that addressed that type of situation. I thought it was pretty cool too. They do sell toilet lids that fit on 5 gallon buckets, but then you would have to buy chemicals for odor, and dig and rinse. Yuck!

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