My mother says that during WW2 shortages of soap caused serious hygiene problems in England. Soap was rationed and hard to get. Lack of hygiene can result in skin and other medical problems. My mother was an infectious disease nurse at the beginning of the war and later served in the British Air Force. She recommends that we store extra soap and hygiene supplies as well as learn to make our own soap.
Hand soaps – Bar soap keeps better than the new liquids, which can evaporate, if stored in the heat. Figure out how much hand soap you use in a given period and double the amount. You will probably be dirtier than normal. Salmonella, campylobacter, MRSA, flu, diarrhoea and sickness, the common cold, impetigo, are some of the viruses and infections passed between people who do not wash their hands.
Dish soap – liquid, or powder. The soap should be biodegradable because you may have to use the grey water for your garden. Look for soaps that will work well in cold water.
What do you do when the soap and scouring pads run out? Scouring pads can be replaced with clean sand. Rub the inside of your pans with sand and a little water. This will remove caked on grease and food particles. It will not remove fats and oil from your dishes.
Fats and oils can be removed by using wood ash. Obtain pure wood ash. Do not use ash from a fire in which you or others have burned plastics or garbage. Scrub the dishes with the wood ash and water. You can heat the water by adding hot coals. Be sure the water is boiled, treated, or filtered. Do not wash or rinse your dishes in contaminated water.
Laundry soap – It should be biodegradable. Consider putting in a clothesline. Do you have a washboard and tub? I think powdered soap will store better than liquids for long term storage.
Sun washing clothes – In an emergency if you have a real water shortage, shake your clothes out and spread them out in the full sun. The more the clothes are exposed to sun, the better. Sun washed clothing will feel cleaner and smell better. The ultraviolet radiation will kill off the bacteria that live in your sweat and dead skin cells. Do not forget to sun wash your sleeping bags and bedding.