Everyone knows the rules, stock up on as much beans, bullets and band aids as you can afford. As important as the big 3 are I feel that Hygiene is more important than some. Over the last few months I have been monitoring my family’s use of shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, deodorant, toothpaste and bathroom amenities. I can firmly tell you I am not prepared for this area.
How often do we just jump in the shower, grab the shampoo and squeeze a glob onto our hands before washing our hair for 20 seconds and washing it all away? My family likes using body wash and this is done the same way. Grab the squishy ball, squirt some on then wash away the grim. This is fine when we have a Wal-Mart, dollar store or other resource to buy more soap next week but how long will it last and do you have enough saved up? I recently completed a survey of my family on how much we use. I am going to make some suggestion on how to make yours stretch longer.
My son and I use the most soap. Maybe we are wasteful or maybe we just get dirtier I’m not sure. I do know that I used a bottle of Dove body wash in 3 weeks. That’s 13.5 ounces in 21 days, about .64oz per washing. My son used slightly more and my wife slightly less though she consumed allot more shampoo (I’ll attribute that to my thinning hair and her long luscious hair). I then tried an experiment where I reused some soap squirt bottles. I was able to get allot more soap/per washing with this approach. I was able to stretch my 13.5 oz to almost 2 months. It did not feel like I was using that much less soap and the squishy ball still made allot of suds but the total really added up. A few times I would need to double pump when I had been working under a car or in the ditch but for 90% of my washes this worked fine.
Toothpaste is another big spender for us. We grab the tube and squeeze out as much as we want. I’ve made myself and my son a ¼” rule. We now put on ¼” of toothpaste and brush away. I see no difference when I am done except we don’t have the toothpaste boogers that always end up in the sink after washing because we use all the toothpaste we put on our brushes. A side note from a friend, by brushing 1-2 times a week with your opposite hand you stimulate the other side of your brain which helps make you more ambidextrous (this could be useful in a firefight).
I always get a kick out of someone stocking 1000 billion rolls of toilet paper. I see this is impractical and a wasteful use of resources. I am going to stock some but more for a barter item for people that think they need it. In the last several years I have traveled to several countries and while they have toilet paper a majority of the people I have stayed with do not use it. How do they clean themselves? They way everyone did 200 years ago. WATER, simply use some water to clean your butt and wash your hands good with antibacterial soap. You can store hundred of gallons of soap in less area than it would take to store 200 rolls of toilet paper and it would last you so much longer. Also using toilet paper your septic system will fill up rather quickly. If you do not having running water and a septic system that is working correctly I would suggest digging a cesspool. I have seen these made by simply digging a 6’-8’ deep pit 8’-10’ diameter and laying cement blocks on edge. This is a pooling place and leach field in one. It’s not currently looked upon favorably but would work fine after TEOTWAWKI. I feel this is a much better approach to the dig and bury method suggested by some.
We often shop dollar stores for cheap antibacterial soap. Generally we can get a 1gal jug for under five bucks. Don’t be afraid to check the clearance racks at holidays for the unique seasonal scents like burn turkey, eggnog, holiday mint and pine tree up your nose. These go on sale dirt cheap and after TEOTWAWKI no one is going to care what they smell like as long as they don’t smell like a wet dog and are clean. I also get LAVA brand soap from Wal-Mart. I get the 2pack in the automotive department for under $4, if you shop the beauty section it’s more. I don’t know why but I’ll walk the extra 100 feet to automotive to save the money.
How will you do laundry after TEOTWAWKI? I certainly don’t want to use my fuel to run the clothes washer. Maybe you have an alternative like this wonder washer ? I do not have one yet but this is high on my list. You can watch reviews of it on YouTube. Until then I have installed a double bowl utility tub in our washroom. The grey water I routed outside via PVCP piping into a raised garden to utilize the spent water best. My wife washes several things by hand now and while it may not be fun she can do laundry in this if need be.
My house is fed water with an underground spring that has a shallow well pump connected to it. However there is enough drop from the spring location to my house to supply me with fresh water. I simply need a way to move it though the house and heat it for showers. I am in the midst of working on either a solar powered setup with 12v RV pumps or by a water wheel using an AC generator head. The Solar may be my best option for now, however after TEOTWAWKI I doubt the EPA would bother me much if I installed my waterwheel. To heat my water I am going to rely on an old fashioned wood stove. I do not have the particulars worked out yet but will do a detailed report when I do.
I feel that being clean will be one of the best luxuries when TEOTWAWKI happens. I also feel that if you are not clean you will be more apt to get sick. It’s something we take for granted now but by making some small changes you can find out how much soap, shampoo and toothpaste you will need to stay healthy and clean.
A contest entry by jason