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Hygiene is high on the list of importance when it comes to surviving an emergency. Not only will poor hygiene lead to unpleasant living conditions, it can also lead to illness and death. When water doesn’t run freely, the trash is no longer picked up and the toilets don’t flush, extra attention needs to be paid to hygiene. That’s why recommendations on storing water include more water than you’d drink. It leaves plenty for personal hygiene and keeping the area clean.
Hygiene products include toileting, cleaning and personal hygiene products. While most of the time, toilet flushing will occur uninterrupted, as long as you have water to pour in the bowl, sometimes it’s not the case. If you live in the city, the waste disposal plant may close down, clogging the lines and requiring citizens to cease flushing. If you have your own septic, the only problem you may have is lack of water to flush. You should always conserve water and only flush after defecating, but not after voiding. Use gray water, such as the water left after doing dishes or washing, to flush the toilet.
Since there’s always the chance that flushing will be impossible, have other alternatives ready. A composting toilet is one. You can still use your regular toilet if you eliminate the water and line it with a plastic bag. Some suggest old grocery bags with the handles held in place by the cushion buttons under the seat. Use two, with old newspaper between them for extra absorbency if one breaks. Then you close up the bag and put it into a bucket with a tight-fitting lid, to be buried later. A composting toilet is another option, particularly for long term emergencies. Don’t forget to have a good supply of rapid-dissolving toilet paper either.
To get rid of trash and garbage, a healthy stock of garbage bags should be in your supplies. They can be used for other things besides garbage, particularly the large black heavy-duty bags. Ziplock bags, disposable gloves, and a composting agent if you’re separating garbage from trash and composting are also good supplies to have on hand.
A stockpile of personal hygiene products should include hand sanitizers or baby wipes, soap, waterless soap, antibacterial creams, feminine hygiene products, baby diapers both cloth and paper, bleach and cleaning supplies, alcohol and/or hydrogen peroxide, band aids and sterile pads, respirator masks, antibacterial creams and toothpaste. An alternative to toothpaste is baking soda. A stockpile of distilled white vinegar can also be used to clean. Be sure to include a spray bottle or two. Borax or laundry detergent should be in your stockpile as well as pet supplies for hygiene. Puppy pad, in the event walking the dog isn’t an option, and kitty litter should be stored.