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Are personal hygiene items a part of your emergency kit?
They definitely should be!
If you’ve been camping for more than 2 or 3 days, you know what it’s like to start feeling icky and grimy and in desperate need of a hot shower and clean clothes. It’s no fun to feel dirty day after day.
Now imagine yourself living through an extreme crisis like a Hurricane Harvey-sized flood or a long-term power outage. You face a future with dirty clothes, grubby children, and fuzzy-feeling teeth.
That’s when you’ll be grateful you stocked up on basic hygiene items.
Why Hygiene Should Be a Part of Your Preps
Personal hygiene and cleanliness are critical for staying healthy and preventing sicknesses. For example, lack of access to handwashing facilities is responsible for 700,000 deaths yearly. We don’t want to create an emergency on top of the one already at hand.
The importance of basic hygiene and staying clean also extends beyond physical health.
Keeping yourself clean and groomed also impacts us psychologically. The more we can do to keep our attitude in a can-do mode, the better we cope.
Therefore, ensure to include items that make you FEEL good. For example, it might be hair accessories or a scented soap that boost your mood if things ever hit the fan, so be sure to include them. It may sound silly, but it works!
Most items are available relatively cheaply at the drugstore. Customize this list of hygiene items to your needs!
37 Must-Have Toiletries for Your Emergency Kit
We take things like toothpaste and bar soap for granted, but a world without those would quickly devolve into a smelly world where everyone is dealing with cavities and decaying teeth, among other things.
This customizable list of 37 hygiene items gives you a head start on assembling a hygiene kit for your survival supplies. Some items, such as Q-tips and cotton balls, serve more than one purpose. So think about what makes sense for you.
- Toothpaste – Our ancestors used some wicked-sounding ingredients as a paste to brush teeth, like ground up ox hooves’ ashes, burnt eggshells, or ground bone. I prefer to stock plenty of modern toothpaste, but you can also grow an herbal toothpaste or make a DIY toothpaste using baking soda. Use something, though, because, in an emergency, you don’t want the health complications that tooth decay can cause.
- Toothbrushes – If you use an electric toothbrush, think about how you’re going to power it, or be sure to keep a supply of manual toothbrushes for backup. Or mimic the modern toothbrush with versions of its predecessors: frayed twigs, known as chew sticks, or coarse animal hair (think hog or horse) set in a bone or bamboo handle.
- Dental floss
- Deodorant – Lume is a favorite.
- Solar shower for hot showers without electricity
- Hairbrushes and combs
- Hair-ties, clips, bandanas
- Hair shampoo & conditioner — We love this brand of shampoo and conditioner bars. They’re excellent for travel and last quite a long time.
- Mouthwash/breath fresheners
- Cotton tea towels to use for drying
- Hand mirror
- Q-tips/Cotton balls
- Wet Ones
- Microfiber washcloth
- Bar soap/body wash— Hard to stock up on too much soap.
- Antibacterial hand soap
- Shower cap
- Nail clippers & tweezers
- Portable clothes washer
- Laundry detergent
- Off-grid toilet/Potty Bucket (5-gallon bucket with seat) – If you choose the bucket approach, two buckets are recommended. The twin-bucket system was developed after the February 2011 Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake. Two buckets keep pee and poo separate, reducing volume and smell, and making disposal easier.
- Kitty litter or other organic material to use with the potty bucket. If you own a paper shredder, fill a space saver bag with shreds and suck the air out of the back, so it takes up less storage space. Small hamster bedding is another lightweight alternative; it’s usually lightweight and compressed in the package.
- Toilet paper — You can never have too much! This is arguably the most essential hygiene item on the list, so grab an extra package or two as often as possible. If you thought the COVID run on toilet paper was an anomaly, it wasn’t. Stock up or get used to equally effective alternative methods used by people in other cultures.
- Feminine hygiene products — Tampons or sanitary pads, either disposable or reusable, or both. I recommend Naturally Cozy.
- Diapers (if applicable)
- Baby wipes
- Garbage bags (0.9 mil or thicker), rubber bands, or twist ties
- Epsom salt for sore muscles — Epsom lotion is another option that wouldn’t be as heavy, but it may not last as long without going bad.
- Dental kit
- Medications/first aid kit
- Hand sanitizer — Be sure you know how to use it effectively.
Other Personal Care Items
- Barber comb & scissors
- Lip balm
- Lime oil (removes grease, sap & soot)
- Lotion — Lotion bars are great for packing in an emergency kit.
- Straight razor & sharpener
- Stored water
For your convenience, this list is available in printable form.
How To Organize Your Hygiene Supplies
There are many ways to organize your supplies. The important thing is to find a method that works for you.
You could organize by product or product groups, such as all dental products together, and store them in individual, labeled containers.
Assembling a hygiene kit in a large ziplock bag is another option. Create one for each family member and customize it to their specific needs and preferences.
Experiment to find the best fit.
How To Use Some of the Hygiene Items on This List
Maybe you’ve never had to use these things in an emergency and wonder what that might look like. Our article about taking care of hygiene concerns while off-grid should help you.
It’s not uncommon to lose power and water in an emergency. Never underestimate the power of keeping clean during a disaster or emergency. The simple act of taking care of yourself has a significant impact on your outlook on life!
What personal hygiene supplies are the most important for you and your needs?
This post was originally published on October 21, 2018, and has been updated.
Erin Foster is mom to 5 kids. West Georgia is home where you can find her reading, camping, enjoying a play and on any adventure she can do with her family. Along with a B.A. degree in Emergency and Disaster Management, she has an EKG technician and nursing assistant certificate.