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The Importance of Hygiene After SHTF

The Importance of Hygiene After SHTF

In the world of prepping and survival, the focus is often on stockpiling resources, securing shelters, and mastering survival skills. Yet, one crucial aspect that is sometimes overlooked is the importance of maintaining hygiene after SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan).

As a former soldier, I’ve witnessed first-hand the dire consequences of neglecting hygiene in harsh environments. This insight is not just crucial for combat but is incredibly applicable in any survival situation, particularly in the face of potential conflicts or war scenarios.

Key Takeaways

  • Prioritize Hygiene: Post-disaster environments significantly increase the risk of diseases, making hygiene practices vital.
  • Simple Practices Save Lives: Regular hand washing and waste management can prevent the majority of infectious diseases.
  • Prepare Hygiene Kits: Stock essential supplies like soap, sanitizers, and personal hygiene items.
  • Educate Your Group: Ensure everyone in your survival group understands and practices good hygiene.
  • Plan for Waste Disposal: Have a safe and effective method for disposing of waste to prevent contamination.


In my years of military service, the importance of hygiene was drummed into us from day one. It wasn’t just about discipline; it was about survival.

Diseases can spread more rapidly than bullets fly, and in post-conflict scenarios, your hygiene practices can mean the difference between life and death.

Drawing from these intense experiences, I aim to guide fellow survivalists through the essential practices of maintaining hygiene in a world where traditional systems and supports might no longer be reliable.

The Overlooked Pillar of Survival: Hygiene

When society’s regular infrastructure fails, public health measures collapse. Water supplies may be contaminated, waste disposal services cease, and overcrowded conditions in shelters can become rampant with disease.

Historical precedents during wars and natural disasters have shown us that post-catastrophe, more people can die from preventable diseases linked to poor hygiene than from the disaster itself.

Personal Anecdotes: The Military Perspective

During my deployment in regions stricken by conflict, the outbreak of diseases like cholera and dysentery was not uncommon.

Our ability to stay healthy hinged on strict hygiene protocols. We learned to maximize limited water supplies for hygiene, craft improvised sanitation facilities, and manage waste under extreme conditions. These lessons are directly translatable to any survival situation.

Hygiene Strategies for Survivalists

1. Water Purification and Conservation

The first step in maintaining hygiene is ensuring access to clean water. This means not only having the means to purify water but also strategies for using it sparingly yet effectively.

  • Purification Techniques: Boiling, chemical treatment with iodine or chlorine, and using filtration systems.
  • Conservation Tips: Use spray bottles for washing hands or dishes, and prioritize water use for cooking and personal hygiene.

2. Essential Hygiene Supplies

Prepare a hygiene kit that includes:

  • Soap and hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Diapers and wipes if there are babies in your group

3. Effective Waste Management

Ineffective waste disposal can quickly lead to the spread of disease. Plan for both solid and liquid waste.

  • Solid Waste: Designate a secure and distant area for waste burial. Ensure it is far from water sources and living areas.
  • Liquid Waste: If running water is unavailable, set up a sanitation system that might include portable toilets or latrines.

4. Personal Hygiene Practices

Simple habits can prevent the spread of many diseases.

  • Handwashing: With soap and water before eating, cooking, and after using the restroom.
  • Dental Care: Brushing teeth regularly to prevent infections.
  • Skin Care: Keeping skin clean and dry to avoid infections.

Psychological Impact of Hygiene in Survival Situations

Maintaining hygiene also has a psychological component; it can significantly boost morale and a sense of normalcy.

Cleanliness offers a mental break from the chaos, providing comfort and enhancing the mental resilience necessary to cope with prolonged survival scenarios.

Challenges and Solutions

Challenge: Limited Resources

Solution: Innovate with what you have. Use ash or sand if soap is unavailable. Collect rainwater for hygiene needs.

Challenge: Maintaining Routine in Chaos

Solution: Establish a daily hygiene routine as part of your survival schedule.

Conclusion: Empowerment Through Preparedness

Understanding and implementing robust hygiene practices post-SHTF is not just about survival; it’s about maintaining dignity and a semblance of normal life under abnormal conditions.

As survivalists and preppers, our goal is to be ready not just with supplies, but with the knowledge and habits that safeguard our health and that of our community in the face of adversity.


Q: How much water should I store for hygiene purposes? A: Aim to store at least one gallon per person per day, with additional reserves for medical and hygiene needs.

Q: What are the most common diseases to guard against after a disaster? A: Diarrheal diseases, respiratory infections, and skin diseases are the most common and can be largely prevented through good hygiene practices.

Q: Can hygiene really make a difference in survival scenarios? A: Absolutely. Good hygiene reduces the risk of illnesses that can weaken group members and consume scarce medical resources.

By adhering to these guidelines and lessons from the front lines, you can significantly enhance your survival strategy and ensure that in the face of disaster, you are not just surviving but thriving with good health and vigor.