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Survivalists prepare for a world where the reliance on utilities and conventional norms is gone. Homesteaders who want to live off the grid also use many of the same tactics to live healthy and happy lives.
The use of clean running water is a privilege that many of us grow used to having. Many of us think nothing of turning on the faucet for a shower every morning or washing our hands frequently at the sink.
However, nothing can be guaranteed when the SHTF and conventional plumbing services cease to exist. Whether you live in a city, suburb, or rural area, there are plenty of things you can do now to prepare for a world without clean water access.
Hygiene and overall cleanliness is an important survival skill to practice no matter what. While many of us have stockpiled clean water for drinking or know how to purify water, you can keep the body clean using other methods as well. Wasting drinking water on the body’s exterior would not be a good idea in an emergency. Instead, there are plenty of ways to clean the body using these 12 methods.
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Running water is a luxury that many generations of people before now never had access to. From ancient times to just a few centuries ago, people lived healthy and clean lives without immediate access to water within their homes.
Familiarize yourself with these 12 ways to keep clean without running water just in case modern plumbing stops working.
Shower in the Rain
Using the power of nature is a great way to clean off the body when you don’t have access to running water. While a rainstorm brings on its own challenges with the intensity (or lack thereof) of water amounts, it is a practical way to use the gifts of Mother Nature. Showering in the rain requires some quick thinking and a watchful eye to predict when the rain will appear.
Standing outside in the rain with your clothes on would pull double duty in laundry duty as well. Going without clothes is also an option, but it may be better for a nighttime rain for those with nosy neighbors.
When your body is all clean after showering in the rain, why not continue to collect the water for future use? Collecting rainwater is a tried and true practice that many homesteaders use today. Rain barrels and collection systems range in setups and complexity, but sticking to a basic system is best when SHTF.
The easiest way to collect rainwater is to set out a barrel that has a wide opening to collect as much water as possible. This is a good idea for any of those areas where water will be immediately needed and storms bring on copious amounts of moisture.
However, other homesteaders prefer to use covered rain barrels to keep out rodents and bugs. Attaching these closed-off systems to a gutter helps direct the water that lands on the roof of a home into a specific container for future use.
Install a Solar Shower
Many homesteaders live in an area where rain storms may be warm, but they aren’t as scalding hot as a morning shower. Installing a solar shower on your property allows you to harness the power and warmth of the sun to help naturally raise the temperature of the water. Solar showers come in various options, but you can make a DIY solar shower using leftover materials around the house.
Solar showers require a dark-colored container that will help attract and absorb the sunlight during the day. They are usually installed about 7 feet up off the ground in a tree or pole to create a natural shower effect during use.
Use collected rainwater to fill up the tank of the solar shower in the morning and use the shower after the sun has had time to heat the contents during the day. The heat of the water will cool overnight, so it is best to use a solar shower once daily to get the hottest water possible in a natural way.
Cleansing our bodies once a day is a modern concept. Plenty of people would only bathe once a week in past centuries, without any harmful effects.
In fact, many families would warm up water from a local water source, such as a creek or lake, over the fire and have one tub or container for baths. It was customary for the oldest person, usually the father, in the home to take a bath first, while the rest of the family took baths in the same bathwater afterward.
Reusing bath water may seem unhealthy, but it seemed to work just fine for those generations before us. You could add warm water to the bath during use so that the younger family members had some sort of warm water to bathe in. The term “throw out the baby with the bathwater” stems from this practice when babies would be the last to take a bath.
Go for a Swim
As long as the outside temperatures aren’t too cold, why not try taking a swim or a dip in the local water source? Using local creeks, lakes, ponds, or rivers is a great way to cleanse the body without hauling water into the house. While our modern world has often polluted and compromised local water sources, it is best to know the condition and source of the water before subjecting the body to it.
In general, running water is better to use than standing water as fewer contaminants, and microscopic amoebas reside in moving water. However, plenty of water sources are contaminated upstream from manufacturing practices, so always use caution. If you’re worried about contamination, consider heating the water from the local water source before bathing to kill off anything living in the water.
Take a Dirt Bath
Plenty of other animals use dirt as their way of seeking cleanliness. It may seem counterproductive, but dry dirt is actually a great source of cleaning in the right conditions. Dirt baths include fine dust or sand that helps rid the skin of parasites and bacteria.
Many farm animals use dirt and dust to help cleanse the body, so why not humans in a pinch? The key to taking a dirt bath is to use tiny and ultra-dry particles that won’t stay on the body.
Stockpile Baby Wipes
Many people use baby wipes in their homes when there isn’t an infant anywhere in sight. Baby wipes are an easy and convenient item that are ready for use to cleanse the skin when needed. Stockpiling baby wipes is a great way to keep clean without running water.
Make sure that the baby wipe container is closed when not in use to keep the wipes from drying out. Remember that, unless noted on the container, most baby wipes are not antibacterial and won’t kill off germs.
Collect Antibacterial Wipes
All of us have most likely become experts in the antibacterial wipe industry after living through the recent pandemic. You probably have your favorite brand on hand and some other options back in a closet somewhere.
Stocking up on these wipes is a great way to cleanse the body and other areas in the future without the use of modern plumbing. Unlike baby wipes, antibacterial wipes can kill germs and viruses that could cause harm.
Again, these wipes can dry out quickly if the container is compromised or the lid is not secure. Make sure to stock these containers in a dry and cool area, so they are still viable when needed in the future.
Use Hand Sanitizer
Another product that we are well versed in includes hand sanitizer. Using hand sanitizer in an emergency is an excellent way to cleanse the hands before preparing food or after coming into contact with germs.
Again, we all have our favorites by now and should stock up on this item for future use. Hand sanitizers come in a wide variety of options, including pump bottles, squeeze tubes, and refill containers. Store the hand sanitizer in a dry and cool area for use when the SHTF.
Cut Grease with Baby Powder
Another great item to use in an emergency for cleaning includes baby powder. Sprinkle some baby powder into the hair and on the skin to help cut down on oil and grease. The baby powder soaks up any excess liquid and provides a clean and fresh scent as well.
Apply Baking Soda
Another great item to have on hand is baking soda, which is a natural deodorizer. Sprinkle baking soda under the arms and in sensitive areas where bacteria can grow and flourish. Baking soda’s natural alkaline properties target and neutralize bacteria that could be causing a stinky odor.
Sponge Bath with Apple Cider Vinegar
Perfect the art of the sponge bath by using warmed water combined with apple cider vinegar. The vinegar has natural antimicrobial properties that help neutralize any harmful bacteria in the body. Simply dip a sponge, towel, or fabric into a pot of warmed water mixed with apple cider vinegar and apply to the skin for a refreshing cleanse.
The lack of running water doesn’t mean that you or your family need to be dirty all of the time. While a little dirt never hurts anyone, cleansing the body is a great morale boost in dire times. Getting back to past practices by collecting rainwater, utilizing local water sources, and using everyday household items are good ways to keep clean without reliance on the local government.
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Lil Bit Crunchy says
When your ACV, baking soda and baby powder are all gone, and a swim doesn’t cut it anymore, a method that goes a long way back is a rough cloth or grass mat sprinkled with fire ashes and used as a self-scrubber. Work clean to dirty, top to bottom, rinse with a dip in the river afterward. For sensitive areas, something gentler would be better but this works otherwise.