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hygiene wilderness

When the grid goes down and civilization, as we know it, is compromised, focusing on survival is everyone’s top priority. But what about hygiene? Believe it or not, in a SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) scenario, maintaining good hygiene is not just a matter of comfort; it can be crucial for survival. Inadequate sanitation can lead to various diseases, affecting your ability to protect and fend for yourself. This comprehensive guide gives you a roadmap for maintaining hygiene during long-term outdoor survival, incorporating everything from basic cleanliness tips to martial arts techniques for mental fortitude.


Good hygiene is often taken for granted in our daily lives, thanks to the easy availability of clean water and soap. However, when you’re stranded in the wilderness during a SHTF scenario, things become more challenging.

The Health Risks of Poor Hygiene

Poor hygiene can expose you to a range of diseases such as:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Dental issues
  • Skin conditions like eczema and scabies

Water: The Elixir of Cleanliness

Water is your best friend when it comes to wilderness hygiene. While you might be tempted to save every drop for drinking, sparing some for cleaning can pay dividends for your health.

  • Boiling: Kills off most germs.
  • Filtering: Portable water filters can make water potable and clean enough for washing.
  • Rainwater: A catchment system can provide you with ample water for hygiene.

DIY Wilderness Soap

When commercial soap is not an option, the wilderness offers alternatives:

  • Plant-Based Soaps: Yucca and soapwort plants can be used as mild soaps.
  • Baking Soda: If you have some in your survival kit, it’s a versatile cleaner.
  • Ash: A mix of ash and water can serve as a rudimentary soap.

Dental Care in the Wild

Neglecting dental hygiene can lead to debilitating pain and infections.

  • Twig Toothbrush: Frayed ends can function as bristles.
  • Salt: Can be used as a simple tooth powder.
  • Herbal Mouthwashes: Sage, mint, and other antibacterial herbs.

Feminine Hygiene

For women, maintaining menstrual hygiene is especially crucial.

  • Cloth Pads: Washable and reusable.
  • Menstrual Cup: If you have it in your emergency kit, it’s reusable and eco-friendly.
  • Moss: In extreme cases, sphagnum moss has antibacterial properties and can be used as a temporary measure.

Human Waste Management

Improper disposal of human waste can contaminate water sources.

  • Cat Holes: At least 200 feet from water sources.
  • Trench Toilets: For longer-term stays.
  • Portable Toilets: Light and compact options are available.

Food Hygiene

  • Cook Thoroughly: Undercooked food can lead to bacterial infections.
  • Smoke Preservation: Smoking meat can help preserve it.
  • Avoid Cross-Contamination: Always separate raw and cooked foods.

Role of Martial Arts and Self-Defense

  • Mental Fortitude: The discipline acquired through martial arts training can help you stick to a hygiene routine, even when it’s tough.
  • Physical Strength: A robust body is less susceptible to disease.
  • Self-Defense: In a wilderness situation, defending against wildlife or unfriendly humans becomes crucial. Stun guns or pepper sprays can be vital when fetching water or food.


Survival in a SHTF situation demands more than food, water, and shelter. The importance of maintaining good hygiene can’t be overstated, as failure to do so can lead to health issues that render you vulnerable. Moreover, integrating self-defense tactics and martial arts discipline into your survival strategy ensures that you’re not just surviving but thriving against the odds. In the end, cleanliness is not just a social norm but a survival skill. Equip yourself physically and mentally to stay clean, come what may.

As always, be safe and be prepared.


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