One of the biggest things over looked by both naturist, survivalist, and preparers alike is hygiene. Hygiene is one of the most important factors of human life. In some areas of the world, good hygiene can be the difference between life and death literally. In survival situations having good hygiene can boost not only your physical health but your mental health a well.
Most people think of those insane high school films when you mention hygiene. Perhaps you think of the dentist? Hygiene is just a word that you don’t associate with survival, but it is essential. Imagine being stuck in the wilderness for 3 months. Are you going to brush your teeth? Are you going to bathe? How are you going to do this? How do you keep yourself clean?
In truth it is not as hard to perform personal hygiene, as you might think. For thousands of years people have done it, why can’t you? The best thing about being in a survival situation is the type of food available to you. You will not have a high sugar diet that we Americans love so much. Without the high sugar diet, then your oral hygiene will actually be better. The bacteria in your mouth needs a source of food and sugar tends feed them causing the bacteria to grow. Without the high starch and high sugar diet then the bacteria in your mouth do not have that constant source of food. With that being said however it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to clean your mouth.
Now in order to clean your teeth, without a tooth brush, you can do a few different things, the first is to use a fir tree twig to brush your teeth. Take a small twig with pine needles, cut the pine needles to a small length and brush your teeth. It is not as effective as a tooth brush but it works. The second method is to take a small branch of a tree and cut the twig with the cut side at an angle. Then use the angled side to in essence scrape your teeth. This was the most popular method among ancient cultures. If you find yourself a mint tree then you should have a minty fresh mouth.
Have you ever chewed gum? Gum does clean your teeth and likewise you can use tree gum to clean you mouth. You can chew gummy sap to clean your teeth like orbit gum.
The last method you can use is to make a chew stick. A chew stick is as simple as a piece of wood that you chew on. The hard surface helps to clean your teeth as you chew.
The hardest form of hygiene is the bodily form. Washing yourself is hard without some form of soap. So the ancients figured out two methods, lye and ash. Using ash from your fire is a great way to scrub your skin clean. Of course you will need some water to rinse off the ash, but it works well in keeping your body clean. I highly recommend this method if you are in an environment where your feet will constantly need cleaning. Of course consider yourself lucky, I have heard that in certain spa’s, people spend thousands of dollars to bathe in ash.
The next thing you can do is create lye soap. Now I wish I could be more helpful here however I cannot help but wonder about this method myself. I have not yet mastered creating lye soap. In fact I have only tried once and did quite horribly. The basic idea is that you use the fat from animals and lye to make soap. The animal fat is rendered into tallow and mixed with lye to create soap.
In later post I will teach how you can render animal fat, even bacon fat, into oil for soap. However due to federal regulations I can not teach you to make lye at this time. Lye is going to be hard to find because it can be used to make meth learning to make it causes problems. I will look into it and if possible come back with a lesson.
Hygiene and survival can happen together. If you are going to be in a survival situation for a while it may mean processing your own soap to keep yourself healthy. Keeping your health up in survival situations is crucial and best of all does not require a great deal of work.
Remember folks Prepare to Survive Todd Out