People across the country are preparing for a wide variety of events. Most notably, the US and global economy stands out as a key preparedness topic. Preparedness sites anticipating some type of SHTF calamity event focus on articles for the prepared few to bug out to their retreat locations to ride out the storm. These articles focus mostly on bushcraft and other DIY projects to make you more self sufficient.
While all these articles are great, I think the preparedness community is missing some important areas. Take a good look at the featured picture of the Great Depression. In this picture, almost 5,000 people were waiting outside the New York Labor Bureau for temporary work. Those who are preparing would likely say that they are trying to be prepared enough so they are not one of those people. However, in reality, not all of us have the free cash or knowledge to own a homestead, have a large garden, livestock, etc. to be truely self sufficient. In an economic collpase, there will still be certain types of jobs available, and a mass of individuals completing for those jobs. Even the prepared few may need to find work.
Take another good look at that picture. Everyone has their best attire on and are clean shaven. So, besides educating yourself and getting cross training on different areas of work, I think personal grooming is something we need to look at in order to land a job. First impressions and personality are many-a-times taken over an individual’s expertise. Besides grooming, personal hygiene is critical for remaining in good health. Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina had rampant disease. Even in recent wars, disease accounted for nearly half of soldier deaths.
Above is an experiment I assisted with on bacterial enumeration on hands after handling raw chicken vs. handling raw chicken then washing with soap and water. This washing was using a regular dish detergent for about 15 seconds. Bacteria is persistent eh?So yes, you need to thoroughly clean not only your hands but your entire body regularly if you want to keep disease at bay.
Stock up on soap and laundry detergents. There are many DIYs out there to make your own soap and detergent and I’ve found them to work well. Additionally, hot water helps remove bacteria. Besides a hot sponge bath, another prepper resource could be a gravity fed tankless water shower powered by propane. Have a couple of extra propane bottles, 55 gallon water barrels and this tankless water heater and you’ll be all set up for a hot shower.
Razor cartridges are almost $6 per cartridge or more! In the future, these might be a luxury item. From a preparedness standpoint, buy a straight edge razor, learn how to sharpen it, and learn how to use it. Alternatively, start spending big bucks and saving up on catridges. If you buy a nice one, it will far outlive any disposable cartridge. The referenced straight edge razor is only one type. They can also get very pricey. Make sure you invest some time into purchasing the most suitable one for you.
I’ve been cutting my hair for the past 12 years using sheers and razor. I’ve experimented with multiple brands and the best I’ve used so far in terms of cut and longevity is the Wahl brand. I have a very simple haircut, so this is easy for me. Even with the easy style haircut, I did have to shave it all off once due to mishaps and practicing. Besides SHTF planning, I’ve saved hundreds of dollars cutting my own hair.
Sometimes it’s the small things that knock a person down. Dental hygiene is of critical importance in long term survival (think Cast Away). In fact, experts are trying to design “Combat Gum” for our military men and women because of the epidemic of bad dental hygiene. Stock up on tooth brushes and toothpaste to take care of your mouth. Ensure that you get all major dental work done before a SHTF scenario. There are multiple other ways of caring for teeth and gums, but those will be saved for future articles.
Hope this gives you some ideas of why personal grooming and hygiene are just as important for preppers!