How will you keep your clothes clean during a prolonged emergency?

Tuesday, May 03, 2016 by

( If you haven’t given much thought to washing your clothes during an emergency that lasts longer than a few days, now is the time to start.

It may not seem like a big deal right now, but after about a week or so of wearing the same clothing, you’re going to find it increasingly difficult to stand the smell of yourself and those around you. That will especially be true if your emergency occurs during the spring or summer and you’re sweating a lot.

Granted, you will be surprised what you will learn to put up with when you have to, but let’s face it: Eventually, we are going to need to clean our clothes, and that will be especially true for our undergarments. Plus, keeping clothes clean as often as possible will also prolong their wear life.

One thing you’re going to need – and we harp on this constantly – is a reliable source of clean water. All life exists on Earth because of water, and in an emergency, it is one commodity that is so valuable it will be worth risking your life over to protect (or, if it comes to it, to take if you can’t get someone who has a good supply to share it). Obviously your first water-related concern is drinking water, but again, hygiene is vitally important to your overall health, and that will include washing your garments on a regular basis.

Fortunately there are several DIY “washing machine” designs that vary in complexity and cost; the only thing you need to do is to pick one you thing will work best (see the videos below) – but start with this design. It’s a bit more complex but you can tell the folks who put it together put some thought into it as a long-term solution to a potentially long-term emergency. There is a video that goes with the story, but it isn’t very instructional; the article goes into much more depth regarding design.

The next design is very basic – most designs, by the way, utilize 5- or 6-gallon buckets, some sort of plunging device, and some physical labor – but it’s detailed and well-explained:

Now this design is much more complex and it’s not explained well, BUT…you can garner a lot just by seeing it and how it operates. Also, it’s maintenance-free and is a good design to utilize if you just want to get off the grid as well. Plus, it’s portable and really cool:

This next design is very simple, very well-explained, and very inexpensive to make:

Hygiene won’t be easy during an extended emergency situation, but preparing to keep yourself and your clothing (which will have to last you) clean ahead of time will make life much easier down the road.

More: is part of the USA Features Media network.


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