Despite what you see on The Walking Dead, decent hygiene can make a big difference in a crisis. Ignore, for a moment, no one wants to be squeezed into a pickup truck with six sweaty guys in multicam who smell like the towel bin of an NFL locker room. Think about this, after a long day of sweating, getting dirty, possibly getting some bodily fluids of all sortsa flavors sprayed on you, and the infrequent application of bugspray/sunblock, etc, you wind up getting a decent size cut or abrasion on you. In TWD our sweaty, grungy heroes carry on effortlessly. In the real world, you’re setting yourself up for all sorts of nasty infection-y badness.
Preparedness is about prevention. You’re stopping problems before they happen. You know how in the winter season we’re all told to wash our hands frequently to prevent catching colds? We all agree that’s a good idea. Well, a shower or some other form of bathing, with soap, on a daily (or more frequent) basis is just as good.
Soap is awesome stuff but it’s a mild pain in the butt to store. I like to use Ivory soap because I can use on my skin, in my hair, and even to clean clothes. It’s sort of a Swiss army knife of soap. Problem is, it is fabulously hydroscopic. Don’t believe me? Go grab a paper-wrapped bar of Ivory soap and peel the wrapper off. I guarantee you the wrapper will be damp, moist, or adhere to the soap in a manner suggesting a high moisture content. And if you leave soap exposed to air too long…it turns into a rock. (Which seems counterintuitive since you would think that if it absorbs moisture it would turn to mush.)
I mention it because while I like Ivory soap, I hate paying for it. Surprisingly, I found a deal on Amazon for 100 bars for $40. (Requires that Yuppie Survivalist luxury – Amazon Prime) Well, a hundred bars oughtta last me a while. So, I ordered ’em up and they arrived today.
So now that they’re here, and we’ve established that they fossilize after long enough time exposed to air, what do we do? Stop exposing them to air. Break the vacuum sealer out of storage and repackage things.
This is one of those situations where a vacuum sealer is great for a task other than storing food. Seriously, if you think they’re just good for putting food away and not much else, you really need to think more creatively. Go get one. You’ll never regret it.
A few years ago I came across a slightly better deal at my local grocery store. Three bars for a buck. I wound up picking up all they had and I packaged them the same way I’m packaging these. I finally used up the last ones last month and they stored just fine, I suppose it’s possible that with enough hot water and scrubbing, the dessicated bars of soap might work, but why take chances?
So, I’m set for the next couple years on soap and can keep myself clean and smelling awesome after a long day of looting burned out police cars, manning roadblocks, and fending off zombies. Or, more likely, I’ve simply knocked off one of many things on my logistical checklist for the next several years.
But, point is, if you’re going to store large amounts of things like food, ammo, toilet paper, and batteries you should also go just as deep on the personal hygiene stuff as well. Being stuck in Katrinaville (Or San Juan, I suppose) is no time for skin infections, bad teeth, conjunctivitis, ear infections, and that sorta thing. Floss, toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, deodorant, washcloth, toothbrush, talc, a comb, razors (Ivory works for shaving foam), and some hand sanitizer will give you pretty much everything you need to prevent the kinda funk that knocks your efficiency down when you need it the most.