In survival situations personal hygiene is often one of the last things a person considers. Given that the survivalist is mostly occupied with staying alive, this is a fair and reasonable ordering of priorities. Once a survival situation transitions from the acute phase to the maintenance phase, however, hygiene of one’s body and surrounding area should be considered with higher priority. Poor hygiene can easily become a back door to illnesses including infections. A simple cut can easily turn into an infection that may eventually become fatal, without the benefit of antibiotics. Remember, before 1928 there were no antibiotics and people routinely died from staph, strep, TB and pneumonia infections.
Motivations for personal hygiene practice include reduction of personal illness, healing from personal illness, optimal health and sense of well being, social acceptance and prevention of spread of illness to others.
In a survival situation we must learn how we can care for our bodies (including teeth) and surroundings without Irish Spring soap and 409 kitchen cleaner, because even if we have some stocked up – we will run out eventually.
Body hygiene is achieved by using products including: soap, hair shampoo, toothbrushes, tooth paste, cotton swabs, antiperspirant, facial tissue, mouthwash, nail files, skin cleansers, toilet paper, and other such products. The survivalist knows how to approximate most or all of these modern day items using what’s available.