Survival Hygiene For Bushcraft and the wilderness

There are a vast number of processes and systems in place to keep our dirt, trash, waste and debris centralized. Literally, armies of people whose job it is to clean up the mess of humanity. After a collapse those systems will come to a screeching halt.

You need only look at soldiers in the field in our own military. Sickness and hygiene issues sideline a large chunk of our soldiers in the modern world.

Dealing with disease long ago was even worse. I can offer you two words as a terrifying reminder of the worst-case scenario

Valley Forge

George Washington lost so many troops at Valley Forge due to personal hygiene and disease. At its peak the death rate of men was up to 10 a day.

This was from things like dysentery, influenza and typhoid. If not for the efforts of latrine utilization at the camp and moving these areas away from kitchens it could have gotten much worse.

While you will not be a warfighter on the road or in a bugout situation, you will fight the same hygiene battles. Trash and mess will be strewn about this world like nothing you could ever imagine. You may stumble through human waste or drink water that is contaminated up stream.

Good personal hygiene will keep you safe and your family as well. You might think that the biggest threat has machine guns and body armor, but the reality is disease will do much more damage.

Let Nature Help

For most of us the bugout will take us through some sort of wooded area, field or wilderness. There are little gems hiding all over the nation that can help you out with personal hygiene.

Chewing Sticks

While it may sound primitive, and it is, oral health can be assisted by using a chewing stick throughout the day. These sticks can be used to pick food from your teeth as well as to strengthen them. Look to use sticks that come from fragrant woods as well to get more out of your chewing stick.

Fat and Lye

Using only animal fat, water and wood ash you can make your own soap. You will first need to soak the ash in water and have a way to drain that ash after about 24 hours. This liquid will then become lye. When the lye is mixed with the animal fat it will create soap.

You will use about 2oz of lye for every lb. of animal fat in your mix.


Another power house for oral health and even some stomach care is licorice. You will find that the root of the plant can act as an incredible toothbrush. It’s a fibrous and anisette flavored root. IT can be used to get between teeth as well.

Tea Tree Oil

An incredibly powerful antifungal and viral warrior, I would recommend tea tree oil become part of your kit for sure. Look for the essential oil and it may be called by other names like Melaleuca. It can be used topically as well as diluted and used internally.

One System to Rule Them All

Our soldiers have a secret weapon in the field that is taking hold with special ops and growing in popularity. The best part, it doesn’t require a drop of water to work. This waterless hygiene system is called Combat One.

Using the power of colloidal silver as part of their full spectrum hygiene system you will be able to stock your bags and survival caches with a shelf stable hygiene option that won’t require your precious water to use.

Combat One offers sprays, foams and something they call the tactical bath which contains eight cloths to essentially take care of your whole body. These are my personal favorite.

A very close comparison to the challenges we will face is highlighted in this blog post on close quarters camping with limited access to facilities. Find out how to master hygiene in bad scenarios using this technology.


Hygiene has been a problem in the past, it will be a problem in the future and it remains a problem in places that don’t have the services we do. We are all watching the scenario unfold on the coast of Africa as a new plague emerges.

The spread of this plague is due in large part to the poor hygiene and sanitation methods used in this part of the world. You must always remember we are but one great disaster away from living in just the same way.

Hygiene in an American home is a science. We have everything we need and more. I have soap bars that smell like the woods and my wife has soap with loofas built into the bar. We have lotions and creams and antibiotic soaps of all kinds.

Once you hit the road due to evacuation or a bugout situation, you will see a drastic change in your ability to bathe and care for yourself.

Experiment with nature and learn how you can leverage wild resources in your fight to maintain personal hygiene. Make this a priority today and be sure you have the tools you need to keep yourself  and your family going.

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