Emergency Preparedness -- Sanitation & Personal Hygiene

Regardless of the situation, there are some things that do not stop. The need for toilet facilities will be a major priority almost immediately!

Toilets: If water lines are damaged, do not flush

  • Toilets can still be used by removing all water from the bowl and lining it with a heavy duty plastic bag

  • When finished, add disinfectant, tie bag securely, and dispose of in large receptacle with a tightly fitting lid

Avoid digging holes in the ground to use

  • Untreated raw sewage can pollute fresh groundwater supplies

  • Attracts flies and promotes the spread of disease

The Two-Bucket method for portable toilets is recommended because it reduces the risk of disease, controls odor and makes the contents easier to handle. What you need:

  • Two 5-gallon buckets (one for solids and one for liquids because mixing them means much more odor) and Luggable Loo™ seats (available at sporting goods stores and online).

  • Heavy duty garbage bags, kitchen size or larger

  • Sawdust, cat litter, shredded paper, sand, dirt, or leaves to use as a desiccant (moisture absorber) to layer on solid waste

  • Toilet paper -- you cannot have too much!

Line the Poo bucket with a trash bag and layer with carbon material. When partly full, remove, close tightly, and store away from food (recycling or yard waste bin is a good option)

The Pee bucket does not need to be lined. Urine is sterile, so it can be poured out on the ground away from foot traffic or allowed to evaporate

A five-gallon bucket with seat is about one inch shorter than a standard toilet, which can be awkward and uncomfortable. An easy solution is to stack the bucket with the seat onto another bucket. This will add about three inches in height.

Use whatever system you want, but it is vital to have some type of plan in place.

For more information, visit www.EmergencyToilet.org

Handwashing station

The ability to wash your hands will be very important. You cannot afford to infect your food and water with contaminated hands.

  • Use an empty liquid detergent bottle and bar soap in a stocking

  • Hand sanitizer.with at least 60% alcohol


DO NOT underestimate their importance! You’ll need to have some way to bathe, at least to some degree.

  • Baby wipes can be an adequate stand-in for only so long

  • Solar bag showers, portable heated showers

  • Bathing/hygiene has significant physical and psychological benefits

Some method to wash clothes

A washing machine can be made out of two 5 gallon buckets and a toilet plunger (preferably new). Learn how on YouTube – search “redneck washing machine”. Even if it’s just clean underwear and socks, it has a tremendous impact.

Hygiene Supplies

  • Personal toiletries, i.e. deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste

  • Moist towelettes / baby wipes

  • Dry shampoo

  • TP

  • Feminine products

  • Soap

  • Detergent

Extra supplies of these items can always be used to barter with people for other things.

We’re used to being clean most of the time, so the ability to maintain personal hygiene during a time of chaos represents a small source of normalcy in the midst of a totally abnormal situation.

Questions? Contact info@CERTClarkCountyWA.com