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There are some things we can still count on to remain the same after SHTF. A woman’s time of the month being one of them. Even if you are not a woman, including female hygiene items in your prepping is still a great idea!! If you have a female partner, sister or daughter over the age of 8, you can count on these items coming in handy. As an added bonus, if you don’t end up needing these things, They will still make great bargaining bags that can be used to trade for something you will use.
You may have noticed that Wal-Mart dedicates an entire section just to female hygiene products as do most grocery stores and pharmacies. There is obviously a very high demand for this need. With that said, there are hundreds if not thousands of female hygiene supplies out there. I am not going to list them all. I will be sticking with the basics that are affordable, accessible and most likely to be used. There is no point in stocking up on things you may never use when you can stock up on usable items instead and still accomplish the same goal.
Female Hygiene items to Consider
- Menstrual products
- Cleansing products
- Disposal of products
- Back up products
- Other Issues
- Putting it all together
** 6-12 Supply of items you already use
If you are a woman, chances are you already know which products work best for you. I highly recommend keeping at least a 6 month supply of your favorite product/s on hand. To accomplish this you may wish to simply go buy a 6 months supply at once or you may want to consider buying two packages instead of one each month that you do your regular shopping.. put the extra pack away somewhere dry and water proof. Within 6 months you will have a 6 month supply on hand should SHTF. You can actually do this for up to a year or more if you wish. BONUS: These are products you would normally buy anyway, you are simply buying in advance so you are not wasting ANY money!!
If you are buying for someone else, you may not already have a “favorite” or collection of favorites. Don’t let this scare you away!! The most commonly used disposable products are liners, pads and tampons. I recommend a large box of liners, a large box of tampons and several large packs of pads (overnights will be your best bet). Pads are also good for minor incontinence (of urine and stool) and make a great bandage in a pinch.
**6-12 supply of wipes and wash
Something often overlooked when it comes to this particular kind of feminine hygiene is cleanliness. Cleanliness is going to be especially important if SHTF to avoid infections and unpleasant odors. We need to keep in mind that showering and bathing may not be something we can do everyday. With that said, I highly recommend stashing some cleansing products with your menstrual products. In a pinch, some soap, water and a facecloth will do the trick but that is something I personally do not want to resort to for as long as possible. So how to we keep our lady parts clean and odor free? My personal favorite is playtex fresh wipes which are made for this specific purpose but baby wipes will do just as good for much cheaper. I’ve stashed 12 packages away with my tampons. Men, if you do not have a female in need of these you will still find them very handy when you run of toilet paper. BONUS: Baby wipes are good for everything, back up toilet paper, removing make-up, washing your face, cleaning up spills ect..
On top of the cleansing wipes, I also recommend keeping a bottle (or several) of feminine hygiene wash. It is specifically made for washing lady parts (or male ones) and makes you feel so much “fresher” then just regular soap. If SHTF feeling “fresh” may be a luxury not many have. A great wash for this is vagisil feminine wash but pick your own favorite to stock pile on.
Disposal of Products:
**Have a disposal plan before SHFT
By using the above products you will be creating garbage, unsanitary garbage at that it. It is very important to have a plan in place for disposing of these products. Where you live will play a big factor on proper disposal of bathroom products so it’s always a good idea to have more than one plan. BONUS: Everyone needs a disposal plan regardless.
Flush it: My ideal means of disposal is to simply flush it down the toilet. Even without power most of us can still flush our toilets by pouring a bucket of water into it (I live near a brook and have a well). If you do not have an unlimited supply of water or your products are not flush able this may not work for you. **Keep a bucket handy for flushing!
Burn it: Most of these products are burnable and by burning them we will be completely getting rid of the waste. This is something that should be done outside under strict supervision and preferably not in a fire pit you use for cooking food. If this seems like a good option for you, take the steps to build a burn barrel or burn pit. You can do this for little money by using an old truck tire rim or by digging a deep hole (away from trees).
Bury it: These products take a long time to decompose so burying them is not the most ideal situation but if you have no other options this is something to consider. Have a shovel available for in the event SHTF. Dig as deep as possible and avoid burying near any source of water.
Reusable products: By using reusable products you will not be creating any extra garbage to be disposed of. This is one of the main reasons I do not stock pile more than a years supply of these items. Something that works for disposal for short-term might not be as doable long-term.
Store it: This should be an absolute last resort. In the event of bad weather or a stay-indoors warning, you may need to store used products until you can safely burn or bury them. For this reason, you may wish to invest in some zip lock bags. You can buy 100 of these small bags for as little as $1 so I recommend keeping several boxes of them along with at least one large heavy-duty bucket with a secure lid. Some kitty little or saw dust is a good idea, too. Store the soiled product in a zip lock bag then in the bucket, use the kitty litter or saw dust to help mask odors. Dispose of the contents properly as soon as possible. Brown paper bags are another more environmental friendly option.
Back up Products:
**Always have a Plan B
Even if you decide to store a lifetime supply of these products it is still a good idea to have a plan B. Your stash could get ruined, you could be separated from it or you just might not be able to dispose of it. Whatever the reason, have a back up plan. Being under the impression that you can always run to the store to restock is probably not the best back up plan. BONUS: Having a back up plan for female hygiene will also provide extra options if you run out of toilet paper.
Pads: Consider investing in enough cloth pads to get you through 2-3 days of your cycle, this will give you enough time for washing and drying them without running out. Amazon has some really neat cloth pads available in a variety of sizes and patterns. They even have pads with wings. If buying isn’t possible, check out YouTube for some how to videos on making your own!!
Tampons: While I still recommend the cloth pads as a back up plan, if you really don’t care for pads there are internal options such as cloth tampons and menstrual cups.
Cleansing: In a long-term SHTF scenario, the wipes and washes will eventually run out but cleanliness will still be a top priority so I recommend a back up plan for this, too. Amazon is also home to many pre-made bundles of family cloth which can be used as toilet paper. You can also make your own or fill an empty container with some baby face cloths (dollarstore). Keep some extra soap for this purpose, baby soap is mild and does a good job.
In a Pinch: If you find yourself in a situation without disposable or pre-made products, you can use just about any soft absorbent material. Baby receiving blankets, thick face clothes, cut up towels or even an old sweater.
Storing/Washing: Reusable products will need to be washed and stored until washed. You can buy special cloth bags for storing your used products in until it’s time to wash them or you can use any kind of pail with a lid. Keep white vinegar on hand, fill the bucket half full of a water and a little vinegar to prevent stains from setting in and to cut down on odors. If buying pre-made, pay close attention to the hand washing instructions. If making them yourself, you can wash them in your machine (if it’s still working) or hand wash them in hot soapy water. Consider having a boiling pot if your products are white or highly soiled (you can boil them to kill germs). It may also be a good idea to stock up on bar wash soaps (sunlight makes a good one). They can be hung to dry.
**Take into considerations all other related issues that may effect you.
There are lucky women out there who breeze through cycles without any issues and then there are women who will find themselves curled into a ball from the pain of cramping. If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t run to the store for a package of pads then chances are you also can’t run to the store for some midol or chocolate. Be prepared. BONUS: All these items should be included in your prepping for other reasons so no money is being wasted.
Pain relief: Store a big bottle of your go-to pain reliever. If you are prepping for someone else, a big bottle of Tylenol (100 tablets) and a reusable hot water bag will do the trick. (Tylenol can be used for anyone not allergic and hot water bottles can double as a warmer under the covers at night)
Cravings: Try to keep a few of your favorite sweets on hand and replace them as you dip into them. Consider hot-chocolate, it can sooth a sweet craving and has a decent shelf life. It can also be used for some baking recipes.
Yeast Infections: Yeast infections are quite common in woman so keeping an extra tube of monistat could save some discomfort.
Pregnancy: You may be prepared for your period but what if it doesn’t come? If pregnancy is a possibility you can find a list of good supplies to have here.
Putting it all together:
**Now that you are aware of what you may need it is time to put it all together.
In The Bug Out Bag: Almost every woman will at some point be caught off guard by her monthly visitor. For some woman this will happen while on the move or “bugging out“. The best place to start is by preparing a mini PMS package. I recommend including enough supply to get through one cycle. It is as easy as throwing a pack of pads/tampons, a small pack of wipes, a bottle of Tylenol (or your choice of pain relief) and some hand sanitizer into a zip lock bag then putting it in your BOB or purse. It’s fast, it’s cheap and it’s easy!! If you don’t already have the supplies on hand, consider picking them up on your next grocery trip. If you don’t have a BOB congratulations, you’ve just made your first prep!!
In The Home: Stock pile a 6-12 month supply of your favorite products, don’t forget some cleansing wipes/wash with your stockpile. Also consider having pain relief and the possibility of cravings, yeast infections and pregnancy. You do not need to do this all at once, pick up an extra pack every time you are able.
Disposal: The next time you are at the dollar store, pick up a few boxes of sandwich bags. Have a look around the house for a bucket with lid. Don’t throw out those old rims, make a burning pit. That’s it, you are done!!
Backing it up: Consider purchasing some cloth pads or reusable products. In the meantime, visit the local consignment shop and pick up some baby receiving blankets for under $1.00. These can serve as back up pads and wipes until pre-made is in the budget. Keep some Vinegar and sunlight soap around for washing and you are all set!!
That’s it. You can do this!! Do not let mother nature catch you off guard. This is one of the easiest/cheapest ways you can start preparing yourself and your family as early as today!!