Staying alive in the wilderness is one thing, staying dry and clean when in the outdoors is another, especially if you’re not having any soap or toothpaste on you anymore.
Staying clean helps you survive
Keeping yourself nice and clean isn’t going to save your life, but it may keep germs at distance so…that’s something to consider. Having a routine while trying to stay alive can give you a reason to continue and helps you stay sane, especially if you haven’t seen any other human for more than a couple of days. Making sure you’re having a good hygiene helps you better control the risk of failure as well.
Additionally, if you get a cut on your filthy body, the risk for an infection is way higher. Sure enough, we’re not talking about keeping yourself clean as you’d do it at home, but you should try your best when in the outdoors.
Eating with properly cleaned hands after you built your shelter keeps any stomach infections at distance as well.
And if you find yourself in the situation of losing all your hygienic products, you’re going to have to use whatever nature offers you to prevent any infection.
Scroll down to see some natural alternatives that can help you stay nice and clean when trying to survive in the outdoors.
The healthier you are, the better the chances for you to focus on the best ways to get back home or to let your rescuers know where you are.
The camp soap
Most of us don’t know that many plants do contain saponins and beans are a very good example. When in the outdoors, you may find various plants that contain high level of saponins which makes them really good for washing and bathing.
If you got the time and the will, you can make your very own soap with some lye.
Saponin are toxic glycosides that are quite common to be found in plants and when you crush the plants with some water, inside a container, you may notice the lather they form. You may use that lather later as an efficient cleanser.
A very popular plant containing saponins is soapwort, a wildflower that is quite common within Europe. You may find it in moist areas (streams) or in hedgerows.
Saponin is an important chemical and we’ve been using it for centuries until we created the modern soaps. So, when you’re lost in the woods and want to find what to bathe with, look for the plants that have saponins in them.
This gets us to an essential tip for surviving: try to know about the plants in the area you’re going to hike/camp or get a plant identification book with you.
Just because you’re lost doesn’t mean you shouldn’t brush your teeth three times a day. Not only you may get cavities when you get home, but you may even worsen some current tooth problems. Last thing you want when trying to survive is to deal with a terrible toothache when there’s no pain killer around.
Our mouth is a delicate part of our body so we need to keep it well clean all day (and night) long so that we can minimize risks for health issues later on.
You may use some willow bush when in the outdoors and you have no toothpaste around. Willow bushes are very common so it shouldn’t be a problem for you to get some.
Building a brush of one end of a branch is quite easy and you may simply brush your teeth when you’re done. The willow sap is able to clean your teeth by removing soft tartar and minimizing risk for building up along your gum line- a common cause for cavities.
It’s not easy to keep your body fresh in the wilderness, but it’s important as you do want to keep predators at distance. Even though smelling nice may not be fundamental when you’re actually lost and trying to build a fire, you should keep yourself clean, as well.
It’s no news that our ancestors managed to stay nice and clean even when there were no deodorants, which means it’s not mission impossible for you either.
Some betel leaves may get you out of the trouble and may be the solution for keeping your body nicely smelling.
You do need to boil at least five leaves with two glasses of water and…drink it until you don’t smell that bad anymore. If this doesn’t do it for you, you can always put the mixture under your arms daily to put the BO under control.
Bandages made from leaves
Getting cut in the woods is a major problem as bacteria may get into your cut, causing infection and various health problems.
An improperly treated cut may get painful, itchy and lead to more serious problems.
Now that we all know you’re lost in the wilderness and have no bandages on you nor your first aid kit, taking care of a cut is a bit more challenging.
There are many natural ways to bandage a wound, but the most common solution it the plantain leaf which is very easy to find.
The plantain leaf has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities so it’s very efficient for the minor cuts and stings.
You simply chew it up and place it on the cut area carefully. You put another intact plantain leaf over it so that is stays in place. You may also tie a string or a cloth over it, to fasten the healing.
Staying nicely smelling, with clean teeth and clean hands may not look important to you when trying to survive in the outdoors.
But in order to make it, you do need all your strength and you can’t get it if you have a toothache, a stomach bug or you can’t move some fingers because of some cuts. Now you see that staying nice and clean does count for your survival, after all.