Unusual but Abundant Hygiene Items Found in Nature
Nature has a wonderful way of taking care of itself, and those who are familiar with life in the wild know that they can find almost anything they need nearby to survive. While the same resources may not be available everywhere, learning how to adapt and take advantage of what is nearby can make a huge impact on your ability to thrive during a wilderness survival situation.
One of the most important parts of “roughing it”, no matter the circumstance is maintaining good hygiene whenever possible. We’ve cobbled together a few examples of items that are found in many wilderness areas that you can use to your advantage when other options aren’t available. Keep in mind that despite our best efforts to be prepared don’t always pan out the way we hope, and knowing where to look in nature for alternatives puts you at a distinct advantage.
Let’s look at a few natural items that you should become familiar with, so that you can take advantage of their benefits if the need ever arises.
So you lost your toothbrush and don’t have any toothpaste you can rub against your teeth. No problem. Just look for a willow bush and grab a small branch. Cut off one end and you can flay it out into the shape of a brush. It may not be exactly what you’re used to, but you can manipulate it until you get it as soft or as coarse as you like.
Improvised Cotton Swabs
Cotton swabs are one of those things that people don’t usually think about until they need them, and many survival kits and bug out bags end up leaving home without them. However, there’s a really easy alternative that is surprisingly effective. All you need is a sturdy twig with a rounded end and a little bit of thin cloth. Buff out the end until it is smooth before draping the piece of cloth around the tip. Hold it tight with your fingers or use a rubber band or some tape to keep it in place.
Use as you would any cotton swab, but just make sure that you use it carefully to avoid gouging yourself. It’s also important to make sure that you’re using a clean piece of fabric in order to minimize the chances of introducing debris or microorganisms into the ear canal that can lead to an infection.
If your wilderness survival situation occurs in a tropical region, consider hunting for some betel leaves. They come from a vine that is known for its medicinal properties, and it also kills off bacteria that produces body odor. You can chew the leaves or grab a handful and make a tea. Consume the leaves a couple of times per day, and you may be amazed at how much odor control they can provide. You can also make a mash out of the leaves with a little bit of water and apply them directly to the affected area.
If you are in a forest that has plants that contain saponins, then you can process them into a soap. Unfortunately, the bulk of plants that produce this compound are found in Europe, but there are some alternatives that are in some forests in the United States as well. Do a little research to see what plants produce a suitable amount of saponins, and you’re good to go. There are a number of different ways that you can process these plants, and you can also scrub with them directly as you bathe in a nearby river or lake.
These are just a few of many examples of hygienic products that can be found in the wild. One of the best things that we can all do is explore what options are available in forests that we frequent or where we plan on bugging-out. The more we know beforehand will give us more options in the field, and this gives all of us the opportunity to tap into an unlimited supply once we know where to look.