Sanitation and Hygiene Plan

Sanitation and Hygiene Needs

One of the most overlooked disaster planning measures is a sanitation and hygiene plan just in case there is a disruption of sanitation services and access to hygiene supplies.

Portable Toilet

People don't realize that a lack of proper sanitation is the leading cause of disease and death and can even claim more lives than the disaster itself.

Disasters typically damage existing sanitation facilities and displace people, increasing pressure on facilities that may already be under strain.

When preparing your household for disaster, be sure to include enough supplies to reduce the possibility of disease as much as possible.

  • It is extremely important to stay as clean as possible.
  • Frequent hand washing, or use of an antibacterial hand sanitizer.
  • Extra care should be taken when handling and cooking foods.
  • When using stored water be careful to not contaminate the bottle cap or neck of the bottle.
  • In a survival situation extra precautions should also be taken to prevent cuts, scratches, or scrapes. Any time the skin is broken the wound, however slight, should be treated, immediately.
  • Watch children closely. They tend to ignore minor injuries, fearing treatment more than they do disease. Many elderly people also ignore minor wounds because they do not want to be a bother.

Two commodities that are always in short supply following a disaster are drinking water and toilet paper.

Sanitation and Hygiene Plan Supply List

Always have basic sanitation supplies on hand.

  • 5 Gallon Plastic Bucket & Lid
  • Heavy Duty trash bags
  • Household chlorine bleach
  • Soap – liquid detergent
  • Toilet paper
  • Moist towelettes
  • Waterless Shampoo

Add these supplies as you are able.

  • Toothpaste
  • Disinfectant
  • More Toilet paper
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Extra moist towelettes-antibacterial
  • Bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer such as Purell – one per family member
  • Clean white towels and face cloths
  • Garbage bags – they can be used for improvised wash basins, toilet liners, trash containers, and for waste disposal.


Keeping clean is essential to good health.
Because water is so precious it should be reserved for drinking purposes, consider other ways to wash the body.

Hand Washing & Bathing

After a disaster, act as if everything is covered with germs.

Keeping hands clean during an emergency helps prevent the spread of germs. If your tap water is not safe to use, wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected. Follow these steps to make sure you wash your hands properly:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
    Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Washing hands with soap and water is always the best way to get them clean. If that isn't an option, the second-best way is to use a hand-sanitizer. Hand-sanitizers aren't perfect, but they are a good second choice. They don't take care of dirt and they don't wipe out all kinds of germs, but they are better than nothing.

Hand sanitizers are not effective when hands are visibly dirty.

In order to reserve your emergency water for drinking and cooking consider using waterless bathing products.

Toilets and Showers

Here are some highly rated products for you to consider in your quest for disaster supplies that really work.

If you want to outfit your family with an inexpensive solution to your sanitation needs, Camco offers a portable toilet that locks in odors and protects against leakage. It is sturdy and compact. Camco 41541 Portable Toilet – 5.3 gallon

You are only as clean as your last shower and if you aren't able to take a shower, you can get pretty ripe pretty quickly, especially in the summer. For a few dollars, you can get a solar shower, hang it up, let the sun warm the water and take a shower just about anywhere. Let Mother Nature do the work and you can refresh yourself whenever you need to clean up. Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower / Solar Shower


CDC - Personal Hygiene and Hand washing After a Disaster or Emergency