After Disaster Sanitation Tips

Disaster SanitationAfter Disaster Sanitation Tips

In the aftermath of a disaster sanitation and staying clean might be one of the last thoughts on your mind. After all, who thinks of wet wipes when they are busy staying alive? Once the immediate danger has passed, however, sanitation is absolutely important and should be one of your priorities.

Hygiene Is Important

Keeping proper hygiene and disaster sanitation can help prevent infection and illness. So it is very important to stay as clean as possible, and follow proper hygiene practices whenever you are able to. Hand washing especially is one of our strongest tools to fight the spread of germs and disease – especially if you have any cuts or injuries, keeping those clean is of the utmost importance.

After an emergency, there may be special guidelines to follow to ensure safe and proper sanitation.

Listen to the Authorities

Especially after a flood type disaster, tap water might not be safe to drink or even bathe in. Follow the directions of your local authorities and wait for the go-ahead to use water from faucets.

Find Safe Water

When you are planning for emergency preparation, stockpiling safe drinking water should be one of your biggest priorities. Not only does it ensure that you have enough water to drink, but there should be enough to brush teeth, wash hands, and follow other disaster sanitation procedures.

Along with your drinking water, it is a good idea to keep a good amount of distilled water for cleaning wounds and washing hands.

Making Water Safe

When there are no other options besides the water around you or in the tap, you might have to doctor the water so that it is safe to use. This typically involves filtering, boiling or disinfecting the water that you have available to you.

Boiling: Filter the water as best as you can using towels or even coffee filters. If you do not have a filter, let the water stand for a while so that the sediment separates and settles, and then pour the clear water off the top. Bring the clear water to a full boil and let boil for at least one whole minute. Let the water cool and keep any water that isn’t immediately used in clean, airtight containers.

LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water Purifier

Safe, Purified Water for Home, Camping, and More

The award-winning, world-renowned LifeStraw Family 1.0 large volume water filter can filter out viruses from an incredible 18,000 liters of water (4,750 gallons) — enough to supply a family of five with clean drinking water for up to three years.

This gravity filter is easy to use. Just pour water in the top, and clean water comes out the bottom. And it comes in a sealed bag, perfect for storing for emergencies.

Lightweight and highly portable, LifeStraw Family is perfect for camping. It makes filtering water a breeze at base camps, while car camping, or when camping with groups. It’s also great to have at home in the event of boil water advisories. In addition to purifying contaminated tap water, in a worst case scenario you can use the Family to remove bacteria, protozoa, and viruses from a fresh water source near your home with the LifeStraw Family.

The LifeStraw Family water filter has been distributed to nearly every major international humanitarian disaster since 2005 and in broad public health campaigns in the millions. The same rugged design used in places like Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan and Bangladesh is now available for consumers in North America.


Disinfecting: You can use iodine, water purification tablets, or even household (unscented) bleach to disinfect water. You will need to filter the water the same way, and then for the tablets or iodine follow directions from the manufacturer. For the bleach method, add 1/8 teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water, stir, and let sit for 30 minutes before use.

Last-Ditch Efforts

If you are not in a position to boil or disinfect your water, you can find water that is safe enough from many sources. In your home, the reserve water in your water heater tank and the water in your toilet tank (not the bowl) is usually safe to use as long as it hasn’t been treated with cleaning chemicals. Outside the home, rainwater and water from moving bodies of water will be much cleaner and safer than standing water that could be infected.

Other Sanitation Options

Wet wipes, antibacterial gels, and sprays are not the most efficient at getting you clean when you are truly unsanitary (like after a disaster), but they will work if you have nothing else at your disposal.

After a disaster, the most important thing to have to stay sanitary and safe from germs and disease is clean water. Follow these tips and techniques for disaster sanitation to find or make clean water to keep healthy.