Urban Survival Sanitation – Items you should stockpile:

Unsanitary Conditions

When planning to survive in an Urban Survival situation, one thing that’s often overlooked is the danger associated with a lack of adequate sanitation. I know it’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but this one issue has the potential to kill more people than any other survival topic that we can talk about.

During any long-term disaster, where sewage systems are affected or garbage trucks to stop running, things are going to quickly spiral out of control? From people literally “going in the streets,” to those trying to get rid of waste by burning toxic garbage in their backyards, big cities, and urban areas will quickly become a threat to your health and safety.

I think sanitation will be one of the most significant survival issues facing those living in an urban environment.

Sanitation items you need to stockpile:

Bathroom Products

Waste Removal

  • Garbage Bags
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Composting System
  • Chemical Gloves
  • Disposable Plastic Gloves

Survival Hygiene

  • Soaps & Waterless Soaps
  • Hand Sanitizers
  • Antibacterial Creams & Ointments
  • Toothpaste
  • Band-Aids and wraps
  • Bottles of Isopropyl Alcohol and Hydrogen Peroxide
  • N95 Respirator Masks
  • Cleaning Supplies & Bleach


  • Water Purification Chemicals (Bleach, Iodine Tablets, etc.)
  • Heavy Duty Pot, that can be used to boil water over an open fire.
  • A good Water Filter (we recommend the Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter)


  1. Ron Munyon
    January 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    You may want to add an E-tool. ( small, portable, folding shovel for non-military people.) You can dig a small trench where your camping, and bury your fecal waste when you change camp sites. This is a common practice in the military when outhouses aren’t available.

    • ginger
      January 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      True as long you are 500 feet from water source.

      • marine
        January 14, 2012 at 9:58 am

        500 feet is a good idea but not necessary given this situation. the water system is already compromised at this point. as far as possible and adequately safe would be more important. you don’t want to be running out in the middle of the night to drop a deuce and a zombie takes you out.

        • Michael
          January 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm

          marine too funny, lmao…rule #5 Stay away from bathrooms.

          • ryan
            September 11, 2012 at 9:13 pm


  2. Prepping Preacher
    January 10, 2012 at 5:34 am

    e-tool is an essential… in general, this is an often overlooked topic but one as needful as any discussion of the four B’s…

    • laura m.
      March 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      I went to the recycling dumpsters and found some sturdy plastic buckets with lids; also cat litter buckets are good. Check your local dumpsters where plastics are recycled, and take a long handle hoe to fish it out if beyond your reach.

      • rgaviator
        May 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm

        Great idea, it can also be used first as water carrier till needed.

      • Frank
        October 14, 2013 at 7:09 am

        Ceck with local painters also. They have to dispose of hundreds of empty 5 gal buckets a year. They can be cleaned out.

  3. How about saving old phone books as backup toilet paper? It may not be as good as TP but it certainly beats some random leaf off a tree.

    • David B
      January 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      The phone book is a great option. All paper, including magazines, can be used for this. Crumple up the paper and uncrumple it several times and it becomes very soft and manageable.

      • Bombgod1
        January 28, 2012 at 1:44 am

        Do you crumble before or after use? LOL

      • TP sucks
        July 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm

        This is true, I have tried it before when I went to a bathroom in Miami with no TP but a huge poster on the wall… Crumple up the paper and uncrumple it several times. IT took me 10 min but got the shitty job done.

    • Steve
      October 5, 2012 at 11:37 pm

      I have a copy of the koran to use for emergency TP. Works great but not very soft. I’s sure that when Abdul’s gas station finds the used pages on his bathroom floor he gets a nice warm feeling of Love for Americans.

      • Polo
        November 16, 2012 at 7:11 am

        Steve, you’re an a@#$….the Koran has nothing to do w/this topic. Don’t be the type of person that incites anger or a fight. What a stupid random post – grow up. How the fk is your post beneficial to the conversation? If you have beef w/the Koran and you have balls – go and do crumple the Koran in front of Abdul’s face. If not, then shut the F up and enjoy our American Freedom and liberty. Stay on topic or find a diff. site that is conducive to bashing others.

        • poorman
          September 20, 2013 at 6:06 am

          Thank you Polo. I really hate idiots and stupid people

        • God
          December 3, 2017 at 11:33 am

          Polo, quit being such a PC, snowflake pussy. The guy was only joking.

      • wk
        February 1, 2014 at 10:17 am

        That’s ok Steve I thought it was funny, we need more people like you and less like polo.

      • julia
        February 24, 2014 at 7:31 pm

        You infadel, baahaaha!

      • Sergeant Prepper
        October 22, 2014 at 8:30 pm

        The pages also work great for picking up dog-poop, lining the cat litter-box, starting a campfire and soaking up bacon grease. Next to the Ninth Circle, Islam is the most evil religion on the planet. We will be defending ourselves against moose-limbs in the near future under Mahdi Obama.

    • FP
      December 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      They quit making colored/dyed toliet paper decades ago due to it causing infections in anus of both sexes and vaginas. Certainly using a yellow book page was not meant to be used for TP and would be far worse than the old colored TP sold.

    • Pookie
      March 9, 2013 at 9:38 am

      If you are going to stock pile, it might as well be toilet paper. It is specific for the job, cleaner and lighter than phone books and magazines. Those should be kept in mind once you run out of tp and are scavenging for materials.

      • julia
        February 24, 2014 at 7:34 pm

        I read on a prepper site or an article or something where the guy had a bucket of bleach water and he used dollar store disposable towels to wipe his bottom and we use them. what do you guys think not the worst idea in the world and it would reduce the trash waste, so to speak.

      • Steve
        October 16, 2014 at 10:13 am

        TP is bulky to carry. Babywipes. You can get them cheap, they store well and don’t take up space. I have 2 packs in each BOB I have.

  4. trinketjudd
    January 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    My parents just got back from China. They had to bring their own TP to China because they don’t use any…yep, you read it right. They don’t use TP at all.

    • Relodr56
      January 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm

      Then that was true only in the city they were in. When My wife and I went there in 2001 to adopt our daughter in Kunmimg City, our hotel had toilet paper and in the restaurants we were at they did also.

    • SouthernNevada Prepper on facebook
      March 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      A great replacement for toilet paper is a new never been used hundson sprayer. the type of thing used to spray chemicals for weeds and bugs. Simple pump it up and spray your but off

      • kramh
        December 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm

        I installed a bidet in one of our bathrooms. It works great. I don’t run out of water since we have gravity fed spring water, runs 24/7 all year round. No water bill or pump to pay for.

    • TP sucks
      July 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      If your eat right your body will digest properly (veggies and fibers)… SO by the time you dump it . it will come out quick and clean…you will not need any TP…trust me. :)

      • C.Visagio
        November 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm

        Unfortunately not everybody’s body works this way!

      • Just Sayin
        February 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm

        Except those who have digestive disorders or other diet related concerns.

    • FP
      December 11, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Trink, that may be because Asians squat to poo. All comes out etc. VS sitting it pinches our “pipes” and strains to come out. Infact, the primary reason for cause of colon cancer is by NOT squating to poop. Expains why it’s one of the leading causes of cancer in the USA and is super rare with those in Asian countries. It is not diet… in fact Asians eating a lot of rice and tofu is two of some of the worst foods for humans.

      • FP
        December 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

        Rice sticks to intestions and dehydrates. It is very hard on digestive sysetem. Tofu as all soy is is actual posion for humans. I encourage people to learn the posions and not take some others word for it that it is healthy. It is especialy DANGEROUS for children. Meat is worse for digestive system and can take over 3 years to escape out of body. But like I mentioned and proof is out there .. look it up… squat to poo folks! Even a small part of France only has squating toliets and no colon cancer in their community. Figure out a way to do it in America.

        • kramh
          December 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm

          Years ago before I retired from the plumbing business, I did a job where most of the workers were from china. There was a bank of about 20 toilet stalls and the workers would stand on the toilet seats and squat. Boy, they sure made a mess of the place. The owner had me check on a comercial squat type of toilet that would flush, Zurn brand made one with non-slip treads even, but the cost was too high for each toilet. They ended up telling the chinese workers to sit on the johns or be fired. LOL

  5. Melanie Videc
    January 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    It’s also a good thing to keep in mind that if you have no access to toilet paper to have a few packets of sanitary towelettes in your pocket. I would recomend at least two packets. One for wiping and another for cleaning your hands afterwards.

  6. Urbivalist Dan
    January 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Although it could get gnarly, this really is one thing that seems like it would be good to test now.

    Especially for the city-dwelling urbivalists in the group, sanitation and waste removal could be a really tough thing, requiring a lot of creativity.

    There was a similar discussion thread (human waste as well as consumer waste) on Zombie Squad about this recently, that essentially boiled down to the following hierarchy:

    1) compost/mulch the organic stuff you can
    2) burn as much paper and cardboard as you can
    3) store the plastic, glass and metal in as creative and efficient manner as possible.

    Great article guys.

  7. Mark
    January 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    An item that seems to always be overlooked is a set of three sink sized tubs that will handle exposure to hot water and bleach. While it may seem wasteful when clean water is at a premium, once you get into a routine it allows you to wash dishes in a food service style wash, rinse, sanitize manner. They easily serve double duty as containers for the other items while you’re storing them as well.

  8. Bombgod1
    January 28, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Anyone ever figure out the three seashells thing? That could be usefull in this situation.

    • 20mikemike
      February 19, 2012 at 5:14 am

      You don’t know how to use the three seashells???

      • Josh
        February 23, 2013 at 8:55 am

        heh! He doesn’t know how to use the three seashells.

    • slayeralicia
      October 3, 2013 at 9:07 am

      The three seashells are simply water, soap, air in replacement of toilet paper…but barbaric neanderthals wouldn’t understand this boggle.

  9. Trapperjohn
    March 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    In regard to not having toilet paper in China, is maybe “Far fetched”? I spent 6 years in China, I was all over from Beihai to Dalian, including Kunming, and there was toilet paper available. BUT in some places you have to supply your own. Most country people carry a package of tissue with them.

    Even the in floor hole is fast dissapearing…and they have wonderful bathrooms and paper in all hotels.

    Don’t be afraid to go, but be prepared!

  10. Enter your name...
    August 26, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I’d like to add some 100 proof vodka/grain alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is a bacteriostatic, which means it doesn’t kill the bacteria, it just renders them unable to multiply.

  11. raven14
    August 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    catty liter would be good thing to add to the list.i help to cut down on the oder.

    • Warrior
      August 2, 2014 at 7:05 am

      A large bag of gardening lime will work better. Just sprinkle about half a cup over the “mess” and it will help keep odors in check… helps with the breakdown as well, and doesnt cost as much as kitty litter.

  12. Stump Jumper
    October 5, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Save your corn cobs to replace T/P.

  13. Arlene Johnson
    September 17, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Yes, what are the three seashells used for?

  14. Warrior
    August 2, 2014 at 7:09 am

    Watch out though for the economic “John Wayne” TP… its rough, tough and dont take Sh*t off anybody…

  15. Mr Clean
    August 19, 2015 at 9:58 am

    We have a garden tool that is a kind of shovel used to dig a hole for a pole. It makes a hole with a diameter of about six inches. Could put a hole in the dirt near the sidewalk then build a little privacy square with wood around it. That way nobody falls in. Might work. Got to get creative or things will get funky real fast. I Think maybe I know what will be worth it’s weight in gold when the shit hits. Might even start a little business making make-shift public “restrooms”.

  16. MustangWriter
    November 29, 2015 at 1:11 am

    I bought one of those medical ‘potty chairs’ for $12 at a garage sale. Now I save all plastic grocery bags (to line the potty chair ‘well’) and afterwards simply tie up and disgard in a hole and cover with lime or some dirt. Over the years I have probably 20 large garbage bags stuffed full with plastic grocery bags in my garage attic. Also… if you poop DON’T pee (if you can help it) Its the combination of the two that reeks of ‘outhouse’. Pee then clean up and then poop. You’ll be surprised at the difference.

  17. tracie
    December 26, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Will sewage start backing up into homes if the power is out long term? If so how can families prevent this. How can this information get out to the public.

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