Keeping Clean : Unmentionables and Laundry

by M.D. Creekmore on December 11, 2013 · 87 comments

This is a guest post by TNFarmer and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.

We here on this blog talk and read a lot about all kinds of prepping and survivalist situations which are all interesting, compelling and thought provoking. I am going to mention some things in this brief article that some may have not thought about. Part of the items I will mention used to be called “unmentionables”.

I would recommend that everyone think about stocking up on underwear. Yes, the unmentioned items that we hardly even think about. We all purchase underwear at some point, but I would like to change your thinking about them. I recommend purchasing a year’s worth of underwear. First of all, ladies like pretty underwear, and men like those things also. But, are they practical? Bikini or French cut underwear can be delightful, but in a survival situation they are not really what is needed.

I recommend the ladies purchase plain ol’ cotton briefs that sit at the waist and are cut all the way down to the bottom of the butt. The warmest underpants are cotton and silk, but silk is plenty expensive for most of us. Cotton crotch underpants are also much more healthy, especially for people prone to yeast infections. Sorry I had to mention that, but it’s a fact.

Cotton underwear tends to shrink when washed a bit so I recommend getting one size larger than usual to account for shrinkage. Jockey brand is a good brand and they have a discount store on Ebay. They often have specials like three packages of three for the price of two or some other special. You can’t find them on Ebay, you can find specials at their online store

Men also need to stock up on their favorite brand of underwear, and like the ladies, no bikini or low waist types. Just regular classic briefs like your mother bought for you when you were a boy. If you wear boxers, the same goes for them but think cotton and not polyester or other blends if you can find them. Think about chopping wood in bikini type briefs and you’ll get the picture. You want comfort and durability.

Now, socks. Both men and women should buy socks that are all cotton in one color to help with matching socks in the laundry. Here again, buy ribbed crew socks that reach over the ankle with the ribbing reaching part way up the calf. Little half socks that are so popular today are just not practical while wearing boots or sneakers when working outside in all types of weather. If you are not allergic, wool socks are the best for winter wear as they are warm even when wet. Silk socks are also warm, but expensive. Women don’t bother to purchase sheer stockings in a survival situation. You will rarely, if ever, get dressed up to need them. Leggings would be a good thing to have for winter wear as long as they are warm and not just attractive.

Bras…think about giving them up. It is healthier to go without a bra than with a bra, in my opinion. Unless you have a situation where you absolutely need to wear a bra for health reasons, do without. They are uncomfortable and troublesome, hot and binding. In a survival situation you will most likely lose weight so those pretty lacy things will no longer fit anyway. Just forget about them and save the money for more important items. Who is going to see you anyway? You will not be going to work in your power suit and high heels; you will be working in the garden or canning food in a hot kitchen or over a boiling pot of water outside. Don’t forget, there will most likely be no air-conditioning in your location.

Lastly, laundry. Have you thought about how will you do laundry? Your washer and dryer probably won’t be working. I recommend getting a washboard to scrub dirty clothes in a large tub of water, or you can use a plunger to agitate the clothes. I have used an old fashioned washboard and they work well.

Then, you will need a clothesline. Please don’t think about getting some rope and tying it between two trees and think that you can hang clothes efficiently. The line will sag and your clothes will eventually drag on the ground. I have been using a pulley system for years and I think it is the best solution for drying clothes outside. You can find a complete system at pulley also has all the laundry items mentioned, but please don’t buy plastic pulleys or spreaders. They will eventually break and then you are stuck without them. Buy the all metal ones. Get set up now with an outdoor clothesline if you are planning to hunker down. Sheets smell so much better after drying outside in the sun than they will ever do in a dryer.
I don’t necessarily like using the metal clothesline sold at Lehman’s as I use cotton clothesline that can be purchased at Lowes. It does stretch over time, but I use a clothesline tightener, which works very well.

I also use spreaders so that the laundry does not drag on the ground. This works well for me because I am quite short. I can hang a pair of jeans on the bottom line and then hang a spacer to bring the bottom line up close to the upper line. Also, the pulley system makes it easy to hang clothes from one spot and the line moves along the pulleys as you hang the clothes. A willow basket comes in handy also for transporting the wet clothes and as a vessel to hold the folded, dry clothes.
Don’t forget the clothespins!

Prizes for this round in our non fiction writing contest include…

  1. First place winner will receive – Two (2) Just In Case… Classic Assortment Survival Food Buckets courtesy of LPC Survival, a $150 gift certificate for Remington ammunition courtesy of LuckyGunner, aWonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads, a one year subscription to the Personal VPN service courtesy of unspyable and a Survival Puck courtesy of Innovation Industries, LLC.
  2. Second place winner will receive – One case of Future Essentials Canned Organic Green Costa Rican Monte Crisol Coffee courtesy of and Solo Stove and Solo Pot Courtesy of
  3. Third place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ courtesy of, a copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of and a Wolf Pack Coffee Mug Jumbo Mug courtesy of Horton Design.

Be sure to read the rules before entering… This contest will end on January 15 2014


Michele December 11, 2013 at 9:52 am

Also, get extra clothes pins, after a year or two they start disintegrating and coming apart in hot strong sun. Clothes pins are cheap, so buy several sets and keep one for later.

I’d like suggestions on drying clothes in the winter, in areas that don’t see temps above freezing all winter.

Penny Pincher December 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Ice evaporates eventually.

OhioPrepper December 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm

The process is called sublimation and although a little slower than drying in the summer, it does work.

Encourager December 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I asked for these for Christmas – Lifetime Clothespins. They are metal. ET134 $14.95

A bit pricey but hopefully they will outlast my wooden ones.

Tomthetinker December 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm


Aunt B December 13, 2013 at 10:59 am

Don’t bother buying the cheap wooden clothes pins at Wally-World. The Chinese don’t know how to make clothes pins! They come apart the first time you try to use them.

nwsenior December 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I experimented one winter at my parents. Clothes freeze dried in about three days. Some were still damp where the pins were. Since my parents always had wood heat they had a wooden clothes rack (the folding type) hung from the ceiling near the stove.

Fixit December 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm

We do not have a clothes dryer . In the winter if it is below freezing we hang them indoors fairly close to the wood heater and wood cook stove they dry in a few hours and more get hung up.

Mari December 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm

LOL, and I remember having to stand in the house holding jeans upright until they thawed enough so as not to break in half.

bobbo December 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm

clothes line on wood screw j-hooks into joists in a basement (if available) works well, also saves $$$$ on dryer costs (gas, elect, mtce, replacement) in our prior to shtf situation. I use a contraption which is a unit of 12 3′ long dowels on a wooden x or accordion type frame-folds up neatly 4 storage during warm months. Basement ‘clothes dryers’ were very mpopular when I was young, my frugal parents relatives & neighbors always took over our play space during the winter months. ya can’t have 2 many clothespins, buy quality-preferably @ a yard/garage sale

wasp December 12, 2013 at 1:18 am

the deliberate agrarian is selling high-dollar, excellent homemade clothespins. look at his website. i will get some when the cash is more abundant.
my mother just had a clothesline in the kitchen for winter. she also had one of those wooden frames for clothes drying which she put in front of the gas heater–not too close, please!!
my girlfriend had lines in her attic. she did dry her husband’s undies in the dryer and she also fluffed the towels in it when necessary.
the problem we met with was in the summer humidity–ohio river valley– when sometimes the clothes had to be ironed dry in spite of the heat.
i am so thankful for air conditioning and indoor plumbing!!

Aunt B December 13, 2013 at 11:02 am

Wear rubber gloves like you use to wash dishes, when hanging out clothes in cold weather. Helps keep your hands warm.

Susy December 13, 2013 at 11:10 am

My parents told stories of hanging diapers on a line in the living room every night to dry them during the winter.

buttoncrazy December 11, 2013 at 10:02 am

Old fashion drying rack. I have one old one that is taller and will hold towels and jeans. I have a newer one purchased at walmart that is smaller and good for smaller items. There are some old ones that attach to wall.

Nebraska Woman December 11, 2013 at 10:04 am

Uh, bras are for support. I for one do not care to look like those pictures of old women in National Geographic, even when I am chopping wood. I didn’t burn my bra in the sixties, and I certainly do not intend to start now.
Good point about stocking up on underwear. I have several packages in different sizes that I put in vacuum sealed bags for easier storage. Wool socks are a must here in the winter as I do not have a basement under most of the house…just crawlspaces.
I soak undies overnight in a pail of soap and water. This seems to work well with no scrubbing. I think washer/dryer methods are hard on clothes and mine seem to last longer when I do not use the machine.
When I was married to my truck driver ex, he used to get grease on his tees. I found that using clarifying shampoo and an overnight soak would remove most of this. I hate to use harsh chemicals in a septic.

Carol December 11, 2013 at 10:26 am

Maybe sports bras would be an alternative for you?

Nebraska Woman December 11, 2013 at 10:49 am

I have several.

Docj December 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Only way to go. Support with comfort.

momengineer December 11, 2013 at 11:14 am

I agree.. and also (boys avert your eyes…TMI ahead)….

since gravity (and children/nursing) has not been kind to me, a bra helps keep the girls off my ribcage and that helps with airflow. In a hot climate, thats an issue ;)

Encourager December 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

It sure is an issue, Momengineer! Nothing is worse than a yeast infection raging in hot summer weather! Many of us need “air circulation” there.

Sorry, guys; I know – TMI. Lol. We can talk about jock itch if ya want. Same fungus among us.

sw't 'tater December 11, 2013 at 5:05 pm

put a drop, or two or three of tea tree oil or oil of oregano in the rinse water, and use a vinegar/ and water dipped cloth to wash under the girls..
.Guy’s.. BRA’s are not expendable and un-necessary. They provide shoulder and back support when the ladies are well endowed…and prevent many health issues.
Ladies..stock for yourself and your daughters, and buy cloth of sufficient strength to make these. These will be a barter item. will the expandable, back pieces, hooks and eyes,and various fasteners used on clothing of all kinds.
Be sure to vacume pack them in a dark container, away from the sun.

pj December 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm

I hate bras. But, its either a good bra or I hafta hold them when I run. Bouncing hurts. And I like them where they are right now.

Nebraska Woman December 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Use deodorant under your girls. It works to keep the sweat out.

Cat December 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm

This is pitiful but in 100* heat, diaper rash ointment is the only help for me.

Donna in MN December 11, 2013 at 11:51 am

I agree with you on the bra thingies. I am not endowed, but use them to keep my jumbo eggs perky and alert like a 14 year old (as my mom used to say)

nwsenior December 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I agree some of us need bras. Having been well endowed since I was a teenager, support is necessary. (Can be painful without.) Do have bras and underwear in a couple sizes, and probably should add more.

Mother Earth December 11, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I’m with you, those of us who are well endowed, it is painful not to wear bras. Sports bra will be a necessity and I do need to stock some. Good article, pointed out something I wasn’t thinking about.

Happy Camper December 12, 2013 at 1:06 am

There’s nothing in this world I would trade for my bras !! Lol.
It’s not about vanity, a well fitted bra is needed by some ladies for support- but in saying this I often wish I was one of the ladies that can have a bra as optional wear.
Some of us would need to lengthen our shirts…

wasp December 12, 2013 at 1:31 am

ho! ho!
i don’t wear them unless necessity dictates, but daughter, though small, is in need of support. hurts without it. the little elastical undergarments are great and change size with you.
the concern long term is that elastic has a limited shelf life and ends up as ties for tomato plants so alternatives will have to be found if worse comes to worst. p.s. get a lingerie pattern or two and put with your supplies.
i have found that men’s 100% cotton handkies are great folded and worn under each breast– sops up a lot of sweat. and of course cornstarch or other powders are good. it is probably in your food storage. used to be used for baby bottoms, too.
inexpensive elastic bras we bought at big lots last week.
good topic, m.d..

TG December 12, 2013 at 2:14 pm

For my birthday my dh takes me to the ‘expensive’ store to get measured and buy a couple new bras every year. While I am not large in that area, it is definitely an article of clothing I dont go without. Umm, has anyone tried running with the girls flopping around…. not comfortable.
I get the expensive ones because I have bras that are 5 years old and still in great condition, so for me, worth the expense.
Getting measured and trying them on is also essential. There is nothing worse then buying a bra thinking it will fit you, getting home and realizing it is the most uncomfortable thing there is.

Carol December 11, 2013 at 10:07 am

I use a metal drying rack in the house to dry certain clothing. It folds up and stores easily if need be. I also use a 2-level hanging sweater drying rack. These can be used year round in the house or out on the porch.

farmmomwannabe December 11, 2013 at 10:28 am

We are very fortunate to be able to hang all but sheets and comforters in our basement on clotheslines. I prefer to drape undies and socks on clothes racks that will fold up as needed since our space is not unlimited.We buy spring-type clothespins when we can at estate sales. The old pins have stronger springs and hold better/longer than most new purchases. We hang outside when we can, things dry much faster in the sun than in the basement.

Encourager December 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I can hang clothes on a line downstairs but I plan on stringing lines in my solar collector/greenhouse if we have no electricity anymore. There are 6 4′x8′ windows on the roof and floor to ceiling windows on the south to gather as much sunshine as we can in the winter.

Right now, it is dark and grey and snowing huge flakes. Not much solar heat today. That room is about 55 degrees right now. My plants ain’t happy!

wasp December 12, 2013 at 1:33 am

saw in new countryside magazine someone kept two compost barrels going in greenhouse to provide heat.

Lisa December 11, 2013 at 11:54 am

I understand the point of views regarding Bras. However, as a mammographer, I can honestly time/ gravity wins 99 percent of the time. Do whatever makes you comfortable in the bra department. I rarely wear one and look no better or worse than patients who are my same age.


Nebraska Woman December 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Oh, no! Do you think Obummercare will redesign the girls when that time comes?

Penny Pincher December 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm

re. bras: it HURTS to run and have boobs bounce. Bras help greatly with this. Bras make good pockets, too, or a place to attach a pocket or even a small pistol. I mostly wear athletic bras, they breathe better and are more comfortable.

If commerce/society crumples to the point where there’s no more elastic, we’ll have to go back to underwear with drawstrings. I doubt we’ll ever be an elastic-free world, but I’ve actually given thought to this before, just as a flight of fancy.

Penny Pincher December 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I do my laundry in a bucket and hang it on hangers to dry. The shirts I hang folded in half so the neck and shoulders don’t stretch out. If I have a quilt or something big like that to wash I go to the laundromat, I could do it at home but it’s a pain in the butt.

George December 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Jockey underwear!!! Who won the lottery in your house?? I will not pay $5 or more for a pair for underwear!! I just buy the plain ole haines tighty whites at chinamart and get 6-7 pair for $7.99 got bonus pair and got 8 this last time.

nwsenior December 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm

George, I understand–I love Jockey’s underwear for women but the prices. I go with Hanes also, unless I find Jockey reasonable at Ross, etc.

Bam Bam December 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm

It is Jockey all the way, baby. I go to the outlet mall or order them on line when they are half price. They last for years.

I couldn’t imagine going without a bra–the girls would be bouncing so much I’d give someone a black eye, probably my dh.

Mother Earth December 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm

I’m with you on the Jockey, the dh only wears these and I do go to the outlet mall and get greats sale prices. Literally a fraction of store prices.

Shandi December 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I don’t do the Jockey brand, but I do get the Cacique from Lane Bryant and they retail for $12.50-16.50 a pair. When I find them on sale (5/$30 or so) I will stock up. I have no problem paying more for undies that fit well, are comfy, and last me a long time. Same with the kiddo. I have started her on the Hannah Anderson brand of girl’s undies after going through 3 packages of the girl’s hanes variety in 6 months because they started to fall apart after the 1st wash. She’s had this current crop of undies for about 6 months and they are as nice as the day I bought them, plus they actually fit her body better. Again, I have no problem paying $5/pair if they are quality and comfy.

Carol December 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I keep a few bars of laundry soap stashed in a zip baggie (Felsnaptha, Octagon). Small, portable, no spillage and gets the stains out.

mom of three December 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Thanks for the laugh:) At one point I could go without a bra, not anymore. I will put a drying rack,on my list . The winter where we live can be cold, we can have some cold spring and wet summers very hard some year to have clothes out. But when it’s nice out I drap jeans, on my deck railing all day. Sweaters, I air dry them on a chair. I love my washer &dryer, I would miss those the most.

j.r. guerra in s. tx. December 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Some very good thoughts provided above, thank you for those.

Just make sure your clothes line is routed perpendicular to nearby roads or cleared fields IF the prevailing breeze blows towards it. The dust raised from passing traffic is airborne and is now deposited on your wet clean clothes. My grandmother had steel clothe line posts in the back of her house, with galvanized wire lines that did not need replacing. But it did require you walked along hanging and gathering the wash.

Might also want to find an old corrigated metal scrubbing board which is HARD work. Grandma used this on stubborn ground in dirt, that and a cake of Don Maximo (lye based) soap, That stuff would peel your hide.

Dave December 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm

My DW ditched the bras back in the 60s. Her take was that if you could pass the pencil test, you didn’t need them. (If you could tuck a pencil under the breast and it hit the floor, you could pass on the support.) I have no personal opinions on the issue, since it’s not my body. If you love the person, you love the body and whatever packaging they choose.

RedC December 11, 2013 at 9:42 pm

lol – I’m not going to tell that one to my wife, b/c I value my life!!

rjarena December 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

In our house, we have been using dying racks for years now, very few of our clothe go in the dryer, that is mostly for sheets and towels. I prefer the synthetic quick drying moisture wicking type of underwear, same as socks. I also am a big fan of boot dryers, I use them all year long, they make my shoes and boot last longer and keep them odor free, right now I am using an electric model, but there are variations that can use other types of power, I have one but I do not remember who makes it I will up date that info later if anyone is interested.

OhioPrepper December 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm

We’ve been drying clothing outside in the summer for years, primarily as an energy / money saving task; however, some things like underwear are dried in the clothes dryer with a homemade softener sheet since I personally prefer to not have stiff cloth in sensitive areas when it can be avoided. We have several long fixed clotheslines which are made of plastic coated metal cable, using standard cable clamps and tensioners. We also keep several clothesline props out in the back yard to prevent sagging under heavy wet loads. A clothesline prop is simply a wooden pole about 7-8 feet long with a ‘V” notch in the top. You place it on the line where it’s sagging, and then adjust the angle for the height you need. For clothespins, we prefer the two piece spring kind, which also have numerous other uses, like keeping bread and snack bags closed. One thing to keep in mind with a permanent outside clothesline, is that it will get dirty. The DD runs a damp rag down the line a few times every time shes going to use it.

Mike December 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I travel a lot, living out of a carry-on suitcase in hotels. I bring three pairs of Ex-Officio boxer briefs and wear one pair. I also bring three pairs of Ex-Officio tee shirts (wearing one). For cleaning them I use a 10 liter dry sac, rub some Dr. Bronners soap into the garments and hand wash in the sink. Then I place the hand/sink washed garments into the dry sac, add enough water to cover them, close the dry sac (keeps water in as well as it keeps water out) and ‘agitate’ by shaking the bag; empty and repeat a few times until emptied water is clear. Then I use a twisted rubber travel clothesline stretched across the tub or bathroom that allows me to pull a piece of the garment through a twist to hang dry. By wringing the articles out first, they are usually dry by the next morning.
Yes, Ex-Officio can be expensive, but any nylon mix material works just as well.

Mike December 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Added note… many hotels provide hair dryers in the bathroom, and you can expedite the drying of your undergarments by using the hair dryer.

Patti December 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm

You can hang dry a small load of laundry on a second hand coat rack from the thrift store. Get the kind with the three levels. I have had one in my garage for years, and I dry many things on it.
In a pinch, if you have a stack of food grade buckets, you can hang quite a lot of underwear from the handles of the buckets, too. :)

Tomthetinker December 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm

COTTON COTTON…cotton. Synthetics will give you crotch rot if your stuck in em for any amount of time…. learned the hard way in the Marines.

Nebraska Woman December 11, 2013 at 4:37 pm

My Marine Corps brother told me in Vietnam undies were the first to rot…

Larry December 13, 2013 at 11:42 am

crotch rot in my neck of the woods is refereed to as baboon butt. scrubbing the under carriage, wearing clean skivvies and avoid going “commando” makes for a happy bum

Schatzie Ohio December 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Years ago I read about how to keep wood clothes pins. Soak them in a strong salt water solution for several days and then let dry. That is suppose to make them last longer. I don’t know for sure if that works because shortly after I did it we moved and the husband doesn’t want to put up a clothesline.

ladyhawthorne December 11, 2013 at 4:25 pm

As for washboards, I recommend the glass ones over the metal ones, much easier on your fingers and clothes. My dryer went out and for 3 months I just hung everything on hangers on my shower rods or on a drying rack since my trailer park did not allow clotheslines.

I’m a fuller figure so will not be giving up bras. I’ve had the painful red yeast infection in hot weather before, under the girls, in the armpits and under the tummy overhang. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste which is for diaper rash (same yeast infection) works well, it has zinc in it. A tincture with yarrow will help to heal it. I also stock up on the Dollar General brand of the Gold Bond medicated powder. Staying dry is the key.

I’ve tried lots of brands of undies for larger sized women and prefer the white cotton Just My Size brand. Walmart has the best price.

Lauri no e December 11, 2013 at 10:48 pm


My doctor recommends Zeasorb Powder. It really is athlete’s foot powder but told me to use it under the breast and arms and other areas if needed. Works great.

Texanadian December 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Too much humidity in the South for outdoor drying. It is certainly hot enough but with the heat comes 95% humidity. Sucks if you have curly hair- which I don’t but the daughters do.

I like the idea of using the wood stove and a rack. I will suggest that to the TW tonight.

lea December 11, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Your thoughts are good,but where bras a concerned,ladies (especially if large or older) women will need confortable sports bras to ware because in the summer heat,working alot of women will get heat rash under the breasts. And I can tell you large and older women will get a server rash,which is painful.I wear sports bars all the time.they soak up the sweat plus keeps one warm and unchaffed (is that the word) in the winter .or cut off the top of a tee shirt and pull the bottom half up under the breasts. You may need to make a strap to keep in place. Sorry for any issues with thie comment typeing on cell which is driving me crazy.thank you your info is very helpful. tokeepititinplace.Imfemalea.

bobbo December 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm

some sound reasoning here! my preps include these items & I continue to buy more….unmentionable undies are a great friend (when not noticed) & a fearsome foe (when noticed). A clothes tree (kinda like a spider web of rope & metal) is my choice, but they are not practical on high wind days. I’m using a clothes dryer in my basement during colder months fashioned from dowels & amultitiered ‘x-like’ frame….I picked up a few ext4a clothes trees earlier on clearance-they last only a couple years-especially w/the tendency to put too many heavy wt thingys on them @ one time-wash heavier items first (early AM) lighter items later….a pulley type system is prolly better. I climbed utility poles for a living in my working days, so over the knee socks are best in my book, also for their support in a long hike situation. I’m male so I can’t speak to the bra/braless idea, I’ll hafta give it a lot of thought I guess……..a toilet plunger & 5 gal bucket w/lid is a good agitator/clothes washer & rinser, prolly 2 buckets rinsing per load washed. Given predators, I always hang the unmentiuonables on the insides ropes on my clothes tree, no use advertising. Happy washdays!

Daisy December 11, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Definitely won’t catch me without a bra! I am too active to do without. On the panty hose, they have uses other than to make your legs pretty. At work and play, we use them as an extra layer to keep warm and for long distance hiking under socks (guys too!). Not to mention all the other non standard uses for the sheer material.

Great thoughts on stocking up on socks and undergarments. Thanks!

LyndaKay December 11, 2013 at 7:57 pm

A drying rack near a wood stove might add some humidity to the dry winter air.

Justme December 11, 2013 at 8:57 pm

If a woman plans on ever running, or even jogging. Bras are needed.

Becky December 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Underwear use to be my annual x-mas present from dh. It was something we just did, but as we progressed into putting items away for the what “if”, I became more aware of sales on under clothing for the two of us. Now if one is good two is better, I purchase him T shirts that are crew & v neck. Socks he loves the ones from JCP, so I pick them up during holiday time with a coupon. Extra heavy wool blend come from Big Fi^e on sale. I believe we have up to 2-3 years of under clothing for the both of us. They are vacuum sealed & store in plastic bins to keep track of the quantity in our closet. Bras by Rhonda off one of hocking channels when she has a sale, adjusts to your rib cage if you lose weight or gain weight. Cracked rib an vertebrae hurt if I wear the wrong style, even after many many years.

IDK December 11, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Here is my “brief” reply (pun intended),
I’m all-for discussions on being prepared for anything. I’m just a cold-war era army retiree; but I made it through Ranger School and survived 24 years in the army (99% combat arms units) without drawers, and without socks more often than not towards the end, so naturally I think cleanliness, socks, & underwear can be ancillary to survival but, unless the weather turns sub zero and a person is stationary, they are not really necessary.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing… better than a dry “T” shirt in the patrol base; we used to hunker-down in semi-dry clothes, but put our wet clothes back on before moving-out (one of the most difficult things to do) again.

If we are concerned with cleanliness, then we are not in a SHTF situation or we are about to be ambushed.

IDK December 11, 2013 at 9:17 pm

P.S. After 8 or 9 days, the body begins to clean itself.


Desert Fox December 12, 2013 at 1:33 am

Are you saying that your nose gets used to the dirty scents that you think you’re clean?

I have read about hair…if you brush it to distribute the oils after a few days it doesn’t smell bad anymore…but it takes time to get there and it’s hard in between. I’ve only made it four days without washing my hair then I just had to give in. Even in the deep woods in a hunting trip I took saunas by heating stones and spraying it with water enclosed in a tent. Bucket bathing works great!

OldTexas December 12, 2013 at 9:48 pm

I will “briefly comment” with IDK’s thoughts. I was an army infantry “shake and bake” ground pounder in 1971 Vietnam. Think heavily armed and heavily laden backpacking in a tropical environment ranging from rice paddies to high jungle covered mountains. Also think 6 week long missions with no bathing, shaving, or clothes changes and you slept on the dirt under your poncho with your clothes and boots on. Sock rotation changes was it for hygiene. Army issue under wear was cotton t-shirts and baggy cotton boxers. These items were never worn, they were used up rapidly for weapons cleaning. With daily blood soakings from leeches, our appearance was pretty shocking to the REMF’s at the end of missions.
Conclusion, you can get by without undies, without regular baths and clean clothes. BUT: the nasty towel hanging around your neck soaked with sweat is the same towel that wiped out your canteen cup. RESULT: dysentery with oily green slime coming from both ends at the same time. You wish you were dead. Believe these bloggers when they tell you to stay as clean as you can.

RedC December 11, 2013 at 9:47 pm

TO prevent a SAGGING CLOTHES LINE, use a 2×2 board, or an old broom or mop handle. If u want to lengthen a plastic handle, duct tape a narrow strip of wood to it. (Might want to stock extra duct tape.) Then cut a v into one end, to hold the line up. There’s probably a name for these pole-type things; I recall my Mom using one back in the day.

I’ve got extra socks, underwear, & shoes for myself. But how can I persuade my wife who thinks we already spend too much on prepping & ocassionally thinks I’m half-crazy?

TNfarmer December 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Make her a nice Christmas package of cotton underwear and socks. She will love them, and if not, you can pack them away for when she will need them. :) Now, that’s true love…

Desert Fox December 12, 2013 at 1:20 am

I’ve done laundry by hand in my younger years using an outside sink with a built-in board made of cement. Used the sun to bleach our whites and hung out to dry in the outdoors. Although now-a-days people wear clothes right out of the dryers…we had to iron our clothes! There was also a lady who did laundry for other people to make some money. I guess all this could become part of living once again.

In the winter I wear stockings with the feet cut off under my Levys for insulation. Works great! For those who don’t like to wear bras…perhaps you have never seen those oldie movies of jungle tribes where their women didn’t wear clothes. I certainly wouldn’t like to go unsupported. ;)

Survivor December 12, 2013 at 11:29 am

In Scotland’s winter the folks would do very small loads and hang the clothes in the kitchen close to the heater on a clothes horse. You have to do washing every night but your clothes are dry the next morning.

Aunt B December 13, 2013 at 11:43 am

This will be a good practice in a SHTF situation. Wash clothes every night so there is no build up of dirty laundry. Will help keep everything cleaner. Wash and rinse water, along with dish water can be kept in buckets for flush water or for watering gardens.

riverrider December 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

i found that a lot of what makes us smell bad is the food we eat and what we drink. after a week or so in the field, drinking only clear water and no junk food, we could change uniforms and wash off and be good to go for the rest of the ftx, two to three more weeks, with with just rinsing the high spots occasionally. one time we were too near a town, so we would sneak in and get coffee,soda,pizza etc every few days and we smelled the whole time. i like being clean, to the point of having several ways to keep showering during grid down. can’t sleep if i’m grimey to save my life.

Everett R Littlefield December 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm

RedC, Where I come from in New England those clothes line supports were called, believe it or not, “Clothes Poles”1 All were made out of anything that was long enough to keep clothes off the ground. We had four oars that had split, or broken blades. Anything that was over 7-8 foot long and light enough to move!

TNfarmer December 12, 2013 at 10:07 pm

I am really grateful for all the responses to my ruminative thoughts. About the bra thing, I am well endowed and have not worn a bra for years, but I don’t do any running any longer either. Yes, you do need support if you are hiking or running or exercising in any active way. Otherwise, it is just freedom. About Jockey or Hanes underwear; they just hold up longer than WalMart types and keep their shape. Costs less in the long run when the ones you purchase don’t shrink or the elastic does not evaporate after a few washings. As we plan on hunkering down in place, I have a clothesline between a tree and a building and use it all the time. I love the link to the all metal clothespins. I’ll save my money for those! Thanks. Wooden clothes stands work well inside in inclement weather, but prefer outdoor drying when possible. Underwear on the clothesline do feel stiff at first, but end up being much softer than a dryer, I have found. I will really miss my washer and dryer when the end comes, but am prepared if I don’t have them any longer. I really enjoyed all your thoughts on these disjointed subjects. Got some great ideas from you all. Thanks.

CPB December 13, 2013 at 12:30 am

Sorry COTTON kills, especially if wet from sweat or a cold rain or river/stream crossing or accidental fall in, caused the cotton socks or underwear to get that way. It retains water and if in a winter situation or just a cool night can cause death. Think it through people. Do the research..

Tolik December 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Oh really ? I would agree with the statement ” Cotton is rotten and leather is no better ” for 100% cotton , yes its very undesirable . BUT almost every Military around the world uses cotton blends for field combat uniforms , I have both the new and used German stuff , they use a 65 cotton / 35 poly blend …….they wear like Iron , dry fast and are comfortable ( german quality workmanship doesn’t hurt either ). The Army spends a lot of money on training and maintaining a soldier , if cotton was so horrible , they would have ditched it by now . They used to use wool , and everybody smelled like a wet dog after a rain lol .Point is , blends are not bad . If your worried about wet in winter time , spend the extra cash and get a few pair of Sealskinz socks , 100% waterproof and thermal , things like that .

Aunt B December 13, 2013 at 11:50 am

I guess I’m the only one with this problem, but I freeze with out a bra. Weird how a little scrap of material makes me feel warmer, but it does.

Tolik December 15, 2013 at 7:50 pm

LOL , my sweety is from Russia , no need to say how that place is in winter …………your not alone , she has said the same thing . I always tell her that I will keep them warm for her ………but thats a different story for another time ;) ( Always get a punch in the shoulder after saying that lol )

Martin December 13, 2013 at 10:53 pm

one other benefit to hanging clothes inside in winter is it adds much needed moisture to the air in the house!!

Tolik December 15, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Most people dont realize this , but the way and AC works is a giant dehumidifier , but it also pulls in air from outside , so you get some air circulation to a point , a heater on the other hand just keeps recirculating the same air in the house ………and if your sick and have airborne germs around …………thats one reason people in the same household keep getting the same cold .

Jersey Drifter December 13, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I used to vacation in Jamaica often enough have become a friend of several families there. Good enough to stay at their home instead of a motel. For a clothes pole they used a bamboo pole, strong and long lasting. Of course the price was right, just go out and cut one down. I should think one could find a tall skinny sapling that would work as well. One other thing they did that we never did at home. When they hung their clothes out to dry, they turned them inside out so the sun would not fade all the color out of them.

Tolik December 15, 2013 at 7:28 pm

scour antique stores , what you are looking for is a turn of the century washing machine , the one I have is what amounts to a 2 foot wash tub on legs , with a hand crank wringer , a washboard on the side , and a hand crank agitator . Crude by modern standards , but a big step forward in its day . You would be surprised at how many of the old devices are still around and in good working order , they were made to last and had very simple working parts ………….back in the day when Americans still had pride in their work .

SheepDog December 22, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Think I will stay away from much of this conversation and only say that since I switched to merino wool t-shirts and underwear I will not even consider cotton until it is pretty warm.

I end up wearing merino wool underwear and wool socks 3 seasons here in the mountains and have yet to find a poly “wonder” fabric that is worth my time.

Unlike poly wool will not shrink wrap you if you get around a fire which should be a consideration while flying, driving etc. and gives me an extra 10 degrees or so comfort range in cold weather compared to other things I have tried.


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