Cast Iron Skillet – A Guide to Everything You Need to Know

Written by Marc Morgan

I love to cook on a cast iron skillet. My daily cooking skillets are all “vintage” cast iron — some as much as 100 years old — and will last forever if properly maintained. I prefer the older skillets (those made before 1950) because modern skillets are heavy and inferior in comparison. This article will teach you everything you need to know about buying, cleaning, cooking and maintaining old skillets.

My wife and I are not cast iron collectors (honest, really..), we only buy what we plan to cook with. Plus we want to have enough on hand so that when our three kids move out they don’t take our working set. So we’ve been amassing enough iron to have a set for each of them. But that’s not collecting, right? That’s just good planning. Preparing for the future. Oh, and then there’s bartering. In the future, when cast iron isn’t so easy to find, we’ll have plenty for trade. We’re preppers. Not collectors. Right? Yes. Right.

stoveWe have a variety of skillets (and a couple of round griddles) beside our stove that we cook with everyday, in sizes ranging from #5 – #10.

The #5 skillet is the perfect size for scrambled eggs, fried eggs, or warming up leftovers for 1 or 2 people.

The #8 skillet is our go-to skillet for meal preparation. It’s great for sauteing vegetables, browning meat, or baking bread. Cinnamon rolls, biscuits, cornbread. There’s nothing that doesn’t taste better when cooked in cast iron.

The #10 skillet is our favorite piece for oven-cooking bacon, burgers, or steaks.

The flat skillets are griddles and they make amazing tortillas or pancakes.

You’ll notice that a couple of the skillets on the rack are deeper than the others. Those are called chicken fryers and they are really handy when you’re wanting to fry fish or chicken or anything else that you want to deep fry.
wall02
We have some of our favorite pieces hanging on the wall just outside of the kitchen. Cast iron skillets (and trivets) make great decoration, but be sure that your wall can handle the addition of so much weight. I’ve heard stories of wallboard pulling away from wall studs when too much cast iron is hung for display. We like to say that these our bartering items for the future, but the truth is we have them hanging there just because they look pretty.
rack
And then there’s the overflow shelving. A few of the pieces on these shelves are ones that we use, but don’t have room for on the kitchen rack. My wife’s grandmother’s gumbo pot, and a really cool (admittedly modern) cast iron wok. But most of the cast iron here is skillets waiting for the day when our kids move out and take them with them. Our hope is that, after many years watching us cook on cast iron, seeing how easy and durable and nonstick it can be, and enjoying the food we cook on it that they will start out their new lives with an already-established appreciation for the usefulness and craftsmanship of old iron.

Why buy “vintage” cast iron?

Cast Iron SkilletCast iron used to be milled in the final stages of production, after being sand cast. This milling provided a very smooth, non-stick surface. As teflon came into vogue in the 1950s, lighter nonstick pans became available and the old fashioned cast iron cookware was abandoned to the point where most of the old manufacturers went out of business.

Modern manufacturing (pretty much limited to Lodge products) does not take this extra step of milling to a smooth finish after sand casting their pans. That leaves a rough, sand-cast surface that food will stick to. We’ve yet to find a modern pan that will stand up to the scrambled egg test; cooking a scrambled egg in it with nonstick results where the only clean up necessary is a quick wipe with a towel. No scraping necessary. The old, well maintained cast iron will perform that way every time.

What to buy

Prior to the 1950s nearly every kitchen used cast iron cookware. Because it is almost indestructible, there’s a lot of the vintage iron still around. Ask your parents if they have any that was passed down through the family. Look in antique stores, flea markets, garage sales, and estate sales. Ebay is an option too. Look for that vintage very smooth cooking surface, and avoid any pans with little chunks out of the cooking surface known as “pitting.”

Here are the vintage brands to look for: Griswold, Wagner Ware (NOT Wagner 1849 – this is cheap China stuff), Lodge (more on that later), Martin Stove and Range, Wapak Hollow Ware, Birmingham Stove & Range Co.

What is the best cast iron skillet? Who makes the best cast iron skillet? In my opinion it is Griswold. They do everything right. The size, thickness and the shape of their skillets are perfect. Even their “bargain brand” Victor, which is a little shorter in height with a thinner wall, is spectacular. Wagner is my second favorite. A little thicker than Griswold and not quite as comfortable. But with a smooth surface and cooks great. Both of these manufacturers produced a lot of cast iron skillets between 1880 and 1950, so you should be able to find them.

On the bottom of the pan is where the logo is. Griswold and Wagner used different logos over the years. Here is an image guide for each, so that you know the approximate date of a skillet.

Griswold:
ErieErie SpiderArtistic ErieGriswold slant logoGriswold double circleGriswold small block logoGriswold Medium block logoGriswold no ErieVictorVictor Fully Marked
Wagner:
Wagner BlockWagner ArcWagner Sidney O ArcWagner straight centeredWagner Sidney straight lowWagner sidney arc straight highWagner Ware StraightWagner Ware stylized logo centeredWagner Ware stylized logo

Each skillet will have a number on it. This number is not the size in inches, but rather the “standardized” size of the openings in the tops of wood burning stoves. The oldest pans will have a heat ring or a rim that protrudes from the bottom of the skillet to provide a tighter fit to the stove. Each foundry used slightly different measurements for the size, but here is a general size guideline.

Sizes:
#2 – 4-7/8″ #3 – 5-1/2″ #4 – 5-7/8″ #5 – 6-3/4″
#6 – 7-1/2″ #7 – 8-1/4″ #8 – 8-7/8″ #9 – 9-3/4″
#10 – 10-1/4″ #11 – 10-7/8″ #12 – 11-3/4″ #13 – 12″
#14 – 13″

I think that everyone should have a #5, #8 and a #10.

Cast iron skillet
Another skillet to look for is an unmarked (no logo) one that has three notches in the heat ring. These are old Lodge skillets. You will notice that they are a little thicker than the Griswold and Wagner. But they still have the super smooth cooking surface. The won’t be as expensive as the others and they are great for baking. Think cornbread or Chicago style deep dish pizza.

Twenty five dollars is a good price for a #5. Forty dollars or less is what I like to pay for a #8 skillet. I’ve paid as much as seventy on Ebay for a really nice one. You don’t find many #10s “out in the wild,” as in a garage sale, or antique store. Expect to pay as much as a hundred dollars on Ebay for a #10. Remember these skillets will last forever if you take care of them. So don’t think about them the same way as you would a modern skillet.

How to Restore a Vintage Cast Iron Skillet

When you buy cast iron at an antique store or on Ebay, it will probably be cleaned already, and ready to cook on. But if you find a bargain at a garage sale, estate sale or other place, you will typically have to clean it yourself. It sounds intimidating, and if you have seen some of the scary skillets that I have found at flea markets, you probably would not have bought them. But under the crud and rust, there is GOLD! Well not really gold. But a smooth cooking surface that will make you happy to cook on it every day.

So before I outline the right way of doing it, let me tell you how NOT to do it.

  • Oven Cleaner – you spray extra strength oven cleaner on a cast iron skillet and wrap it in a plastic trash bag. Seal it. Wait a day or two, and then (using rubber gloves) clean it from there. Don’t bother! This method is messy. It never gets everything off in one try. So you will have to do it as many as 4-5 times to get a clean skillet.
  • Fire Bake – make a large wood fire and put the skillet into it. Let it heat up really hot. Then let it fully cool, and then clean it. This method is not advised either. The only time you really want to heat up metal really hot, is when you want to shape it. Unless you are a blacksmith, don’t do this. You might warp the skillet, and it will not be as clean as you want it.
  • Drill and a Wire Brush – Don’t do this. If you use a wire that is hard enough to clean it, it is also hard enough to ruin the cast iron too.
  • Dish Washer – Ahhh no. If you want to cook on cast iron, understand that you will always have to manually clean it. Never use dish soap on cast iron.

The best way to clean a cast iron skillet is with electrolysis. Rust and gunk just comes right off and you’re left with a very clean surface. This method works well, but honestly, if you don’t plan to clean a lot of cast iron, it is not worth the investment.

For your average cast iron skillet buyer, vinegar and lye are the way to clean your new finds.

Vinegar gets rid of rust. Get a five gallon bucket and put fifty percent vinegar and fifty percent water in it. Soak the complete skillet for an hour or two, depending on how much rust is on it. Vinegar is a strong acid and will eat away at the iron if you leave it in too long. Set a timer to remind you. Do not leave it in vinegar longer than necessary.

Lye is how you clean all of the gunk off a skillet. Get another five gallon bucket and put twenty percent lye, and eighty percent water in it. Soak the complete skillet in there for one to two days. Lye is a extremely strong base. It will not hurt the iron at all. You can leave a skillet in for over a year (I have) and it will not harm the metal. But lye WILL severally damage your skin if you get it on you. Use rubber gloves and eye protection at all times when using lye. Be very careful not to splash.

After using vinegar or lye, rinse off your skillet really well with water. Then take it to a sink and turn your water to as hot as you can stand it with your rubber gloves still on. Rinse with the hot water, and apply a very gentle soap like Bar Keepers Friend. Then use a brass scrub brush (brass is a much softer metal than iron) and scrub off any residual gunk or rust from your skillet. Rinse well; iron is slightly porous and you want to make sure you get the cleaner out. Then while it is still hot with the water, wipe dry and heat on a burner on your stove top to fully dry it.

Next, apply a high temperature oil (like grape seed oil, peanut oil or just vegetable oil) generously all over the cast iron skillet. Put the oiled into a pre-heated 400 degree oven for fifteen minutes. Then you are done. You will have a nicely seasoned skillet that will cook like a modern non-stick skillet.

How to Cook With a Cast Iron Skillet

A great benefit of using a cast iron skillet is that you are not limited to the stove top. Since there are no plastic handles you can put it into the oven, also. This is my favorite way to cook steaks. My wife and I prefer a nice, thick, filet mignon cut. I rinse, and then dry steaks with a paper towel 30 minutes before I plan to cook, setting them out so that the meat warms up to room temperature. Go ahead and preheat the oven now to 375 degrees.
steak01 - heat the skillet upsteak02 - sear on one sidesteak03 - ready to flipsteak04 - perfectly searedsteak05 - put in ovensteak06 - perfectly cooked

Put a #8 on the stove top and add a little olive oil to the pan. Set the temperature to high. Now I will lightly cover the steaks with the olive oil so that the seasonings will stick to the meat. I usually just do a little salt, and a lot of pepper, making sure to cover on all sides. Now that the skillet is nice and hot, take the pan out of the oven and put it on the stove top burner at medium-high temp. It’s time to put your steaks on. You want to sear on one side for five to six minutes. Do not touch the meat as it is cooking. Be patient. You will see the rest of the steak close to the cooking surface is starting to change color too. It should be beautifully seared on one side now.

Now it is time to flip the steak, then take the whole skillet and put it onto the middle rack inside your oven. Set a timer for fifteen minutes. Now you need to be patient again. Do not open the oven to check on it. Let it cook.

After the timer goes off, go ahead and remove the skillet from the oven. Take the thickest steak and put it onto a cutting board. Go ahead and slice into it to check if it is cooked enough for you. At fifteen minutes of cooking in my oven it is a perfect medium-rare steak. Add another 5 minutes of cooking for each level of steak level you prefer. Next will be Medium. Then Medium-Well. After that you really shouldn’t cook it anymore because it starts to resemble a burger at that point. 😐

Once your steak is cooked to where you like it. Remove it from the skillet and let it rest on a cutting board for five minutes. If you leave it on the skillet, it will continue to cook. Now your steak is ready to serve. That is how to cook a delicious cast iron skillet steak!

A favorite side at our house is cast iron skillet corn. Which is really easy to make. I also use the #8 for this. Melt half a stick of butter in the pan. Then add half of an onion that you have chopped up pretty small. Cook the onions till they start to turn translucent. Then poor in a 16oz bag of frozen sweet corn. Stir occasionally till the corn is fully cooked and starting to caramelize. That is it. Serve with anything.

Additional cast iron skillet recipes:

  1. Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread
  2. Fried Chicken
  3. Burgers
  4. Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy
  5. Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
  6. Caramel Pecan Skillet Brownie
  7. Brown Sugar Cinnamon Apple Skillet Cake
  8. Dark Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
  9. Skillet Blackberry Cobbler

How to Clean a Cast Iron Skillet After Cooking

Most of the time after cooking something simple like an egg, you can literally take a paper towel and just wipe the skillet clean while it is still hot. I like to add a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) to the seasoning on the skillet and just set it on the rack beside my stove for cooling.

Sometimes, especially when natural sugar in the food has caramelized (like in corn, or onions) there is food residue left on the pan after cooking. That requires a different cleaning method. For example, the thick-cut bacon that we like contains a lot of sugar. After cooking a batch of bacon, a quick wipe with a paper towel won’t do. Than I set it aside to cool off. I will fill the skillet with water (which you never do when the pan is hot. This will crack cast iron) and I will set it on a burner to heat up. While the water is heating I use a metal spatula or a specifically designed scraper to remove the food that is stuck on the cooking surface. Once the water boils, carefully poor out and wipe down with a paper towel. Then add a generous amount of EVOO to the surface to re-season the skillet and let it cool before putting up.

Recommended Reading

If you are interested in the history of the foundrys or would like to see all of the cooking cast iron that was produced in the past. I recommend these two books: The Book of Wagner & Griswold: Martin, Lodge, Vollrath, Excelsior and The Book of Griswold and Wagner: Favorite Wapak, Sidney Hollow Ware. These are known as the Blue Book and the Red book in the cast iron world. Everyone owns them. Well, collectors do. But we aren’t collectors. Right? Right. We just happen to own them because we like books.
There is also a Brown book, Griswold Muffin Pans, which focuses more on muffin pan information.

If you found this article helpful/interesting, please Share it by clicking on the social media links. Thank you for helping us grow!

 

Marc Morgan is a computer geek in Houston, TX. He is an Army veteran and lived through hurricane Ike in a house with no power for five weeks. He created SurvivingPrepper.com to share his knowledge and to have a place where several of his friends can share their knowledge too. When he isn’t adding new information to his site, Marc enjoys hiking, fishing and anything else he can do with his wife.

5 Prep Tips to Keep Your Family Safe from a Wildfire

Wildfires

Image from Skeeze via Pixabay

It doesn’t matter how small the likelihood of a wildfire is for your area–when it hits, you want to be ready. So even if you think the chances of a wildfire in your area are moderate to low, know that it’s better to spend a bit of extra time now preparing yourself and your family than to be thrown into a state of panic should a wildfire ever hit.

 

  1. Keep Up with Regular Home Maintenance

 

There are a few chores you can do regularly to help lessen the effects of a wildfire on your home. Minimize the amount of debris around your property by cleaning the roof and gutters, raking away leaves and dead limbs, mowing your grass, and making sure your trees and shrubs are pruned regularly.

 

  1. Stay Informed

 

Educate yourself on the fire conditions in your area and stay in the know on breaking weather news. Watch the news regularly, check the weather online, or download a weather app for your phone. Turn on notifications for your weather app so you’ll know of any risk of a wildfire in an instant. Ask your child’s caretaker or school about their disaster plans so you can rest assured that your child will be in good hands if disaster ever strikes.

 

  1. Compile Your Emergency Supply Kit

 

Build your family’s emergency supply kit and include items like a compass, clean drinking water, nonperishable foods, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, and copies of important documents.

 

It’s also wise to document all of your belongings and keep a copy of this list in your kit. This will come in handy for insurance claims or for receiving aid from charitable organizations. Include descriptions and photos of furniture, appliances, electronics, and other valuable belongings. Collect any relevant serial numbers or receipts.

 

  1. Create a Plan

 

In a time of crisis, clear communication can be the best tool in your toolkit. That’s why you should make it a priority to talk to your family about what you’ll do in case of a wildfire. Practice designated evacuation routes. Discuss what actions should be taken if a family member is separated from the group. Make sure children (and adults!) have necessary emergency numbers memorized.

 

  1. Know Where You Stand with Insurance

 

Fire damage can be a tricky topic when it comes to insurance coverage, so it’s better to know your plan’s limitations ahead of time. Insurance may not cover certain landscaping costs following a fire, or may only cover a certain percentage of damaged personal items. You may even want to increase your coverage depending on your area’s level of risk for wildfires. Check with your agent to see what your coverage entails.

 

It may sound like a bit of a hassle to prepare yourself and your family for a wildfire even when one may never hit, but don’t underestimate the power of having a plan of action during a moment of crisis. It’s better to make plans now and never have to use them than to come up short should disaster strike. Prepare now and you’ll be glad you kept your family’s safety in mind.

 

Bradley Davis is a retired firefighter and SoCal resident. He has seen is fair share of natural disasters and knows all too well the damage they can cause when people in their paths aren’t prepared. He created DisasterWeb.net to share his emergency preparedness knowledge and to offer the many emergency planning and natural disaster-related resources he has compiled from his online research. When he isn’t adding new information to his site, Bradley enjoys relaxing on the beach with his wife.


Hurricane Preparation Tips For Families And Homeowners

Huricane-Season

Image via Pixabay by WikiImages

A hurricane is a scary ordeal. There’s no two ways about it. If you live in an area where there’s a chance of experiencing one, however, there are things you need to know to ensure the safety of yourself and your family and to protect your home and possessions.

 

Know How To Survive

 

Hurricanes are incredibly dangerous, but there are things you can do to greatly increase your chances of survival. These include:

 

  • Keep plenty of water on hand for drinking and cleaning in case you’re left without running water when the storm is over.
  • Keep plenty of gas in your vehicle so you can get away if evacuation is necessary.
  • Keep cash on hand in case of power outages.
  • Keep up with the storm through the web, TV and/or radio as much as possible.
  • Close your doors and stay away from windows. Keep shades and curtains closed.
  • Stay on the lowest level of your home and get under a table if possible.
  • Secure items outside of your home as best as possible to avoid having them become dangerous when picked up by the wind.
  • Follow evacuation instructions from authorities.

 

Use A Storage Facility

 

If you live in an area where there is a chance of being impacted by a hurricane, it’s a good idea to rent a storage unit somewhere out of the danger zone for storing your most important items that you don’t need in your home at all times.

 

“The golden rule of disaster preparation is to pretend a storm is coming tomorrow,” says  ClosetBox. “Don’t wait to start preparing. Again, the first step is often to designate and prepare a space to hold your survival supplies. Consider, too, the beach-style bungalow is on the short list of many people’s dream homes. Yet, these floor designs rarely allow for excess storage. For this reason alone, convenient and cost-effective storage solutions are often crucial for those who live near the beach.”

 

Prepare Your Pool

 

If you have a swimming pool in your backyard, there are several things you should consider before a hurricane comes. In the Swim touches on these, calling draining the pool a “major no-no” because a strong enough storm could actually cause an empty pool to pop out of the ground. The water helps to hold in in place. It also recommends adding extra chlorine to combat potential pollutants that could contaminate the water during the storm and leaving the pool cover off because it could fly up/away and cause its own damage.

 

“Turn off the electric breaker system to your pool to avoid electrical surge damage,” it says. “This includes all the mechanical systems in your pool as well as any lighting. Filter damage is the most common pool damage that occurs during hurricanes, so it’s important to protect it. If the filter is going to be at risk for complete water submersion, remove the pump and secure it in a safe, dry location inside. Some also opt to merely cover the pump with watertight plastic and rope to prevent water damage.”

 

It’s hard to avoid experiencing some amount of damage when a hurricane rolls through, but if you prepare, you can minimize that damage and keep yourself and your family safe as Mother Nature otherwise wreaks havoc.

 

Bradley Davis is a retired firefighter and SoCal resident. He has seen is fair share of natural disasters and knows all too well the damage they can cause when people in their paths aren’t prepared. He created DisasterWeb.net to share his emergency preparedness knowledge and to offer the many emergency planning and natural disaster-related resources he has compiled from his online research. When he isn’t adding new information to his site, Bradley enjoys relaxing on the beach with his wife.


A Beginner’s Guide To Living Off-Grid

A Beginner’s Guide To Living Off-Grid

It used to be that the only time ‘living off-grid’ was used in everyday conversations was when someone was referencing an extremist individual or group. However, that is simply not the case anymore. As of 2013, more than 180,000 Americans were already living off the grid, and it is estimated that by 2035 that number will increase to a whopping 12 percent of the US population. If you are one of those people who dreams of an off-grid lifestyle, we at Modernize have a few pointers to help you get started.

 

A Beginner’s Guide To Living Off-Grid

Purchasing Land

If you are looking to buy land on which to build an off-grid home, there are several factors you will want to research before placing an offer on a piece of property, such as location and building regulations. Depending on your family’s age and health, determining an acceptable commute time between hospitals, school, and work will need to be thoughtfully considered in order to narrow down the radius of your search. Along the same lines, knowing exactly what the local laws are in regards to essential off-grid living components like septic tanks, wells, and wind turbines will save you many headaches when it comes time to begin construction. Most municipalities have their building codes listed on their website and are happy to answer any questions.

 

A-Beginners-Guide-To-Off-Grid-Living

Say “So Long!” To The Power Company

If you already own a home that is connected to the grid, your first step will be to have a home energy audit conducted to determine what improvements can be made in order to make your home as energy efficient as possible. The lower your energy demands, the less energy you will have to find a way to generate on a daily basis—all of which translates into saving you as much money as possible in renovation expenses. During this audit, you will want to consider replacing your current appliances with Energy- Star rated alternatives. Bear in mind that some appliances like your water heater have solar-powered options available on the market as well.

 

Once the audit has been conducted and your improvements have been made, analyze just how much power your home needs. With that information, you can then determine how many solar panels and/or wind turbines you will require and can begin making plans to have them installed. As soon as they are ready to go, it’s “so long, power company,” and “hello, free, sustainable power!”

 

Water and Waste

If you truly want to fully divorce your home from the grid, part of that process will entail finding a solution for your water and sewer obligations. Digging a well is an expensive process, and the deeper your well is, the higher the price tag is going to be. You will also want to have your water and soil tested for contaminants before you begin construction to ensure that no toxins are present that can potentially harm your family. As for your septic tank, you’ll want to purchase a tank larger than what your family actually needs. This way, if you ever have guests stay for an extended period of time, your tank will be able to keep up with these higher demands. Like with any serious renovation project, make sure to get an experienced contractor for an expert design.

 

When it comes down to it, living off-grid is not for everyone. It takes hard work and plenty of planning to build and maintain a fully independent, self-sufficient home, so design for the best fit for your lifestyle and your family’s needs. Every step taken is a step in the right direction for yourself and for the planet.


30 Things To Include In Your Camping & Wilderness Survival Pack

This is a great starter list for packing a camping or hiking bag. Many of the items cross over to a survival bug-out bag as well.

Top 30 Essential Tips For Your Camping & Wilderness Survival

Source: GroomNStyle | 30 Things To Include In Your Survival Pack


12 Survival Hygiene Tips for when SHTF

How will you stay clean post-collapse? It’s an issue people don’t give much thought about, yet of crucial importance. Disease is one enemy that can take you down without realizing it, and no amount of tools, gear or survival skills can help.

The people who found refuge on the Louisiana Superdome during Katrina know very well what it’s like. Rotten food, lack of showers and functional toilets, no electricity was hard to endure for the thousands who were crammed into that open space. We need to be prepared, so let’s see some common sense hygiene tips…

#1. Water, water and more water.

Having the means to procure water is the cornerstone of any good hygiene plan. Not just for keeping you hydrated, but also for things like:

  • showering (or, at the very least, to use a damp cloth to wash your body if you don’t have enough of)
  • doing the dishes (though you could stockpile plastic plates and plastic eating utensils to save water)
  • washing clothes
  • cleaning wounds (yes, you could get hurt!)
  • and other things unrelated to hygiene such as watering your garden

Let’s face it, the moment we run out of water, our lives become 10 times more complicated. I’ll even go as far as to say that not having it is way worse than having no electricity.

Ways to ensure you’ve got plenty of water post-collapse:

  • get large, 55-gallon barrels and, if you have a back yard, large water tanks
  • install a rainwater harvesting system
  • have means to filter and purify water in your bug out bag as well as the trunk of your bug out vehicle
  • split your water stockpile between your home and your bug out location, because you never know where you’ll end up
  • keep extra room in the trunk of your bug out vehicle so you can carry extra water with you to your BOL (if there’s time to load it)
  • re-use water from the kitchen sink and shower to water your garden

#2. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow”.

You don’t have to flush the toilet every time. This may not be something you want to do right now but definitely something to keep in mind post-collapse. Follow the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” rule.

#3. Keep contact with other people to a minimum.

This doesn’t mean you have to stop seeing other people, because you might need information or help. Just remember to avoid touching them, including shaking hands. It may not be polite but manners won’t be as important after the big one hits.

#4. Out of soap or shampoo? Use soapwort!

No, this isn’t some brand of organic soap I’m advertising. Soapwort (lat. saponaria oficinalis) is a perennial plant with beautiful pinkish-violet flowers that can make a great substitute for soap and shampoo. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s “mildly poisonous” if you eat it so only use it externally. There’re plenty of recipes on other sites and the list of ingredients is very short.

#5. Keep dirty clothes contained.

This is especially true if you’re camping somewhere in the woods or if you’re bugging out. All dirty clothes should be stored in plastic bags until you have a chance to wash and dry them.

#6. Show some skin.

The best way to avoid dirty clothes is to avoid wearing them! Now, I’m not sure if the temperature will allow it but if you can, go ahead and do it. One way of getting yourself used to wearing less clothing is to do what I started doing 6 months ago: I stopped wearing pajamas. If you’re older, you should check with your doctor before doing it, but I can tell you it’s working for me.

The benefits? Better immune system, less sweating, your body gets accustomed with lower temperatures (which you might have to face if you’re going to sleep outside) and, best of all, less laundry!

#7. Comb

Combing requires no shampoo and no water, you just have to you remember to add one to your bug out bag. Benefits of combing include removing dandruff, uric acid crystal deposits and other waste. There’s also a side benefit in that you stimulate the blood vessels to bring more blood to your hair, making it stronger and shinier.

#8. No toilet paper? No problem.

There’re plenty of other options that our ancestors used before TP was invented. Things like cloths, newspapers, the leaves of some plants and more.

#9. Remove facial hair.

Though this is an ongoing debate among preppers, you will be less likely to host parasites if you shave your beard and mustache and keep your hair short.

#10. Get a travel sports towel.

If you thought the only way to pack a towel is to sacrifice a good amount of space, I have the solution. There are so-called camp towels that are not only compact but also very absorbent. You can find them on Amazon for around 15 bucks a piece.

#11. Keep your fingernails and toenails neat.

This is very important, as all sorts of bacteria will gather underneath. All you need is nail clippers that you can throw in your bug out bag as part of your hygiene kit.

#12. Take care of your teeth.

Brushing, flossing and using mouthwash should be done DAILY, regardless of whether or not you’re in a disaster situation. Cavities are one of the last things you want to deal with when there’s chaos all around you.

#12. Keep your hands clean.

If you’re doing a lot of office work, you probably don’t feel the need to wash that often. But when you’re working the field and the garden all they, when you’re feeding the animals, fixing your home and doing your own cooking, you’re going to have to wash A LOT more often. You’re also going to need soap (or the means to produce it) and/or hand sanitizer. It’s always a good idea to keep some sanitizer in your BOB and BOV.

Final Word

The thing I hope for the most is that you act on the advice I’ve given you. The tips are easy to put into practice and, some of them should be done on a daily basis, anyway. Post-collapse, you need to be a little more rigorous, so why not start today?


Make Your Own Simple Camp Stove

So, here’s a simple tip to build your own simple camp stove cooking fire.

DIY camp stove/heat from tuna can + cardboard + oil.

DIY camp stove/heat source from trash/scraps: tuna can + cardboard + oil.

It’s simple but effective. Make up a few ahead of your next outdoor adventure and try it for yourself.

“These were fun to make, I used 4 on my last camping trip.”


7 Survival Ideas You Never Thought About 

In reading this article, it brought several new ideas into our own survival research and preps. We recommend you follow the link below as we did.

A collection of seven interesting survival ideas that you can put into practice right now.

Source: 7 Survival Ideas You Never Thought About | Suburban Steader


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