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Random thoughts about after the SHTF & TEOTWAWKI

November 28, 2011

How many of us actually know how to make soap? For something so readily available today, after TEOTWAWKI and the SHTF, personal hygiene and the toilet are going to be a little more challenging.

I live on a septic tank so in that I am lucky that if I can maintain some fresh water, my family can continue to use the septic tank. The good news is that after the SHTF and the world ends our diet will get much simpler and probably more agrarian rather than the carnivoristic delight we enjoy now.

Many people within the prepper and survivalist community seem to have this opinion that after the SHTF and TEOTWAWKI society is going to settle into this kind of agrarian green paradise. Believe me even with the absence of such fanciful (I hope) things as living dead zombies, society will be far from a paradise.

Life after SHTF and TEOTWAWKI is going to be short, brutal and ugly with hard work and daily struggle to feed your family. No more running to the 7 Eleven for a breakfast burrito from the microwave. You are going to have to fight and work for each meal.

I lack a wood stove and therefore will have to gain access to hard wood ash from my outside fire pit. Hardwoods are a rarity around here although there are plenty of soft wood such as pine. If you use natural hardwood charcoal in your BBQ, you will have access to hardwood ash that you can render lye from. Hardwood ash burnt in a hot fire so that it is nice white and fluffy makes the best lye, but any type of ashes will work to some degree.

Lye made from hardwood ashes is potassium hydroxide not sodium hydroxide as there is approximately 10 times more potassium than sodium in wood. Lye rendered from ashes is not fun nor easy, and involves boiling the water off leaving the lye residue.

You are also going to need to render fat from some animal to make your soap. In soap making when you combine lye like sodium hydroxide or caustic soda with fat it undergoes a process called saponification.

For me I think I am going to keep a nice supply of soap in the house (BTW soap lacking lye is called detergent) just in case. Then I will have to go acquire some until I get my stuff together to begin to make my own soap.

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