10 Reusable Preps To Replace Disposables

February 6, 2014



Every now and then I come across an article or forum suggesting that preppers stock up on paper products. I personally know people who have rooms stacked full of toilet paper, paper towels, sanitary pads, and paper plates.

While it’s a good idea to have maybe a couple of weeks’ worth of disposable products, filling the spare bathroom with paper goods floor to ceiling isn’t the best way to use your space or your money.

Consider reusable alternatives instead. While paper products are a God-send during times when water is limited or inaccessible, if you are preparing for a long term emergency situation you really need to have items which can be washed and used over and over again.

Not only are reusable products essential for your preps, but I’d encourage all of you to replace disposables with washables in your every day life, in every way possible. We’ve become a nation of habitual consumers, it’s easy to forget that we can save money by investing in products that are actually made to last.


Here are 10 reusable alternatives to your daily disposables…

1. Cloth Napkins–  Stop throwing your money in the trash can every month, and save a bundle by replacing paper towels with cloth napkins. Make sure to buy something absorbent, not a fancy napkin meant for laps only.

2. Handkerchiefs-  Do people still use these nowadays? Sure they do! We stopped buying boxes of Kleenex long ago, and have enjoyed the convenience of never running out of a hankie when you need one.

3. The “Family Cloth”-  Instead of stocking up on roll after roll of toilet paper (which can be ruined by moisture, eaten by mice, and is a fire hazard), consider having a good stash of soft, washable cloths to wipe with instead. Use these along with a squirt bottle of water, and it really isn’t as bad as it sounds.

4. Cloth Diapers and Wipes-  Super easy to use, and much more economical than disposables. It would stink (haha) to use up the last of baby’s diapers and have no way of getting more. Buy a pack of prefold cloth diapers and some pins, and never worry about running out.

5. BPA Free Plastic Dishes-  Have a durable set of plates, bowls and cups that won’t break when dropped and can handle long term use. These can be for everyday, but can also be thrown in a Bug-Out-Bag when necessary.

6. Tattler Reusable Canning Lids-  Instead of stocking up on a huge supply of one-time-use canning lids, consider buying Tattlers as your budget allows. They’ll last indefinitely, as long as you take good care of them. It’s a relief to know that I’ll never run out of canning lids with my Tattlers on hand.

7. Permanent Coffee Filter-  If you plan on making a cup of Joe when the SHTF, grab a washable coffee filter instead of a stack of disposables. You can also use it for making teas, straining herbs for medicinal purposes, and straining fresh milk, among other things.

8. Washable Feminine Hygiene Products-  Yes, have some tampons and pads for convenience. But for a long term situation I’d highly recommend the Diva Cup and a few packs of Glad Rags. This may be TMI… but I’ve been using these products exclusively for over a year now, and absolutely love them.

9. Straight or “Fixed Blade” Razors-  You know, the kind our great-grandparents likely used. There’s a learning curve, and they’re a bit of an investment up-front to buy new, but think of the freedom of never having to buy disposable razors again! Of course, you could just grow a beard… or hairy legs. In a true survival situation grooming probably won’t be top priority.

10. Miswak Sticks-  These natural sticks have been used for thousands of years for cleaning teeth naturally. They require no water and no toothpaste. Although they do eventually wear out, I’ve read where people have used the same stick for six months, up to several years (with the thicker Miswaks). You can make your own teeth cleaning sticks out of Dogwood, Walnut, Sassafras, and other tree varieties (click here for more info). A great alternative to stocking up on toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Not only will these items save you money over the long run, you’ll also have the peace of mind that you’ll never have to buy them again (well, not for a really long time, anyways), so you’ll be all set should the dollar tank and the store shelves run dry.

Can you think of any other reusable items we can use to replace disposables? What would you add to this list?

About Kendra Lynne

Kendra shares all of her homesteading adventures on her website, New Life on a Homestead. Also be sure to check out her popular Canning DVD: At Home Canning For Beginners and Beyond!

View all posts by Kendra Lynne

3 Responses to “10 Reusable Preps To Replace Disposables”

  1. cindi Says:

    I am going to make “unpaper” towels for use in the kitchen; also….going to make beeswax coated fabric pieces of different sizes to be used to cover bowls instead of plastic wrap; it is my understanding that the warmth of your hands helps mold the coated fabric to the container you are covering it with.


  2. cc Says:

    I made my own sanitary pads using prefold diapers for the fabric. I also never buy paper towels I use dishtowels [ when they get thin don’t toss-put 2 together and sew them together making an X from corner to corner]. They can also be used in an emg for a diaper. You can get cheap hand towels from a hotel source for $12 a dozen. Same for towels and sheets.Buy in the dozen it may look expensive but when you do the math they are cheap.
    Old sheets can be used just cut and sew up . Make bandages, headbands, napkins-whatever you need. Invest in a peddle sewing machine if you can afford it for off grid.Not only will you need it but you can use it as a bartering tool. You sew and then trade for what you need.


  3. Monica Massengale Says:

    Love your article! I am going to reference your post in an upcoming article on my blog! I am promoting reducing chemicals in homes and reusable cloths is a huge part of my campaign! Not only does it save us money but it saves our beautiful planet from unnecessary waste also!

    It was a huge change for my family, but we have progressively been switching to reusable/washable diapers, napkins, cloths that replace paper towels and chemicals and more! Thank you so much for your article!


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