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July 09, 2019 3 min read

Most people who have lived through an extended "grid down" situation are amazed by how dirty their living space can become in a short time. Our ability to turn on the tap water and scrub something with cleaning supplies is something we don't notice most of the time. But what happens when the water no longer comes on for a week? Two weeks? Two months? A simple scratch can become life threatening and an unclean living space is ripe for spreading deadly disease. That's why you should be thinking about including some old-school cleaning supplies as part of your preps. Fortunately, many of the options on this list don't take up a ton of space.


Borax is a go-to cleaning option that has come back into style in recent years, largely thanks to the prepping community. This natural mineral compound has a ton of uses around the house, including:

  • Mold Inhibition:A Borax-and-water paste can be applied to mold growth anywhere in the home. Leave it overnight and rinse it off the next day.
  • Insecticide:If you have pets, Borax can be used to kill flea eggs. Sprinkle it on bedding or carpets to help keep your living space bug-free.
  • Deodorizer:Borax can be used much like baking soda for dealing with bad odors. You can sprinkle it in drawers or other locations and leave it overnight to remove smells.

Baking Soda

Speaking of baking soda, it should be high on your list of cleaning supplies because it has nearly universal cleaning uses. Mixed with a little bit of water, baking soda can be used to scrub dishes, scrub floors, removing stains and deodorizing trash cans. Another nice thing about baking soda is that it's cheap and comes in small boxes, so you can store a lot of it without breaking the bank or taking up too much space.

Dawn Dish Soap

The original formulation of Dawn dish soap really is different from all the other brands. If you've ever had pets bring fleas into your home, you probably already know this! Dawn kills fleas on contact, so it's great for washing pets or people. It also works great as a de-greaser for tools, hair and clothing. If your prepping budget is limited and you have to choose between any other brand of soap and Dawn, go with the Dawn.

White Vinegar

White vinegar will take up more space to store than some of the above products, but it's well worth having. It kills germs, so it can be used to clean door knobs and other spots that get a lot of "hands-on" traffic. Mixed with water, it makes a great cleaner for floors, dishes and windows. You can also manage fruit fly outbreaks if you leave a little dish of white vinegar on the kitchen counter, near your sink.


Bleach is harsher than any of the other cleaners on this list, but it's a necessity as a total disinfectant. Remember that in a grid-down situation, you may be butchering and processing your own meat. Bleach is a sure-fire disinfectant for cleaning cutting boards and surfaces where you handle meat.

We tend to get boxed into thinking about things like food, water, shelter and defense when prepping, but infection is actually one of the biggest threats to life and limb if you're in a prolonged grid-down situation. Keeping your home and living space clean and tidy can be a true challenge if ready access to water is not available. That's why it's important to remember to stock up on cleaning supplies in case that day ever comes.