A few days ago we had some work done on the water system and so the water was out for part of the day. Not a big deal really, we had plenty of drinking water on hand and since there was warning we even filled up the bathtub so we could flush the toilet.
I also put a gallon jug of water next to the sinks for washing hands and general cleaning. Yes, alcohol gel is very effective but this was a good time for an experiment, the gel would run out eventually. Water is pretty handy in most places.
One thing I realized on the first run to the bathroom is that you have to do things in a completely different order. You should put water in the sink first then do it and then wash your hands in the sink. That way you won’t be touching your water jug with dirty hands.
We also know that soap doesn’t kill germs but it does loosen the surface tension so they wash off easily. With running water that is mostly down the sink, with still water the germs will end up on the towel. That’s fine, as long as you realize that and have a healthy supply of towels on hand.
You would want to change towels often, especially after dealing with feces. I am thinking we need to get a lot more towels for something like this. Old cloth diapers and flour sack towels are good enough. And they can be used for general cleaning rags too so it isn’t like they have to stored for a particular occasion.
Yes, paper towels would be good, but those are single use items that you may not be able to replenish very easily. You can wash towels for years. Not to say you wouldn’t want paper towels. Paper towels and dishes would be great during a pandemic, towels could be a major vector of infection within a family and paper towels would prevent that.
Cooking during a water outage is interesting. Rice and beans need quite a bit but they absorb it all. Pasta is a problem since it uses a lot of water with lots left over that is full of starch, which makes things sticky. Though that could be really good for making a stew in, the starch from the pasta water would be a good start to thickening the stew. Restaurants use pasta water as a thickener in soups and stews. This requires a little menu planning but isn’t hard.
Without running water hot showers and baths aren’t going to happen, but we can heat some water in a pot and use that for a sponge bath. Not great but it will keep you clean and not too smelly.
When you’re done there is the problem of how to clean the pot. This is considered black water as it will be contaminated with all kinds of germs probably even small amounts of e. coli. A solution would be to dump the water down the toilet and clean the pot with a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach and 4 parts water. Spray it on with a spray bottle or slather it on with a washcloth and let it sit for a 5 minutes and then rinse. Having an extra large pot that can be dedicated to washing would be a good idea.