PHIC and the Big Soap Fail

Throughout the years, I have linked to soap making articles on Prepper Website. These articles covered everything from using wood ash and lard to using Fels Naptha as a start. One thing that always comes up is how homemade soap needs to cure or dry for a period of time. As as result, I have had this idea that store bought soap needs to do the same. I decided to use my little friend PHIC to find out for sure!

Melting Soap

We use Dove Sensitive Skin (unscented) Bar Soap in my house. It is not a very manly soap. But due to some allergic reactions to the scents they place in store bought soap, it is the best for my family. The problem is that this soap seems to “melt” and in my opinion, doesn’t last as long as it should. I will say that it seems a lot lighter and softer than other “manly” soaps that I was used to growing up.

After using this soap for many years, I decided to see if I could make it last longer by doing a little experiment and letting it dry out. This is where my little friend PHIC comes in. He was going to help me figure out this mystery!

My Little Friend PHIC

PHIC was a character that I made up when I taught elementary Science. I used this character to teach the Scientific Process. PHIC stands for Problem, Hypothesis, Investigation and Conclusion.

If you are remembering the Scientific Process from your college or high school days, you might remember some extra steps in there or at least some expansion of these four main sections. Remember, I was working with elementary students and trying to make the Scientific Process easy to remember.

For nostalgic sake, I’ll use PHIC for the rest of this article.

P.H.I.C. – The Problem

My problem was that it seemed like we were burning through the Dove Sensitive Skin (unscented) Bar Soap that I was buying at the store. It seemed like I was making frequent trips to the stockpile to open up a new bar of soap. And without a real feel for how much soap my family really needed to stockpile, I was always a little concerned that in a true SHTF situation, we would run out before we could get a resupply. My solution at the time was to just have a good amount of soap always on hand.

P.H.I.C. – Hypothesis

Because of the articles and videos I posted on Prepper Website that dealt with DIY soap making, I made an educated guess that one of the reasons why the Dove soap seemed to melt so quickly was because the Dove factories was making and distributing the soap without allowing it to cure or dry-out properly.

I believed that if I would allow the Dove soap to sit out and “cure” for some time, that the soap would last longer and I wouldn’t have to have so much soap in my stockpile.

P.H.I.C. – Investigation

My investigation would consist of opening three bars of soap and letting them dry out for various times. My first soap would sit out for 30 days. The second bar would dry for 60. And the third bar of soap would cure for 90 days. I started my experiement on January 3, 2020.

I had to convince my wife to let me leave the bars of soap on an over-sized index card on the counter of our bathroom. Each index card was labeled with the date that would mark the end of that bar of soap’s wait time – 2/3/20, 3/3/20 and 4/3/20.

I waited for February 3, 2020 so that I could start the first phase of my investigation. On that morning, I took the bar of soap that was currently in the shower and replaced it with the bar of soap that was sitting on the 2/3/20 index card.

We didn’t change our shower routine. I take one shower a day, unless a second is needed. My wife didn’t change her routine either. We kept everything the same. We had to, to make my little friend PHIC happy!


I forgot to mention that I also had a control. When I started on Jan. 3, 2020, I opened up a new bar of soap and placed it straight in the shower. The control lasted exactly 11 days. I used the soap until I couldn’t use it anymore. Like I mentioned before, it literally melted in my hands as I used the last little bit to lather up. I needed to use another bar of soap from Jan. 15 to Jan. 26. Again, 11 days seemed to be the length of time a brand new bar of soap lasted. I then opened up ANOTHER bar of soap on Jan. 27 to get me through to Feb. 3 so I could start my experiment.

The bar of soap that sat out for 30 days lasted from Feb. 3, 2020 to Feb. 18, 2020. Fifteen days is better than eleven days, but it was significatnt enough for me. I wanted to see more improvement. Again, I had to use another soap to get me through to March 3 and the 60 day soap.

On March 3 I started using my 60 day soap with high hopes. The soap lasted from March 3 to March 19. 16 days! That’s all!?! Like before, I used the soap until it melted in my hands. I was hoping for better results. The 90 day soap had to be the ticket! I used another bar until I hit April 3, 2020.

The 90 day soap experiment started on April 3 and lasted till April 19. Again, 16 days! This is better than 11. I mean, if you were in an SHTF situation, you would want an extra 5 days from each bar of soap. But this is significant enough during regular times to stack soap up on your bathroom counter to dry out. My experiment was a failure. Or was it?

P.H.I.C. – Conclusion

I didn’t get the results that I was hoping for. I thought that the store bought soap would last a lot longer if I took it out of the package and let it dry out or cure on the counter. The experiment showed that my hypothesis was wrong, at least for Dove Sensitive Skin (unscented) Bar Soap. I could try this experiment with another brand, but I would be the only one using the soap, so the experiment wouldn’t be the same.

So although I didn’t get the results I was looking for, the experiment wasn’t a complete failure. I learned the average amount of time a bar of Dove Sensitive Skin (unscented) Bar Soap lasted in my home. I shared about utilizing that information over on the article called, “Hygiene Supplies – How Much Do You Really Need?” With the information I gained from my experiment, I know that I need about 60 bars of soap for the whole family, if I plan on stocking up this specific soap for a whole year. That’s a lot of soap, but I normally buy the soap in packages of 12.

I’m curious to know how long a bar of homemade soap lasts. If you make your own soap, wold you let me know in the comments? I would also be curious to know if you have ever tried an experiment like this to help you get better prepared.


Finding Soap Making Articles on Prepper Website – CLICK HERE!

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Desperate Times – The SHTF Haircut

It was a dark and stormy night, not outside, but in my soul! I didn’t recognize the man in the mirror. Who had I become? Maybe it was a dream, or a movie sequence, like when an actor looks into the mirror and sees a reflection of ancient ancestors who lived in a primitive time. If only I had been so lucky! No, it was me. And these were desperate times. I was greatly considering that my wife would give me a haircut. Desperate times mean an SHTF haircut!

The Bushman Cometh

Listen! I know some of you reading this are rolling your eyes about now! Don’t be so condescending. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones. Or maybe your momma didn’t love you. Maybe you have a perfectly round head! Whatever! Things aren’t as easy for me. The deck is stacked against me. Let me explain.

There are a couple of issues I need to deal with concerning hair. First, I have thick hair (I see you rolling your eyes again). My hair also grows really fast. With these two things coupled together, my nicely manicured suburban hair turns into a fro. The only way that I can manage it, is with a lot of gel and hairspray. I know, I know. Call the whambulance!

Just Get a Buzz Already!

Another issue that I face, that no one knows, but it is now getting out there in the open (I fell like this is a Dr. Phil episode), is that I have a weird looking head. I have crevices and bumps all over the dome (I feel so exposed now).

This means that I can’t just buzz my hair all off. I would scare people! This isn’t Halloween season and I don’t need to be looking like Friday the 13th here without the mask! i can hear the news reports now, “we have a real life COVID-19 cell walking around Houston.”

Waiting SHTF Out

I tried waiting it out, hoping that the Coronavirus would somehow miraculously go away and the place where I normally get a haircut would open up, welcoming me with open arms and an open chair! But as the days continued on, I lost hope and realized that I needed to resort to an SHTF haircut!

What was I to do?

Video and the Internet to the Rescue?

Well, sort of. I saw a video where a girlfriend, who seems to be a hairstylist, was talking about how to give a very basic men’s haircut. The video was sent to my wife. I mean, she crafts and stuff.

She watched the video and looked up some other ones too. With a sly smirk on her face, she asked me if I was ready.

You know that pit in the bottom of your stomach? Well, mine filled up with anxiety and stress. Should I just change my name to Werewolf Todd or should I brave the knife? I mean, the clippers!

My Life Flashed Before Me

I won’t lie, I was worried. I wanted a big mirror in front of me, like I’m used to. But instead, I had to stare off into space or my kitchen, imagining the holes in my hair and the bald spots I would end up with.

I acquired a nervous laugh. I couldn’t sit still. My wife kept slapping the back of my neck like that first barber my grandfather took me to when I was a kid. Surely Amazon has full-faced N95 masks that I could order?

SHTF Haircut for the Win

Well, my wife has a way of surprising me. She does it all the time! I mean, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t perfect! At least I wouldn’t immediate it! But it was good enough to be able to style my hair like normal. I wasn’t going to scare the neighbor kids after all.

We had a lot of fun….at my expense. She said it was the most fun she had during our Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place.

SHTF Haircut
Before PIC – Checkout the Fro!
After SHTF Haircut
After Pic – The wife did a great job!

Some Help for Your SHTF Haircut

So this next part isn’t for you neanderthals that just shave off every last bit of hair on your head. This next section is for those of you who are still holding out, hoping against hope. If you trust someone with some scissors or clippers around your neck, you might be able to get some fro hair relief too!

The video below gives a good overview/tutorial on how to give a basic men’s haircut. I hope you find it valuable!

Tools for Your Scalping!

Lastly, my wife wouldn’t have had “fun time with Todd” if she didn’t already have some basic tools. This whole roller coaster ride was possible because she already had some clippers, scissors and a cape. She also used my beard trimmers.

If you don’t have what you need to cut your victim’s husband and kid’s hair, this kit has everything you need, 10 comb attachments to guide the clipper as you cut & style for multiple lengths, scissors, comb, cape, cleaning brush & oil & a storage case. The kit currently costs less than $30 and has a total of 4 Stars with over 900 reviews on Amazon.

So are you brave enough for a SHTF haircut? I almost wasn’t!


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Hygiene Supplies – How Much Do You Really Need?

Hygiene isn’t just about looking good! Hygiene is important for optimal health. And in an emergency situation, you want to make sure you are healthy; able to clean yourself off of dirt and grime, brush your teeth and have the ability to wipe your behind! Hygiene supplies are something that every self-reliant minded person should stockpile.

Many people stockpile food, water, medical supplies, and ammo. Many articles have been written detailing the importance of stockpiling these supplies. There are even calculators, like the food calculator that can be found here, that will help you figure out how much food you would need for your family.

Hygiene Supplies Calculation

But, to my recollection, I have never run upon a calculator that will tell you how much toothpaste or toilet paper to stock. As a result, most preparedness-minded people just keeping adding those items to their stockpile. But don’t worry, with very little effort, you can figure out exactly how much of each hygiene item you need!

In order to calculate your hygiene supplies, you will need a pen and paper. That’s it!

Hygiene Supplies Calculation Example

Let’s use a tube of toothpaste as an example. Start with a new tube of toothpaste. Write the date down, in a journal or index card, and then use it like you normally would use it. So for example, if you and your spouse use the toothpaste, use it normally until it is gone. When you finish, write down the end date. Note how many days it took you to use up the toothpaste. If it was 20 days and you want a 6 months supply of toothpaste on hand, this means that you would have to buy 9 tubes of toothpaste.

  • 6 months = 180 days
  • 180 divided by 20 = 9

As you can see, this is fairly elementary. The most difficult part is staying up with all of the dates and then knowing how much you want to stockpile.

What kind of hygiene supplies would you want to stockpile?

We’ve already covered why you want to stockpile hygiene supplies, lets look at what hygiene supplies you should stockpile.

Toilet Paper – Those who listen to the podcast know how often I talk about toilet paper and not wanting to run out! I guess I’ve read so many articles about how others talk about alternatives to toilet paper, like pine cones, rocks, and leaves. If that is all that is available, well ok! But I would rather prepare a little bit more and have a nice supply of the soft stuff for my tushy! The issue with toilet paper is storage. But I keep mine in my garage and just treat it like food, first in – first out! The brand that I get is from Sam’s. It is affordable and worth it.

Toothpaste – Have you ever had a toothache or a cavity? In normal times, you can go to the dentist and get it taken care of. In an emergency or SHTF situation, you will want to take care of your teeth because having pain in your mouth isn’t fun! A good toothpaste is important. Make sure you get one that you will actually use and not some cheap stuff from the dollar store! Also, don’t forget the floss!

Soap and Shampoo – I’ve read many articles on making soap in a survival situation. It’s good to have that knowledge, but I don’t want to have to go there until I absolutely need to! Buying soap and shampoo is inexpensive and is easy to store. Use the calculation example above to figure out how much soap and shampoo you will need for your stockpile.

Feminine Hygiene Products – Do you know how women used to deal with their periods back in the day? If so, do you think any modern-day woman would want to do that today? Again, if it was a survival scenario, there is not much a woman could do. But if they don’t have to deal with that until they absolutely need to, then why go through it?

Deodorant – Yeah, you don’t have to smell like a beast during the apocalypse. Or at least, you don’t have to smell like a beast at the outset. One deodorant that I have used, that is unscented and doesn’t contain aluminum is the Thai Crystal Deodorant Stone. I’ve been using it for about 9 years now. And one will last me for about 9 months. At $6.20, that is a great cost savings compared to the regular deodorant sticks.

A Non-Hygiene Item that You Can Use for Hygiene

One other item that self-reliant minded folk might want to stockpile is baking soda. Baking soda has many uses. But specifically for hygiene, baking soda could be used to make toothpaste, as a deodorant, as a facial scrub and a bath soak. For more articles on the many uses of baking soda, check out the tag cloud on Prepper Website.

Also, there are many preppers and homesteaders that make their own hygiene items. They stockpile raw materials to use in making them. That is fine if you are used to doing it. But if you are used to purchasing them from the store, an emergency situation isn’t the time to start learning to make your own products.

Don’t Go Without!

In closing, with a little preparedness, you don’t have to go without important hygiene items. Yes, you could use alternatives, but why have to deal with all of that when you are right in the middle of an emergency situation? Having these vital items stockpiled will help you to live healthier and focus your attention on more pressing issues.



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