Emergency Cleaning Buckets-How To Be Prepared

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We all need emergency cleaning buckets. I know we all have cleaning supplies in our homes. I have two bathrooms and under each bathroom sink, I have cleaning supplies, like window spray, Clorox wipes, paper towels and extra garbage bags to refill the small garbage cans in each bathroom. I have cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink and above the washing machine and dryer. Here’s the deal, I had an awesome reader by the name of Beth, mention to me that her church, The United Methodist Church makes 5-gallon buckets that are filled with cleaning supplies to help those in need wherever they live all over the country. I tried to find the link about what they put in each bucket, but I couldn’t find it. But I love the idea that we could each make 5-gallon buckets filled with essential items people would need to clean up after a disaster wherever it may happen. Plus, we would be ready in a pinch to go help a neighbor in need. Janet sent me this link for those buckets: UMCOR

I call this comment by Beth, a cartwheel moment, you know when you realize these emergency cleaning buckets would be so easy to put together and fairly reasonable in price. We could make it a neighborhood project to buy buckets with handles and fill them once a week with one item. I have a friend in the neighborhood who calls me and a few other sweet women in the neighborhood to help clean houses when people move out. We all bring our buckets with our own supplies and all get to work. Luckily, the houses are quite small where I live. I bring a step-stool that I feel safe climbing on to clean out the higher cabinets in kitchens, etc. It’s not a paid assignment, it’s a gift from neighbors to help those who are moving to another neighborhood.

I think this is why I loved Beth’s comment about the 5-gallon buckets filled with emergency cleaning supplies. Just picture the grocery stores after a disaster, those cleaning supply shelves will be empty, I promise. And for that matter, all the shelves will be empty at all stores, that’s why we store water and food storage, right? Right. Here are some items I use. I know some people are against using Clorox, but you will need a lot of Clorox after a disaster, trust me. I’ve cleaned a lot of flooded basements, who knows what’s in that water. I shoveled mud from houses, yep Clorox is on my list. And gloves, and  N-95 masks.

Emergency Cleaning Buckets

  1. 5-gallon bucket with a good handle
  2. Dishwasher Soap – I prefer Dawn liquid
  3. Laundry detergent – so we can wash whatever needs to be cleaned if power is restored and it’s safe to use washing machines
  4. Hand soap and hand sanitizer
  5. Clorox-liquid
  6. Clorox wipes
  7. Cleaning gloves
  8. Non-latex gloves
  9. N-95 Masks
  10. Window cleaner
  11. Spic & Span Spray Cleaner
  12. Garbage bags – 33-gallon black bags
  13. Rags, lots of rags. I use these instead of paper towels: Burp Cloths by Birdseye Lithium Reusable
  14. Sponges or some sort of scrubbing pads
  15. Mop
  16. Clothesline and clothespins
  17. Pair of work gloves
  18. Paper towels
  19. Bottles of water to drink
  20. Air freshener
  21. Deborah reminded me of this product, Odoban for removing odors: Odoban
  22. Julie reminded me to add baking soda. She uses it after camping with her laundry.

I remember washing clothes, towels, etc. for a friend after her home caught on fire. We washed those items like seven times and never got the smoke smell out. All the neighbors pitched in to try and clean them. After that experience, today I would trash them. We never got the smell out of them and we used more detergent, water, and power than the clothes were probably worth. I learned a big lesson helping that neighbor.

The critical thing is to have cleaning supplies on hand, not just for emergencies to go help others with our emergency cleaning buckets, but to make sure we have those items for our own homes in case a disaster hits our neighborhood and the stores become empty very quickly. I know we talk about first aid supplies, well, cleaning supplies are essential to rid our homes of bacteria that may creep into our homes after an unforeseen disaster or emergency. Please tell me the items you would add to my list. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected.

Cleaning bathrooms by Linda

Cleaning my house by Linda

N-95 Masks

Cleaning gloves

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40 thoughts on “Emergency Cleaning Buckets-How To Be Prepared

  • September 23, 2017 at 7:26 am
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    Wonderful list. I would buy several of the laundry bleach tablets, instead of having a lot of Clorox. It is much easier to store.

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  • September 23, 2017 at 7:37 am
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    Looks like a pretty good list Linda. Cleaned many a houses in my day too, it’s a great idea to bring your own supplies. The one thing that I like is a bar of Fels Naptha soap in a piece of nylon net. It’s a great scrubber/stain remover for clothes.
    Have a good weekend:)

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  • September 23, 2017 at 9:04 am
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    I set up a booth at an Emergency Preparedness Fair for toilet needs. I learned a lot on my research. I did the “2 bucket potty”, One for pee & one for pooh. In one bucket was cleaning supplies, like you would use in the bathroom. I included spray bottles, bleach, etc. My next task is to set up a cleaning bucket. Maybe that will be under some Christmas trees this year. I love helping my kids out with practical gifts. Thanks once again.  Love love love your blog,

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    • September 23, 2017 at 11:48 am
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      Oh Debra, this is a great idea! See how we learn from each other!!! I love this! Those would be great gifts for Christmas, I’m practical too! Love this comment! Linda

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  • September 23, 2017 at 9:09 am
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    Hi, Linda. Because our rural farm is on a well and septic system, I’m pretty careful about when and where I use bleach but do keep it for those time when needed. I recently learned that bleach has a use by date because it changes from bleach to a salt over time.

    “When Clorox® Regular-Bleach is stored between 50°F and 70F° and away from sunlight, it will maintain label strength of the sodium hypochlorite active for up to 6 months (at this point hospitals should replace it). After 6 months it starts breaking down into salt and water, but it will still work well for the home consumer up to a year. Since it’s always diluted before use, you can just use a little more. Beyond a year, it should be replaced because the rate of decomposition into salt and water speeds up, which is a big part of why it’s environmentally friendly.”
    I checked my jug that I’ve probably had for 2 years, it was well past the date and no longer smelled like bleach. Now I buy a smaller bottle that I can use up before it degrades.

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    • September 23, 2017 at 11:51 am
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      Hi Debbie, I buy small bottles of bleach as well because of the shelf-life. I’m looking into the shelf life of the tablets. I’m thinking they would be the same, but I will call the company. Great comment, Linda

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      • September 23, 2017 at 1:01 pm
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        Would love to hear what you find out about the shelf life of the bleach tablets. I had a bleach container
        explode and run down my cabinets because I wasn’t paying attention to the expiration date so I no longer use it. But had no clue about tablets, it sounds easier.

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        • September 23, 2017 at 4:06 pm
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          Hi Kimmy, yikes you had a bleach container explode, wow, that’s the first time I have heard that could happen. It makes sense. It looks like Kathy Wilson has an answer for us about pool shock treatment crystals. Yay! Linda

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  • September 23, 2017 at 9:09 am
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    P.S. I like to put liquid items in Ziplock Freezer bags. This saves on a mess if anythings breaks and gives me plastic bags, if needed. I always keep a few of these bags handy in the car in case anyone gets car sick!!!  

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    • September 23, 2017 at 11:53 am
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      Hi, Debra, I love freezer bags, they are stronger than the regular ones. Great tip for the car!! Love this comment! Linda

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  • September 23, 2017 at 9:22 am
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    The list is very comprehensive. The bucket could be a fun wedding shower gift, maybe ask each guest to bring one item to fill the bucket. At some point every new bride and groom will need to clean their abode!

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  • September 23, 2017 at 10:25 am
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    About the Clorox. It does kill germs but not molds. For molds you need a fungicide. They now have some you can buy at a Menard store or even Lowe’s or Home Depot. This is very important! Clorox can bleach the surface so you THINK the mold is gone but it isn’t!

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    • September 23, 2017 at 11:52 am
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      I thought it did kill mold, thanks for the tip. I will check for some fungicide. Great comment, Linda

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  • September 23, 2017 at 10:41 am
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    I have been saving Kitty Litter buckets for years. My main use is using cleaned bleached buckets for herbs and vegetable growing. I drill holes in the bottom for drainage and sometimes add small stones to aid that drainage. My son-in-law sort of teased me about it until one day he realized he could use them in the garage for storage of all sorts of things. He asked me” Do you have any without holes?” Of course I do! I have one full of all different kinds of wrapped bath bars in the event of soap shortage. During Hurricane Irma we filled 10 kitty litter buckets with well water to aid in hand washing, dish washing, cloths washing and any other type of cleaning if needed. We also filled five for water for the pigs and chickens. Normally we would not use it for the animals drinking water, but in a pinch it did just fine and they came through with flying c0lors. The possibilities are endless, free, and keeps them out of the land fill.

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    • September 23, 2017 at 11:46 am
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      Hi Carolyn, we can never have too many buckets!!! LOL! Great reminder to people to keep all bucket and load up on soap! LOVE this! Linda

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  • September 23, 2017 at 3:14 pm
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    I store packets of sodium hypochlorite POOL SHOCK TREATMENT in the small plastic bags. It is my understanding that you can put one TEASPOON of the crystals into one GALLON of water, and you have the equivalant of a 5% Clorine solution, which is about equal to the liquid Clorox you buy at the store. This is much easier to handle, and transport in powder form, than when it is in liquid. You can do the math, but the powder form lasts for years, in a cool spot, and away from light, and anything reactive. There is a ton of info online about this…

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    • September 23, 2017 at 4:08 pm
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      Hi, Kathy, this is great to know. I have a pool but I only have the pool tablets. I’m on it, this is AWESOME to know, thanks for sharing! Linda

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      • September 26, 2017 at 2:19 pm
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        Make sure you read up on all the gotchas with pool shock. Plastic containers are key since glass is too easy to break and metal containers will be eaten away by the chemicals. I store the sealed bags of pool shock in a small plastic container, along with chemical resistant gloves and directions for mixing the powder into water to make bleach and then diluting for disinfection sprays or water purification. Googles are stored on top of the bucket along with a second copy of the directions. I also have lots of plastic measuring spoons so I can use one with the pool shock and then leave it with the gloves for use again later.

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        • September 26, 2017 at 2:33 pm
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          Thank you for this great comment, my pool shock is stored in plastic buckets! I love tips like this, thank you! Linda

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  • September 23, 2017 at 3:15 pm
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    POOL SHOCK is found in the swimming pool treatment department at all Walmart Stores, and many other places…

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  • September 23, 2017 at 6:43 pm
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    This site has some excellent comments and reminded me to check on something I also have stored for emergencies. After learning that Bleach has a six month shelf life I ordered some packets of calcium hypochlorite which I was planning on using if I needed to purify water. I had forgotten about it until I read Kathy’s statement about Pool Shock. Knowing it can be corrosive I sealed the packets of dry granules first with my Foodsaver vacuum sealer bags and then placed them into a Seal Tite plastic container with four self locking sides. When I just checked I found while the packets of calcium hypochlorite granules are still loose and dry in their original packaging their has been some reactive process going on. The Foodsaver bags have expanded and are sticky to the touch and the inner seal of the plastic Seal Tite container has basically degraded. It has been over two years since I stored this product and it has been in a cool dark environment. I guess I need to research another way to store this product. I know plastic would be the preferred method and nothing metallic.

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    • September 24, 2017 at 4:11 am
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      Hi, Carolyn, I’m glad you mentioned this, I have pool shock but it’s stored outside and I have a salt pool that uses very little pool shock. I am going to call the Clorox company on Monday or Tuesday and see if I can talk to someone. I would order a water purifier like a Big Berkey or even the Berkey Sports Bottles, the Life Straw has a better product out now than they did in the beginning. I’ll keep you posted. I’m so glad you shared the tip on the sticky FoodSaver bags. Linda

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      • September 24, 2017 at 6:57 am
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        I do have a Big Berkey and have bought each of my adult children one as gifts over time. I also have a couple of the Berkey Sports bottles. Even with clean water we will still need a disinfecting source hence storing of the calcium hypochlorite. I opted to try and store it inside in a sealed cool environment rather than outside since I wanted it for long term storage and not something that I would be using right away. Luckily, the original packets seem to be Ok even though some of the product has some form of outgassing.

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        • September 24, 2017 at 8:47 am
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          Hello again Linda, I checked my source for How to make chlorine bleach at home. It is supposedly taken from an Army manual and sounds legit. I thought you might be interested in the article. I bought Zappit 73 Pool Shock as recommended from Amazon since it has a 10 year shelf life when stored in a cool, dark place. The link to the site is https://tacticalintelligence.net/blog/how-to-make-chlorine.htm

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          • September 24, 2017 at 9:14 am
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            Hi, Carolyn, I’m all over this, thank you!!! I’m going to order the Zappit 73 Pool shock. Thanks for the links and great tip!!! I love it! Linda

        • September 24, 2017 at 9:11 am
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          Hi, Carolyn, we need all of it, don;t we? We have to be prepared for whatever comes our way. Thanks for the link you found above. I’m on it. Linda

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  • September 24, 2017 at 8:23 am
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    I keep baking soda (and washing soda) and vinegar for everyday cleaning. Also, I don’t buy hand soap; all our pump bottles for hand soap are filled with diluted Dawn, even in the shower. If it works on oil-slimed little duckies it will certainly clean grubby teenagers & stinky husbands!

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    • September 24, 2017 at 9:13 am
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      Hi Linda, wow, I never thought about diluting Dawn, that’s all I buy. My grandson got the family started washing hair with baking soda and vinegar. Great tip!!! Linda

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  • September 24, 2017 at 9:08 am
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    It seems like your kits are all very wide in scope, but while hygiene seems to be the main use and purpose for these kits, I would consider adding duct tape, WD-40 and light machine oil, and products (Pledge, Murphy’s Soap) to help clean and restore furniture and possibly wooden stair rails and the like.
    Anything metal will benefit from a light scrubbing from steel wool, brushes or even a simple S.O.S. pad and an old toothbrush. Then if applicable a light coat of oil or even petroleum jelly. You can protect metal with Vaseline or even Chapstick. The idea is to prevent rust and pitting on hinges, screws, locks and anything made of any kind of metal. In Florida you can just clean and wipe some things while other stuff like car wheels or tools can almost rust away in a few months. Humidity is metals worse enemy.
    And the polishes would bring back and protect delicate wood that has been exposed to moisture, dirty water and other grime. This would be appreciated by those who own older antique furniture or anything made of wood such as guitars or other finely made items.
    These additional items might grab the interests of guys who’d like to help and wouldn’t mind doing those types of tasks…. better pack some candy bars, peanuts and beef jerky to keep them a while 🙂

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    • September 24, 2017 at 9:22 am
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      Hi, Frank, I love this comment, I should write a post just about these items. I forget I live in such a dry desert compared to the humid areas in the south. Great comment, thank you! Linda

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      • September 26, 2017 at 10:08 am
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        No problem. You and your fans, friends and/or subscribers always have good information. Survival isn’t just about guns or security or house cleaning and laundry or medical concerns, but a combination of all these things. We lost power and water when Irma hit us and again, the main concerns were basic and the main need was for the essentials and the hope to be comfortable.
        I know we did alright in preparing, but it could be better next time. And now I have that experience to learn from and to help my family and myself to make better preparations by better planning and implementation. The one thing we lacked were munchies, but the person who shops for food here doesn’t buy many snacks. Now I will make sure we have things to nibble on and keep up our spirits.

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      • September 24, 2017 at 4:12 pm
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        Don’t pack the consumables with the chemical products, please. The food will take on the taste of the chemicals. (Not to mention if one of them spills your thoughtfulness will become a disappointment at best, a poisoning at worst.) Tie them in a bag to the handle, so they hang outside the chemicals, perhaps?

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        • September 24, 2017 at 5:08 pm
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          Hi Cass, I was thinking of bringing a box or two of Snickers candy bars from Costco, cases of water, small pre-packaged peanuts and jerky to homes to help with clean-up. Thanks for mentioning that, some people might not realize the danger of packing the treats in the buckets when mailing them. Great comment, Linda

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  • September 24, 2017 at 6:43 pm
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    After a fire and of course water damage from the fire department fighting the fire at one of our medical buildings the insurance company sent ServicePro to clean up. I noticed they were using Odoban to get rid of the smoke smell and other odors. I have added this to my clean up bucket. It comes in several different scents now. Sams Cllub carries this and I am pretty sure I have seen this product on Amazon.

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    • September 24, 2017 at 7:05 pm
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      HI Deborah, oh I love this comment, I am going to add this product to my emergency cleaning buckets! I love this!!! Thank you! Linda

      Reply

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