How to Deal With Long Term Water Loss

We hope you’ve learned some new things from our Water Storage series so far. We have a few more posts coming next week, and then we’ll be onto new things. Today we’re going to talk about how you can save your precious stored water in an emergency where you may not have stored enough (see water container post). Ideally you will have a filtration and purification method, and ability to gather more water in case of a long term emergency, but this may not always be the case.

  • First off, FILL YOUR WATER CONTAINERS. We hear from SO many people that they have containers that they just haven’t gotten around to filling yet.
  • Bathe in a large bucket or bin, and use bottles that have the types of tops that squirt (refillable condiment containers) when pressure is applied. This will help with faster rinsing. Use the remaining bath water in the bucket for flushing toilets.
  • Use coralite bath wipes, for quick bathing.
  • Store some no rinse shampoo and conditioner for hair.
  • Have paper plates, plastic cups, and disposable tableware to use to allow you to cut back on dish water.
  • Use recipes that mix most ingredients in one dish or pan that you serve straight from to cut back on dish-washing.
  • Store wet wipes and hand sanitizer to help clean up messes and wash hands.
  • Tap into your water heater and toilet tanks for water if you run out of stored water.
  • Wear your hair in ponytails, or wear hats when you can’t wash your hair as frequently during prolonged times with no water.
  • If you have a swamp cooler that runs on water, make sure you have back-up cooling methods such as fans or wet rags to cool your body off during hotter weather.
  • Fill liquid soap/detergent bottles with water. You’ll have water for washing small load of dishes. Soapy water for hands, and the bottles squirt out better then soda or juice containers.
  • Save water from cooking noodles or other foods to use for other things. Use water from canned vegetables.
  • Don’t wait until you are out of clean clothes to do laundry! If you’re always on top of your laundry, hopefully if crisis hits you won’t be stuck with 7-10 loads of dirty laundry to do.
  • If you have to do laundry get a bucket, put a little baking soda, a tad of water, plunge by hand or with plunger. No need to rinse with baking soda. Baking soda will eradicate smell too.
  • If you’re water has a funny taste, store drink flavoring to improve the taste. You can also aerate the water by pouring it back and forth between two containers. It adds oxygen to the water and gets rid of the stale taste.
  • Flush conservatively. Use water you previously used for bathing or washing dishes to flush the toilets.

We hope some of these ideas are useful. It may be a good idea to print out this list so you have access to it and add it to your Food Storage Made Easy binder. You never know when emergency strikes if you are going to have access to the internet!


  • “Have paper plates, plastic cups, and disposable tableware to use to allow you to cut back on dish water.” Are you kidding?!? You may well use less water at home, but to create those you need much water, are expensive relative to water, and creates a big ammount of garbage. I hope nobody makes this!

  • Melody

    I have gotten so many compliments on my mint tea, how the mint was just right every time. Then I got caught putting 3 drops of mint flavoring into one half gallon of tea. It is the same procedure for my vanilla tea.
    This works on water also. Give it the old trial and error until you find the flavors and strengths you like. Test it before you need it, when you can afford to use that water for other purposes. My plants liked the mint but not so much the vanilla.

  • candy

    Another way to save water during a long time water outages if not to use the toilet. An emergency honey bucket (5gal bucket with trash bag inside and lid) will work great. the bag is then disposed of and no water down the drain.

  • Jessica

    GREAT TIPS! I had store water in every empty container (water bottles, juice bottles, etc) but I had never thought about storing water for dishes in my soap bottles! THANKS!
    Opened my mind to other things I need to store also (dry shampoo, wet wipes, etc)

  • Lori

    I have seen posts on the internet that if you are canning and have room, can a jar of water. Not sure if this is worth it or if it should be water bath or pressure canned for long term storage. Does anyone know if this is a viable way to store water? If so, which way of canning? And how long should it be stored before rotating?

  • Sokul1

    90% of words population have well water and septic tank, 10% destroys 90% of worlds drinking water

  • Mebake

    on the bathroom front….keep a few bags of cheap cat litter on hand for #2, it dries the feces out, keeps flies at bay and is easily disposed of, toilets can take quite a few gallons to flush properly..do keep water in the toilet bowl, don’t want the sewage pipe to dry out and expel sewage gases

    • Sokul1

      dry clay

  • emorra

    Great tips 🙂

    On the laundry front, it is the garments worn closest to the skin that are the most important to keep clean.

    Clothes like jeans and sweaters can go a long time in between washings since you wear other garments underneath (unless you get muddy or dirty on the outside somehow).

    So if you need to do laundry during a water crisis, only wash what you really need to have clean, such as undies and socks and stinky shirts.

  • Psolsen08

    Very helpful tips! Thank you!

  • Elizabeth

    After the Northridge Earthquake, we used pool water to flush the toilets, as we had 8 days no water at my parents’ house.  

  • You can also learn to do your dishes using the 3-step method (wash, rinse, sanitize) as well as how to dig a cathole or latrine. Otherwise, very sound advice.

  • Ctdaffodil

    We have an above ground pool and have used that water for flushing….it was too cold for swimming anyway

  • Thanks for the tips. There were several things I had never thought of!