When an article about keeping diapers in my stockpile came across my feed, I thought it was some kind of gimmick until I started thinking about it.
I keep tampons, maxi-pads, and mini-pads in there for medical uses, so why not diapers? They’re absorbent and lightweight, and cover more than a maxi-pad would.
So I started checking, and found even more survival uses for diapers than I’d thought of.
Cloth or Disposable?
Both! Cloth diapers are typically made out of cotton, which means they’re extremely absorbent tolerated by most people. They’re also washable and even bleachable since they’re made for a pretty heavy-duty purpose.
Many cloth diapers are also reinforced with several layers down the middle third, when absorbency is needed the most.
Disposable diapers have the benefit of sodium polyacrylate, also known as hydrogel. If you’ve ever torn a diaper open, you’ve seen the little crystally popcorn balls, or if they’ve already been exposed to water, it’ll appear as a gel. Hydrogel can absorb up to 300 times its weight in tap water and even more if the water is distilled.
In addition, you can still buy the diapers that are plastic on the outside, or at least leak-resistant, which opens it up for a whole other world of uses.
This is the obvious use, other than the intended one, that is. Both cloth and disposable diapers make good bandages.
Cloth diapers are a little more resilient because they’re flat and can be folded and molded to fit wherever you need it to, but disposable diapers are good if you want absorbency, or even the ability to fasten it around something without needing pins.
Because there are times when the cloth diapers with the thicker strip down the middle can be too bulky for what you need, but can be extremely beneficial in other times, I recommend getting a couple of stacks of both.
You know those ice packs that are moldable and easy to work with?
You can make those at home by pulling the polyacrylate out of the disposable diaper – or just putting the whole diaper in – and putting it in a Ziploc bag. Add ½ cup-1 cup of alcohol or vodka and about the same amount of water.
If it’s not quite gooey enough, add a little more water. When it’s that gel substance instead of dry, you’re ready to freeze it. It will stay cold longer than regular ice and the alcohol will keep it from freezing solid.
Treat Hoof Issues
Ever tried to get a horse to stand in a bucket for a medicinal soak? I have. And it’s like stuffing a cat in a feed sack. Good luck. But horses get abscesses sometimes. An abscess is an infection in the hoof and will keep your horse lame for months if you don’t treat it properly.
When I was showing horses, we always had a disposable diaper – as well as maxi-pads – in the med kit because if you need to soak a sore knee or cover a wound, a diaper is a great way to do it.
To make a poultice to treat an abscess, dissolve 1 cup Epsom salts in hot water then add 2 cups wheat bran. Add more water if need be to make it into a wet paste.
Clean the hoof well and, if possible, break the wall of the abscess. This may be something you have to wait on, but there’s no need doing the poultice till the abscess works its way to the surface and ruptures.
At that point, make the paste above and pack it into the hoof, then hold it in place with a medium diaper. You may want to add another diaper or wrap it in duct tape or a gauze bandage.
Not for nothing, but this would work if you got sores on your feet, too.
Shoe Padding and Insoles
The last thing you need if you’re in a survival situation is to rub blisters or open sores on your feet. Nor do you want your feet to be sweaty and hot.
Both are breeding grounds for infection. The polyacrylate is fluffy and makes for a great padding that you can use as an insole or on spots that may be rubbing.
Since it’s absorbent, it’s great to use just as a replacement for a fancy insole that you may not have access to or be able to afford.
A cloth diaper is made with tightly woven fibers to help stop leaks, so it’s perfect for filtering water. Just place the diaper over the container you want the water in, leaving it dipped into the container in the middle like a cup or a funnel.
Pour the water into the diaper and let it run through. Remember that this is only filtered, which means you’re removing the debris. It doesn’t kill any pathogens or remove any chemicals.
Heat stroke is a real danger in the summer, especially now that it’s getting so much hotter. Disposable diapers are designed the hold in moisture, so use this to your advantage.
All a cup or two of water to the diaper then refrigerate or freeze. When you’re going outside to do something that’s hot, just put the chilled diaper on the back of your neck – it’ll wick away moisture while helping keep you cool.
When you’re in need, you have to survive with what you have on hand. Diapers might be one of the items that you have around, so be aware of their uses and try to make the most out of it!
These are just a few of the uses that I found for diapers. Can you think of more? If so, tell us about them in the comments section below.
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.