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Aging in Place – Making Your Home Livable for a Lifetime

We built our home to be a “lifetime” house, serving our changing needs throughout our lives. We planned to have the option of aging in place. In this post we'll present our Aging in Place Design Checklist, and then highlight how to apply this checklist to different areas of the home.

We built our home to be a “lifetime” house, serving our changing needs throughout our lives. We planned to have the option of aging in place. From children, to injured family, to possibly multiple families or live in relatives, we tried to cover likely scenarios. In this post we'll present our Aging in Place Design Checklist, and then highlight how to apply this checklist to different areas of the home.

Whether you are building new, remodeling or just thinking about what you might be looking for in a home or apartment, consider accessibility in your requirements. Wrought iron railings or marble counter tops might be trendy, but minor structural changes can make sure you are able to enjoy your home for many years to come with a similar investment.

Over the last 12+ years the extra lighting, open concept, wide hallways and doors, hard floors and other accessibility features have served us well. Laurie's mother visited and was surprised to be able to easily shower in the low clearance shower. Great Uncle Bill visited in a wheelchair and he could roll right in and out without hitting anything. Best of all, we didn't have to carry him up steps. When Grandma Jane visits she can roll in with a walker or walk without different flooring to trip on.

Aging in Place Design Checklist

Single Level Access

We strongly recommend that a home have a bathroom, kitchen, laundry and at least one bedroom on the main living floor. If this isn't possible, build for the option for stair lift or elevator in the future. See the section on Stairwells below for lift information. For an elevator, locate two closets one directly below the other, and keep the floor/ceiling between them clear of plumbing and electrical.

Extra Wide Zero Clearance Garage Door for Accessibility


Use 36 inch wide doors throughout. Skip doors if you can, such as skipping doors on closets. (Doors often get in the way of wheel chairs and walkers.) Consider pocket doors to allow maximum clearance. Use lever door handles instead of door knobs. Handles are easier to operate if you or are in a wheel chair, or just have your hands full.

The main entry and garage entry should be 42″ wide if at all possible. We had to replace 10 to 20 year old appliances and the delivery guys were amazed at how easy it was to get the old fridge and stove out and the new ones in with the wider hallways and 42 inch exterior door.

Consider covered entries over all your exterior doors – a small porch or covered concrete pad. When you're juggling a walker, wheel chair or crutches, it's helpful to be at least partly out of the weather as you gain entry to the home.


Lighter colored paints improve lumen levels in the home. Brighter colors have also been shown to improve mood. A semigloss latex paint is a good option, because it is washable. Spills happen, more so at both ends of the age spectrum. It's easier to wipe down a wall than have to repaint.

The flooring should be a bit darker than the walls so there is a contrast between floor surfaces and trim/wall. The color contrast gives the visually impaired a key to where the wall and floor meet.

Toe kick lighting for use as a night light.


Try to have 2 to 4 times as much lighting as you think you need. Extra lighting makes it easier to allow aging in place. Try to have daylighting (windows or sun tubes) in all living spaces if possible, to allow for natural light as well as ventilation on a nice day.

In addition to general lighting, we recommend extra task lighting, so you have light right where you need it. We also added toe kick lighting on a dimmer in the bathrooms and the kitchen, for use as a night light. LED lighting helps to reduce energy usage, keeping your electric bill down.

Bookshelves in the hallway allow for extra storage space.


Hallways should be 36 to 48″ wide. A hallway can be used for multiple purposes. It could be a library, closets, pantry or even laundry. Consider shelving the entire length of a hallway.

Backing in wall to support grab bars

Support and Backing

When you add home medical equipment like safety rails or bed lifts, they need to be mounted in sturdy lumber. This is called “backing”. It's easy to add while your walls are open, but requires a lot more mess if you have to add it later. We used 2 x 6 and 2 x 8 chunks of lumber to create wide, solid screw surfaces. Even a 2 x 4 in the right spot will provide significant support.

Add backing in walls, especially in bathroom and stairwells, and additional ceiling supports in bedrooms for lifts over beds. If you're planning for a flat screen TV in an area, add backing there, too. Backing is easy to add when you are building, but not easy later, so add it anywhere you MIGHT need it.

Front Entrance

Consider adding a camera to the main entrance to allow communication with visitors (preferably a way to lock/unlock remotely also). Consider a system to remotely turn on exterior lights. The entry should have a line of sight out of the house, so you can see as people approach. The front door should be 40 to 42 inches wide to allow easy access for a wheelchair. (It's also great for getting furniture, appliances or Christmas trees in and out.)


Select energy-efficient windows that are easy to open and easy to clean. The windows should require little strength to close and lock. Crank handles are a good choice. Blinds and insulating curtains should have longer cords that can be reached from a wheelchair or be mechanically operated. Insulating blinds/curtains reduce heat loss in and out, and also reduce glare. Dark shades allow for a better nights sleep for young and old alike.

A zero clearance threshold with hard floors reduces tripping hazards.


Select non-slip hard flooring throughout your home, and ensure you have level surfaces at entrances. Wherever possible, all the floors should be level or “at grade” so there is no threshold or a low threshold at doorways. This is huge for those using walkers, and/or those who have trouble lifting their feet.


Cabinets should have white or light interiors. They should have loop or lever handles (not knobs), to avoid catching on clothing (or medical accessories like oxygen hoses). Protruding knobs are also more likely to catch a hip or elbow. Use pull out shelving where possible, to make it easier to access the items in the back of the cabinet.

Roll out kitchen shelving makes it easier to access items in the back of cabinets.

Heating, Cooling and Ventilation (HVAC)

Consider radiant heating. As we age our circulation to extremities slows. Warm floors become more appealing to cold feet.

Good ventilation matters for a long term comfort in a home. Cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter are critical. Air filtration can reduce the impact of allergies for young and old alike. Make sure every room has ventilation – even consider ventilation in large closets and storage areas. Good filtration also cuts down on dust and reduces cleaning needs.

HVAC systems need to be just the right size. Over-sizing or under-sizing are both problems. Unless the system is just right, it can make the system less efficient and less effective. That level of comfort matters throughout our life. For more info see: Building Eco Home – ICF, HVAC, and Plumbing.

Two panel electric system allows one panel to run critical systems from emergency power.


Anyplace you might put devices to charge, you may want to put a bar USB charger. Also consider quad (4 gang) electrical outlet instead of 2 gang. Consider extra outlets, on separate circuits, in bedrooms. Place extra outlets near each location you might put a bed. You might need the outlets for medical equipment as we age, or in the shorter term for rechargeable devices and small electric appliances, monitors and computers.

Electrical outlets should be placed where you NEED them. Around the house 18 inches to 24 inches above the floor, or just above a counter or near a desk. Light switches should be 36 to 44 inches above the floor, and a lighted switch can act as a guide in the dark.

If you are in a single family dwelling, consider dual panel electrical. One panel for non essential items and a 2nd that could be fed by generator for critical services such as critical lighting, well pump, stove and other items.

The controls for ventilation in all our bathrooms are on a timer. The timer is useful so children or forgetful adults/seniors don't leave fans running.

Aging in place kitchen with task lighting above sink.

Kitchen Design Notes

Be careful with your work triangle. Try to design for two work triangles if you can. Include variable height work surfaces. In the kitchen we have a lower butcher block that the kids used when they were little, and as adults we still use when we need to apply pressure, suck as hacking a large squash in half. The lower counter height could have a roll out storage unit under it. Rolling out the storage unit allows an open space beneath to let someone pull a chair up or even a wheelchair. It still provides storage. This can be done under the sink, too, to allow rolling access while preserving storage space.

All the cabinets have white interiors to simplify seeing what is in them. Many of the lower cabinets have pull out drawers and shelves. We also have a lazysusan corner recycling center and pull out garbage cans to keep the area free of tripping hazards. Finally, there is extra task lighting everywhere, and toe kick lighting for getting a drink at night.

We have old fashioned cork backed linoleum flooring. This is easy to clean up, and makes it slightly less likely for glass to break if it is dropped.

We recommend selecting easy to operate appliances. Many modern devices have far too many electronic controls. See “Spring Cleaning – 6 Steps to a Clean and Organized Kitchen” for general kitchen organization tips.

Aging in Place Bathroom

Bathroom Design Notes

Our bathrooms were built to be handicap accessible, but they don't look like a hospital. We added backing in the walls and used heavy metal grab bars as towel racks.

You should have a walk in shower on the main floor. Ideally it should have at most a 1.2 inch rounded edge and be ramped from the outside in. The small “ramp” avoids a big lip that would be a tripping hazard. The shower should drop about 1/8 inch per foot to a drain in the center (that way the slope is even on each side). You also need an adjustable-height, handheld showerhead/hose.

We have a Kohler FreeWill Barrier free wheelchair accessible shower (K-12102-C), which has been discontinued. None of our immediate family use a wheelchair at this time, but we all appreciate the large shower, with solid handles. We have had it for over 10 years and are very happy with it. The boys only splashed out of it a small amount when they were younger. The Kohler K-12111-C-0 Freewill is similar, but a little smaller, and has a fold down seat.

The unit is one piece, so there are no grout lines to clean. (Two piece units are a little less expensive, and only have one seam to clean.) We prefer fully enclosed showers, so you don't need to worry about water damage and peeling paint above. (Less maintenance is good.)

The basement tub is also a full deep tub with a complete surround and grab bars. Again we have been happy with this purchase also. The basement bathroom has grab bars also.

We have hand-held showers with single lever control, scald control faucets in both the shower and the tub. Hand held showers are extremely helpful for washing those with limited mobility.

Aging in Place Bedroom open closets.

Bedroom Design Notes

Our bedrooms all have hard floors and well lit closets. The “master” bedroom, has two closets and neither closet has a door. We tried to make it so the walk in closet had wide access for a wheel chair (just in case). Again, all the shelving is white.

We ensured good airflow with central air for cooling and fresh air and ceiling fans in each bedroom.

If you are remodeling or building new, consider wiring/design so that you could have individual room temperature and humidity controls. This could mean mini-duct or other special venting and more advanced thermostat and controls. Even with all of us healthy, we have different preferences for sleeping temperatures.

The main floor bedroom should have space for a king sized bed, if possible. That extra space would ensure enough room for an assisted mechanical bed.

Consider adding sound batting in walls. This is especially important if a bedroom or bedrooms are off the main living space. Sound insulation is fairly inexpensive but could make a bedroom more livable if there is activity all hours or someone is a light sleeper.

Stairwell Design Notes

Your stairwells should be 40″ to 46″ wide. This allows the addition of a chair lift, or two people walking side by side for support. Include backing on both sides to allow the addition of a chair lift. The backing also makes for more solid anchors for railings. Stairwells should be located where children or older adults would not easily fall down them. Again, consider backing in the area near the top of the steps to permit a gate or door to protect the stairs.

Have extra stair lighting with switch at top and bottom. Treads should be 10 to 11 inches and have nonslip surfaces. The rise should be 6.5 to 7 inch with no “nosing”. The tread should not have a lip, i.e., it should not extend out past the riser. No nosing reduces the risk of tripping.

Laundry Room Design Notes

Our laundry is also a 1/2 bath that has an upright freezer. The laundry room has linoleum flooring. extra storage over the front loading washer and dryer. Make sure that the location has the washer closest to the wash tub/sink. Another thing to confirm is left/right on the washer and dryer so that the front loaders match so you can easily move items from the washer to the dryer. Having a hanging bar directly over the sink allows you to drip dry laundry if needed.

Recessed shelving allows for extra storage in the wall.

Storage Design Notes

Get creative with storage. Recess cabinets into walls to use the stud wall gap (it gives about 4 inches deeper storage). Put shelves along hallways between studs. Consider defined storage under steps. Make closets run right to the ceiling for extra storage. Consider traditional tricks like wall “murphy” beds and pantries. The Japanese have fantastic ideas with entire movable walls with integrated storage. Storage is necessary throughout your life, and being able to easily find things is critical. Check out the post “Preparedness Storage – Keeping it Safe and Sound” for a wider variety of storage suggestions.

Garage Design Notes

Consider a at least a two stall garage with at grade entrance. That means the concrete in the garage is level with the internal floor levels. At least one parking stall should be larger to fit a large powered wheelchair accessible van. That space should have room near it to allow a wheelchair to turn around. Again, add extra outlets, and extra lighting. We upgraded to heavy duty hangers for tools, to avoid them dropping on children or older adults.

Outside Design Notes

When we think of aging in place or building a lifetime home, we need to focus on the interior. But we can't forget the exterior. Walkways around the home should be no slope and no slip surfaces.

There should be extra lighting where needed to allow easy navigation in the dark. There should be enough outside lighting to allow a person to walk completely around the home with full lighting. Pathways should be a different color than the surrounding landscaping and vegetation. Outside electrical outlets should be high enough to be visible and away from future debris.

Consider raised beds or container gardening for easier gardening access for aging adults.

Other Considerations

Focus on low or easy maintenance appliances, finishes, flooring and lighting. An LED light that you don't need to replace for 10 years is a lot less of a hassle for someone who has trouble on a ladder.

Find a good place for a fire extinguisher, and make sure you have one.

A trick for sliding doors is to drop it into the floor slightly. Aligning the top of the door threshold with the interior flooring and exterior deck/flooring. This avoids a tripping hazard. I really wish i had know about this as I have stubbed my toes on the threshold numerous times.

Consider eliminating carpet. Carpet is a tripping hazard and thick carpeting is very difficult to push a wheeled walker or wheelchair through. From an indoor air quality perspective, carpet is a source of VOCs. Carpets increase the amount of dust and allergens trapped within the home. There are many natural choices available, including linoleum, cork and bamboo, which are easier to walk on and provide some cushion in case of a fall.

Consider rounded corners on cabinets, doorways and other locations you could bump/run into. Many people bruise more easily and heal more slowly as they age.

If you have a fireplace or wood stove, consider protections to make them safe to touch. A double brick layer and shield on the metal/glass face can protect children and older adults from unwanted burns.

When we built, it was odd to find that as we added accessibility features, many turned out to improve Feng Shui – but that's another post.

We built our home to be a “lifetime” house, serving our changing needs throughout our lives. We planned to have the option of aging in place. In this post we'll present our Aging in Place Design Checklist, and then highlight how to apply this checklist to different areas of the home.

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The post Aging in Place – Making Your Home Livable for a Lifetime appeared first on Common Sense Homesteading.

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Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman

Learn to make your own homemade weapons so you’ll have a fighting chance in a survival situation where all you have is nature.

 [You Get One FREE] Weird Little Knife Drives TSA Crazy!

How to Make Homemade Weapons

Why Should You Learn to Make Homemade Weapons?

Let’s say you got lost in the wild, and you somehow forgot or lost your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT (or whichever is the best survival knife for you). What do you do?

While your situation is most likely not quite as bad as Tom Hanks had it in Castaway, let’s face it. The only way you’re gonna get out of this situation in good shape is to let out your inner caveman.

Let me explain. Our very primitive ancestors lived in a time when every day was a survival situation. Any tools or weapons they needed had to be made from scratch.

So, should you be unlucky enough to have only the shirt on your back while you’re lost in the wilderness, you’ll have to follow suit. Let the training of your inner caveman begin.

Today’s lesson: how to make DIY weapons in the wild with only the resources nature provided you.

How to Make a Knife | Homemade Weapons

Having a knife, any kind of knife is probably one of the best things to happen should you suddenly find yourself in a survival situation. You can use it to help you find food, build a shelter, and defend yourself against wild animals.

So it’s highly fortunate nature is waiting like a momma at a craft table with lots of materials you can use to create one.

1. Stone Knives

Bone, shell, bamboo, wood, or even an old aluminum beer can may work to perform the puncturing function of a blade. You know you’ve seen these a million times when you’re out hiking.

They’re easy to crack or break or shape into a fairly sharp point which will do in a pinch. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to use a chicken bone or an expertly-shaped aluminum can point to skin, chop, baton, or any of the other necessary functions of a survival knife.

This is where the stone comes into play. I’ll start by saying making a knife out of stone isn’t easy, but it can be done.

You’ll need three things: a core rock, a hammerstone, and a pressure flaker. Remember, you’re going to be smashing these together in true caveman fashion.

So, having stones you can reasonably grip in each hand is going to make your life a lot easier. Although, it’s definitely an option to stand poised over one rock smashing down on it.

You, with a two-hand grip, pounding until you’ve chipped away at it a bit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

2. The Core Rock

rock formation background | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

The core rock is what you’ll be making into a blade. Find any large stone, preferably made from obsidian, slate, chert, or flint with a relatively flat side.

In case you weren’t a rock collector in any of your previous lives, here’s another way to decide if a rock meets the requirements for good knife-making material. Tap or click a rock together with another rock and listen for a ringing sound (like glass).

The more rock sounds like glass, the better it is as a material for your core rock. If you can, choose a rock which is already a bit sharp to reduce the amount of time you’ll need to shape it.

3. The Hammerstone

The hammerstone is a medium-sized, spherical rock, preferably made of granite. It will be used to smash, chisel, chip and shape the core rock.

You’ll be using it to chip off pieces of the core stone and to narrow the edges to a blade shape.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Edge | Knife Sharpener

4. The Pressure Flaker

The pressure flaker, or flaking tool, is a rock with a sharp point to help you refine the blade’s edges. You’ll use your flaking tool after you’ve thinned the edges of the stone with the hammer stone to make the “blade” sharper.

When you start making your knife, you’ll want to be sure to wet the core stone to shorten the time it takes to shape it into a blade. Begin by striking glancing blows near the edge of the core rock with the hammerstone.

Chip away at the core rock until you get the general shape of a blade. Then, use the flaking tool to refine the edges you need to sharpen.

You can also use a stone with a rough surface such as a sandstone to sharpen the edge. Use some rope, cloth, or leather to lash the base and create a handle.

If you are having troubling shaping the rock into a knife, you can opt to create stone blades instead. Check out the videos below to learn how:

Part One:

Part Two:

How to Make a Spear | Homemade Weapons

south african zulu spear | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

We’ve talked about how to make a spear using your best survival knife in a previous article. The same principle applies here.

Even without your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT or whichever survival knife you normally bring with you, you can still make a spear using your newly made stone knife. To make a spear, you’ll need to find a five-foot-long stick tough enough to endure repeated short or long-distance throws.

  1. First, pick the end of the stick which has a more rounded tip and use your stone knife to start shaving to create a spear. Once you’re done, be sure to heat the spear over some hot coals to make your spear sharper.
  2. As an alternative, you can also make a spear by tying your knife onto a stick. Find a stick which is about an inch wide.
  3. Measure about 2 inches from one end of the stick. Mark the point, then split the stick into two until you reach the 2-inch mark, creating a sort of Y shape.
  4. This will create a space where you can stick your stone knife before you lash it on with some twine, cord, or rope. To lock the blade in place, put some moss or lichen in the remaining space.
  5. If you haven’t had time to fashion your knife out of stone yet, you can also use broken pieces of shell or glass or splintered bamboo or bone and secure it to the end of your stick.
  6. If you find a way to split your stick without a knife, you can insert the splintered bone or bamboo into the wedge and tie it off like you would when turning a knife into a spear.

How to Make a Weighted Club | Homemade Weapons

While sharp pointy tools are all well and good, you can never go wrong with a blunt homemade weapon. You can use it for hammering or bludgeoning something such as a weighted club.

The weighted club could be one of the deadliest ancient weapons. To make one, you’ll need the following: a piece of wood around 14-16 inches, a medium-sized rock, and some rope.

  1. Once you have all the materials, you’ll need to wrap some lashing 6-8 inches from the end of the stick.
  2. Split the same end until you reach the lashing in order to create a V-shaped notch. The rock you picked out should be shorter than the length of the split.
  3. Insert the stone then lash it securely (above, below, and across the stone). The lashing on the stick above the stone clamps both sides of the split together providing the first point of security, so it’s especially important to create a good, tight lashing above the stone.
  4. You’ll want to make sure you bind the split ends securely so the stone won’t fall off whenever you use it to hammer or pound on something.

This video from Wannabe Bushcrafter will show you how to make a bamboo knife:

Now, hopefully, you never find yourself in a situation where making homemade weapons is going to be a necessity for survival. But, if you do find yourself in such a quagmire, this little bit of information and inner caveman training may be what saves your life.

Which of these homemade weapons do you want to make? Tell us your progress in the comments section below!

Up Next:

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 11, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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5 Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

Know these home remedies for chigger bites, or better yet, avoid the bug's bites in the first place with helpful tips included here!

RELATED: Top Ways to Deal with Insects [Especially Mosquitos]

In this article:

  1. What Is a Chigger, Exactly?
  2. Where Do Chiggers Live?
  3. Identifying Chiggers Bites
  4. Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
  5. Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

What Is a Chigger, Exactly?

Chiggers are members of the arachnid family. They are extremely tiny, and my guess is you won’t even see them as they jump from the tall grass onto your skin and/or clothing.

Adult chiggers are about 1/60 of an inch and have eight legs. The larvae are red, wingless, six-legged creatures which measure less than 1/150 of an inch.

Because of their red color, you might be able to spot the larvae when they cluster together, especially on white clothing.

What Is the Arachnid Family? It is a large group or class of invertebrate animals where the spiders and scorpions belong.

Where Do Chiggers Live?

Chiggers reside in tall weeds and grass, berry patches, and wooded areas. They could be in your backyard, by the lake, or your favorite hiking trail.

They are most active in summer and fall afternoons – the warmest part of the day.

Identifying Chiggers Bites

Only the larvae bite humans and they tend to choose warm, moist areas of the body.

Chiggers also have claws which help them grab onto your skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva.

The saliva contains an enzyme which breaks skin cells down to liquid form. Your body responds by hardening skin cells around the saliva, creating a tube (cyclostome) through which the chigger sucks the dissolved skin cells.

Chiggers can stay attached and feeding for several days before falling off.

When the chigger falls off, you are left with reddish bumps. You may notice a bright red dot in the center—this is a remnant of the tube your skin formed in response to the chigger's saliva.

The bumps may look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives. Bites generally appear in groups and get larger for several days to a week.

While many insects bite exposed skin which is easy to get to, chiggers like to bite in folds of skin as well as places where clothing fits tightly on the skin. Most chigger bites occur around the ankles, waist, armpits, crotch, or behind the knees.

Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

Just remember, no matter what, DO NOT SCRATCH THE BITES! I know, easier said than done. But, breaking the skin on a chigger bite can lead to infection.

Here are 5 home remedies to help with the itching and swelling.

RELATED: Spider Bite? Here’s How To Treat It

1. Vicks Vapor Rub

Vicks Vapor Rub can put an end to itchy chigger bites immediately and will even reduce the risk of blisters. It’s the cooling menthol in it which relieves itching by affecting itch receptors in the skin.


  • Take a hot shower (use antibacterial soap.) Pat dry your skin with a soft towel.
  • Take a small amount of the vapor rub and add some table salt to it.
  • Mix well and apply to the affected area.
  • Repeat if the swelling continues (otherwise, there is no need to repeat the process)

2. Cold Compress

A cold compress can help reduce the itching associated with chigger bites. Its numbing effect helps reduce the sensation of itchiness.


  • Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth.
  • Apply the compress to the bites for 10 minutes. Repeat if needed to relieve itching.

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is another effective remedy to reduce rashes as well as itchiness. It acts as a natural acid neutralizer which helps relieve itching and reduces the risk of infection.


  • Add 1 cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with cool water.
  • Stir well and soak in this water for 15 minutes and pat your skin with a soft towel. (Do this once daily)

Another remedy using baking soda:

  • Prepare a thin paste of 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a little water.
  • Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with cool water.

Note: Do not use this remedy more than once or twice a day. Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties providing instant relief from itching–one of the common symptoms of chigger bites. It is recommended to use colloidal oatmeal, meaning oats which are ground into an extremely fine powder.

(You can accomplish this yourself by grinding regular oats in a sealed Ziploc bag, using the backside of a spoon to crush the oatmeal.)


  • Add 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal to a bathtub filled with warm water
  • Stir thoroughly
  • Soak in this mixture for at least 15-20 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day

5. Olive Oil

Olive oil can also be used to get relief from the irritation and inflammation. It is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which reduce itching and facilitate healing.


  • After rinsing the affected area with water, apply olive oil to the chigger bite.
  • Reapply several times a day.

Another option using olive oil:

  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply on the affected area.
  • Repeat a few times a day.

Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

As summer and fall are prime time for chigger bites, it is best to take the following precautions:

  1. When hiking, stay in the center of the trail and avoid brushing up against vegetation.
  2. Wear long sleeves and long pants when going into the woods.
  3. Apply mosquito repellent on your hands, feet, and exposed skin on your arms before going outside.
  4. Shower immediately after being outdoors and use antibacterial soap.
  5. Wash your clothes in hot water.
  6. Resist the urge to scratch because breaking the skin on chigger bites can lead to a possible infection.

This video from Online Pest Control will show you tips to avoid chiggers and ways to get rid of chiggers:

Chigger bites much like other insect bites aren't only discomforting, they can be dangerous too. Many of these insects including chiggers carry diseases in some cases.

The best way to deal with these bugs is to avoid them or control them with our tips here. But, if you're so unlucky, you also now know the best home remedies to chigger bites!

Have you had to deal with chigger bites before? Tell us how, including more useful tips which worked for you in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr!

***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites |

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 28, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

Arm yourself with a survival stick, get savvy with it, but first, find out why as you read on!

RELATED: Deadly Parasols | Umbrella As A Self-Defense Weapon

In this article:

  1. Survival Hiking Stick
  2. Survival Stick for Support
  3. Fetching/Reaching Things
  4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense
  5. Balance
  6. Gauging Depth
  7. Carrying Gear and Supplies
  8. Club
  9. Fishing Rod

Survival Stick: An Underrated Multipurpose Tool?

The Survival Stick in History

A walking stick or a survival cane were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries as a decorative show of power and a defensive replacement for a sword. Yet, the truth is our ancestors have been using them for thousands of years, and for good reason…

…They work! Even the animal kingdom is smart enough to know just how useful these are:

(It may be hard to see, but this gorilla is holding a walking stick to gauge the depth of the water as she sloshes along)

A walking stick is not a new or revolutionary idea. In fact, the use of a walking stick predates history and its use continued on for generations including this present time.

Yet, it is one which is more often than not overlooked. When most people think of a walking stick, it is usually paired with a top hat or seen as a crutch for someone with a walking disability.

Far too few people even realize how important a walking stick can be, especially to someone in the outdoors. We will dig a little deeper into the many uses of a survival stick and maybe safely say, it could be the first multi-purpose survival tool.

Practical and Survival Uses for a Survival Stick

Walking sticks are also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles and hiking staff have quite a few different uses:

1. Survival Hiking Stick

Hold the survival stick in front of you and you can use it to clear your way by parting brushes and branches or leaves and thick tall grasses. You can also use it to clear spiderwebs, especially if you're not too fond of spiders.

Other insects, animals, poisonous plants, and even animal dung can get in the way. Use a survival stick to inspect or poke at those things if you are unsure, and never ever your hands or your feet.

2. Survival Stick for Support

Hiker in Caucasus mountains is crossing mountain river | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | hiking staff
Making your way through an uneven terrain will be more manageable with a walking stick for support. Whether you're going up or down, use the walking stick to either slow you down or hold you up.

You can use your walking stick like breaks to keep you from speeding down or use it to latch on to a rock or crevice when you're climbing up. Besides for yourself, you can also use your multipurpose stick as a support for your tarp emergency shelter.

3. Fetching/Reaching Things

It happens–a supply or gear falling on water, mud, puddle or in an area you dare not walk into. You can fetch or reach for those items with a stick.

It also happens where you need an item over a physical barrier and only a stick can fetch the item for you. You can also reach for fruits, nest, or other food sources up a tree or high structure with a stick.

RELATED: Unusual Weapons From Around The World And How To Use Them

4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense

To use a survival stick as a weapon, make sure it's a sturdy stick with a finished look and not just any stick you found along the way. You can use it to defend yourself from an attacker whether it's human or animals.

I would suggest to train yourself in some form of martial arts using a stick like a baton as a weapon to have a better handle at it.

You can also fashion a spear with your stick by tying a survival knife on one end. Don't throw this spear though or you risk damaging or losing your knife and stick.

Hold on to your homemade spear and only use it to thrust at your target.

5. Balance

Hiker is crossing the river in Sweden | Hiker in Caucasus mountain | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | survival hiking stickWhen you're crossing a log bridge over a stream or you're going through the stream itself or other bodies of water, a walking stick can help you balance so you don't fall over. If you're walking through a muddy or rocky waterbed, a walking stick will help you up.

If you're up for it and if the body of water isn't too wide across, you can also use a long stick like a pole vault to cross over so you don't get yourself wet.

6. Gauging Depth

Relative to crossing bodies of water, a survival stick is handy in identifying dips beneath the waters which could cause you to stumble. You can also use the stick to identify where it's safe to take the next step.

You can also use this simple trick with the stick when you're traveling in deep snow, marshland, and even the dessert.

7. Carrying Gear and Supplies

Use your survival stick to help you carry gear and supplies. Pack your supplies with a shemagh, tie it tight to one end of your stick then place the stick over your shoulders in hobo fashion.

You can also carry more supplies with your survival stick. Even today, a carrying pole is used by indigenous people all over the world to carry heavy supplies you never thought possible.

Hang bags of supplies or jars of water on either side of the pole or stick, putting a stopper like a notch or tie on both ends so they don't fall off. Place the center of the stick over your shoulders and balance your load to your destination.

8. Club

Man carrying blue backpack | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | walking staff weapon
Use your survival stick like a club to knock obstacle down. A pillar of rocks or other objects may be on your way and a sturdy stick can help you safely knock those.

If you are in a building with glass doors or windows or inside a car, you can break the glass with a stick. Make to knock over pieces around your entrance or exit with the stick, too.

9. Fishing Rod

You only need to bring a fishing kit and your survival stick will make a good fishing rod. Tie a line on one end of your walking stick and fish away.

A DIY fishing pole is actually effective and many a fish has been caught this way.

As you guys and gals already know, I am a stickler for carrying things only if they have multiple uses. This guy managed to fit almost an entire survival kit into a walking stick he built from scratch, for under $20.00.

Check out this video from SOS 2054 I found, and find out for yourself, too:

A humble walking stick will indeed surprise you with what it can do for your defense, convenience, safety, and survival. Since you know now the practical and survival uses of this primitive multi-purpose tool, it won't surprise me if it lands a top spot on your list of survival tools for camping, hiking, or SHTF.

What other uses can you think of for carrying a “survival stick”? Let us know in the comments section below!

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**Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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