Everyday Survival: 7 Common Household Items with Survival Uses

Modern problems require modern solutions, and in the survival community, a lot of us are swayed by the tech-heavy gadgets on the market.

But we know that gadgets won’t always answer our problems when situations get tough, especially when SHTF. When all else fails, fall back to your roots — and make use of common household items for survival..

Let’s talk more about the items and how you can use them.

Using Household Items for Everyday Survival

Have you ever taken a look around your home and wondered what you could use there during a survival situation? Chances are, you have.

The essence of survival is to make the most of the items you have on you, and you’d be surprised just how many things in your own home you can use to help you out.

If your survival supplies and gear are looking a bit meager or you want that secure feeling of having alternatives on hand, then this list is for you.

Aluminum Foil

First up on the list is a good old roll of aluminum foil. Everyone’s got this in their kitchen, and it’s a very versatile item to own. Some of our favorite uses include:

  • Collect rainwater

If you’re in a hurry to collect precious rainwater and you can’t find a container ASAP, aluminum foil will come in handy. Fashion it into a cylindrical container and place it outside while you look for a proper container.

  • Protect electronics

If you’re DIY-ing a Faraday cage, you’ll be needing some aluminum foil to make one. A Faraday Cage will protect your electronic devices by preventing electrical waves from entering, and the aluminum foil plays a big part in helping with that.

  • Fix those loose batteries

Ever had your flashlight or radio suddenly give up on you despite having fresh batteries put in? Don’t throw it out yet because it might not be broken. The batteries or the springs might just be loose. A quick fix to that is to wedge a small piece of foil between the spring and the battery, and it’ll be good as new in no time.

Better yet, get a rechargeable tactical flashlight for an easier life.


The humble unscented bleach may seem like such an insignificant thing at home, but it’s a potent liquid with many uses if you just know how to use it.

  • Use as a disinfecting/sanitizing solution

You can turn it into a disinfecting solution in the event of a biological terrorist attack or a pandemic. In less extreme cases, keeping your space tidy is crucial to good health, good hygiene, and avoiding diseases and sickness. If you’re going to use this for cleaning, make sure you use 1 cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water.

  • Water purification

Another major use for it, if not, one of the main uses for it by preppers is for purifying water to make it drinkable. Store a small bottle in your bug out bag just in case you run out of your supply of water and need to resort to purifying. Remember, it’s 6 drops of bleach to a gallon of water and you still have to let it sit for at least 30 minutes before drinking it.

  • Self-defense

In the case that there’s a home invasion or attack and you don’t have your non-lethal self-defense weapons with you, bleach can easily become an irritant to your attackers.


Borax is one of the substances that many preppers and homebodies like to have on supply. It’s a powdery white substance made up of boron, sodium, and oxygen and is also known as sodium borate. Borax has a lot of great uses that will help you out during emergencies or just tough situations. As long as you don’t consume it internally and store it in a nice dry place, in a waterproof container preferably, here are some great uses for it:

  • Keeping the insects away

Want to keep the ants away from your food supply? Or minimize the insects trying to get into your home? Sprinkle borax in crevices and cracks or the point of entries of them insects, and you’ll see less of them around.

  • Use it as a fire suppressant

Small kitchen fires can get out of hand quickly, and if you don’t know how to act fast, you might be in trouble. Throwing borax on flames will effectively smother it—no need to get a pricey fire extinguisher.

  • Remove rust

Your gear doesn’t have to suffer and rust away to oblivion. Not with a little borax. Borax helps remove rust, so keeping your things rust-free and in good shape should be easy. Just mix a little of it with some warm water and lemon juice, and it’ll be good to go.

  • Kill mold

Borax is good at killing unwanted mold, and it’s easy to use, too. Make a paste out of 1 cup of borax and a gallon of hot water. You can apply this paste to the affected areas and leave it on for 10 minutes before wiping it clean.


Charcoal has been around for ages, and it has always been touted to be useful by many. Though it does require patience to make, the process of making charcoal is actually pretty easy, and we highly recommend you DIY! Now, back to the convenient uses of charcoal:

  • Cooking and heat

As preppers, you can’t rely on having electricity and gas to keep your house warm and to put food on the table. At any given time, these could all disappear. What, then, do you rely on keeping warm, keeping fires going, and cooking? Charcoal.

  • Bartering

Post-apocalypse, things might be a little different. Money won’t have value. What might though? Charcoal. The fact that you can use it for a variety of things makes it a definite bartering must-have.

  • Camouflage

When at your bug out location, having a sack of coal on hand will be useful, especially if you plan to go out to hunt or stake out the area. Charcoal can be used as a camouflage to keep your presence on the down-low.

Coconut Oil

If you’re a true prepper, storing a few bottles of coconut oil in your homes and at least a bottle in your bug out bag is highly recommended. In a survival situation, coconut oil has many uses, plus they keep for a long time. The best type to get? Virgin or unrefined coconut oil. Here’s why you should stock up on them:

  • Self-aid

Coconut oil is great at speeding up healing. If you’ve got a small gash or wound, apply a small amount of coconut oil to the wound to prevent infection and help the healing process. Coconut oil is also great for soothing sunburns, chapped lips, and joint pains.

  • Energy booster

When in need of a boost or pick me up in the morning, substitute your coffee with coconut oil. A tablespoon of coconut oil to your cup of warm water will give you the boost of energy you need. Post SHTF, this will be really handy, too.

  • For cooking

Yes, you can use coconut oil for cooking your meals when you don’t have the regular oil on hand. Using coconut oil in cooking will also help add flavors to make your cooking taste better.

Nail Polish

Nail polish might be the last thing you think about in tough situations—it might even seem useless. But at the end of the day, a prepper at heart knows how to make use of even the most “useless” things. Here are our favorite things we use nail polish for:

  • Sealing tears and boxes

When the glue or tape is missing, a bottle of nail polish will do the job when sealing up tears on tents or tarps. That will come in pretty handy, especially when it’s raining and you need to seal up that tear instantly. In the same way, nail polish can also effectively seal a box.

  • Starting a fire

An unusual way to start a fire but an effective one, nail polish is actually quite flammable. It will definitely help get a fire started when you don’t have the luxury of building one progressively.

  • Color coding gun magazines

It can be hard for those who own legal firearms to tell magazines apart with just a glance. Color-coding them will be a big help in quickly identifying them, and you can do that with a stripe of nail polish on the mags.

Dental Floss

One look at dental floss, and you know you can use it for many different things like putting up a clothesline or tying trash bags together. But putting it in the survival scenario, here’s how you can use dental floss to help you out:

  • Creating a tripwire

To fortify your home and fortify your bug out location, set up booby traps  like a tripwire around the property. You can create one with dental floss by stringing it tightly at the base of some trees for an effective booby trap.

  • Creating a fishing pole

A quick DIY fishing pole can be made with some dental floss and a branch so that you can catch some fish. This will definitely be helpful when bugging out and in need of food.

  • Use as stitches

Sometimes, when it comes to deep wounds, cuts, or gashes, bandages from your first aid kit just won’t do it; there’ll be times you’ll need to do some stitching. What do you use if you don’t have the proper sutures for it? Go with dental floss.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot more common household items that can help you out during an emergency, so it’s best to take a look at what you’ve got at home, figure out how you can use it to your advantage, and stock up on what you don’t have but might need.

Remember, the more purposes it has, the better it is to have in storage.

Got any other common household items you find super useful? Let us know in the comment section below.

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