Everyday Survival: 7 Common Household Items with Survival Uses

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

But we know gadgets can’t always answer our problems when situations get tough, especially when SHTF. When all else fails, fall back to your roots — and use 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 looked around your home and wondered what you could use 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 short and you want that secure feeling of having alternatives on hand, then this list is for you.

Aluminum Foil

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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:

  • Collecting 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.

  • Protecting electronics

If you’re DIY-ing a Faraday cage, you’ll need 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.

  • Fixing 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.


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The humble unscented bleach may seem like such an insignificant thing at home, but it’s a potent liquid with multiple functions 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, use 1 cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water.

Another major use for it is for purifying water to make it drinkable. Store a small bottle in your bug out bag just in case your water supply runs out and you need to resort to purifying. Remember, it’s 6 drops of bleach to a gallon of water and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before drinking it.

  • Self-defense

In case 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.


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Borax is one of the substances that many preppers and homebodies like to have in supply. It’s a powdery white substance made up of boron, sodium, and oxygen, also known as sodium borate. Borax has many great uses that can help you during emergencies or tough situations. Just don’t ingest it 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 any insect point of entry, 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 small amount with warm water and lemon juice, and you’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.


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Charcoal has been around for ages and has always been considered 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 electricity and gas to keep your house warm and to put food on the table. At any given time, these could both disappear. What, then, do you rely on for 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

Having a sack of coal on hand at your bug out location 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

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If you’re a true prepper, storing a few bottles of coconut oil in your home 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. What’s 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 to 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 a 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 meals when you don’t have regular oil on hand. Using coconut oil for cooking will also help enrich flavors to make your food taste better.

Nail Polish

Nail polish might be the last thing on your mind 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

In the absence of glue or tape, a bottle of nail polish will do the job of sealing up tears on tents and tarps. This will come in 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.

Nail polish is quite flammable and an unusual way to start a fire, but an effective one. It can definitely help you start a fire if you’re unable to build 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 for quickly identifying them, and you can do that with a stripe of nail polish on the mags.

Dental Floss

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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 in a 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 to catch some fish. This will definitely be helpful when you’re 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? Go with dental floss.

Final Thoughts

There are much more common household items that can help you out in 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 uses it has, the better it is to have in storage.

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

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