Common Household Items You Did Not Know Have Survival Uses (Pt. 3)

Here’s part 3 of our “common household items with surprising survival uses” list. Find out more everyday items that can be essential for survival when SHTF. For the previous part, click here.

1. Survival Uses of Space Blankets

space-blanketSpace blankets (also called thermal blankets or Mylar blankets) are usually included in first aid kits and their primary purpose is for keeping you warm.

But aside from this use, space blankets have other alternative uses and they can potentially save your life in an emergency. This is why having at least one space blanket in your emergency kit, BOB and vehicle is a very good idea. Take a look at the 8 survival uses of space blankets.

1. Shelter

With a few pieces of cordage you can tie a sheet bend in each corner of the blanket and construct a tent, tarp or bivvy. The blanket can also be used as a water-proof layer to protect you from moist earth, instead of a tent footprint.

2. Rain catch

The plastic blanket, being waterproof, is an ideal rain catcher. Rain can be kept off your tent by using a space blanket as additional barrier.

3. Poncho

The waterproof space blanket can also make a very good rain gear but don’t cut a hole in the middle of the blanket though because this will limit its reusability.

4. First aid

Wrap the blanket around sprained wrists and ankles to keep them warm.

Make a sling out of the blanket for a broken arm; just cut off and twist strips to make cordage and fold the remaining piece then tie to make a sling.

Cut off a piece of the Mylar blanket, wrap it in duct tape and you have something to cover wounds with.

5. Signal

Some space blankets have one silver side and one orange side. When using the blanket for signaling, the orange side is a stark contrast to snow while the silver side is easily spotted against a dark background. The space blanket can be cut into strips and hung on branches to mark your trail. You can also make a signal flag by hoisting the blanket on a pole.

6. Boot liner

Cut a piece of the space blanket to line your boots to keep your feet warm. If your boot springs a leak, lining it with a piece of the blanket is an effective way to keep your foot dry.

7. Keep the heat out

In a hot climate, you can keep the heat of the sun out by reversing the space blanket (shiny side out) to reflect the rays of the sun.

8. Keep your tent toasty inside

Space blankets are highly reflective and you can use it to direct heat where you want it. in this episode of Dual Survival, Cody Lundin used a space blanket to warm up his shelter.

Space blankets are not the most durable items, but if you have duct tape, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.

2. Survival Uses Of Mouthwash

best-mouthwash-bad-breathMouthwash is usually used for keeping your mouth healthy by killing germs and keeping your breath fresh. But aside from keeping your mouth healthy, there are also some survival uses of mouthwash you might not yet be aware of.

It can be used for medicinal purposes, hygienic purposes and others.

Here are 10 survival uses of mouthwash.

1. Used for disinfecting cuts or scrapes

If you don’t have any antiseptic wipes or creams, you can use mouthwash to disinfect cuts and scrapes. Make sure to use sugar-free and alcohol-based mouthwash.

2. Facial cleansing

Mouthwash can also be used as a facial cleanser, all you have to do is put a small amount of it in a cotton ball to remove the dirt and grime in your face. You can use any mouthwash as long as it is sugar free and alcohol based.

3. Disinfect toothbrush

Use mouthwash to disinfect your toothbrush by washing it with antiseptic mouthwash at least three times a week. Any lingering bacteria in your toothbrush will be removed.

4. Treat rashes

Use mouthwash to treat rashes that are caused by poison ivy or poison oak. The mouthwash will help clear up the redness and inflammation.

5. Treat blemish

Put a little amount of mouthwash in a cotton swab and dab it on the infected area. The mouthwash will kill the bacteria and remove blemish.

6. As a deodorant

Proper hygiene is still an important factor even if you are in a survival situation. Mouthwash is commonly used for cleansing and it can be used as an underarm deodorant, but do not use it after shaving.

Mouthwash can also be used to help with foot odor; all you have to do is spray it into your feet.

7. As an anti-bacterial spray

If you don’t have any anti-bacterial spray with you, you can use mouthwash as a substitute. You can use it to clean your hands or wounds.

8. Treat fungi

Mouthwash can also be used to fight nail fungus and athlete’s foot. To treat athlete’s foot you will have to mix same amount of water and mouthwash and then soak your feet for a couple of minutes.

If you have nail fungus all you have to do is mix vinegar and mouthwash and apply in on the infected area.

9. Treat itchiness

Another survival use of mouthwash is to treat mosquito bite or itchiness in the skin. Put some mouthwash on a swab and rub it into the infected area.

10. Dandruff

Dandruff may be the least of your worries in a survival situation. But if you want to solve dandruff problems, just grab a mouthwash and a cotton ball. Put some amount of mouthwash in a cotton ball and dab it on your scalp.

Mouthwash is not only used for killing germs in your mouth but it also has a lot of uses, especially for survival purposes. Now that you already know the different survival uses of mouthwash, you might want to consider adding it in your preps. At the very least, mouthwash can be used as a barter item when SHTF. Make sure that you only use alcohol-based, sugar-free mouthwash.

3. Brilliant Ways to Re-Use Silica Gel

how to re-use silica gel
The packets of silica gel found in vitamin bottles, boxes of new shoes, and packages of some food are usually thrown away without a second thought.

But these desiccants that absorb moisture can actually be re-used. Mother Nature Network offers the following ways to keep silica gels out of landfills a bit longer…

  1. Put packs in your ammo cans and gun cases/safes to keep dry.
  2. Protect personal papers and important documents by putting some gel in a baggie wherever these are stored.
  3. Keep with photos to spare them from humidity. Tuck a small envelope in the back of frames to protect even the ones hanging on your walls.
  4. Store in camera bags and with film. After snapping photos in cold or wet conditions, silica gel will absorb moisture to keep your lens from fogging or streaking.
  5. Leave a couple packs in your tool box to prevent rusting.
  6. Use the material to dry flowers.
  7. Place with seeds in storage to thwart molding.
  8. Stash some in window sills to banish condensation.
  9. Dry out electronic items such as cell phones and iPods. Remember after the device has gotten wet, do not turn it back on! Pull out the battery and memory card and put the device in a container filled with several packs. Leave it in there at least overnight.
  10. Slow silver tarnishing by using the gel in jewelry boxes and with your silverware.
  11. For items in storage, such as cars or anything prone to mildew. Popular Mechanics offers a good suggestion for use in engines of sitting vehicles.
  12. Tired of buying big bags of pet food only to have it get soggy? Store your kibble in a bin and tape some silica packs to the bottom of the lid.
  13. Cut open the packs and saturate the beads with essential oils to create potpourri.
  14. Use in luggage while traveling.
  15. Tuck some in your pockets. Hide them in your closet in leather goods such as coats and shoes, and even handbags, to help them survive life in storage.
  16. Gather your razor blades and keep in a container with several silica packs to stave off oxidation.
  17. Video tape collections will last much longer with these to help keep them dry.
  18. Litter is now made with silica. With its fantastic absorption qualities, this litter requires fewer changes and sends less mess to the landfill.
  19. Squirrel some away in your car, especially on your dashboard. This will help maintain a clear windshield and leave it less foggy during times of high humidity.

While these packets are annoying and seem like a waste of resources, they can extend the life of many items. Another reason someone needs to be collecting them to recycle: they can be reactivated repeatedly. To recharge, you just need to bake the saturated beads on a cookie sheet, as detailed on

4. 27 Ways Duct Tape Can Save Your Life

Duct Tape wisdom

The duct tape was said to have been developed by Permacell, a Johnson and Johnson company, for the US Army in World War 2. It was used to seal ammunition boxes and to make repairs in the field including repairs of weapons, vehicles and military equipment.

It is a flexible, durable and waterproof tape that has evolved since then and has become a popular, cheap way to make all sorts of temporary repairs. Aside from making repairs, the it also has a whole range of other uses from space travel, clothing, hunting and survival. Thus this product should always be included in your emergency supplies!

Take a look at the 27 different ways duct tape can save your life

1. Repair a cracked water bottle pierced hydration bladder. It can also be used to insulate a water bottle by wrapping the bottle with it – this should also prevent cracking.

2. Patch a hole in a canoe. Patch the hole with a piece of metal, plastic or bark and seal the hole firmly on both sides with duct tape.

3. Use DT to restrain someone. DT can be used to bind the hands of someone who poses as a danger to your group, at least until a solution can be decided.

4. Twist several lengths of DT into cord or rope. (Read: How to Make Cordage)

5. Repair your rain gear.

6. Use DT to make a pandemic seal. Seal your home in case of a biological, nuclear, or chemical attack by sealing off windows and doorways with DT.

7. Mark your trail by taping strips to branches at chest height.

8. Use DT to patch a hole in your sleeping bag.

9. Reseal containers of food. After opening a package of food, make sure it does not go to waste by resealing it tight with DT.

10. Make butterfly bandages. Cut two small strips of DT, and add a smaller strip across their centers (sticky side to sticky side) to create a makeshift butterfly suture.

11. Use DT to make an arrow fletching. Here’s a neat ‘how-to’ post in the Survival Sherpa blog that shows how to make duct tape arrow fletching.

12. Repair a broken tent or fishing pole. Make a splint by taping a stick to the broken area of the pole. You can then use it until you get a replacement.

13. Make repairs on your bug out car – patch up leaking hoses, seal windows and cover bullet holes.

14. Make a sheath for your knife using DT. Just make sure that you double stick the tape so the inside around the knife does not stick to the blade.

15. Fashion a drinking cup from a DT. You can also make a hat from DT to protect your head. Get creative!

16. DT can add insulation in your boots. Tape the insoles with duct tape, silver side up. The shiny tape will reflect the warmth of your feet back into your boots.

17. Repair your glasses with DT. A thin strip of duct tape will keep broken frames together.

18. Line the outside of your coat and pants with duct tape to keep it water resistant and keep you dry.

19. Make a flypaper by rolling off a few foot-long strips of duct tape and hanging them from a branch or your tent.

20. Create a splint with duct tape. Stabilize a broken ankle or leg with ample splint material, padding and duct tape. Pad the crotch of a forked branch with some cloth and duct tape to fashion a quick crutch to go with your splint.

21. Mend tears in your clothing. Slip a piece of duct tape inside the rip, sticky side out, then carefully press both sides of the rip together. A strip of duct tape can also be used to hem your pants.

22. Make a shelter. With trash bags or space blankets and some duct tape, you can create a roof for your lean-to, a sleeping bag cover, or a wind break.

23. Strap bandages in place with duct tape.

24. Make a spear by cutting a branch about 3 -6 feet long then strapping your knife to one end with duct tape. Now you have a tool you can use for hunting, fishing, or defense.

25. Protect a blister. Cover the affected area with cotton or gauze then tape it over. Make sure the DTY does not come in contact with the blister.

26. Repair your tent with duct tape. A rip in your tent or a broken zipper will leave you exposed so patch up your tent using the ever handy and reliable duct tape.

27. Temporarily replace your wooden shingle using duct tape and cut plywood. Wrap duct tape in strips across a piece of 1/4-inch plywood cut to size. Wedge the makeshift shingle in place to fill the space and it should be able to repel storm water until you can get it repaired properly.

5. 42 Survival Uses of Paracord

A parachute cord or paracord is an essential survival item that should always be included in your BOB or emergency kit. In any emergency scenario, the paracord has a lot of uses. In this article, we have compiled 42 survival uses of paracord.

But before we continue to the list, here are a few notable info about paracord…

There are different types of parachute cord but the most popular choice for survival situations is the 550 paracord. The ‘550’ refers to the cord’s breaking strength which is 550 pounds.

Image source:

There are commercial and military issue 550 paracords (MIL-C-5040 Type III 550 Paracord) with the military spec referred to as the ‘true’ paracord and the commercial ones simply rip-offs. You can tell these two types apart by the following differences:

  • The true 550 paracord (MIL-C-5040 Type III) has 7 inner yarns and each yarn has 3 strands.
  • Commercial 550 paracord usually have 5-6 yarns only but some may also have 7 yarns. Each yarn only has two strands.
  • MIL-C-5040 Type III 550 paracord also has one yarn with black and yellow fiber

Aside from these differences, the two 550 paracord types appear closely similar on the outside.

How about strength?

Though both are said to have the same breaking strength of 550 pounds, the military spec paracord has been tested to extend its breaking strength up to 785 pounds.

There are survivalists who don’t care much whether they have a true paracord or not. After all, both types of paracords can be used to lash a makeshift shelter, build a trap or hold together gears. Still, you’d thank yourself for choosing the true paracord when the time comes that your life and essential gears depend on it. The MIL-C-5040 Type III 550 paracord is a lot more heavy duty after all.

The type of paracord to include in your emergency kit is a personal choice. The important thing is, you have some with you in a survival scenario because it is simply an indispensable gear.

Now on with the list…

Emergency uses for Paracord from Survivor Geek

1. Repair torn clothing with the internal strands which slide easily out of the kern mantle (casing). Use a makeshift needle or be sure to keep one in your first-aid kit.
2. Repair torn or broken equipment either by sewing or tying the pieces together securely
3. Rig a makeshift tow rope. A single length of paracord has been tested to handle 550 lbs. of weight, so wrap it securely 10 times and you have the ability to pull 5,500 lbs.
4. Securely tie down items to the top of a vehicle, or to protect them from a wind-storm.
5. String up a clothes line. Wet clothes are uncomfortable when you’re camping and dangerous when you’re trying to survive.
6. Hang a bear bag to keep your food away from critters. This is good whether you’re camping or roughing it in the woods
7. Replace your shoe laces. Just burn the ends and thread them through.
8. Replace a broken Zipper pull
9. Use it as dental floss. Pull out the internal strands and keep up your hygiene even in the woods, or to get that pesky piece of meat out from between your teeth.
10. Tie things to your backpack with it so you can carry more stuff, hands free.
11. Secure an animal to a tree or post, or make a leash.
12. Tie up a person.
13. String up a trip wire to protect an area, rig it with bells or cans or make a fancier trap.
14. Lower yourself or an object very carefully down from a height. (Note: paracord is NOT climbing rope, and is NOT a realistic replacement for true climbing rope; do not expect it to catch you, should you fall. For security double or triple the thickness if you can).
15. Rig a pulley system to lift a heavy object.
16. Make a ladder to get up or down.
17. Tie up a tarp or poncho to make an awning to keep off sun or rain.
18. If you’re hiking in a place where there is danger of avalanche tie yourself to your buddy so you can find each other, should one of you get caught under snow.
19. Keep your stuff. Tie objects you’re likely to drop around your wrist, ankle, or waist.
20. Make a pack by first making netting then adding a draw-string.
21. Build a shelter using sticks or by tying up the corners of a poncho or tarp.
22. Rig an improvised hammock (in case you haven’t sprung for a real hammock).
23. Make a snare out of the internal strands.
24. Lash logs or other items together to build a raft.
25. Use it to make a bow drill for fire starting (Note it does take a lot of practice to start a fire with a bow, so don’t rely on this unless you’ve done it before!).
26. Make a sling to throw stones for protection and food.
27. Use it for signaling by tying a mirror or colorful cloth to the top of the tree.
28. Use it to make a bola for hunting large birds.
29. Make fishing line by cutting a length and pulling out the internal strands (there are seven of them, each of which comes apart into two, so there’s 14 thin lines if you aren’t catching really big fish). Just tie them together.
30. Make a fish stringer. If you’ve just pulled the strings out to make fishing line, the remaining kern mantle (the colored sheath) would be plenty strong enough to hold fish. Otherwise just cut a length, and tie through the gills.
31. Tie straight sticks around a broken limb to make a splint.
32. Tie a sling to hold your arm.
33. Sew up a wound using the internal strands. For thinner thread untwist one of the internal strands.
34. Make a tourniquet to slow loss of blood.
35. Make a stretcher by running paracord between two long sticks, or fashion a branch drag to move an injured person.

Uses of Paracord for Prepping and Survival from Backdoor Survival

36. Secure a tent
37. Secure a tarp between trees
38. Hang tools from your belt
39. Hang tools from around your neck
40. Secure your boat or a skiff to a tree
41. Keep rolled up items secure
42. Create a neckerchief slide

6. Survival Uses of Cigarettes

Survival Uses of Cigarettes

Cigarettes are one of the main causes of death. More than 480, 000 people are dying because of cigarettes. They contribute to a lot of serious health problems and chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, diminished immune function, emphysema, heart disease, and reproductive issues. But would you believe me if I tell you that there are also survival uses of cigarettes and they can be helpful for your survival? Bellow are 8 survival uses of cigarettes that you would not think is possible.

Here are the 8 survival uses of cigarettes.


One of the most helpful and reliable uses of cigarettes for survival, is to barter them. Most people will do bartering after a major disaster and cigarettes and alcohol will be highly sought during these times.

Insect Bites and Stings

Chew or wet the tobacco and then apply it to your bites or stings. The pain should go away and your wound will heal shortly after.



You can make your own pesticide using the tobacco from a cigarette. Just dilute the tobacco with water and place it into a spray bottle. Spray it then to your plants, if you’re going to use this to your edibles, make sure that you wash your plants thoroughly before consumption.
Relax your muscles

A few puffs of cigarette or an application of a tobacco poultice can help you relax your muscles. Although the effect is not quite the same as a prescription cream or pill, it can still be helpful for you. Puffing cigarette can ease the pain in your muscles during an emergency situation or if you’re doing outdoor activities.

Stop bleeding

Applying a small amount of cigarette ash in your wound can stop the flow of bleeding. This method will only work on small wounds, so make that you do not apply this method on deep wounds and serious injuries.

You can also apply raw tobacco on your small wounds. Tobacco has the ability to relieve pain.



Well obviously, you can use cigarette as tinder in building up a fire. You can use the paper shell, the shredded tobacco, or the fluffed up filter to make a fire.

Cigarettes can also help preserve embers. This makes it easier for you to transport fire from different places, without even worrying about a coal smoldering out along the way.


Tobacco can help relieve toothaches and minor wounds, because of their naturally occurring antiseptic and anesthetic properties.

Water filter

The filter portion of a cigarette can be used to filter water in an emergency situation. Remove the filter from the tobacco and place the filter in a straw, reed, or a piece of bamboo. Although using cigarette filter as a water filter won’t remove parasites and microscopic organisms in the water, it can still remove bigger muck and yuck in the water.

Make sure that the tobacco is not intact when applying this method. The tobacco can cause serious illness and stomach upset, when it is leached into the water.

Any thoughts on this post? Share it in the comments.


  1. Tedd on December 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    I didn’t know that cigarettes can be really useful in times of emergencies. These are great. Thanks for posting.

  2. Bode Bliss on February 26, 2016 at 7:13 am

    you can use the plastic on a pack of cigarettes to stop a sucking chest wound. Tape the plastic over the hole in the lung. put the victim laying down on the side with the wound so blood doesn’t fill the other lung. get help

  3. Brian on March 25, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Smoking a cigarette can slow the on set and toxic shock of blood poisoning especially in regards to a damaged or bruised liver buying you precious minutes or hours while seeking emergency attention.

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