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Even the most well-equipped prepper might sometimes find himself with nothing more than the things he has at home at his disposal. Make the most of these common household items and use them for your survival needs with the help of our guide below.

RELATED: 18 Survival Gear Items From The Dollar Store

Ultimate Survival Uses and Life Hacks for These Common Household Items

1. Garbage Bags

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In an emergency, survivalists can find numerous uses for heavy-duty garbage bags.

  • Can be practical alternatives when sealing shelters or when building emergency lean-tos.
  • Crafty preppers can also use them in making shoes, waterproof sleeping areas, or makeshift raincoats.
  • Another use for them would be in collecting and storing water.

A single roll of these heavy-duty garbage bags is lightweight and can easily fit inside your backpack, emergency kit, or even your pocket. Plus, they can be reused and repurposed multiple times with a wide variety of applications.

2. Aluminum Foil

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Aluminum foil has lots of utilities for the creative survivalist. Its durability, malleability, and insulating properties allow it to be shaped into a pot or bowl and even wrapped around a Y-shaped branch to make a DIY frying pan.

Aside from these, aluminum foil can also be used in:

  • Making an emergency signal – The material is highly reflective and with something as simple as a Double A battery, it can also be used in starting a fire.
  • Collecting rainwater – If a container isn’t readily available, aluminum foil can be fashioned into a cylindrical container and placed outside for collecting rainwater.
  • Protecting electronics – Aluminum foil is an essential part of making your very own DIY Faraday cage, which will help protect electronic devices against unwanted electrical waves.

3. Duct Tape

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Duct tape is one of the most versatile things on this list of common household items with survival uses. Its applications include a wide variety of things including making clothing, repairing shelters, waterproofing essential items, creating tools, and many more.

4. Hand Sanitizer

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Personal hygiene is an often overlooked aspect of survival. However, something as simple as keeping your hands clean just might spell the difference between life and death in emergencies. This is especially true today, as the entire world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hand sanitizer, therefore, is the perfect answer to the problem of limited access to water and soap during emergencies. They are also extremely handy as they are often placed inside containers small enough to fit in your pocket or to hang from your bag. Plus, with its composition being mostly alcohol, hand sanitizer also makes for a great substitute for lighter fluid.

5. Dental Floss

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When talking about common household items that have survival uses, dental floss probably isn’t the first thing on anyone’s mind. This strong and slippery thread, however, has a ton of crafty uses.

For one, it’s the perfect material for creating your very own DIY fishing pole. Just attach some dental floss to a branch and you’re all set to start reeling in some fish from the nearest pond.

You can also use dental floss to fortify your bug out location or your home. It is a good material for making booby traps and snares that are perfect for catching small game.

Finally, in cases of severe injury, the contents of a first aid kit might not be enough. The answer? Dental floss. It can be used for temporarily stitching cuts, gashes, or deep wounds just until the injured person is able to receive proper medical attention.

6. Paper Clips

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Paper clips are easy to bend but very difficult to break. They can be twisted to whatever shape or purpose you might need them for such as fish hooks for your makeshift fishing rod, lock picks, and DIY needles.

If your first aid kit is low on supplies, they can also be used for creating a splint strong enough for minor breaks or strains to toes or fingers.

RELATED: Multipurpose Items For Survival You Need To Stock Up On

7. Tin Cans

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When your traditional kitchenware simply isn’t available, tin cans are great substitutes. They can primarily be used as a cup or a makeshift pot that’s perfect for boiling water or even making soup.

8. Salt

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Salt also has a ton of survival applications. The food you captured using your DIY fishing rod or trap fashioned from dental floss and paper clips will last longer if you rub some salt on it or store it in brine.

For medication, salt can also function as an antiseptic. Gargling salt water is a tried and tested way of treating sore throats.

During the winter, salt can also melt snow and even add some traction to slippery surfaces. On metallic surfaces like old cookware or tin cans, on the other hand, it also helps remove rust and create non-stick surfaces perfect for cooking.

9. Bleach

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Good old, simple, unscented bleach may seem insignificant at home, but this potent liquid also has a ton of applications to the crafty survivalist.

First and foremost, bleach makes for a great disinfectant, something that is especially important given the situation today. Mixing a cup of bleach with 5 gallons of water creates a strong disinfecting solution that you can use to clean the surfaces on your home and even your tableware.

Seasoned preppers also use bleach in purifying water and making sure that it is drinkable. To do this, simply add 6 drops of bleach to a gallon of water, mix, and allow it to sit for 30 minutes before drinking.

10. Coffee Filters

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Coffee filters make for great alternatives to disposable plates and bowls. In an emergency, they can also be used as a substitute for toilet paper, and even as a makeshift bandage that can help stop or at least control bleeding.

Of course, coffee filters were primarily designed for filtering water. If you use it for this purpose, make sure to boil your water after filtering. The filter will separate any solid debris from the water, but boiling the water will kill any harmful microorganisms it might contain.

You probably already have most of the common household items with survival uses listed above. Now, complete your collection with this video courtesy of Survival Dispatch for a list of items every prepper should have:



Modern problems often require modern-day solutions, which is why a lot of people rely on high-tech gadgets for their survival needs. However, when all else fails and these gadgets are no longer enough, it will be handy to know how to make the most of even the most common household items for your survival.


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Are there other common household items that also have survival applications we may have missed? Share them with us in the comments section below! 

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