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Samantha Daly

Household Lifesavers: 5 Items You Already Own that Could Save Your Life

Household Lifesavers: 5 Items You Already Own that Could Save Your Life

Sure, you’re prepared for everything imaginable. You have a fully stocked bug-out-bag and a house full of resources specifically reserved for this moment. But what if disaster strikes and you can’t access your supplies? Then it’s time to get creative.

Items like matches, candles, hand sanitizer, and string have obvious uses, but here we give you a list of 5 everyday household items that you could use in unusual ways in a life or death scenario.

1. Soda can. An aluminum can is a versatile object and can be used for many things besides sipping your favorite carbonated beverage.

If one side is cut open vertically in the shape of an I and the edges are folded back, it can easily become a light source. Place a candle inside and use string to hang it from the tab, creating a lamp. If you don’t have candles handy, you can use a paperclip to push a string into a tube of Chapstick and make your own candle (a fully filled Chapstick tube will burn for about two hours).

If you cut the can in half horizontally and remove the top half, you can puncture small holes around the base of the can and place it bottom up over a small flame to form a penny can stove. You can also remove the tab and make a small cut in the side to form a hook. You can use the hook and a small rope to hold up a tarp for shelter or hang items off the ground for storage.

2. Bleach. Bleach is a reliable disinfectant.

If you mix 1 gallon of hot water with 1 teaspoon of bleach, you can put it in a clean spray bottle for use disinfecting household surfaces, bug-out-bags, and large survival tools. Just spray and wipe down with a cloth.

This same mixture can be used to sterilize drinking containers as well as clean fruits and vegetables. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry completely after using the bleach solution.

Small items, however, are challenging to clean with a spray. Instead, combine ¾ cup of bleach and 1 gallon of warm water in a container and place small tools inside. Allow them to sit for 5-10 minutes before using gloves to take them out and lay them down to air dry.

Even the bleach container is useful when empty. Instead of throwing it away, fill the container with sand, concrete, or other heavy material to be used as an anchor. The anchor can be used by itself to hold down tent flaps or other things that need to remain immobile, or if it is attached to a rope it can be used as a weight to hold bags of food and supplies high in trees and away from predators.

3. Dryer sheets. Dryer sheets are a valuable fire starter.

Dryer lint is incredibly flammable and when wrapped in a dryer sheet it forms a useful fire starter. Simply place a small bundle of lint in the center of a dryer sheet, roll lengthwise, and twist the ends into a bowtie shape. When lit, the bundle will burn for long enough to catch small kindling on fire.

Household products such as eyeglasses, mirrors, and tin foil can also be used to direct the sun’s rays to start a fire and hairspray, hand sanitizer, and perfume can intensify flames because of their alcohol content. 

4. Floss.  Floss is a very strong form of string with many potential uses.

If you don’t have thread, floss and a needle can be used to stitch wounds closed or repair clothing or shelter. It can also be used to lace up holes in backpacks and as makeshift boot laces (although you might need to twist a few strands together to increase its strength).

It can also be used to tie up bundles of kindling, as wax-coated floss is very flammable. If you’re near a river or lake, you can also use floss as fishing line. Dangling earrings or safety pins can be used as hooks.

5. Garbage bags. Garbage bags have seemingly limitless uses.

Cut a few holes in a garbage bag to make a poncho to protect yourself from rain (or tie a bag over each of your shoes to keep them dry). It can also be used in the cold as a base layer under your clothing to retain body heat.

You can string an open garbage bag between two trees to collect rainwater for drinking. Or you can cut a garbage bag open to form a large rectangle and string it up to form a shady spot to escape the heat. A garbage bag can also be used as a makeshift stretcher if you need to move someone with an injury.

If you’re looking for a little more comfort, a garbage bag can even be used as a pillow. Just blow air into it to inflate it as much as possible before tying off the end and trapping the air inside.

These are only a few examples of ways to use items you have lying around the house in an emergency situation. Head to our Facebook page to share your ideas with other BattlBoxers about ways to utilize household items in a life or death scenario.

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