#1 – Baking Soda
Bicarbonate of soda (or sodium bicarbonate), i.e. baking soda, is a pantry staple for people that do a lot of baking at home (fewer and fewer each day, it seems). They know the value of baking soda when it comes to food preparation. What is less commonly known are its many other uses beyond recipes.
The history of baking soda goes all the way back to 3500 BC, when ancient Egyptians used natron (mostly sodium carbonate) as a cleaning agent (and to make mummies). Then it 1843, a British chemist made the first version of modern baking soda to help his wife, who was allergic to yeast.
Baking soda has a slew of post-apocalyptic uses beyond cooking, however. It can be used in your survival garden to combat slugs and ants. It can be used to help put out kitchen fires. Baking soda can be used for cleaning to scrub surfaces. It neutralizes odors, good for extinguishing the stank from your bug-out boots.
Lard (and other animal fats) can be a valuable addition to your doomsday diet, adding much needed calories, and it can be used as cooking grease. You can add a few teaspoonfuls of baking soda to your bucket of pig fat to help prevent it from becoming rancid.
Beyond scrubbing surfaces clean, baking soda can also be used to scrub your teeth clean. Put some on your toothbrush after your run out of Crest or Aim, maybe mix it with coconut oil to make it tastier, and it will help keep your teeth shiny white and act as a natural antiseptic. (Don’t use it too much, however. It can do a number on your enamel.)
MORE cleaning! You can add half a cup of baking soda to your clothes pile and it will help brighten the colors and remove the odor. It’s also good for your skin. Put it under your moist armpits to keep them fresh, helping you attract doomsday dames or dudes.
There are medicinal properties as well. You can make a paste out of baking soda to apply it bug bites, poison ivy (and other) rashes, and even help heal the sunburns you’ll get from spending so much time in the sun tending your garden. But wait, there’s more! Baking soda can also be used as an antacid. Some even say it relieves heartburn. Use ¼ teaspoon per glass of water. Mmmmm, tasty! It can help with nausea, and has historically been used to help mitigate the symptoms of flu.
Last, but certainly not least, baking soda can be used to remediate radiation. It’s true! Adding salt and baking soda to a bath is referred to as a “radiation detox bath.”
Radiation is acidifying to the system, but a salt and soda soak, which is highly alkaline, helps neutralize this effect. This radiation soak can be done two to three times per week to help counteract the radiation and to eliminate toxins from the body’s largest organ, the skin.https://branchbasics.com/blog/salt-and-soda-soak-a-radiation-detox-bath/
Dr. Sircus writes:
If the bombs start dropping anywhere on earth you will need to have a large amount of sodium bicarbonate on hand. Minimum stocks should be 25 or 50 pounds. You will also need iodine, magnesium chloride, spirulina and a long list of survival items. I am recommending that one stocks up on bicarbonate, which is extraordinarily inexpensive.https://drsircus.com/sodium-bicarbonate-baking-soda/reducing-radiation-damages-with-bicarbonate/
So start stocking up on bulk baking soda today!
#2 – Bleach
Sodium hypochlorite, bleach, has exceptional benefits to the prepper. It helps reduce impurities and bacteria, and is used to help purify drinking water, and at eight drops per gallon of water, it will go a long way. It combats cholera. Far more pioneers in the Wild West died from cholera than attacks by Native Americans.
Bleach can be used to disinfect cutting boards and butcher blocks. It can be used in medical settings to kill cold and flu viruses. It kills Ebola and Hepatitis A on surfaces. It removes odors and mildew.
- Don’t buy scented bleach. You don’t want the added chemicals associated with scented bleach. Keep it unscented (Clorox or Purex) with five or six percent chlorine.
- Bleach has an expiration date, so pay attention to the dates and rotate stock; but just because it’s expired doesn’t mean it must be tossed. Expired bleach after the apocalypse is better than no bleach at all.
Despite the many attributes bleach has for preppers, you must stay mindful that it’s a carcinogen. It may be okay for human consumption when it is diluted, but too much of it can lead to poisoning. It is dangerous, corrosive, and it can aggravate asthma. Use it in a well-ventilated area, use gloves and eye protection when handling it, and never mix it with ammonia!
While bleach (buy it in bulk) has many positive attributes for the prepper, and it’s certainly effective at purifying water, it’s our recommendation that you use alternative means for cleaning your drinking water first.
#3 – Alcohol
Stocking alcohol is not a new concept within prepping circles, but it is certainly debatable among some individuals, mostly purists who object to alcohol and favor something like additional food as bartering goods. While some might forgo booze in the prepper’s pantry, its post-apocalyptic value is undeniable. Let’s cover them now.
Alcohol has Barter Value
Alcohol is stolen all the time, whether in looting scenarios or home break-ins. It doesn’t come cheap at the grocery store, and for many people, for better or worse, it’s their gateway to a good time, or at least to escaping the stressors of life for a while. It has inherent value. A bottle of whiskey or vodka be post-collapse currency.
Alcohol has Social Value
Think people want to use alcohol to escape daily life now? Imagine after the apocalypse! Post-collapse life will take its toll on even the strongest minds, and drugs will provide a relief for many, allowing them to escape for a bit, and (potentially) recharge. Whether it’s tobacco, whiskey, or marijuana, many people have a vice that they are comfortable having, and will seek that vice out WTSHTF.
Alcohol has Medical Uses
Alcohol can be used as an effective disinfectant. It can be used to ward off nausea, and it can be used to make unexpected dental work more bearable for someone (make sure to have a copy of Where There is No Dentist). Alcohol was seen in many old western movies being given to individuals before arrows were pulled from them. Don’t underestimate its first aid value!
So which types of alcohol should you stock?
The staples are apt to be vodka and whiskey. They’re universally used. Having a few crates of either (or rum) stashed away can by no means hurt. The key attributes to look for are the levels of alcohol content and the expiration date.
Anything that is 60 percent alcohol or higher (120 proof and up) can be considered surgical level. Anything 40 percent or higher (80 proof and up) can be used to disinfect wounds. Conveniently, the higher the level of alcohol, the longer its shelf life.
Wine is good for its social value. Many people enjoy drinking a bottle of wine, and it can be used to celebrate special occasions. While its alcohol level is too low for first aid purposes, it may have a comfort level not found in harder alcohols. Red wines, of course, also get better with age, so you have no fears of it going bad. Once opened, however, a short expiration period begins. If you enjoy drinking wine periodically, buy extra bottles as space and money allows. At least then you know it will get used, apocalypse or not.
If you’re going to do this, however, stockpiling spirits is best: whiskey, vodka, and maybe even harder stuff – Everclear. These have a very long shelf life (pretty much never expire). Remember the last time hard alcohol went down in price? Me neither, so it retains its value. But for apocalyptic purposes, Everclear is the “clear” winner. It’s 60 percent, 75.5 percent, or even 95 percent alcohol by volume (it’s basically poison at that level). It’s undrinkable at that higher level, so it would have to be mixed with another beverage to make it tolerable, but it is by far the most economical in this class, particularly for medicinal purposes.
#4 – Epinephrine
Stocking medicine, particularly antibiotics, is not a new concept, but an often-overlooked medicine is epinephrine. This might sound like a stretch for anyone other than those who have peanut or other allergies, but it has value for things other than addressing anaphylactic shock.
If you want to buy a medical student’s surgery kit, and combine that with our Emergency War Surgery book (and hope you have a steady hand treating trauma), you should know that epinephrine can be used as a numbing agent. It will restrict blood vessels for faster wound repair. The longer the wound stays open, the higher the odds of getting an infection, and post-collapse, you don’t want to deal with that on top of surgery. (Note: I don’t advise becoming a DIY surgeon.)
Bonus! Epinephrine is adrenaline – literally. So, imagine you’re bugging out, you’ve been on the run for two days, a pack of raiders are hot on your tail, and if you only had a dose of energy to help push you over the wall to safety… I’m just saying. High-altitude mountaineers sometimes carry epinephrine for a reason.
#5 – Firewood
If you burn wood to heat your home, this is a no-brainer – but wait! You all need to read on.
You burn wood for heat already.
Yeah, you stack firewood and let it dry for heating the house during the winter, but how much is enough? Have you taken into account how long it takes to dry? What if SHTF during the spring and you need a new supply for the winter? Do you want to spend your first summer trying to survive also trying to gather enough firewood? That takes a lot of time and burns a lot of precious calories.
Do you burn wood as a supplemental source of heat, or exclusively? In other words, if other heating sources are gone, do you have enough wood to make up the difference? And what about cooking? Do you have enough wood for home heating and cooking? My advice: have two years’ worth of wood (however much you use in one year) onsite and rotate stock.
You don’t burn wood for heat.
Let’s face it, wood isn’t easy to store. Urban and apartment dwellers can pretty much rule this out entirely. But if you live in the suburbs or somewhere rural, having a healthy stack of firewood, covered on the top, is a good thing. Make a fire pit in the backyard so you have an excuse to have it onsite. Besides, it’s not like a fire pit is a bad thing. They’re great for sitting around in the evening, and you can even practice your bushcraft cooking skills on it!
#6 – Garbage Bags
You’ve got toilet paper stacked a mile high in your basement, but what are you going to do with all of the poopy paper? Further, what if you’re stuck in your house during a deadly pandemic and the city water doesn’t work or the grid goes down? What are you going to do with all of the poop itself? You need garbage bags. You don’t need a crate of them, but adding several boxes of heavy duty trash bags to your pantry can’t hurt. Apocalypse or not, they’ll eventually get used, so it’s not wasted money.
They have other uses as well! I line my backpack with a heavy duty trash bag before filling it with gear. That way if it rains or I fall in a stream, my gear will stay dry without any additional effort. You can also poke a few holes in one to use it as a poncho in a pinch. Winning!
#7 – Hand Tools
The manual labor world after a collapse will be very different than it is today (if you live long enough). Do you have a few shovels for digging latrines in the backyard? That circular saw isn’t going to work without electrical power. Do you have handsaws and the means to sharpen them? Do you have gardening tools? A hoe for the garden? An ax for cutting trees? A pickaxe for digging trenches to combat the approaching hordes of flesh eating zombies?
I have good news! So few people use hand tools these days that they’re easy to find for cheap. I have an in at a nearby dump/transfer station. People throw perfectly good tools away all the time. Shovels, rakes, sod cutters, you name it. Every once in a while I’ll get a text with a picture of a new tool getting tossed. “Do you want it?” Hell yeah!
You can buy hand tools at yard sales very easily, and very inexpensively. People just don’t want them lying around anymore. Get more than one of each. They eventually break.
On that subject, we’ve published two books that dovetail with hand tools and are perfect for your survival library:
- Makeshift Workshop Skills for Survival and Self-Reliance, and
- MORE Makeshift Workshop Skills
#8 – Non-Lubricated Condoms
This might not apply to everyone, and by that I mean those of you in an exclusive relationship who have a “permanent” method of birth control. But for the rest of you – listen up!
Sexually transmitted diseases/infections aren’t going away, and after the apocalypse, they’re apt to spread like a brushfire plague. There are strains of Gonorrhea right now that are resistant to antibiotics, so even if you’ve stocked up on fish antibiotics, that doesn’t mean you’ll be guaranteed to fix the itch. Better to be safe than sorry!
Skipping sex after SHTF? That might be your idea now, but what if you meet your post-doomsday dream dude or dame? You never know! Will you be able to control the urge? Kids will certainly have their place in rebuilding a new world from the ashes, but better to know that they’re planned for, and in case you need to be scared out of your mind for post-collapse child birth, I suggest reading Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth so you’ll have an idea on what you’re in for.
More than just safe sex! There are other ways condoms can be useful after the apocalypse. The Prepper Journal lists a few ideas, including using them for a fire hand drill, making a condom slingshot, and first aid.
Embarrassed to buy them at the store? Buy them in bulk (cheap) on Amazon.
So there you have it! Agree? Disagree? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below.