Cleaning, first aid and food prep: 20 Survival uses of salt
By Darnel Fernandez // Oct 25, 2019

Salt is a naturally occurring mineral found in many foods. When prepping, most would opt out of adding salt to their food stockpile because a lot of people think salt is just “food flavoring,” and eating bland food wouldn't bother them all that much, especially in a survival situation. Eating salt also gets a bad rap from the medical community due to the unhealthy effects of eating a high-sodium diet, further decreasing the popularity of this mineral. However, preppers fail to realize that not only is salt essential to life; it also has a variety of survival uses they might not even be aware of. (h/t to


Sodium services

Research has established an association between excessive salt consumption and high blood pressure. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults to limit their sodium consumption to about 2.3 grams per day, which is equivalent to a tablespoon of salt. In most cases, preppers would get their daily dose of salt from the food they stockpile since canned food contains quite a bit of salt. However, this doesn't mean that salt has run out of uses. (Related: Salt intake linked to obesity, say Finnish scientists.)

Here are 20 ways you can use salt in survival scenarios:

  1. Season food. Salt, unsurprisingly, can be used to elevate any dish by adding more flavor to it. But what you probably didn't know is that salt can also be used to reduce the bitterness of coffee and get rid of the gamey taste of most hunted animals.
  2. Clean fish. In some cases, you might find yourself trying to fish for something to eat. Soaking whatever you catch in a salt solution can help cleaning and dressing the fish significantly easier because salt loosens the fish's scales.
  3. Clean oral wounds. One of the more common home remedies for dealing with oral wounds like canker sores involves gargling a mixture of salt and warm water.
  4. Make your breath fresh. Adding to oral health, you can mix baking powder, salt, and warm water into a solution that can help your breath stay fresh and clean.
  5. Repel bugs. The great outdoors can be a pain for people who don't like insects, especially for those afraid of ants. Thankfully, ants aren't huge fans of salt and would do their best to avoid crossing salt lines laid on the ground.
  6. Relieve bug bites. Water and a bit of salt can efficiently act as a natural pain reliever.
  7. De-ice your windshield. Winter survival with your bug-out vehicle can take a turn for the worse if your windshield ices up. You don't want to be caught wasting precious time in a survival situation scraping ice off your windshield. Rubbing salt across your windshield in the evening can prevent the windshield from frosting over overnight.
  8. Keep milk from going bad. In SHTF, every resource counts, and those that spoil quickly, like milk, tend to get thrown out before they get used up. Adding a little bit of salt to refrigerated milk can keep it from going bad for a few more days.
  9. Eliminate rust. A salt and lemon juice solution can easily rub off any rust from your tools, making them look and work as good as new.
  10. Scrub pots and pans. Using salt and water to scrub pots and pans can help remove the dirt quickly, allowing you to save water.
  11. Sanitize sponges. SHTF situations call for keeping bacteria and germs at bay to prevent infections and diseases. Boiling used sponges in saltwater can kill any bacteria and eliminate the odor.
  12. Lower flames. Throwing a pinch of salt onto a fire can lower its intensity without the need to douse the coals.
  13. Cook food faster. Salt may not be able to make water boil more quickly, but it can allow food to cook faster by raising the temperature of the water.
  14. Make toothbrushes last longer. Soaking toothbrushes in a salt solution can help extend the life of the bristles so you can use your toothbrush for as long as you like.
  15. Remove grass stains. While not that big of a deal when SHTF, you can get rid of camp staining by sprinkling a salt and lemon water solution.
  16. Clean up the campsite. Preppers should always practice proper hygiene and cleanliness to prevent illnesses. Sprinkling salt around a campsite can inhibit the growth of mold, yeast, and bacteria.
  17. Remove poison ivy. Most camps have the possibility of hiding poison ivy. By mixing soapy water and a few pounds of salt, you can spray around and kill any poison ivy that comes in contact.
  18. Exfoliate skin and lips. Extended survival scenarios can often lead to dry and itchy skin. A sea salt rub can remove dead skin and improve your blood flow, as well.
  19. Treat skin irritations. A saltwater solution can stave off any skin irritation, from rashes to even simple pimples.
  20. Use as an alternative to toothpaste. You can always mix baking soda and salt to clean your teeth.

Whenever you're prepping, don't forget to pack a little salt. You'll never know when you would need it.

Want to know what other mundane objects have surprising survival uses? Take a browse at

Sources include: [PDF]

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