There are a variety of supplies you ought to stock, but no prepper should be without these 5 essential household chemicals.
Ammonia has a wide variety of uses in an emergency, ranging from plant food to blood removal in clothing and bandages. This chemical can also repel moths when closest and wardrobes are lightly washed with a solution of ammonia and water. Perhaps most importantly, you can also keep raccoons, rats and other scavenging vermin away from garbage piles by coating the trash in a light liquid solution of ammonia. The scent apparently drives off the garbage eaters, and helps keep the dangers of raccoon attack or disease spreading from mice to a minimum.
This chemical is often included as an ingredient in some laundry detergents, bug killing agents (particularly ant bait) and as an anti-fungul foot soak. Although some countries permit it to be included in food as a preservative for certain foods such as noodles, it has been linked with serious health problems including liver cancer and I would not recommend it be used to preserve meats or any other food. It’s most intriguing use comes in the form of a fireproofing water and borax solution. Soaking natural cloths (not synthetic fabrics) in this solution will help make them much more resistant to burning, though it is not true immunity. With such versatility in its uses, it is definitely worth a place in your survival cupboard.
Although vinegar might register as a “food” item rather than a household chemical to you, it certainly fits the bill in many ways. Food grade vinegar can also be used as an antibacterial agent in wounds, as a household cleaning agent (particularly useful since it can clean counters soiled by blood or rotted food), and even a deodorant. Vinegar in higher concentrations (between 10-20%, compared to the 5% common in food-grade vinegar) can also be used to destroy the above-ground foliage of weeds and other harmful plants, though it will leave the roots of perennial weeds to sprout anew. Be very careful with concentrated vinegar of this kind, as 10-20% vinegar is sufficiently acidic to cause harm to the skin. Finally, it is one of the most useful chemicals on this list because it can be made in your own home provided you have the proper ingredients, making it a perpetual source of antibacterial cleanser.
Iodine is odd, as it is necessary for thyroid health but most sources of iodine outside of specific dietary supplements can be poisonous owing to the amount of iodine present. For those who live inland the dietary supplement form of iodine (typically termed “iodide”) is highly recommended, since iodine is primarily found in the ocean and transferred from there to other areas by rain. The farther inland, the more likely it is that your rain is iodine deficient, and thus you may need iodine supplements to continue maintaining thyroid health.
The other forms of iodine that are typically labeled “for external use only” can be used in very minor amounts to cleanse water and to clean wounds. Although Tincture of Iodine is commonly used for both of these purposes, anyone who desires an alcohol-free iodine solution for cleansing water should use Lugol’s Solution instead. It should be noted that any source of iodine above 2.2% concentration (which includes Lugol’s Solution) has been put under the DEA’s list of Controlled Substances owing to its use in creating methamphetamine. It can still be purchased, but there are now much more stringent purchasing and reporting requirements attached to the sale of iodine, adding a paper trail leading back to you.
5. Chlorine Bleach
No list of prepper chemicals would be complete without the addition of bleach. Chlorine bleach can be used to cleanse water, as an antibacterial agent on countertops and other food preparation surfaces, and as a general cleanser for contaminated surfaces. Unscented, uncolored bleach is best for these uses and it should be stored with care. Be aware that mixing this chemical with ammonia and many other common chemicals will result in extremely poisonous gas, so take care not to mix chlorine bleach with any other solution.
These chemicals will help you round out your preparedness supplies, giving you access to antibacterials, cleansers, and even helpful herbicides in an emergency. Make sure you’re stocked up!
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