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Long-Lasting Chemicals for Emergency Preparedness & Home Supply

In an increasingly uncertain world, where natural disasters, pandemics, and other emergencies can disrupt our daily lives without warning, being prepared is more important than ever. One key aspect of preparedness is having a well-stocked home supply of essential chemicals that can help you and your family during times of crisis when you can’t make it to the grocery store. Among these essentials, certain chemicals and compounds stand out for their versatility, effectiveness, and, importantly, their long shelf-life.

Long-Lasting Chemicals for Emergency Preparedness & Home Supply

This post is your guide on how and why these chemicals are important. Having items like potassium permanganate, baking soda, vinegar, activated charcoal, and others in your home supply can allow you some flexibility in various emergency scenarios. Potassium permanganate, for instance, is not just a water purifier but also an effective wound disinfectant and an emergency fire starter. Its ability to remain stable indefinitely, as long as it’s stored dry and in a sealed container, makes it an invaluable addition to any emergency kit.

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Similarly, baking soda and vinegar, familiar to most households, are more than just cooking ingredients. Baking soda serves multiple roles – from baking to cleaning, and even as a personal hygiene product. Let’s get into each chemical/compound.

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  1. Potassium Permanganate:
    • Shelf Life: Indefinite
    • Storage Conditions: Dry, airtight container; away from organic materials and light.
  2. Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate):
    • Shelf Life: Indefinite
    • Storage Conditions: Sealed container; cool, dry place.
  3. Vinegar (Acetic Acid):
    • Shelf Life: Indefinite
    • Storage Conditions: Sealed container; cool, dark place.
  4. Activated Charcoal:
    • Shelf Life: Indefinite
    • Storage Conditions: Airtight conditions; away from moisture and contaminants.
  5. Boric Acid:
    • Shelf Life: Indefinite
    • Storage Conditions: Sealed container; away from moisture.
  6. Iodine:
    • Shelf Life: Indefinite
    • Storage Conditions: Sealed container; away from light and moisture.
  7. Glycerin:
    • Shelf Life: Indefinite
    • Storage Conditions: Cool, dark place; airtight container.
  8. Calcium Hypochlorite:
    • Shelf Life: Up to 10 years
    • Storage Conditions: Cool, dry, dark environment; tightly sealed container.
  9. Sulfur Powder:
    • Shelf Life: Indefinite
    • Storage Conditions: Kept dry; well-sealed container.
  10. Saltpeter (Potassium Nitrate):
    • Shelf Life: Indefinite
    • Storage Conditions: Cool, dry place; tightly sealed container.

Proper Storage Explained

Storing these chemicals correctly is important for maintaining their shelf life and effectiveness. This generally involves keeping them in airtight containers to prevent exposure to air and moisture, which can lead to degradation or unwanted reactions. The storage area should be cool and dry, as humidity and temperature fluctuations can affect the stability of many chemicals. It’s also important to store them away from direct sunlight and safely out of reach of children and pets. For certain chemicals, particularly those that are reactive or potentially hazardous, it’s essential to store them away from other substances with which they could react. Following these guidelines helps ensure that these chemicals remain effective and safe to use when needed.

Potassium Permanganate

Potassium permanganate is a chemical compound with the formula KMnO₄. It’s known for its deep purple color and is a strong oxidizing agent. This compound is used in various applications due to its disinfecting and deodorizing properties. Potassium permanganate appears as a crystalline solid and is soluble in water, producing a purple, pink, or magenta solution, depending on the concentration and the presence of impurities.

Uses of Potassium Permanganate

  1. Water Purification: Add a few crystals to water to kill bacteria. The water turns pink; wait until it clears before drinking.
  2. Wound Disinfectant: Dilute in water to create an antiseptic solution for cleaning wounds. Prevents infection.
  3. Fungal Infections: Treat athlete’s foot and other fungal infections by soaking affected areas in a diluted solution.
  4. Emergency Signal: Mix with glycerin to create a bright purple flame, useful as a distress signal.
  5. Fire Starter: Reacts with glycerin, sugar, or antifreeze to start fires in emergency situations.
  6. General Disinfectant: Disinfect utensils or surfaces in a survival situation by applying a diluted solution.
  7. Deodorizer: Neutralizes bad odors in water or on surfaces when diluted and applied.
  8. Parasite Control: Can be used to treat water for certain parasites, ensuring safer consumption.
  9. Plant Fungicide: Diluted solution can be used to treat fungal infections in plants.

Remember, safety is paramount when handling potassium permanganate. It should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from organic materials, and handled with care, using gloves and eye protection.

Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)

Baking Soda, or Sodium Bicarbonate, is a versatile white crystalline powder that is inherently alkaline in nature. While it’s commonly known for its role in baking as a leavening agent, its applications extend far beyond the kitchen. Sodium bicarbonate is a mild, non-toxic compound that excels in neutralizing acids, deodorizing, cleaning, and is also beneficial for various personal health and hygiene uses.

Baking Soda: The Ultimate Multi-Purpose Home Essential

Uses of Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)

  1. Water Purification: Neutralizes acidic contaminants in water, improving taste and safety.
  2. Fire Extinguisher: Effective on grease and electrical fires. Sprinkle generously to extinguish flames.
  3. First Aid – Insect Bites and Stings: Make a paste with water to relieve itching and pain from insect bites or stings.
  4. First Aid – Sunburn Relief: Add to bathwater for a soothing soak to alleviate sunburn discomfort.
  5. Oral Hygiene: Use as a toothpaste alternative for cleaning teeth and freshening breath.
  6. Deodorant: Apply as a powder to reduce body odor without harsh chemicals.
  7. Gastrointestinal Relief: Mix with water to create an antacid for relieving heartburn and indigestion.
  8. Cleaning Agent: Cleans and deodorizes gear, cookware, and surfaces without leaving harmful residues.
  9. Laundry Aid: Boosts detergent effectiveness and removes odors from clothing.
  10. Pest Control: Sprinkle in areas to deter ants and roaches in a survival shelter.
  11. Skin Exfoliant: Gently exfoliates skin when mixed with water, removing dead skin cells.
  12. Refrigerator Freshener: Absorbs unpleasant odors, keeping food storage areas fresh.
  13. Battery Maintenance: Cleans battery terminals in vehicles or generators, improving electrical connections.
  14. Drain Cleaner: Mixed with vinegar, it can help unclog and clean drains.
  15. Cooking: Used in cooking as a leavening agent, essential for making bread or other baked goods.

Baking soda’s non-toxic nature makes it a safe and effective choice for a variety of uses, including cooking, cleaning, personal hygiene, and health care. Its ability to be stored indefinitely in a cool, dry place in a sealed container adds to its value as a multi-purpose household staple. Whether used in the kitchen, bathroom, or garden, baking soda is a versatile and essential item in any home.

Vinegar (Acetic Acid)

Vinegar, primarily composed of acetic acid and water, is a versatile liquid known for its sour taste and pungent smell. Vinegar has been used for thousands of years, not only in cooking but also as a powerful cleaning agent and for medicinal purposes. Its acidic nature makes it effective for a variety of household, culinary, and health-related applications.

Vinegar: The Must-Have Item in Your Home Storage Supplies

Uses of Vinegar (Acetic Acid)

  1. Water Purification: Add to water to kill bacteria and improve potability, though not a primary method.
  2. Wound Cleaning: Diluted vinegar can be used to clean minor wounds, reducing the risk of infection.
  3. Mildew and Mold Remover: Apply to affected areas to kill and prevent mold and mildew growth.
  4. Preservative: Use in pickling to preserve food, extending its shelf life in a survival situation.
  5. Weed Killer: Natural herbicide for controlling unwanted vegetation around campsites or shelters.
  6. Insect Repellent: Mix with water and spray on skin or surfaces to repel insects.
  7. Deodorizer: Neutralizes bad odors in enclosed spaces like shelters or storage areas.
  8. Cleaning Agent: Cleans glass, plastic, and other surfaces without leaving harmful residues.
  9. Rust Remover: Soak rusted tools or items to help loosen and remove rust.
  10. Fabric Softener: Use in laundry to soften clothes and remove odors.
  11. Hair Care: Rinse hair with diluted vinegar for shine and scalp health.
  12. Skin Toner: Diluted vinegar can balance skin pH and improve skin health.
  13. Digestive Aid: Small amounts can aid digestion and alleviate stomach discomfort.
  14. Sore Throat Relief: Gargle with diluted vinegar to soothe a sore throat.
  15. Cooking: Useful for flavoring food, especially when other seasonings are scarce.

Vinegar’s multifaceted uses, ranging from culinary to cleaning and health, make it an indispensable item in any household. Its role in food preservation and fermentation adds to its value, especially in maintaining the longevity and safety of food products. Stored correctly in a cool, dark place, vinegar can last indefinitely, ensuring its availability whenever needed.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, is a form of carbon processed to have small, low-volume pores that increase the surface area available for adsorption or chemical reactions. Activated charcoal is known for its ability to trap chemicals and is widely used in medical applications, water filtration, and skincare due to its powerful toxin-absorbing properties.

Uses of Activated Charcoal

  1. Water Filtration: Removes impurities and contaminants from water, improving taste and safety.
  2. Poison Treatment: In emergency situations, used to treat certain types of oral poisoning or drug overdose, by binding toxins.
  3. Digestive Health: Alleviates gas, bloating, and helps in treating some cases of diarrhea.
  4. Wound Cleaning: Helps in cleaning and deodorizing wounds, reducing the risk of infection.
  5. Skin Health: Used in making pastes or masks for treating acne and skin infections.
  6. Oral Hygiene: Whitens teeth and improves oral health when used as a toothpaste additive.
  7. Deodorizer: Absorbs and neutralizes odors in enclosed spaces, like storage containers or refrigerators.
  8. Insect Bites and Stings: When applied as a paste, it can alleviate itching and pain.
  9. Air Purification: Traps impurities and contaminants, improving air quality in confined spaces.
  10. Mold Cleansing: Helps in removing mold from surfaces by absorbing mold spores.
  11. Pesticide Removal: Can help in removing pesticides from fruits and vegetables when washed with a charcoal solution.

Activated charcoal is a highly versatile product, renowned for its ability to adsorb a wide range of organic and inorganic substances. Its use in emergency medicine, beauty, home care, and even gardening highlights its broad utility. When using activated charcoal, especially for health-related purposes, it’s important to follow proper guidelines and know what you’re doing. Stored in a dry, airtight container, it can remain effective for a long time, making it a valuable addition to any home.

Boric Acid

Boric Acid, a weak, monobasic Lewis acid of boron, often comes in the form of colorless crystals or a white powder that dissolves in water. This compound is derived from boron and is commonly used in various applications ranging from pest control to antiseptic treatments. Due to its antifungal and antiviral properties, boric acid is a valuable substance in many household, medical, and industrial applications.

Uses of Boric Acid

  1. Antiseptic: Treats minor cuts and burns, inhibiting bacterial growth.
  2. Pest Control: Effective against ants, roaches, and other insects in a survival environment.
  3. Preservative: Extends the shelf life of certain foods by inhibiting fungal and bacterial growth.
  4. Eye Wash: Diluted solution can be used as an eyewash to cleanse and soothe irritated eyes.
  5. Mold and Mildew Control: Prevents and kills mold and mildew on surfaces and fabrics.
  6. Laundry Booster: Enhances cleaning power of laundry detergents, especially in hard water.
  7. Fire Retardant: Can be used to create fire-resistant materials and fabrics.
  8. Lubricant: Mixed with water, it can be used as a lubricant in mechanical applications.
  9. Skin Soother: Helps relieve itchiness and irritation from rashes or insect bites when applied in a diluted solution.
  10. Wood Preservation: Protects wood from rot and insect damage in survival shelters or tools.
  11. pH Buffer: Can be used to adjust and stabilize pH in pools or other water systems.
  12. Foot Soak: Relieves foot odor and athlete’s foot in a diluted foot bath.
  13. Plant Fertilizer: In small quantities, can be used as a micronutrient fertilizer for plants.

Boric acid is a versatile and effective compound, valued for its antiseptic, antifungal, and pest control properties. It’s important to handle boric acid with care, as it can be toxic if ingested or inhaled in large quantities. When stored in a cool, dry place in a sealed container, boric acid can remain effective for a long period, making it a practical and useful substance in various home and industrial settings.


Iodine is a chemical element with significant medical and industrial applications. It appears as a lustrous, purple-black metallic solid at standard conditions and is known for its effectiveness as a disinfectant and its essential role in human health. Iodine’s antiseptic properties make it valuable for water purification, wound care, and various other uses.

Uses of Iodine

  1. Water Disinfection: Kills bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in water, making it safe for drinking.
  2. Wound Disinfection: Applied to cuts and wounds to prevent infection.
  3. Skin Antiseptic: Pre-operative skin preparation and cleaning of skin before invasive procedures.
  4. Food Preservation: Used in small quantities to extend the shelf life of certain foods by inhibiting bacterial growth.
  5. Thyroid Function: Essential for thyroid health; can be used to prevent goiter in survival scenarios with limited diet.
  6. Sanitizer: Can be used to sanitize surfaces and equipment in a survival setting.
  7. Mouthwash: Diluted iodine can be used as a therapeutic mouthwash, particularly in managing oral infections.
  8. Insecticide: Effective against various arthropods, can be used in pest control.
  9. Dye: In certain situations, can be used as a dye for marking or identification purposes.
  10. Veterinary Uses: Used in animal care for wound treatment and disinfection.
  11. Culinary Uses: In some cases, used in small amounts to fortify foods like salt to prevent iodine deficiency.

Iodine is a versatile element with a wide range of applications, from medical to industrial. Its antiseptic properties are particularly valuable, making it a staple in first aid kits and hospitals. When using iodine, especially for health-related purposes, it’s important to follow proper guidelines and dosages. Stored correctly in a cool, dark place, iodine can remain effective for a long time, making it a valuable addition to any home or medical kit.


Glycerin, also known as glycerol, is a simple polyol compound. It is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is sweet-tasting and non-toxic. Derived from natural sources like vegetable oil or synthesized through chemical processes, glycerin is widely used in the pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic industries due to its excellent moisturizing properties, solubility in water, and non-toxic nature.

Uses of Glycerin

  1. Skin Moisturizer: Prevents dryness and cracking in harsh conditions by retaining moisture on the skin.
  2. Wound Treatment: Helps in wound care by keeping the area moist, promoting faster healing.
  3. Water Purification: In small amounts, can help preserve stored water by inhibiting bacterial growth.
  4. Fire Starter: Reacts with potassium permanganate to create a flame, useful in emergency fire-starting.
  5. Antifreeze: Mixed with water, can lower the freezing point for vehicle and equipment use in cold climates.
  6. Lubricant: Can lubricate moving parts of tools or machinery in absence of conventional lubricants.
  7. Soap Making: Key ingredient in homemade soap, useful for hygiene in long-term survival scenarios.
  8. Cough Remedy: Acts as a soothing agent for coughs or sore throats when mixed with herbal teas.
  9. Food Sweetener: Can be used as a sweetener in cooking or preserving food.
  10. Leather Care: Conditions and preserves leather goods, preventing drying and cracking.
  11. Plant Health: Helps in preserving plant life by maintaining moisture in soil or as a foliar spray.
  12. Battery Maintenance: Used in certain types of homemade batteries for energy storage.
  13. Medical Applications: Used in small quantities as a laxative or for relief of constipation.

Glycerin’s versatility makes it a valuable substance in various fields, particularly in skin care and food products, due to its moisturizing and non-toxic properties. When using glycerin, especially in DIY projects or as a fire starter, it’s important to handle it with care and follow safety guidelines. Stored in a cool, dark place in an airtight container, glycerin can remain effective for a long time, making it a practical addition to both household and professional settings.

Calcium Hypochlorite

Calcium Hypochlorite is a chemical compound with the formula Ca(ClO)_2. It is widely used as a disinfectant and bleaching agent, and is commonly found in powdered or granulated forms. This compound is well-known for its use in water treatment, especially in swimming pools, to maintain clean and safe water conditions. It’s a powerful and effective sanitizer, capable of killing bacteria, algae, and other harmful microorganisms.

Uses of Calcium Hypochlorite

Read this: DIY Bleach w/ Calcium Hypochlorite

  1. Water Disinfection: Highly effective for purifying large quantities of water, making it safe for drinking.
  2. Surface Sanitizer: Disinfects surfaces in kitchens, bathrooms, and medical areas, helps prevent disease spread.
  3. Algae Control: Used in water storage to prevent algae growth.
  4. Waste Treatment: Sanitizes human waste in latrines or septic systems, reducing pathogen spread.
  5. Mold and Mildew Removal: Effective in eliminating mold and mildew in damp environments.
  6. Laundry Sanitizer: Can be used to sanitize clothing, especially in contaminated environments.
  7. Insecticide: Controls mosquito larvae in stagnant water, reducing the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
  8. Odor Control: Neutralizes bad odors in waste areas and latrines.
  9. Disease Control in Plants: Treats fungal and bacterial diseases in plants.
  10. First Aid: In diluted form, can be used for emergency disinfection of wounds.
  11. Food Equipment Sanitization: Sanitizes food preparation equipment and surfaces.
  12. Pool Maintenance: Used in maintaining cleanliness and microbial safety of swimming pools.
  13. Bleaching Agent: Can bleach fabrics or wood in absence of commercial bleaches.
  14. Soil Treatment: Used in agriculture to disinfect soil or water in specific farming situations.

Note: Calcium hypochlorite can react with metals, leading to corrosion. This reaction is particularly aggressive with certain metals like aluminum, mild steel, and copper. The corrosion process involves the oxidation of the metal, which can weaken it and lead to structural failure over time. This is why calcium hypochlorite should be stored and handled using containers and tools made of materials that are resistant to corrosion, such as certain plastics or stainless steel.

Sulfur Powder

Sulfur powder, also known as brimstone, is a bright yellow crystalline solid. It’s a naturally occurring element that has been used for various purposes throughout history. Sulfur is known for its distinct smell, often compared to rotten eggs, and is used in a variety of applications, from agriculture to medicine and industry.

Uses of Sulfur Powder

  1. Pest Control: Effective against a wide range of insects and mites in a survival garden.
  2. Fungicide: Controls powdery mildew and other fungal diseases on plants.
  3. Soil Treatment: Lowers pH of alkaline soils, beneficial for growing certain acid-loving plants.
  4. Snake Repellent: Can deter snakes from areas where they are not wanted.
  5. Preservative: Historically used for preserving food and wine due to its antimicrobial properties.
  6. Traditional Medicine: Used in some traditional remedies for skin diseases and scabies.
  7. Firearm Cleaning: In the past, used for cleaning black powder residue from firearms.
  8. Rubber Vulcanization: In a survival situation, can be used for repairing or creating rubber items through vulcanization.
  9. Skin Treatment: Used in ointments for treating acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
  10. Water Treatment: Removes iron and hydrogen sulfide from water, improving quality and taste.
  11. Wine Making: Controls fermentation and acts as an antimicrobial in wine making.
  12. Battery Production: Used in some types of homemade batteries as an electrolyte.
  13. Metal Refining: Assists in the extraction of certain metals from their ores.

Sulfur powder is a versatile substance with a wide range of applications. Its use in agriculture as a pesticide and fungicide is particularly notable, as well as its role in traditional medicine for skin conditions. When using sulfur powder, it’s important to handle it with care, as it can be irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Stored properly in a cool, dry place, sulfur powder can remain effective for a long time, making it a valuable resource in various fields.

Saltpeter (Potassium Nitrate)

Saltpeter, or potassium nitrate, is a chemical compound with the formula KNO₃. Historically known for its use in gunpowder, this white to dirty gray crystalline substance is also widely used in fertilizers, food preservation, and even in some medical applications. It’s a naturally occurring mineral source of nitrogen, an essential nutrient for plants.

Uses of Saltpeter (Potassium Nitrate)

  1. Food Preservation: Used in curing meats to prevent bacterial growth and maintain freshness.
  2. Fertilizer: Provides essential nitrogen and potassium to plants, enhancing growth in survival gardening.
  3. Fire Making: Key ingredient in making black powder for use in firearms or for starting fires.
  4. Toothpaste Ingredient: Historically used in toothpaste formulations for its antimicrobial properties.
  5. Meat Tenderizing: Breaks down tough fibers in meat, useful in cooking tougher cuts.
  6. Tree Stump Removal: Accelerates the decomposition of tree stumps for easier removal.
  7. Metal Work: Used in the process of case hardening of steel.
  8. Refrigeration: In historical ice-making methods, used as a cooling agent.
  9. Oxidizer: Boosts the combustion of fuels in emergency heating or signaling devices.
  10. Waste Decomposition: Speeds up the decomposition of organic waste in composting.
  11. Mold and Mildew Inhibitor: Prevents mold and mildew growth on various surfaces.
  12. Rocket Propellant: Can be used in the formulation of rocket propellants in amateur rocketry.
  13. Smoke Bombs: Creates smoke when combined with sugar, useful for signaling or cover.
  14. Water Treatment: In specific applications, used to control algae and assist in water purification.

Saltpeter is a versatile compound with a variety of uses in agriculture, food preservation, and even pyrotechnics. Its role as a fertilizer is particularly significant due to its nitrogen content, essential for plant growth. When using potassium nitrate, it’s important to handle it with care, especially in its applications in explosives and pyrotechnics, due to its oxidizing properties. Stored in a cool, dry place, saltpeter can remain effective for a long time, making it a valuable addition to various fields, from agriculture to emergency preparedness.

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Chemicals for Emergency Preparedness & Home Supply


Tuesday 13th of February 2024

Hello. I first want to say thank you for all you do to help keep us informed and educated to be prepared. I went to click on the link for printable with patreon and it came up as an error. I tried multiple times and it came up "error" each time.

Rob Benson

Wednesday 14th of February 2024

Thanks for your kindness. I tried to duplicate it and I'm not getting the error. The link goes to Patreon, here's the link (I hope it works for you) : LINK TO PATREON TO DOWNLOAD

robyn Partridge

Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

i joined from Australia but the pdf didn't download. How can I cancel my membership or please advise how this all works.

Rob Benson

Tuesday 23rd of January 2024

I just sent you an email with the PDF. I also sent a request to the customer support over at Patreon. I tried it on my phone and on my computer and the download worked fine for me. It could be your phone's settings that won't allow you to download. You can also access form your computer if you'd like and download the PDF directly on your computer. I'll get back to you over on Patreon as soon as I hear from customer support. THANK YOU!


Friday 19th of January 2024

I printed this list out to add to my other prepping books. I wish it could have been laid out better for printing, though. Lots of spaces. Most photos did not print, which would have been nice to have the photos for purchasing purposes. But I am grateful for this list. Thank you

Rob Benson

Saturday 20th of January 2024

Thanks! I'm creating a downloadable and printable PDF that will be available on our Patreon: (should be up today or this weekend at the latest).