If you’ve come across salt on the checklist of things to stockpile for a SHTF or survival situation, you might wonder what all the fuss is about. If you’re like me, you may not even use much salt on your food at all.
When I first started prepping, I didn’t even put salt on my stockpile shopping list because I figured it was merely for flavoring food and I could eat bland food if it came down to it. But it didn’t take long for me to realize just how many survival uses for salt there are and how valuable it can truly be when SHTF.
Survival Uses for Salt
1. Cleaning Fish
In a survival situation, you may find yourself catching fish for dinner. If you soak the fish in salt solution, it loosens the scales so that cleaning the fish is easier and quicker.
2. Sanitize Your Sponges
In an extended survival or SHTF situation, one of the critical tasks will be to keep bacteria and other germs at bay. If you have brought along sponges for cleaning up messes, you can boil them in salt water to sanitize them. Salt kills bacteria and eliminates odor.
Thoroughly air dry sponges after boiling. Sanitizing sponges means they will last longer and you have less to dispose of.
3. Help Milk Keep Longer
Did you know that if you add a bit of salt to refrigerated milk, it will keep it from spoiling a few days longer? This is a good trick if you find yourself having to bug in during a SHTF situation.
4. Keep Flames Low
If flames in your firepit are getting too high and might attract attention to your location, throw salt on the fire. The salt will keep the flames low without dousing the coals.
5. Remove Rust from Tools
A paste of salt and lemon juice and a dry cloth can be used to scrub rust from your tools and keep them working like new. Once rust spots are gone, thoroughly dry tools before storing to prevent rust from returning.
6. Make Removing Chicken Feathers Easier
If you’ve ever plucked a chicken, you know those pesky pin feathers can be troublesome and time consuming to remove. One trick to make this task go a little easier is to rub the entire chicken with salt. It will make the pin feathers easier to remove.
7. Cleaning Odors and Other Messes
In a survival situation, your hands are bound to get dirty, maybe even smelly from cleaning fish and gutting fresh caught game. You can use salt to clean your hands of greasy or sticky substances from your hands as well as from dishes and cutting boards. If you have a piece of lemon it helps the salt to work better and removes odors.
8. Drying & Tanning Hides
Salt is an important part of the process for drying and tanning hides. It helps prevent bacteria growth and helps the drying process. It’s typical for a hide to go through several saltings before being finished.
In an extended survival situation dried and tanned hides can be used for a variety of purposes including clothing, footwear, hats or mittens, blankets or rugs, and bartering for other needed items.
9. Prevent Mold on Cheese
Soaking cheese in salt solution and covering it tightly with plastic wrap will help to slow the growth of mold and extend the shelf life of the cheese. If you don’t have plastic wrap, soak a towel in salt water and wrap it tightly around the cheese.
10. Brush Your Teeth
You can add salt to a baking soda paste and use the mixture to clean your teeth if you don’t have toothpaste or if you run out.
11. Replace Electrolytes
While it’s true that you can’t drink sea water, salt does contain minerals that are a vital part of staying healthy. This is why many hospitals use saline solution to “give you fluids” when you are in the hospital.
If you find yourself in a survival situation, adding a pinch of sea salt to your drinking water can actually help provide a few of the electrolytes your body needs to stay hydrated. For someone who is already dehydrated, refer to your first aid manual for more aggressive treatment.
12. Decrease Cooking Time
Add salt to water to raise the temperature faster. Food will cook quicker and you can get on your way a few minutes sooner. Although salt can increase the temperature of water, it does not actually make water boil faster.
13. As Part of a Healthy Diet
Salt in the diet and the iodide that often comes with table salt is necessary for a healthy diet. Getting enough salt is critical for thyroid function and to prevent Hyponatremia, a dangerous condition that occurs when the sodium level in your blood becomes too low.
Hyponatremia can occur if you drink too much water too quickly, throwing off the balance of sodium to water in your body. Hyponatremia can be caused by certain medications, and by medical issues such as diarrhea, renal disease, heart failure, and liver disease. Symptoms of hyponatremia include nausea, headaches, and seizures.
14. Clean Cast Iron
Mix a paste of salt and a bit of water and use this to scrub your cast iron pans after a meal. It is better for the cast iron than water (which causes cast iron to rust) and will keep your pans polished and ready to cook the next meal.
15. Scrub Pots and Pans
In a survival situation, you need to clean the pots and pans you are using quickly and thoroughly and you don’t want to use a lot of precious water. You can use a paste of salt and water to scrub pots and pans and then rinse them with just a bit of water at the end.
16. Remove Dirt and Grime from Foraged Lettuce and Greens
Freshly foraged lettuce and greens are great in a survival situation but it can sometimes be a pain to wash all the dirt off of them so you can eat them.
Add a couple teaspoons of salt to a bowl of water and then soak your foraged greens in the salt water. Swish them around a bit before pulling them out and you shouldn’t get any dirt with your greens.
17. Keep Ice Off Your Vehicle Windshield for a Quick Getaway
If you’re on a bug out trip or survival situation in your vehicle, you’ll want to keep it ready to go in a moment’s notice. The last thing you want is to have to scrape ice from the windshield before you can get on the road if the situation is dire.
Keep a cloth bag full of salt in your car and simply rub it across your windshield in the evening after you stop. Your windows will be free of frost in the morning and you can get on the road quickly.
18. Help toothbrushes last longer
Before you pack those toothbrushes in your bug out bag for your next survival trip, soak them in salt water and then let them air dry thoroughly. The salt water extends the life of the bristles so your toothbrush will last as long as your trip.
19. Exfoliate Skin and Lips
If you find yourself in an extended survival situation, your skin may get uncomfortably dry and itchy from exposure to the elements. Even though you can’t take a hot shower in a survival situation, you can soak a bit in a nearby creek or pond if the weather is mild enough.
Then use a handful of sea salt while you are still a little damp from your swim and rub over your skin to help slough off dead skin and improve your circulation. You can also use a bit a salt on a toothbrush and rub it gently over your lips to remove dead skin from them being chapped.
20. Help Homemade Soap Harden
In an extended survival situation you may find yourself needing to make your own soap. Adding salt during the process will help to harden the soap so it can be cut into bars and transported easier than in liquid form.
21. Nasal Rinse
It’s best to use sea salt but table salt will work also. Dissolve the salt in water along with a small pinch of baking soda. Use this solution to rinse nasal passages and clean them as well as lubricate them if they are dry.
You can use a clean medicine syringe, a nasal syringe like is used for infants or if you brought a neti pot, you can use that to pour the salt solution into your nose and out the other side.
22. Preserve Fish and Meat
Bacteria need moisture or they die. Salt pulls moisture out using osmotic pressure. It dehydrates fish and meat turning it into an environment where bacteria cannot survive.
Use a solution that is minimally 20% salt in order to eliminate the need for refrigeration. Salt is also used to help in the curing process for fish and meat that is being smoked or dried.
23. Insect Bite Pain Relief
A paste of salt and water can help temporarily relieve the pain of an insect bite. If you believe the stinger might still be in your skin, add a good amount of baking soda to the paste and cover the affected area of skin. The baking soda paste will draw out the stinger, the salt will help relieve pain.
24. Get Rid of Poison Ivy Around Camp
If you find the perfect place to camp for a day or two but discover areas where poison ivy has begun to take over, mix a gallon of soapy water and add in a couple pounds of salt. Mix well and spray or pour on stems and leaves to kill the poison ivy.
25. Make Clothespins More Durable
One of the little known survival uses for salt is to make clothespins more durable. Clothespins exposed to the weather elements can become brittle and break easily.
Since you may not be able to run out and buy more in a SHTF situation, you can make your clothespins more durable by boiling them in salt water. You can also add salt to rinse water when washing clothes to prevent them from freezing to your clothesline in colder weather.
26. Oral Wound Treatment
Gargle with a mixture of salt and warm water to treat oral wounds in a survival situation. Warm salt water can help with canker sores, a mouth wound, and even relieve the pain of a sore throat. The salt also helps to slow bacteria growth so the wound can heal.
27. Flushing Wounds
Another of the survival uses for salt that can be overlooked is to use salt for flushing wounds. Because salt kills bacteria, it can not only clean a wound but also help prevent infection from setting in. To create a saline solution for wound irrigation, dissolve about 10 grams of salt for each 1 liter of water.
28. Natural Bug Repellent
Ants can sure be a pain if you have to cook and eat outdoors. But ants don’t like salt and they typically will avoid crossing a line of salt. Sprinkle a perimeter of salt around your eating area or food storage area in a survival situation to keep ants at bay.
29. DIY Mouthwash
If you are lucky enough to have both salt and baking soda with you in a survival situation, you can mix 1 teaspoon of each with ½ cup warm water. Mix thoroughly and gargle with the solution to clean your breath naturally.
30. Seasoning Food
We’re all familiar with using salt to season food. But in a SHTF situation, you can add a pinch in coffee to remove bitterness. When you catch that wild game for dinner, you can soak it in a salt solution to get rid of the gamey taste that some members of your family might not be used to yet.
31. First aid treatment for skin irritations
If you have a pimple, a blister, rash, or even an ingrown hair, you can use salt water solution to rinse or soak the area to relieve pain and prevent infection.
For pimples or ingrown hairs that need to be drained, fill a small jar or shot glass with salt and hot water and cup it over the area for up to 10 minutes. Repeat several times a day until drainage occurs or healing starts to show. Be careful not to dry the skin.
32. Keep Blood Stains from Setting
Keep blood stains from setting in and ruining your clothes if you cut yourself during a survival situation. Soak the shirt or clothing item in cold saltwater which will keep the blood from setting. Wash normally once you can get back home.
33. Keep Shoes from Smelling
In a survival situation it’s very likely that your shoes and even your socks will get wet if you have to walk through a downpour or if you slip and step into a puddle. Sprinkle a little salt into your damp shoes and let them dry overnight by the fire to help remove odors. Just remember to dump the salt out of your shoes before you get back on the trail.
34. Remove grass stains
You might not worry so much about grass stains when you’re in a survival situation, but once you get back home, you may find your clothing is a bit stained. Pre-treat grass stains by sprinkling lemon juice over the stains and the cover the strain with salt. Rub with a toothbrush or soft fingernail brush to lift the stain and then wash normally.
35. Clean Up Around the Campsite
Salt makes a great natural scouring material and it naturally prevents mold, yeast, and bacteria from growing. Use a paste of salt and water to clean an outdoor table, or scrub utensils free of grease after cooking with them in a survival situation.
What’s your favorite one of these survival uses for salt? Did we mention something you hadn’t heard of before? Are you aware of survival uses for salt that we neglected to mention? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
Common Types of Salt
If you’re planning for a survival or SHTF situation, keep ten pounds of salt in your stockpile per person minimum. Having more on hand is good, especially if you plan to use it for food preservation in the absence of refrigeration or for cleaning and personal hygiene. There are several different common types of salt you’ll want to consider stockpiling including:
- Great for personal hygiene
- Use for first aid and cleaning tasks
- Can be used for food preservation
- True sea salt is harvested from the ocean.
- Contains trace minerals to supplement your diet
• Rich in minerals including potassium, magnesium, and calcium
• Great for cooking
• Comes from France
• Harvested directly from the sea
• Contains more minerals and is lower in sodium chloride
The author is not a doctor. The advice in this article is for information purposes only. Neither the author of this article, nor the website modernsurvivalonline.com shall be held liable for any side effects, or injuries as a direct or indirect result of applying the advice in this article.