Multi Use Household Products For Preppers
There are many products out there that have a ton of uses and cost very little to add to your stash. In this article, I am going to discuss some of the products you can keep on hand to take care of a variety of tasks around the home.
I always keep at least 3 containers of Bon Ami around. It is mostly feldspar. Bon Ami is great for cleaning porcelain sinks, enamel stove tops, and baked on grime from pans. It doesn’t scratch but you might want to rub some on a test spot if you are unsure how delicate a surface is. Bon Ami is usually under $2 a can at grocery stores and slightly more online. There are a lot of places online selling it for outrageous prices.
Bleach and Bleach Tablets
Just about everyone bought a gallon or two of bleach at the start of the pandemic. Bleach can be used to sanitize surfaces and even purify water. I do not recommend buying large quantities of liquid bleach because it does lose its effectiveness over time. In my experience, the bottles start to leak too. Buy enough liquid bleach for a year if you must but no more than that. The shelf life is about 18 months. Bleach tablets are a great way to store some bleach without taking up a ton of room and they have a 3-year shelf life. I keep both on hand.
Oh and just for the record, I added up how much bleach we used since the beginning of the pandemic. I think this is telling and might help out those that think they need 10 gallons on hand all the time. We used maybe 1.5 gallons despite being super paranoid at the beginning and bleaching packaging and wiping down items that we ordered. We are a household that orders basically everything too. I estimate that half a gallon of the 1.5 we used was wasted too because I tended to mix up too much sanitizing solution. You don’t need a lot to get the job done during a pandemic. It will just go bad.
We buy both powdered lime and pelletized. You can get it for under $5 for a 40-50 lb bag at farm and garden or home improvement stores. Lime is good for the following purposes:
- Adjusting soil pH. Lime is a base. It will help raise the pH of acidic soils.
- Reducing odors and eliminating harmful bacteria in latrines and outhouses
- Lime will accelerate decomposition of organic waste leftover from butchering
- You can make a natural fungicide called Lime-Sulfur. Click here for instructions.
Baking soda is great for a variety of cleaning and deodorizing tasks. We even make a spray out of it and use to deodorize our dogs if they get sprayed by a skunk. You do not want to get it in their eyes but you can spray it on fur and allow it to dry. It really helps. Just be sure not to overdo it. Baking soda is a base and could irritate the skin on some sensitive dogs if used too much or not rinsed off after 20 minutes.
Washing soda is available at practically any grocery store in the laundry aisle. It is sometimes called soda ash online. It is a main ingredient in many homemade laundry soap recipes. On its own, it can be used for the following.
- Laundry stain remover
- Cleaning pots and pans. Add a few tbsps and little dish soap to gross pans. and fill with water. Soak for 15 min. For tough jobs involving non-aluminum cookware, you can heat up the solution and let it simmer for a few minutes on your stovetop.
- Remove grime and mold from shower curtains. Dissolve 1 cup washing soda in a gallon of hot water and soak and wipe down your shower curtain.
There are so many uses for borax that I have created a pdf download for you. Click here to view.
Salt ( Iodized and Plain)
You should have both varieties of salt on hand at all times. Plain salt is useful for canning as well as preserving meat. Iodized salt should be used for cooking meals to ensure that you get the iodine you need for healthy thyroid function. You do not need a lot of iodine to be healthy. Salt is far less expensive if you buy it at a brick and mortar store. If you are trying to stay at home, you can use services like Instacart for items that are not cost-effective or practical to buy online.
Inexpensive white vinegar is good for food preservation and household cleaning. We keep at least 5 gallons on hand at all times. Vinegar is a component in many natural homemade household cleaners. It is not practical to buy online in most cases due to the weight.
I use regular Oxi Clean for general bathroom cleaning mostly. It is excellent for cleaning toilets, showers, sinks, and boosting laundry detergent cleaning power. It has a more pleasant aroma than bleach and the scent quickly goes away. While it will oxidize things, it doesn’t bleach things out as badly as regular bleach. It is also important to remember that Oxi Clean is a decent alternative when bleach is not available. Just remember that oxygen cleaner must be used right when you mix it. It eventually breaks down into oxygen and water.
This is a more concentrated and scent-free version of oxi-clean. We use it for sanitizing wine and beer making equipment, sponges, and cleaning mildew or grime. We buy it 5-10 lbs at a time. If you don’t like the scented oxygen cleaners or cannot find them due to shortages, it is a good alternative. I have to say that it is very concentrated. A tbsp in a quart of hot water is a good place to start for a cleaning solution. Do not mix more than you will use at the time. You can use it in a spray bottle but you cannot store it. The bubbles will build pressure.
Sodium Percarbonate breaks down fast, just like regular oxygen cleaners that you are used to buying.
Castille Soap (Liquid and Bars)
I like to keep a lot of Castille soap on hand. It is nice to have both liquid and bars. Bars of Castille soap store well you can easily use it to make laundry soap. A single shoebox can hold a lot of bars for an SHTF situation.
Liquid Dr. Bronner’s is also very concentrated. I recommend buying it in quarts or even a gallon. The price is not that much less per quart if you buy it by the gallon. Many people enjoy having different varieties for various tasks. The peppermint or tea tree version offers extra antibacterial and antifungal protection for humans and animals too.
Not all dish soap is created equally. I specify Dawn because it is the most concentrated and effective dish soap the average person has access to. I have tried many other brands and nothing compares. I keep larger containers on hand but I also take advantage of sales on smaller 8 oz containers at times. The 8 oz size is good if you want to have some barter items or you want to stash soap at multiple locations like your barn or in your car.
Dawn is not just for washing dishes. I will remove oil and residues from animals. If you have some really greasy or nasty laundry, use some Dawn and it will come out cleaner than you would ever imagine. Remember that Dawn comes in different concentrations. If you want the most cleaning power for your storage space, get the ultra-concentrated version. Just be sure to water it down considerably when you use it. It is very easy to use too much.
70% and 91% Isopropyl Alcohol
Alcohol is good for general disinfection and sanitizing of everything from hands to surfaces. It also helps clean dirt and grime from stainless steel and chrome. Alcohol will even remove ink and permanent markers. A solution of 1 part rubbing alcohol and 5 parts water in a spray bottle will deice a windshield.
The acidic properties of lemon juice make it an effective antibacterial. Rub cutting boards with lemon juice to eliminate bacteria. A paste of 1 part baking soda, 1 part lemon juice, and 1 part water can be used to remove yellow stains from clothing. Rust and mildew can be removed by mixing salt and lemon juice in equal parts. Apply and let sit in the sun. You can make an excellent glass cleaner by mixing 6 tablespoons of lemon juice in a pint spray bottle.
Can you think of any other products that should be on this list? Please share in the comment section!