Not just for wetting your whistle: 6 Survival uses of alcohol
09/06/2019 // Melissa Smith // Views

Booze is one of the most essential things preppers need for any survival scenario, but not in the way you may think. Drinking alcohol is the last thing you should be doing in emergency situations. To get a clearer idea on how to use this substance in survival situations, here is an explanation of its most basic properties and six ways to use it for emergencies. (h/t to

The basic properties of alcohol

Alcohol is a product of the fermentation of sugars wherein they are converted into methanol and ethanol. Methanol is toxic and even deadly to humans, while ethanol is the ingredient used in alcoholic beverages.

Alcoholic drinks vary in alcohol content. For example, beer contains a very low amount of alcohol, while vodka and whiskey have about 40 percent or more. Those with the 40 percent and more alcohol content become non-perishable substances. On the other hand, those with less alcohol are often perishable and cannot be used for many survival purposes. For this reason, those with higher alcohol content are more useful in emergencies.

6 Ways to use drinking alcohol for emergencies

1. Disinfectant

Much like rubbing alcohol, substances like hard liquor can serve as a disinfectant. In such substances, their high alcohol content that prevents them from going rancid also kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This means that the use of alcohol covers everything – from cleaning a moldy room to disinfecting surgical equipment before a procedure. When disinfecting knife blades, thermometers, scalpels, and other tools, it is better to submerge them in drinking alcohol instead of just wiping or spraying them down. Mixing alcohol with water can also kill any bacteria that might be in it, so you can use it to purify questionable drinking water. Overall, it can be used to sanitize almost anything from potential infection of biological nature.


2. Medicinal uses

While alcohol can clean almost anything, it should not be used to disinfect wounds as it can increase bleeding. Still, alcohol has many other medicinal uses. Drinking small amounts of alcohol can have some psychological benefits. It can reduce anxiety and help with insomnia. In some cases of potential food poisoning, alcohol consumption can kill the bacteria in the digestive tract before they can cause harm. Alcohol is also an effective toothache reliever. Just apply alcohol to the gums to stop the pain. Using alcohol as a mouthwash can also resolve a throat bacterial infection.

3. Lighting

Alcohol is flammable and has relative stability as a substance. Therefore, it can be used for lighting devices. Alcohol lamps typically look and work in the same way as oil lamps, except they run on alcohol.

4. Gas substitute

Alcohol can be used as a substitute for vehicle gas fuel, especially when there is enough alcohol in a spirit or some other liquid. Pouring it in a car will enable it to run like it would when using gasoline. However, there are some issues with this approach, and it can damage the vehicle in the long run. Still, it is flammable enough to be used as actual fuel for short-term uses and emergencies.

5. Weapon

In a survival setup, a bottle of spirit can easily be used as a weapon like a Molotov cocktail. Just soak a rag with alcohol and add it to the bottle’s opening. Light the rag and throw the bottle. As soon as it shatters, the rag will ignite the content and spread a patch of flame across a substantial surface.

This makes alcohol a direct-attack weapon and a means of area denial. Having access to a stockpile of Molotov cocktails is both an effective means of defense and a great deterrent.

6. Gun maintenance

Having access to working firearms is important in any survival situation, and alcohol plays an important role in the maintenance of firearms. It can be used to prevent rust and clean even the most delicate parts of a gun, rifle, revolver, or any weapon. It also has no risk of damaging the weapon. Therefore, spirits and liquor are ideal for cleaning a weapon if you have no regular cleaning kit.

Find more ways of using alcohol in a pinch at

Sources include:

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