Bottle Of Alcohol On Wood Board Background


In Pirates of the Caribbean, when Jack Sparrow is stranded on a desert island with one bullet in his pistol and nothing else, he opens his rum stores, determined to drink his anxiety and troubles away. This is certainly one use for alcohol in a survival situation but not one that will aid your survival in any way.

However, alcohol has some valuable uses in a survival situation, beyond just getting you so blotto you don’t fear the imminent danger you are in. Here are some of the ways that alcohol might just save your life in a survival situation.


In the film, the Elizabeth Swann character uses the rum to build a fire large enough to attract the attention of a passing ship. This is the first life-saving use for a bottle of neat spirit. Vodka, rum and other strong liquor is flammable and for someone untrained in how to start a fire with little more than a knife and stone, or a couple of sticks, it will offer a valuable lifeline.


Alcohol has many medicinal purposes. From a sleep aid to cough relief, drinking a small amount of strong liquor can improve your physical health. It is also an excellent disinfectant. It may sting, but applying alcohol to a wound can stop the wound from getting infected. Be sure just to apply to the damaged tissue as rubbing alcohol over healthy tissue can inflict damage over a long period of time.

If you are in the situation when you may have to use a knife to pull a foreign object out of your flesh, like some debris from an accident, or a splinter, disinfecting the knife in alcohol is a good idea. Submerge the utensil in the drink for a couple of minutes before performing the procedure and you will minimise the risk of infection.

Alcohol can also be used as a mouthwash to maintain good oral hygiene. Depending on the survival scenario, you may not have access to a toothbrush. Rinsing your mouth with a small amount of alcohol once a day should kill off any unwanted build-up of bacteria and keep your gums healthy.


Mixing spirits with olive oil will provide a mixture that is safe to apply to your body in small amounts and should keep mosquitos and other insects at bay. Beer is also useful as bait for insect traps. If you have a cockroach, slug, or snail infestation, soaking a piece of bread in beer will attract them, allowing you to dispose of them once they have congregated in one place.


Bacteria-killing spirits are a great tool for washing clothes. They may make you smell worse than a tramp on Australia day, but spraying a little on your clothes, bedding and shoes, should destroy bacteria and stop other unpleasant odours.

If disaster strikes, there are worse things to have then a supply of strong grog. A hip flask might not seem like a bad idea next time you are heading off the beaten track into the bush.


Do you have any more survival uses for alcohol? Let us know in the comments section below.

Madeleine Park

Madeleine is a real green thumb and spends most of her time outdoors in her garden if she is not outdoors somewhere else.