38 Powerful Survival Uses For Aluminium Foil Or Tin Foil

Survival uses for Tin Foil, Survival Uses For aluminium foil

A staple in kitchens all over the world, aluminium foil is a practical and popular method for food storage. What the average person may not realize is that aluminium foil has countless other uses as well, some that can even save lives!

It is known to be one of the most functional items in a kitchen, and it is inexpensive and easy to obtain.

As a prepper, it is wise to keep some handy at all times in your pack, because the versatility and ease of use could prove to be highly beneficial while trying to survive in the outdoors.

1. Rust Removal

It is highly important to keep your survival tools and items in prime condition. All it takes is a little bit of corrosion to make an item inoperable. If you begin to notice rust forming, you can use aluminium foil to clean it up.

Using a piece of foil, rub it firmly on the rusted area, and you will begin to notice a difference right away. If the item is large, dip the foil in water first to make sure that it does not tear while you are rubbing it onto the affected surface. Your tools will look as good as new.

2. Mud Removal

Mud Removal

While trekking through various terrains, it is inevitable that mud is going to collect on the bottoms of your shoes. This can be hard to remove without the proper resources. You can use a balled up piece of aluminium foil to get into the crevices on the bottoms of your shoes.

Rubbing the shoe with the abrasiveness of the foil should help to dislodge any build-up. You can also use the foil if you find that you have gotten thorns caught on your shoes.

You won’t have to get your hands directly involved, so you can spare yourself from getting dirty or pricked by thorns.

3. Funnel


A funnel is another useful, yet bulky, device. For transferring liquids, spices, dirt, or sand into containers, having a funnel is going to make the task a lot easier. By taking layers of aluminium foil, you can create your own funnel whenever you need one.

An advantage of making your own is that you can fashion it into the exact size that you need. Clean up is also going to be exceptionally easy. You have the option to keep the funnel for more uses or to discard it once you are finished.

4. Seal off Your Trees

It is important to protect your survival trees from infestation of bugs and other wildlife. If you discover that your trees are being preyed on, you can use aluminium foil to swiftly combat this.

Wrap the base of your tree with foil. When animals approach, they will turn away after smelling the tree. For trees that produce fruit, you can also use foil to salvage the fruit from birds flying around.

Wrapping select branches will maintain a safeguard for your stock. With the reflective-ness of the foil, it will look like a lot is happening below, deterring the bird from coming any closer.

5. Grow Plants

Grow Plants

Aside from keeping your plants protected, aluminium foil can also help to grow them as well. You can create a sun box that will help with the incubation process of your seedlings. The foil will generate plenty of heat and magnify the sunshine to assist growth.

Simply line a box that you already have with aluminium foil. In most cases, a shoebox works well. Fasten the foil onto the box with some tape or glue and then create drainage holes for when you need to water your plants.

Just like the above method, they will stay protected because the foil will likely deter animals.

6. Fishing Bait

If you have the adequate resources and a body of water nearby, it is likely that you are going to be able to fish. Of course, one of the most important aspects to successfully catching fish is to make sure that you have good bait.

 If they are not biting on what you are currently using, you can use aluminium foil to wrap the hook or the weights. The fish will be attracted to the shiny surface area, and it will increase your chances of making a catch. A little bit of foil will go a long way with this trick.

7. Make Sure Your Sleeping Bag Stays Dry

Make Sure Your Sleeping Bag Stays Dry

Having a comfortable place to sleep is essential when you don’t have a traditional bed and bedroom. It is likely that you are going to use a sleeping bag. If the ground is wet from a previous storm, you are not going to want to set your sleeping bag directly on top of damp ground.

It will seep into the bag and may even cause you to fall ill. Try placing aluminium foil underneath your bag before you set it up. This will protect it from moisture and bugs. By turning this into a habit, you’ll always have a dry space to sleep.

8. Fasten Batteries

If the batteries in your flashlight become loose, you will no longer have that essential source of light that you need in the outdoors. When you notice that starting to happen, you can use aluminium foil to fix it. Your light may begin to flicker or show inconsistencies over time.

This can be due to many reasons, worn out springs being a common one. Wrap the conductive ends of your batteries in foil.

This will help the energy spread to the appropriate places and should fix any inconsistencies. You can use this trick on virtually any tool that requires battery-operated power.

9. Signalling


Although we never like to anticipate an emergency or dire situation, it is always wiser to be prepared for one just in case. The reflective properties of aluminium foil can come to your aid if you are injured or lost in the woods.

You can make a flag out of the foil by using a stick and wave it to signal to those that may be in the surrounding area. Also, if you do not want to get lost on a trail, you can use foil to mark where you have been so you can easily find your way back.

10. Protect Yourself From Hot Wax

Protect Yourself From Hot Wax

There may come a time when you need to hold a lit candle, and this can result in hot wax dripping onto your hands. In order to prevent this from happening, you can make a small bowl out of aluminium foil.

After you shape the bowl, make a hole wide enough in the centre for your candle to fit through. This will allow you to carry around your candle without the risk of being burned. If you need to create a makeshift candleholder, you can also use foil for this.

By creating a base along with the bowl to catch the wax drippings, you will be able to burn them mess-free.

11. Start a Fire

There are several methods of fire starting, and it is always nice to have a backup option in case one fails. Being able to maintain a fire is an important part of being a survivalist. Using an AA battery, some cotton or paper, and a small strip of foil, you can start one.

Carefully place the foil on both ends of the battery with the cotton wrapped in the middle of the strip; wait for the smoke to appear. It is advised to be cautious while using this method because it is easy to burn your fingers.

12. Repair Work

Repair Work

For a temporary fix when something breaks, aluminium foil can be used to repair it. An example - If you have a plastic container or crate that forms a crack, you can take a bit of foil and use tree sap to stick it onto the impacted area.

Although the seal will not hold permanently, it will ensure that your items remain efficient until you can get new ones or fix them.

You can also create temporary new containers with foil until you are able to find something sturdier. In the meantime, aluminium foil will keep your belongings protected.

13. Keep Your Blades Sharp

Over time, your knives are going to lose their sharpness. Since you are likely going to be using them for cooking, building, and other daily activities, keeping them at their prime is important. Layer aluminium foils a few times to create a thick piece.

From this point, rub it against each side of your blade for a few minutes. The difference in sharpness is one you’ll notice right away! You can also use this same method to sharpen any pairs of scissors you may have in your pack.

Remember: You may have to layer the foil more depending on how large the blade is to prevent the knife from cutting through and potentially injuring yourself.

14. Clean Your Dishes

Clean Your Dishes

Water is a precious resource, one that might not always be readily available. You may run out if you are in a desolate area or if there are no containers available for purchase. When your dirty dishes begin to pile up, you can use aluminium foil to help clean them.

Make your own scouring pads with foil to get rid of grease and food residue. Until you have a supply of water that you can use to rinse your dishes and utensils, this is a great way to temporarily clean your stock.

15. Transfer Hot Coals

Transfer Hot Coals

You need that heat! Without tongs, transferring hot coals is next to impossible. You can salvage the next available convenient store. Otherwise, thankfully, aluminium foil can be strong enough to carry your coals from one location to the next.

By placing a piece of thick, layered foil underneath your coals, you will be able to move them when you need to.

If the foil is not underneath the coals ahead of time, you can take some tree bark and make a nest atop some foil for each coal. The added tree bark will provide even more of a buffer so that you don’t burn yourself while moving the foil.

16. Catch Cooking Drippings

Catch Cooking Drippings

When you are cooking meals, having a catch tray made out of aluminium foil is going to make the experience easier. First, you will be able to reduce the risk of starting a fire on your camp due to grease that has fallen.

Second, the cleanup will be super easy. If you cook and make a mess, you could put yourself at risk for animals to become attracted to your site by smelling the debris.

Using aluminium foil for this is a quick and easy way to make sure that your cooking station remains sanitary.

17. Extended Matches

Extended Matches

Traditional matches are short and can often bring your hand closer to a flame than you would like it to be. For any time that you need an extender, you can turn to aluminium foil. Whether you want to light your grill or a lamp that is just out of reach, using foil will protect your fingers from being burned.

Simply take a piece and wrap it around the wooden end of the match. Depending on how far you need it to reach, simply keep wrapping it until the handle becomes long enough. Light it by holding the base at first to make sure that it stays sturdy.

18. Cooking Packets

If you catch some fish and you want to make some easy meals, creating packets with aluminium foil is a great method. This is probably something that you have done indoors numerous times, and it applies the same way to outdoor cooking. A great option when you really doesn't have much tools to work with.

Put your fish and some veggies of your choice into an aluminium foil packet and then bake. Each person will get his or her own portion, as well as a built-in serving dish. Best part is, clean up will be effortless with no pots, pans, or dishes to scrub at the end of the meal.

19. Solar Oven

Another cooking related use for aluminium foil is to create your own solar-powered oven. On a sunny day, you will want to utilize as much of that sunshine as you can. You will need a cardboard box to use as the frame of the oven and tape or glue that is heat-safe to ensure the foil stays fastened.

Place the food that you would like to cook in a pan and place another pan or lid over the top to lock in the heat. This method takes longer than cooking on a flame, but if you have food that you’d like to cook throughout the day, this is a nice way to do it using solar power.

20. Collect Rainwater

Collect Rainwater

No matter what the weather situation is, as a prepper, you will learn how to make the most of any climate. During the rainiest days, you should be collecting rainwater, as it is a valuable resource for watering your trees and plants.

Not everyone is going to want to keep bulky rain barrels with them, so aluminium foil can be used as a more space-efficient substitute. You can create the barrels to be as large or as small as you wish. Once you are done with them, you don’t need to lug them around, which is a plus.

21. Wrap to Protect from Water

Wrap to Protect from Water

It is likely that your wardrobe options will be kept minimal while you are trying to survive outdoors. In this case, it is important to protect your shoes from the elements, namely water.

When crossing through large puddles, streams, or even rivers, you don’t want your shoes to become soaked for the remainder of your day.

This could lead to your body temperature dropping and even frostbite depending on the season. Wrap your shoes in aluminium foil to create a protective barrier for your feet.

22. Warm Up Your Sleeping Bag

Warm Up Your Sleeping Bag

If you are running low on blankets, you can use aluminium foil to help you stay warm at night. You have probably seen space blankets that can be found in first aid kits, they resemble foil-covered blankets that are intended for emergency use.

Rather than breaking into your kit, wrap aluminium foil around your shoulders before wrapping up inside your blanket. It is unconventional, but the foil will help to keep your sleeping bag insulated, especially on those harsh winter evenings.

23. Create An Insulated Bottle

Create An Insulated Bottle

Making hot tea, coffee, and soup can be very comforting when you are outdoors. Keeping it warm can often be a challenge though, especially when you want to be on the move. You can create insulation in an average bottle by wrapping it in aluminium foil.

The layers of foil will act like a thermos to keep your beverages and meals warm while you are travelling from place to place. You can also use your warm, insulated bottle as a hand warmer; just place one inside of each pocket.

24. Cutting Tool

Cutting Tool

While there are hundreds of ways that you can use aluminium foil itself, the packaging it comes in can also be of use. On each box of foil comes a jagged edge used for cutting it into pieces.

If you need to cut things like string or paper, you can easily use this part of the box instead of reaching for a pair of scissors. When necessary, you can also use the empty box as a narrow storage container once you have finished your roll of foil.

25. Create a Footprint

Create a Footprint

An amazing and important survivalist use for aluminium foil - creating a virtual footprint. If you know that a rescue team could be looking for you, but you need to stay on the move, step on a piece of foil to create an imprint.

This could help the team locate you by your boot print and give them a head start on where to find you. You can leave the prints under rocks and on trees every so often to create a visible trail of your movements. It goes to show that aluminium foil can also be lifesaving!

26. DIY Shower Cap

DIY Shower Cap

Of course, personal hygiene as a prepper is going to differ from any traditional methods that may be used at home. A shower will probably be rare, so you will need to make it efficient. There will be times when you won’t want to use as much of your potable water; therefore, you will only want to wash your body.

You can create a makeshift shower cap to protect your hair with aluminium foil. While it will probably look comical, it is a quick and easy way to ensure that you don’t waste any of your water or get your hair wet unnecessarily.

27. Heat Lamp

Heat Lamp

Regulating your body temperature is one of the most important things that you should be paying attention to. A drop or raise in temperature could put you at risk of becoming ill. If you are equipped with any kind of lantern, you can wrap the outside of it in foil so that it radiates more heat.

Be very careful when doing this because the foil will quickly become hot to the touch. Reminder; never leave it unattended.

You can even create your own bug lamp by soaking the foil in citronella before wrapping it around your lantern.

28. Bug Blocker

Bug Blocker

Being pestered by bugs and insects is an inevitable part of spending time in the wild. If you leave anything unattended, such as food or drinks, you cannot guarantee that it will remain free from infestation.

You can place foil caps on any open containers and drinks that you must leave out in the open to prevent this. Just as you would normally, you can also place foil over plates or containers to preserve food.

Indicate on the foil with a pen the time or date that you have saved the food to prevent spoilage.

29. Wind Blocker

Wind Blocker

If you have a fire going, there is nothing worse than a strong gust of wind blowing through and extinguishing your flames. Especially during those winter months, you are going to want a reliable source of heating.

You can create a fire guard by taking sticks and placing them about 6 inches apart around the perimeter of your fire. Then, take your aluminium foil and wrap the entirety of the circle that you have created to make a wind blocker.

This will help with keeping the flame lit as well as keeping the wind away from you.

30. Toilet Bowl

Toilet Bowl

No matter where you are, your body is going to need to experience its normal functions to stay healthy. If there is not an appropriate place to urinate or move your bowels, you can create a toilet out of foil.

If you want it to be stationary, you can wrap foil around a sturdy bucket and create a makeshift lid to eliminate any odour.

You can also make a portable toilet bowl for when you are on the move and you do not have any other items to assist you. Simply dig a shallow hole and line the rim with foil so that you may sit if you need to.

31. Tube for Building

Tube for Building

While many of these tips have focused on the foil itself, there are also practical uses for the tube that the foil comes wrapped around. Once you finish your roll, you can use the sturdy cardboard tube for building purposes.

If you need to prop something up, such as a wood plank to mimic a table, cut the tube into 1/4ths and fasten them to each corner of the wood. You can also use it more simply for reasons such as storage or for makeshift dividers. The options are limitless with a survivalist mentality.

32. Fixed Stripped Screws

If you accidentally strip one of your screws, aluminium foil can help. When a screw becomes stripped, it is very hard to get it out.

Even if you did, often times people throw it away after because they think they can no longer get any use out of it.

As a prepper, you may not have many other options, so you need to ensure that you can fix your supplies if they break. You can wrap the end of the screw in aluminium foil to renew its grip and create a temporary fix until you are able to find a fresh one.

This method can be applied to anything that has threads that no longer grip. If you want more methods in removing stripped screws; check out the video.

33. Eliminate Static

For traditional use, people put aluminium foil balls in their dryer to prevent static cling. Although, you likely will not have access to a dryer, you can keep a small ball of foil in your pocket to help you the same way.

If you can feel that static is building up, you can briefly touch the foil ball to reduce the risk of receiving a shock. Alternatively, if you have your clothes stored away, you can also place some foil balls in the storage to keep the static between your fabrics down to a minimum.

34. Protect Your Pots

Protect Your Pots

You are likely going to be using the same set of pots and pans indefinitely. It is essential to protect the longevity of each one. When you are cooking over an open flame, it is natural that soot will begin to build up.

To combat this buildup, wrap the bottom of each one with a thin layer of aluminium foil. You can swap them out as necessary, and the foil will not mess up with heat conductivity of your pots and pans. It will help them to stay looking like they are in prime condition.

35. Create Cups and Plates

A fairly simply, but highly useful method - You can create cups and plates with aluminium foil. You aren’t always going to have access to an abundance of cookware, so you are going to have to get creative. Using foil, for hot foods and drinks especially, is very effective.

Foil has the ability to keep things warm and it is sturdy when layered enough times. Moreover, cleanup will be very simple since you will not have any dishes to wash.

36. Make Your Gasoline Flame Last Longer

If you are trying to create a gasoline fire that will last you the whole night, you can turn to aluminium foil for assistance. If you have access to gasoline, you are going to need to be very careful when trying to use it in your fire.

Naturally, it is easy to create an explosion that can harm you when you simply pour the gasoline over a flame. Instead, make a small container with foil and place a tiny amount of the gasoline inside. From there, you can light the fumes and then build up your fire with other materials.

EXTREME CAUTION must be taken while using this method.

37. Protect Your Electronics

If you have any electronic devices, you are likely going to have to protect them against harm from other currents, such as EMP (electromagnetic pulse). Things such as nuclear weapons can create EMP that is strong enough to wipe out the grid far and wide, therefore making your gear useless.

To protect it, you can wrap your gear in aluminium foil, surround the foil with cardboard, and then place the packet inside of a sturdy metal garbage can.

This is a DIY faraday cage, and it does require a lot of material. It can come in handy if you were not able to buy one ahead of any disaster that may occur.

38. Parabolic Mirror

Parabolic mirrors are useful for a wide variety of lifesaving reasons. You can create your own parabolic mirror by using aluminium foil. The completed product works as a fire starter or a tool for signalling.

Just for the record, It is also good to create compact signalling mirrors for times that you may be travelling with others and you are separated.

By aligning it with the sunshine, you can focus sunrays onto flammable materials to make fire. Otherwise, point it to the sky and make a potential rescue easier.


You will realize that what most people see as a standard kitchen item is actually an extremely versatile and important resource to a prepper.

If you decide to stock up on aluminium foil for your survival pack, you will be able to utilize it in countless ways. In addition, it is not bulky and will not take up a lot of space. 

By doing your research and gaining knowledge of the unconventional uses of foil, you will be ahead of the rest if you are outdoors trying to survive.

About the author


Colin is a freelance writer and editor. A fan of The Walking Dead. It led him to think what if SHTF and what does it takes to survive. Colin hobbies includes gears, tech gadgets and rehearsing different "End Of The World" situations in his head.

Click here to add a comment

Leave a comment: