Survival uses for vegetable oil

Stef Zisovska
Sunflower cooking oil

Who would’ve thought that vegetable oil is one of the greatest survival items that you can have available? Probably the most used household article, vegetable oil seems to be a useful emergency tool as well.

Even an out-of-date can of oil can serve an important role in a wilderness survival scenario. It’s time to expand your views and see further than the ordinary kitchen use of the oil.

When in an emergency, people become creative and everyday things become gadgets with extraordinary powers.


Here you’ll find out why is important to add oil to your “save-the-day” stash.



When starting a fire in the woods, especially on a cold and wet weather, a little bit of oil will boost the flame and help with a stronger fire. You can add oil to wood, charcoal, cardboard or any other flammables available at the moment. For fire boosting, you can use any kind of oil.




While wandering through a dense forest and trying to find the way out, you spend a lot of energy that needs to be replaced. Knowing that the fats are the biggest source of calories, you can add a few drops of oil in your food to gain more calories that will keep your body moving. Since every calory counts in the wilderness, you don’t have any other choice but consume more of them.


Olive oil


Oil is perfect to protect all your metal gadgets from rusting. Use it for your car keys, a pocket knife, an ax or machete.

Be careful not to use a motor oil for a knife that you’ll need later to cut your food. With items that you use for cooking, use only vegetable oil.




A plant fiber wick in an oil can makes an improvised candle that you can use to light your campground. Also, if you have a paraffin lantern, oil can help you get it started.


Old-fashioned lamp


Being lost doesn’t mean being dirty. If you don’t have any, there is an easy way to make an improvised soap. Mix vegetable oil with a little bit of water, lye, and nice smelling herbs you can find around. Stir it until slushy and let it dry. You can use the mixture to maintain yourself clean during your wilderness adventure.


Coconut oil soap


Use the cooking oil to make medicinal balms that will help you relieve itching, pain or insect bites. Soak dried leaves from any healing plant in oil to make the medicine you need. Try chickweed for itching, comfrey for wounds, eucalyptus for respiratory problems, basil and garlic to boost your immunity, and mullein for earaches.


Medicinal oil


If your skin is addicted to body lotions and creams, you can imagine what will happen to it if you get lost in the wild. To prevent your skin from cracking rub vegetable oil on it to keep it moisturized.



Emergency fuel

By mixing oil, methanol, and lye, you can make a biodiesel that will take you to safety. Be very careful with mixing these dangerous chemicals and do it outside. To make your own biodiesel fuel, you need:

  • 1 liter of new vegetable oil (e.g, canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil)
  • 3.5 grams (0.12 oz.) sodium hydroxide (also known as lye)
  • 200 milliliters (6.8  oz.) of methanol (methyl alcohol )
  • safety glasses, gloves, and a container


Oil barrel

Now you know that every single drop of cooking oil is a lifesaver, when there’s nothing else available cooking oil is a substitute for many things, you just need to put your mind to work

Good luck on your next trip!


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