View Full Version : Potassium permanganate and its uses in survival situations.

10-13-2008, 11:09 PM
Hello all,
My first post here.

My question is this:

I've been reading on the uses of Potassium permanganate and I was wondering what ya'll thought of its effectiveness for uses like first aid, fire starting, water purifying and any others I may not be aware of. Anyone used it in the field and what did you think of the results?

I've got to say I'm a little worried about drinking a caustic oxidizing agent. haha

And also, I know that I can use other items more effectively but it seems to have so many uses, I thought it might be a good back up.


10-13-2008, 11:24 PM
welcome. first i would suggest you head over to the introductions forum down towards the bottom of the forums display page (http://www.wilderness-survival.net/forums).

the use of potasium permanganate has come up here before, but personally i've never used it before unless it's been in any of the water purification tablets i've used or in a topical ointment, and in either case it would have been in small volume. i am actually inclined to ask if anybody here has ever seen it in a first aid kit.

10-13-2008, 11:25 PM
Intro 1st; answers 2nd; deal?:cool:

10-14-2008, 10:11 AM
ah, I've corrected the mistake. sorry bout that!

10-14-2008, 12:43 PM
I gave permanganate (Condy's Crystals) a serious look a couple of years ago. My thinking was sort of in line with yours. Anti-biotic, water treatment, fire starter. Mult-use! It didn't take very long however to figure out the drawbacks out weighed the advantages.

Fire starter - It works very well because it's an oxidizer. So it has to be kept safely tucked away from oxidizable (is that a word?) substances. Nothing like having your back pack erupt into flames while hiking.

Stain Everything - Oh, yes. Even the glass jar it's stored in will be stained as will your hands and clothes. Your favorite boots and everything else it touches.

Anti-biotic - wound cleansing, fungal infections, athlete's foot. You can even give yourself a caustic burn if you mix it too strong. How's that for multi-use?

Water Treatment - If you want. I'm sure it kills bacteria and probably viruses but I've not found any reliable information on protozoan cysts.

In the end, I figured there were much better alternatives that were more reliable and a whole lot less trouble.

10-14-2008, 12:55 PM
Dangerous, messy stuff. Take plenty of waterproof/windproof matches along with a lighter & a Mag. block with flint rod & you're fine. Flint & steel type methods are basically foolproof & a lot simpler. I think the "pyro-technics" of the "Pot/Perm" mixture is the attraction factor. I even have a recipe for a contact explosive easily made with 2 common household products that is written about in an old book on magic. "KA-BOOM!!!!" Survive that!:D

10-14-2008, 02:29 PM
Ya'll have answered my questions to a T. thanks.

I'm going to include a very small metal vial with PP in it in my largest survival kit but it will be triple sealed and for use only as an extreme backup.

01-01-2009, 04:29 AM
I would use a GLASS vial, not metal as it is very oxidizable and will react with KMnO4.

01-01-2009, 03:24 PM
I would use a GLASS vial, not metal as it is very oxidizable and will react with KMnO4.
Glass runs the risk of breaking, there-by creating a big mess!:eek::cool:

Tony uk
01-01-2009, 04:25 PM
I would use a GLASS vial, not metal as it is very oxidizable and will react with KMnO4.

You could try copper as the metal.

01-01-2009, 04:31 PM
The Brits love the stuff, At SERE we would have SAS members come over and cross train with us. They would do most of their time with the field force with a little time with the DARK side. They all carried it in their kit and loved showing us Yanks just how well it worked. Well Maine spring, summer and fall can be quite damp and winter ...well tons of snow. So the Pp would get damp and of course it would get on everything it touched. For wounds and water purification no problem, but starting a fire was amother matter when it was damp. Give me iodine tabs and a mag block any day!

01-01-2009, 06:34 PM
Pp does have its drawback it does, in a stress situation it may be more trouble than it's worth.

01-01-2009, 10:24 PM
In Brazil KMnO4 is sold in foil flats of ten sections with each section holding a measured 10 mg of the grains. I have used it in my kits. I normally cut off two of the sections and sandwich the foil between two pieces of clear contact paper. This makes it very compact and fits nicely in the bottom of the Altoids tin. The foil flats cost about a dollar.

The main use in Brazil is as a fungicide for treating ringworm and other nasties. For this alone in my climate it is a good thing to have along as fungus and damp feet are bad news.

As a water treatment it is tricky to use. The amount is VERY small for a liter of water. You really need to use a clear bottle to mix it because you want to be able to see the very light, watery, pale pink color. I would use it in an emergency if boiling was not an option. If I had a clear container, and clear water, and time, and sun, I would rather use solar disinfection. The KMnO4 is there as a fungicide and back-up water treatment in my kit. Mac