If there was just one chemical that I could have with me in a survival situation, I would want it to be Condy’s Crystals.

What are Condy’s Crystals? Also known as KMn04, potassium permanganate and permanganate of potash it is a purple compound created by a London chemist named Henry Condy in the 1860s. Its use was as a topical antiseptic and anti-fungal solution when added to water in the right proportions. For the survivalist, Condy’s also has a couple more amazing uses including lighting a fire with glucose and purifying water found in the wild to ensure that it is potable.

Fire Starting

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You will need some Condy’s and glycerin. Sugar or a glucose tablet will do just fine. Even antifreeze from a car radiator will work in a survival situation. To create a fire by means of a chemical reaction you need a mix of Condy’s and glucose at a 50/50 proportion. Crush half of the glucose tablet so that it becomes a fine powder. Next, scrape them together on a hard dry surface with a knife blade and the mixture should spark and flame. Be ready to light your tinder (such as a cotton ball with a dab of Vaseline or petroleum jelly) with the brief flame.

Sterilising Water

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Add 3-4 crystals to every liter of water, stir or shake and let it sit for 30 mins before drinking. Condy’s kills harmful viruses, pathogens, and bacteria such as Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium. The water will be a light tinge of pink but should not be any darker. Remember the rule “If it’s pink, then it’s OK to drink.” If it’s purple then its for your feet (as an anti-fungal treatment).


You can use a light pink solution of Condy’s to irrigate wounds and as a mouth wash.

Anti-fungal Treatment

Condy’s kills ringworm, tinea and athlete’s foot. Soak your feet in a dark-pink solution each day for 7 days. Don’t forget to wash your socks at the end of the day with boiling water to ensure that any fungal spores are eliminated.


Due to its purple color, sprinkles of Condy’s Crystals can be used to draw ground-to-air signals and directional arrows on the wet, light-colored beach or river sand as well as on snow.

Although potassium permanganate is marvelous, there are some cautions that you should be mindful of when using it:

Like many other things, it is toxic in concentrated form

It can cause caustic burns

It will dye anything it comes into contact with either purple or pink

It is a very aggressive oxidiser and must be stored in a non-reactive container

Where Can I Buy Condy’s?

Click Here to find a wide range of Condy crystals products.

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