Stack of Newspapers

12 Ways Preppers Can Use Old Newspapers

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For those few of you who still receive the newspaper, what do you tend to do with it once you’ve finished reading it? If your answer is that you throw it out, you’re making a big mistake, especially if you consider yourself someone who prepares for emergencies and the unexpected. Newspapers can benefit you in a few ways out in your garden and can even help insulate your home from a cold winter. 

12 Ways Preppers Can Use Old Newspapers

Ways Preppers Can Use Old Newspapers 

Are you curious about how newspapers can change your life in other ways? Keep reading to find out several different ways that preppers can use old newspapers, whether it’s in their home, garden, or around their property.

1. Starting Fires

When it comes to prepping, one of the most apparent uses that newspapers can serve is for starting fires, whether it’s for cooking or for warmth in your fireplace, wood stove insert, or a bonfire outside. Just be sure to wad up some newspaper pages and place them beneath your kindling and not on top of it to get the best effect. For an extra bonus tip, your fire will light up even more efficiently by coating your newspaper with wax and allowing it to dry before you go to use it.

Starting fires with the weekly newspaper is probably one of the most common uses for old newspapers. If you have a paper shredder, you can shred it and use it as a fire starter all year long!  If there’s a power outage, then you may really need to start a fire for a little light beside the heat it gives off! 

2. Toilet Paper

If you ever find yourself in a pinch out in the woods and with no toilet paper in sight, wadded-up newspapers will do the trick. To make the newspapers softer to the touch, take a wad and rub them in between your knuckles. Hopefully, I don’t need to go into any further detail after that.  If you have an old paper laying around, don’t rule out the fact that you can use it for toilet paper. Family Cloth-How To Make Reusable Toilet Paper For Survival

3. Use as a Plate to Eat On

When you simply don’t have a plate or a tablecloth to eat on, you can always use newspapers folded up to serve that same purpose. It doesn’t get that much more clever than that! This may not be the first thing that newspaper readers think to use their sheets of newspaper, but it works! Clean up of the food mess is easy too since you just gather up the soiled newspaper and dispose of it.

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While we’re talking about a mess, consider using newspapers when you or the kids are doing crafts or to protect your floors during the next room painting project. The newspapers collect the moisture from some craft projects and absorb paint drippings too. It also makes for easy cleanup once you’re done.

If you’re using stain on some furniture or other materials it’s wise to put a layer of newspapers under the objects to catch any drips along the way.

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4. Insulated Blanket or Ground Cover

At one point or another, you’ve probably seen homeless people use newspapers as a blanket when they didn’t have the real thing. And there’s a good reason for it! Several newspapers back to back make for a great insulator and help to trap body heat and repel moisture when you’re struggling to stay warm outside. If you’re in a tent or other shelter, newspapers can provide an additional level of protection from the cold.

If you happen to be trying to get some rest in a sleeping bag on the ground, you should also consider adding a few layers of newspaper beneath you to add extra insulation so that you don’t end up as cold and wet halfway through the night.

5. Organic Weed Protection

Skip the black plastic that you’ll find in any lawn and garden center and use newspapers instead to prevent weeds in your garden. Not only does newspaper work effectively at minimalizing weeds, but it’s also biodegradable and can act as a mulch or addition to your compost pile.

Be sure to lay down several layers and then wet them or set down rocks on the corner to help keep them from blowing around in the wind. Instead of throwing local newspapers in the garbage bins or recycling bins, you can put them to good use this way.

6. Covering Your Seedlings During a Frost

If you’re trying to start a garden during the winter months, it’s important to keep your seedlings protected from frost. One way to do this is by using newspaper as an insulator and covering your seedlings with several layers of it for added protection when you know that it’s going to be a cold night. 6 Eye-opening Reasons To Stock Up On Garden Seeds NOW!

Besides protecting those tomato seedlings, you can use newspapers in your root cellar to help insulate those apples you’d like to eat a few weeks down the road.

7. Pest Repellent

Don’t want rodents or insects coming into your home or garden? Try using newspapers to repel them. Newspaper is highly effective at keeping pests away from the area and will save you lots of money on chemical pest repellents. Simply lay down several sheets around the perimeter of your home and in any area where you think pests may be a problem, and they’ll stay away! Getting Rid of Ants: Home Remedies

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8. Absorbing Spills

When you don’t have any paper towels, old newspapers can be used to help absorb and clean up spills, whether it’s juice, water, cooking oil, or even motor oil out in your garage. While grabbing sheets of paper isn’t the first thing you think of when a spill happens, you can soak newspaper pretty well before it can’t absorb any more. Plus, newspapers don’t cost much money, which is a win-win! 

9. Bullet Proofing

This one might sound far-fetched to most of you, but it’s actually been proven to be true! Compressed stacks of newspapers and phone books have been shown effective in stopping bullets that have lost some of their energy. But that doesn’t mean that I would test this out by having someone take aim at you. You could also use this same method while building a defensive wall of thick layers of newspapers for extra protection around your home if things ever got ugly. A Prepper’s Not-To-Do List

10. Covering Windows from a Draft

This past winter did you notice a cold chill seeping in through your windows? Not only can that be something unpleasant to experience when you’re sitting there on the couch, but it can cost you a lot of money as a homeowner. As it starts to get colder out again, tape up some newspapers into your windows and then cover them with blankets to help keep out the cold.  

11. Window Cleaning

With vinegar and old daily newspapers, you can clean your streaky windows just as effectively as you would with window cleaner and paper towels or rags. Don’t believe me? Give it a try!

12. Insulation for Pipes and Walls

Did you know that builders decades ago would sometimes use newspapers as insulation in the walls of homes? While it’s certainly not as good as other insulation materials, the newspaper will work when you’re needing to insulate your walls or pipes so that they don’t freeze during the winter. Back in the old days, they used to use plastic bags and layers of old newspaper for insulation, so it seems like a good idea to me still! 

Final Word 

These are just some of the many ways that preppers can use old newspapers when out in the wilderness or preparing for an emergency situation. With a little bit of creativity, there’s no telling what else you can come up with! So get creative and keep extra stacks of newspapers set aside because you never know when they might come in handy. I even heard about someone who used newspapers as gift-wrapping material when they needed a quick solution for not having fancy gift-wrap paper available.

What are some ways you use old newspapers, as a prepper? I can’t wait to hear your ideas! May God Bless this World, Linda

Copyright Images: Newspapers Depositphotos_24554937_S

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14 Comments

    1. Hi Matt, they really are. I see some occasionally at the grocery stores with ads so I take a few, they will work. Yes, they have colored ink on them but newspaper will absorb my bacon grease. Linda

  1. We still get 5 phone books every January. There not really big but they would help in a emergency. And the newspapers are pretty easy to get on Sunday from 4 different areas if I had a way of getting them. What I do use is pads that I get from VA and use them for a whole lot of things. I use them when I get out of the tub to keep the floor dry and for a few other things. They are handy also. I just look around the house for things I can use in different ways.

    1. Hi Jackie, you are lucky you are getting 5 phone books a year! Even if they are small, it’s paper that can be used for many things. Love this! Linda

  2. I agree with Matt that they are hard to come by. Even the freebies full of ads don’t show up in the driveway for a long time. I used to use them to keep out weeds between my grow boxes and added lawn clippings to the top which worked great. Now I have down weed cloth with sand on top and that works well too plus I don’t have to redo it. I also kept them for fire starters now I use junk mail.

    1. Hi Kay, even the junk mail is hard to come by these days! Some stores now have stopped the paper ads and use only cell phone apps. I’m pretty savvy using my cell phone, Mark not so much. It’s a shame that stores think everyone has a cell phone who can download ads or computers can download then and then print them. Life is changing, Linda

  3. I can no longer hit the print button & have it send the box to print. it just pops me back to the top of the article. That happened yesterday as well. When I do the control print, it messes it up royally. So disappointing! Love printing & saving, but no longer.

    1. Hi Lucinda, thank you again for letting me know my PRINT button didn’t work. I really appreciate you letting me know. My IT has replaced it and it works even better. Thanks again for taking the time to let me know my website had a problem. Linda

  4. I rarely see newspapers anymore. Phone books are not even a thing in my area! I have an old phone book I kept for some reason but now I don’t know why!!

    I can vouch for using newspapers for ground cover beneath a sleeping bag. I had a Girl Scout troop for years when my daughter was young. When going camping, the girls always brought a grocery bag (you know, the paper kind) full of newspapers to spread out on the ground, then their sleeping mat went on top of that, then the sleeping bag. One girl forgot her papers and slept without. She nearly froze (not really because the ambient temperature was 60+degrees!!) but she was a lot colder than the other girls. The second night, I gave her my papers and slept without – definitely more comfortable temperature with the papers!!! We also made “seats” with vinyl table clothes, duct tape and newspaper to sit on the ground. These were water/moisture resistant and lasted a long time. I think I finally got rid of mine 7 or 8 years after my girls moved on!! I used it at ball games for comfort.

  5. Linda, I used to see homeless guys stuffing newspapers into their coats as additional insulation.

    Also, shredded newspapers make excellent compost, and even better red wiggler bedding if you get into vermiculture.

    1. HI Ray, you know seeing homeless people make me so sad.I wonder where their families are. I grew up with a friend of my sisters who became homeless. She had severe mental issues once she hit around 20ish. I worry about all of them but I can’t fix it. Linda

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