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#70422 - 08/01/06 07:55 PM Potassium Permanganate
Vader Offline

Registered: 07/29/06
Posts: 11
Hey there, this is my first post.

I have seen Potassium Permanganate in many survival kits. What are its uses, and does anybody know where to buy it?

Thanks for any help or comments

#70423 - 08/01/06 09:08 PM Re: Potassium Permanganate
leemann Offline
Soylent Green

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 623
Loc: At the soylent green plant.
Welcome I can think of 3 uses water treatment, disinfecting wounds and fire starting.

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#70424 - 08/01/06 09:13 PM Re: Potassium Permanganate
billym Offline

Registered: 12/01/05
Posts: 616
Loc: Oakland, California
I have no personal experience but it can purify water, disinfect a wound and start a fire when combined with glucose, glycerine or antifreeze. It is an oxidizing agent.

here is something I found online;
Potassium permanganate is often included in survival kits along with either glycerine or a glucose tablet for the purposes of making fire. The glucose tablet can be ground up, mixed with the potassium permanganate and caused to combust by applying friction. It can also be mixed with anti-freeze from a vehicle to produce flame, although this can be dangerous and should be done in a controlled manner ie dipping some paper into the anti-freeze and then adding a small amount of potassium permanganate. The ability to sterilise water and wounds is also advantageous and another reason for inclusion in a survival kit.

High-grade potassium permanganate can be found at pool supply stores and is used in rural areas to remove iron and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) from well water.

#70425 - 08/01/06 09:56 PM Re: Potassium Permanganate
Tjin Offline

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1756
ahh... that question. I remeber having asked that many years ago.

Anyways, Potassium Permanganate, A.K.A. KMNO4 or condy's cristals.

It is suppose to work as a anti-fungal, water disinfectiction, disinfection solution for wound cleaning, fire starting with sugar by fricton, fire by mixing it with anti-freeze, snowmarker (big purple stain) and some other uses.

Disadvantages is it's oxidising behavior. It will cause burns on skin if its not diluted enough. Getting it in to your eyes, means a very likely chance of getting permanent blind.
The dosage for waterpurification is very low. About 2 crystals per quart. Making it very hard to dose in the field.
Making fire with is is really not very easy or practical, considering the alternatives.

So yes it has many uses, but it does none well and is a safety hazard.

Also it's ability to purify water is not full researched.

#70426 - 08/02/06 02:39 AM Re: Potassium Permanganate
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Echo the "more hassel than it worth" sentiment. I've seen it tear into gear worse than iodine tablets that aren't properly sealed. Between that and it's general reactivity, I don't bother with it any more.

I haven't read anything about being a tested water purifier, but I can't imagine that it isn't. All of your strong oxidizers (chlroine, iodine, hydrogen peroxide) attack stuff at the cellular level, so I would hazard a guess that potassium permangenate SHOULD work. It's the dosing that is tricky.

I suppose, if you REALLY have your heart set on it, looking your phone book for a chemical supply house, or hit one of the academic chemical supply houses online. Or eBay.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#70427 - 08/02/06 03:52 AM Re: Potassium Permanganate
redflare Offline

Registered: 12/25/05
Posts: 647
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
I remember that when I was a kid, I used to mix it with magnesium powder, with either a pinch of aluminum or iron powder and create fireworks. <img src="/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />
In the Old World they used it for desinfection. Look for Eastern European (most likely Russian or Polish) pharmacies to buy it.

Edited by redflare (08/02/06 04:52 AM)

#70428 - 08/02/06 01:01 PM Re: Potassium Permanganate
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
Or you can get it at Walmart in the fish/aquarium section. Look for a bottle of "Clear Water". This is used to remove odors and cloudiness from fish tank water. It's a solution of potassium permangenate, though it doesn't say what concentration. I just e-mailed the company that makes it, hopefully they'll tell me how much KMnO4 it contains.

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#70429 - 08/05/06 11:25 AM Re: Potassium Permanganate
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
In the UK you can get it from most chemists.

I sometimes carry some. A little goes a long way, so the trick is to find a quality container small enough.

I might carry it more often, but for me its most valuable if you also have glycerine and glycerine is even harder to store - it seems to leak out of most bottles unless they are very well sealed. I kinda lose my nerve over the fire risk if leaking glycerine gets to the crystals. There are more reliable fire-starters anyway, especially in cold weather.
Quality is addictive.

#70430 - 08/20/06 02:21 PM Re: Potassium Permanganate
Paulb Offline

Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 60
Usually available through Pond suppliers such as:


I've liked the idea as a small amount of concentrated antiseptic/antifungal agent. It is a strong oxidizer though.


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