Wikipedia defines duct tape as a: “cloth- or scrim-backed pressure-sensitive tape – often coated with polyethylene.”
Any way you define it, duct tape is a pretty amazing invention. In fact, duct tape is so amazing that its used on nearly every NASA mission. However, you don’t have to be a NASA rocket scientist to know that having something handy like duct tape around the house can help you save money. Here are twenty money saving duct tape uses.
1. Hide Secret Car Keys
Just tape a copy of your car key to the underside of your car with duct tape. As long as you get a good seal with the tape, you’ll never get locked out of your car again. No need for a key magnet box. Total savings $4-6.
2. Make Flypaper
No need to spring for flypaper, just go ahead and attach a few foot long strips of duct tape to the rafters or ceiling of where you are staying. The stickyness on the tape will act like flypaper and you’ll be rid of the bugs in no time flat. You can also just roll up the tape and toss it in trash when you are done. No need to for messy clean up. Total savings: $5 – $8.
3. Replace Shower Curtain Grommets
Cheap shower curtains are prone to ripping, especially at the eyelet where shower curtain hooks attach to the curtain. Instead of getting a new curtain or dealing with expensive repair kids, just make repairs with your duct tape. Once the curtain is dry, cut a rectangular piece of duct tape and fold it front to back over the torn hole. Cut a hole in the tape with a razor blade or scissors and push the ring back in place. Your curtain should work just fine. Don’t buy shower curtain saver – total savings: $6 – $7.
4. Repair A Vacuum Hose
Hoses on vacuum cleaners can be prone to fatigue and cracking. If the hose has developed a leak the suction in the cleaner can be less effective. Wrap a bit of tape around the rip or crack. Your hose should last until the rest of the vacuum hardware gives out. Don’t get a new hose. Total savings: $25.
5. Remove Clothing Lint & Pet Hair
If you’re getting prepped to go to a meeting or out for the evening and you see pet hairs or lint on your clothing, just cut a bit of tape and wrap it around your hand sticky side out. Roll the tap against your clothing with the rocking motion until you’ve got all the hair or lint. Don’t wipe your clothing, that could impact the fabric. No need for a lint roller. Total savings: $5.
6. Make Children’s Toys
There are a number of children’s toys that you can make using duct tape. One favorite is a toy sword for those junior pirates you’ve got around the house. Just sketch a kid sized sword on a piece of cardboard. Use two pieces if you don’t have one that’s thick enough. Be sure the sword size is small enough so that your child’s hand can fit comfortable around it once it jhas been increased in thickness by several layers of tape. Then cut out the sword and wrap up the blade area a layer or two of silver duct tape. Wrap the handle in black tape.
You can also make armor, helmets or other fun costumes this way. Along these lines a favorite is a tin man costume made out of cardboard & duct tape for Halloween.
Don’t buy expensive kids play swords or costumes. Total savings: $5 – $50.
7. Repair Plastic Trash Cans
Plastic trash cans often split or crack along joints. Instead of tossing out the can with the rest of the trash, repair the crack with duct tape. Typically duct tape is strong enough to withstand the abuse that plastic trash cans can take. If you apply it carefully, the tape should also have no problems adhering to curved or ridged surfaces. Put tape over both the inside and the outside of the can. Don’t buy a new trash can, instead repair the old one! Total savings: $5 – $200.
8. Protect Floors From Scuffing
To keep the legs of your furniture from scratching the flooring, put some tape on the bottom of each legs. This will help your floors from getting marred. This is especially important if you have soft hardwood floors and heavy metal furniture, such as a cafe table. Don’t buy special scratch pads. Total savings: $2 – $14.
9. Protect Gas Hoses
Of all the duct tape uses out there, avid grillers know that sometimes mice and other animals can chew on rubber. One target of those pesky creatures is the rubber hose which connects the gas grill to the propane tank. You can protect this hose by wrapping it in duct tape. Prevent yourself from needing to buy a new connecting hose. Total savings: $13 – $56.
10. Fix Loose Battery Compartment Covers
Doesn’t it just drive you up a wall when you have a remote control where the back panel covering the battery compartment seems to keep coming off? Just put a little strip of duct tape on there to keep it from coming off and you’re set. No need to buy a new remote. Total savings: $3 – $50.
11. Create Gift Tags
Instead of heading out to the store to purchase tags for your gifts, just grab a bit of duct tape and make the tags yourself. Duct tape is great at holding ink, so just use a sharpie to mark who the gift is for and who it is from. Total savings: $3 – $20.
12. Make A Bookmark
This idea is for you readers/collectors out there. If you are reading a favorite book and don’t want to bother with getting a fancy bookmark, just grab a piece of duct tape, and fold it in half sticky side in. Viola, you’ve got a handy book mark. Don’t bother with fancy monogrammed paper or jazzy plastic clips. Total savings: $3 – $34.
13. Repair Seams of Ski Gloves
This is a pretty commonly discussed use for duct tape. When your ski gloves wear out, and they typically do at seams, put some tape over the tear so that it doesn’t get worse. This should prolong the life of the gloves. You can also use colored tape to match the color of the glove so the repair doesn’t look low rent. Don’t buy new gloves. Total savings: $13 – $110.
14. Use Tape To Seal Cracks In Duct Work
If you own a home, check your ducts and tape off any open seams. A lot of heat ends up wasted in basements or crawl spaces where it is not needed. Don’t pay for the waste. Instead, be sure your ducts are sealed tightly. Total savings: 2-5% off your monthly energy bills.
15. Repair Tail or Headlights
Car parts retail at an extremely high mark up over manufacturer’s cost. If have a situation where the glass in a headlight or tail light becomes separate from the light assembly, simply run some tape around the top edge of the assembly with most of it under the hood edge, it should fix the problem just fine. Don’t get a new light. Total savings: $128.
16. Repair Bicycle Tires
Some riders, such as competitive mountain bikers can be extremely hard on their bike tires. Inner tubes are likely to give out or tires can get ripped or torn. Don’t get a tire repair kit. Instead, repair the damage using some duct tape. Total savings: $6 – $7.
17. Temporarily Hem Your Pants
You’ve found a terrific pair of jeans, but the length isn’t right. You expect a little shrinkage anyway, so why drop 20 dollars to have a tailor hem your pants? Besides, thick denim jeans are difficult to sew through. Consider taking up the hem with duct tape. The new hem will work in a pinch and should hold through a couple of washings. Total savings: $20.
18. Temporarily Insulate Cracks In Windows
In older houses, windows don’t always close well, especially at the bottom of the frame. If you don’t have any weather stripping handy, consider using duct tape to create filler to block up any cracks. This will keep insects or other vermin from getting in your home and will block out any drafty wind. Total savings $3-18 plus utility bill savings.
19. Secure Diapers to Baby
Some children or toddlers prefer to take off their diapers when they should not. This typically leads to more time spent cleaning up baby messes and higher costs for diapers, wipes and cleaning supplies. One way around this is to wrap a strip of duct tape around the child’s diaper to hold it firmly in place. The tape is tough enough so that your child can’t tear the diaper off when you aren’t around. Total savings: lots of headaches.
20. Make a Roach Trap
Want to catch roaches, but don’t want to spray your home with noxious chemicals? Just get a 4 inch strip of duct tape, fold the edges over by about a half inch on both rip ends. Pinch the ends so the tape is slightly creased. Get some peanut butter and put it in center. Don’t use too much. Then flip it over so that the sticky part is facing down. Smaller German cockroaches will go for the peanut butter and their backs will get stuck to the tape. If you want to catch the bigger ones, just lay out a trap with the sticky side up. Don’t buy roach traps or hire an exterminator. Total savings: $12 – $150.
Bonus: three questions about duct tape.
- Can duct tape be used for removing warts? According to the manufacturer, 3M corporation, as of 2005 duct tape has not been scientifically tested for removing warts.
- Can duct tape be used to secure the duct from an household dryer to outdoors? No, dryer temperatures may exceed 200F, which is beyond the maximum temperature the duct tape can withstand.
- Is duct tape waterproof? The backing of the tape is waterproof, however the adhesive is not. Duct tape will hold up in water for a while, however the adhesive will eventually give out so it is not a good fix when long term water immersion is involved (source: Readers’ Digest).
Finally, if you are going to buy duct tape, consider buying in bulk. Rolls of 3M utility duct tape get progressively cheaper as you buy more. For example on amazon.com the two pack retails for $20.29 or $10.15 a roll. The three pack retails for $28.49 or $9.50 a roll. If you are going to shop from Amazon, try getting used. Used rolls tend to be a couple of bucks cheaper because the packaging has been damaged.
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