Life Hacks: 30 Ways to Use Duct Tape

Duct Tape has a dark side and a light side and it binds the universe together.

Roll of Duct TapeDid you see The Martian movie? Or read the book? Did you notice that more than once Duct Tape saves Mark Whatney’s life—I’m just sayin’.

With that thought in mind, I thought I’d share some cool ideas about how to use Duct Tape for a variety of situations.

Household Repairs

I’d guess that we’ve all probably used Duct Tape for a repair somewhere along the way, but here are some you may not have thought about.

Repair a Gutter Downspout: Have some downspouts that won’t stay together? Wrap the joints in Duct Tape.

Repair Leaking Pipes: Make sure to completely dry the area, then apply the Duct Tape to PVC pipes that are leaking. It will work until you can get the plumber there.

Make a Temporary Roof Shingle: That latest hail-storm took out a wooden roof shingle? No problem. Cut a piece of plywood to size and wrap in Duct Tape and wedge into place. It’ll repel water until you can get the roof repaired.

Fix a Hole in Your Siding: Stormy weather can send a broken limb into your vinyl siding and cause damage. Dry the area and apply Duct Tape (you can even try to find a color that closely matches). Smooth with your hand or a rolling pin. It should last through the season.

Tape a Broken Window: You’ve got to remove a broken window. Crisscross the broken pane with Duct Tape to hold it together. That way no shards will fall out and possibly cut you during the removal.

Mend a Screen: You’ve discovered a tear in your window screen. Cover the hole with Duct Tape to seal it until you can get the screen replaced.

Repair a Trash Can: Storms (and even the trash collector trucks) can damage your large plastic trash cans. Repair the cracked area with Duct Tape. Make sure to tape both the inside and outside of the can.


If you like to primitive camp, like we do, you might find a need for any one of these ideas.

Repair a Tent: A rip in your tent can let in more than rain and cold…insects can find their way in as well. Tape up that rip with Duct Tape. Mirror the repair on both sides of the fabric for double protection.

Keep the Tent Door Secured: If the zipper fails the door can be kept closed with a strip of Duct Tape to keep out the wind and critters.

Repair a Broken Tent Pole – or Fishing Pole: Tape a stick to the tent pole (or fishing pole) to stabilize it until you can replace it.

Repair a Damaged Water Bottle: A cracked water bottle or pierced hydration bladder could be a life or death situation. You can repair both with Duct Tape. Make sure you apply tape to a completely dry surface, since it usually won’t stick to wet surfaces. As a preventative measure, you can wrap your water bottles in Duct Tape for protection in the beginning.

Emergency First Aid

Speaking of camping and outdoor activities. Accidents happen. You never know when you might need one of these tips.

Remove Splinters: Make sure the skin is dry and apply a piece of Duct Tape to the spot where the splinter is embedded. Quickly yank the tape off.

Blister Care: blisters are serious business. As soon as you notice one, place a bit of cotton gauze over the blister and then Duct Tape it in place. Make sure the tape doesn’t touch the blister, only the cotton padding.

Make a Bandage: Place a sterile dressing (or paper towel if none is available) over the wound and cover it with Duct Tape to hold it in place.

Make a Butterfly Bandage: You can cut two small strips of Duct Tape, then add a smaller strip across their centers (sticky side to sticky side) to create a makeshift Butterfly suture.

Treat a Sprained Ankle: You’ve tripped and sprained your ankle, but have to continue your hike. Wrap your ankle with Duct Tape to give it added support until you get where you need to go.

Make a Sling: If you don’t happen to have a bandana with you to make a sling, don’t worry. You can fashion a strap by folding a length of Duct Tape down the middle (so there is no longer a sticky side) and use it to support your injured arm.

Create a Splint: Let’s hope you never have to use this one. But it’s good to know that a broken ankle or leg can be stabilized with strong splint material, padding and Duct Tape.

Make a Crutch: If someone needs a splint, you might as well go ahead and make a crutch for them as well. Find a sturdy forked branch and pad the crotch of it with material and Duct Tape.

Bracing Broken Ribs: Here’s another one that is good to know, but I hope you never have to use. If you’ve broken or cracked some ribs, but you still need to be able to move around and function, Duct Tape comes to the rescue again. Slip on a tight fitting shirt or tank top to protect your skin, then tightly wrap Duct Tape around your rib cage.

Emergency Survival

You never know when a disaster might strike. Here are some simple ways to use Duct Tape that might just save your life.

Make Emergency Repairs to Your Vehicle: Duct Tape goes a long way in repairing leaking hoses, broken lights, or windows that won’t stay closed. A simple repair might get you back to town where you can get service.

Create a Shelter: Trash Bags and Duct Tape can be used to fashion a survival shelter, a sleeping bag, a lean-to windbreak or even a way to collect water if you are lost in the wilderness.

Make a Fire Starter: Roll some Duct Tape into a cylinder shape and stand it on end. Now add in bits of tinder (items that easily catch fire), such as lint from your pockets, char cloth (if you have it), fluff from Milk Weed pods or similar plants. The Duct Tape creates a larger flame and the tinder keeps it burning long enough for you to add more materials.

Repair Boots: Keeping your feet dry and warm is imperative. If the sole of your boot comes loose, tape it up to keep moisture from your socks.

Add Insulation to Your Boots: And while we’re talking about keeping feet warm and dry, try putting some Duct Tape on the insoles (shiny side up) to help reflect the warmth of your feet back up into your boots.

Keep Snow Out of Your Boots: You can go an extra step and wrap Duct Tape around the tops of your boots to keep them snug against your legs and keep snow out.

Fix Your Rain Gear: It’s important to keep dry. So use Duct Tape to repair any damage to your rain gear.

Repair Your Glasses: You’re lost in the wilderness and your glasses break. Just tape them up with some Duct Tape and don’t worry about looking nerdy. You’re still alive.

Mark a Trail: If you are lost and want to explore your area, use Duct Tape to mark a trail so you can find your way back to your base camp and not get further lost.

Signal for Rescue: You could use Duct Tape to create a large arrow, that could be seen from the air, and point it toward your location. If you have reflective tape, that’s even better.

Bonus Hint:

Duct Tape Wrapped onto a pencilThe only downside I can find to Duct Tape is the amount of room it takes up being on those large cardboard rolls. But there is a solution. I’ve wrapped Duct Tape around pencils, for storage in our Emergency Backpacks we keep in each of our vehicles. That way it doesn’t take up much room and I also have a pencil handy if I need it. You can also wrap the tape around the handle of your flashlight. Handy!


What ingenious ways have you used Duct Tape? Share with us!


  1. Jill G. Hall

    Duck tape! Who knew? I’m going to get a bigger purse so that I can always carry a roll with me. Thanks Indy for this informative information.

    • indy

      You’re very welcome, Jill. Glad you found it informative!

  2. Lois Joy Hofmann

    In addition to the household uses of duct tape, we found it quite useful on our yacht during our circumnavigation. While berthed in Langkawi, Malaysia we purchased a used room air conditioner to survive the tropicl heat and humidity. We duct taped it to the outside and vented it to blow cool air inside the cockpit, all using duct tape.

    • indy

      Ha! What a great story, Lois! I can just see you and Gunter rigging that up! Thanks for sharing it! I used duct tape for a home repair just the other day- worked like a charm.

  3. Ruth Shepler

    to tack up a hem that has fallen

    • indy

      Great idea, Ruth! Now you’ve got me thinking about all kinds of clothing repairs I could do with duct tape.Thanks for sharing!


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