“What If?” Presents the Many Uses of Duct Tape

“What-if?”, the worrisome words, arrive in the conscious spinning topics in our mind, from safety and financial security to loved ones and pet health.  Asking, “What can I do?” leads to a proactive decision to invest time in the ultimate insurance policy—valuable life skills comprising security, shelter, food, water, and medical care! In any emergency, from extreme weather to a personal disaster, you have the power to take charge of your fate by making plans and taking action!  

During World War II, a mother of two naval officers penned a letter to President Roosevelt.  Vesta Stoudt wrote, “We can’t let them down by giving them a box of cartridges that takes a minute or two to open, enabling the enemy to take lives that might be saved had the box been taped with strong tape that can be opened in a split second. Please, Mr. President, do something about this at once; not tomorrow or soon, but now.” 

Within two weeks, the hand drawing of the proposal passed from military officials to a company which specialized in medical supplies—Johnson & Johnson.  The meshed and waterproof polyethylene plastic cloth provided the rubber-based adhesive that we have come to know as duct tape! Over the generations, its uses have well exceeded the inventors’ dreams! 

Oh, and the many uses!

    1. Foot Warmer:  If needing an extra layer of protection, apply the tape on the inside of your shoes.  While keeping out moisture, feet remain warm!
    2. Sealing Tears:  One strip of duct tape can patch up holes in plastic materials, such as tents or ponchos, rubber boots, or bags. Additionally, it solves leaks in rain gutters or pipes. 
    3. Repair Broken Glasses:  A tiny sliver can offer a temporary solution to this problem, whether it’s the bridge or at the hinges. 
    4. An Adequate Hem: The strong adhesion can secure the temporary placement from denim to corduroy. 
    5. Vehicle Repair: Duct tape may not receive the award for attractiveness; yet, it is sturdy enough to hold a bumper, window, or side mirror in place! 
    6. Mark the Destination: Small pieces taped on tree branches, spaced fairly close together, can lead an uncertain camper or hiker to his or her home base.  
    7. Leave a Message: The tape adheres to almost all flat surfaces due to its waterproof capabilities.  Try spelling out a word using thin strips, such as creating an arrow or spelling S.O.S. 
  • First-Aid Solutions: Duct tape has the capability of rescuing another person with quick action.  With a few feet of tape, you can make a temporary sling or splint for a broken arm, remove splinters, treat a sprained ankle or wrist, hold band-aids in place, or create a rope by twisting it until it becomes a surprisingly strong cord.   
    1. Warts, not a Wives’ Tale: Medical centers recommend applying duct tape to a wart for six days, then soaking it in water; next, rub with a pumice stone.  For 85% of a study group, the wart disappeared, creating a more effective treatment than freezing. 
    2. Pet Hair Remover:  An effective method to remove excess lint or pet hair.  Wrap a strip around a roller or four fingers and press upon any material covered in unwanted hair.
  • Protect Tree Limbs: Farmers and growers use duct tape to fix broken branches and stems, 
    1. Flypaper: Cut a long strip and hang it near your campsite, outdoor table, or outdoor chair.  Within a short period, you’ll start trapping flies and mosquitoes. 
  • Hide Valuables:  On the underside of a table or cabinet, keys, credit cards, billfolds or money and other valuables can be concealed with one piece of duct tape.  
  1. Separate a Room:  If planning to sand a room, use a plastic sheet and strips of duct tape to contain dust particles. 

What Parts are Flammable? 

The label says, “heat resistant”; that is, below 140 degrees, duct tape will not reach a burning or melting point even in the height of summer; however, under extreme cases or emergencies, for example, a fire exceeding 200 degrees, the adhesive and mesh will burn while the rubber loses its structure and melts. Thus, although other materials are better choices, duct tape can be a viable tool to start a fire. 

Place a roll of duct tape in your vehicle, house or tool shed, and consider keeping a few extras on hand for unexpected emergencies! If you understand all its multiple uses, duct tape is the solution adhesive, saving time and money! 

Next Month:  Choosing the Right Knife 


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