In a world full of dental advancements like water-picks, air flossers, and interdental toothbrushes, the traditional dental floss of yesteryear has found itself a back seat in the bathroom junk drawer of many people’s homes.
The little plastic boxes encasing a spool of waxed (or unwaxed) floss can still serve multiple purposes outside of de-gunking those chompers of yours, though.
With a surprisingly high tensile strength of up to 25 lbs or greater, and coupled with its thinness and flexibility, it has a shocking amount of applications that should find this mundane item tucked away in everything from your first-aid kit to your tool-box, and even in your baking gear!
Here’s a list of 10 reasons why you should always keep this nifty little item on hand.
1. Popcorn Strings And Christmas Things
‘Tis the season to be jolly, and that means getting started with your homemade holiday decorations. A Christmas classic is stringing popcorn and cranberries into beautiful garlands for window sills and Christmas trees.
If you find yourself running low on thread this year though, there’s no need to worry. You can easily use dental floss as a replacement for your thread, and you can even get it in minty green to match your holiday colors.
Bonus use; you can also use it to perfectly hang your decorations from tree branches, so you don’t need to use that pesky wire.
2. Hang Pictures Without Harming Your Walls
Picture frames can be absolutely beautiful. One downside to them though is that their beauty is often accompanied by unwanted bulky wire for hanging.
The problem with wire is that it is stiff and can often damage the paint on your walls from scraping and denting the surface.
If you want your picture frames to hang perfectly flat without losing any of the tensile strength you need to support the weight, try using dental floss. Its thin structure and flexibility will allow your picture to hang flat and it will never harm your walls.
3. Emergency Sutures
Floss has so many different applications that it’s always a good idea to keep a spool or two in your emergency survival kit or camping gear.
One of the number one reasons to always have it handy is in the event that you need emergency stitches and aren’t near a hospital or urgent care.
In a pinch, you can give yourself or someone else sutures by threading a fish hook bent into a suture needle with dental floss. Make sure the hook has been sanitized first, so you don’t get any secondary infections, and seek medical help as soon as possible afterward.
4. Un-Stick Your Cookies Without Breaking Them
With the holidays arriving as fast as a Tennessee thunderstorm, many of us have sleepless nights of baking in store.
There is hardly anything more annoying than trying to pull perfectly baked cookies from your pan or parchment paper, only to have them fall apart on you.
You can avoid this unnecessary irritation to your holiday chores by using a strand of dental floss to un-stick those delicious cookies. Holding the floss with both hands, simply slip it beneath the cookie and gently sweep it flat across the cookie sheet until the cookie lifts from the pan.
5. Seal Gaps In Screw Holes
Have you ever screwed something into place only to realize that the hole is slightly larger than the threads of the screw? This can leave unsightly gaps or worse, cause a leak.
In order to avoid this problem, try wrapping between the threads of the screw in question before inserting it into the wall. This will give it just that little extra bulk it needs to fit snugly and seal the hole up.
6. Perfectly Sliced Pastries
Mmmmm! The smell of pastries and holiday sweets are in the air as we near the season of all things sugar and spice.
Most of these recipes involve slicing wet dough into perfectly even slices, which can often be a bit challenging. The good news is that the fix is sitting right in your bathroom.
Just grab your floss and slip it beneath your log of dough, be it cinnamon rolls or sugar cookies, and lift the loose ends up over the top. Pulling both strings with equal force, slowly cross the loose ends of the floss until it slices clean through the dough.
You can also slice cakes into even layers with this method.
7. Braid It Into A Rope
If you find yourself in a situation where you need a rope that’s stronger than dental floss alone, try braiding strips of the floss together instead.
As we mentioned, certain types of floss have a very high tensile strength. By braiding strands of floss together, you increase that strength 3-fold or more, depending on how many strands you braid together.
Fun fact; one prisoner in the 1800’s saved his floss and braided it into a rope to help him escape from his window!
8. Home Made Fire Starters
One nifty little feature about most dental floss is that it comes covered in wax. This is so the floss doesn’t fray and break apart as you try to clean between your teeth and gums.
The neat thing about wax is that it has a low burning temperature and lasts longer than many other materials. You can save yourself money and time while camping or backpacking by making some homemade firestarters.
Just bundle up tinder, such as dried herbs, pine branches, or dry twigs and bind them with a few strips of floss in several places. This will ensure your flame lasts long enough for your kindling to catch fire and put you on your way to a warm, toasty evening.
9. Alternative To Cooking Twine
Some of the most delicious meat and poultry recipes call for the use of cooking twine. If you don’t have any of the stuff laying around though, you can still properly bind the bird or beef by using dental floss instead.
The floss won’t burn as it’s moistened by the meat and will keep all those juicy flavors and seasonings bound up in your dinner. You can also use the floss to fasten sprigs of seasonings like rosemary or thyme into place as it cooks!
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10. Train Plants To Trellises And Supports
As our plants start to grow larger, they can become top-heavy and begin to tumble over if you don’t tie them to some sort of support.
Similarly, sprawling vines that you want to climb your walls will often have trouble if there isn’t a trellis for them to wrap around, and sometimes they need a little help learning how to “hug” as well.
Floss is a fantastic material to tie your plants to trellises and supports with, as it’s slightly flat and won’t cut into your stems and vines from the weight of the plant. It is also flexible enough that you can tie it just about anywhere, and strong enough to hold the plant or fruit in place without the wind ripping it away.