Most of us have plenty of stray rubber bands lying around the house. They’re just one of those things that you never know how you managed to collect so many of, but they still always seem to be around. It turns out, rather than just creating more clutter, they can actually come in handy around the house!
Take a look to see all the ways you can use ordinary rubber bands to make your life easier.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
Prevent remote control scratches
With your family using so many remotes, you’re concerned that one will get tossed onto your coffee table, leaving a scratch on the wood. To prevent this, wrap a small rubber band around each end of the remote controls. The rubber cushioning between the devices and the tabletop will create enough of a buffer to ward off scratches and nicks.
Easily grasp shampoo bottles
Ouch! It seems like you’re always dropping slippery bottles of shampoo or conditioner in the shower.
What can help: Wrap bottles in wide rubber bands. The rubber will give you something to grip (even when wet), so you can protect your poor toes when it’s time to lather!
Stop a tea bag from sinking
Nothing beats curling up on chilly days with a steaming cup of your favorite tea — if only the tea bag didn’t always slip into your cup!
The easy fix: Place a rubber band around the mug, then slide the string of the tea bag in between. This will secure the bag in place, so you don’t have to fish it out of the hot liquid with your fingers when it’s done steeping.
Safely transport casserole dishes
You promised to make your sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving, but worry about it making a mess in the car ride to your sister’s house.
To sidestep spills, place your dish in a pot with a lid. Then place a large rubber band around the knob on the top of the lid and stretch it around the handle on one side; repeat on the other side using a second rubber band. The elastic bands will keep the lid firmly in place so you can transport your dish without a hitch.
Slip-proof a clothes hanger
The new blouse you bought will look great for so many different occasions. The problem? It keeps slipping off the hanger!
To avoid this nuisance, wrap rubber bands around both ends of the hanger. The “sticky” rubber will grip the fabric and hold the shirt in place without damaging it.
Diy Recipe Holder
Refer to digital recipes at a glance
To make it easier to follow a new recipe from your smartphone, create a simple phone stand.
To do: Stretch a rubber band around the back of a bottle’s neck, and pull the ends forward. Then slip your phone (screen facing forward) through the rubber band loops.
Help secure wobbly candles
Your guests are due to arrive any minute when you realize the taper candles you wanted to use are too thin for your candle holders, so they won’t stop wobbling.
The save: Wrap a few rubber bands around the base of each candle until it fits snuggly in the holder. The bands will widen the candle’s base, plus the rubber will provide traction to keep the tapers upright.
Make hand soap last twice as long
If you’re constantly running out of liquid hand soap at home, the culprit might be the bottles, which often squirt out more soap than necessary.
To make the contents last longer, wrap a rubber band around the neck so it only pumps halfway down each time. When the bottle releases just half the normal amount of soap, you won’t have to refill it as often.
Rubber Band Jar
Open a stuck jar in seconds
Argh! You need to start heating the marinara sauce for your spaghetti Bolognese but can’t seem to get the jar open.
To the rescue: rubber bands! Simply secure two or three bands (or one thick band) around the lid, then twist counterclockwise. The easy-to-grip material will provide just enough traction for your fingers so you can pop the lid open with ease.
Keep a cut apple fresh for hours
An apple is a favorite seasonal addition to your packed lunches, but you prefer it precut.
To keep the fruit from browning before you can enjoy it, try this: Cut the apple, then secure the pieces together with a rubber band before putting it in your lunch bag. Since fruit-browning oxidation occurs only when the flesh is exposed to air, keeping the sliced apple “whole” ensures it stays fresh. Yum!