Flossing is key for keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top shape, but did you know the sturdy little string is a handy life hack tool as well? These genius uses for dental floss include everything from repairing glasses to removing pesky ticks from your pup.
Re-string a broken bracelet
Oh no! The bracelet you were wearing snapped and sent colorful beads scattering. To the rescue: dental floss! Measure out the appropriate length, then string each bead on the strand. The holes in many beads are too small for a needle to pass through, and regular thread is too flimsy to use by itself, but the fibers in floss are stiff enough to string the baubles for quick repair.
Fix a broken umbrella
Suddenly, it’s raining, and the only umbrella in your house has a floppy broken rib! Try this: Cut dental floss into a 1′-long piece. Then use a sewing needle to thread it through the fabric part of the umbrella, tying it back to the spokes. The water-resistant thread will hold the rib in place.
Quickly remove keyboard gunk
You try to be mindful of snacking while you’re typing on the computer, but crumbs still end up lodged in the keyboard. The solution: Take an arm’s-length piece of dental floss and hold it taut using your index fingers. Then floss between the keys like you would between teeth. The thin string fits easily between the keys, swiftly removing debris.
Help blooms stay upright
The vibrant bouquet you received from your sister last week really brightens up the kitchen. The problem? Some of the flowers with weaker stems are drooping over the side of your vase. To make the bouquet look picture-perfect again, use a piece of clear dental floss to tie the stems together at the base of the blossoms. The invisible floss will help keep the f lowers in a tidy bunch so they stay upright and pretty as long as possible!
Repair glasses in a pinch
Just as you’re about to curl up with a book, you find that a screw fell out of your reading glasses. The save: Thread a piece of floss through the holes missing the screw and tie in a knot near the frame, then snip off the excess. The floss will hold the glasses together so you can enjoy your reading session!
Silence a leaky faucet
If the noise of a leaky bathroom faucet is driving you crazy, try this until you can get it fixed. Tie a long piece of dental floss around the end of the spout and place the other end in the drain. The leaking water will travel silently down the floss and into the drain.
Ensure a screw fits snugly
The screw in your dresser-drawer handle keeps coming loose, no matter how often you tighten it. To secure it once and for all, just remove the screw and wrap a short length of dental floss around its threads, gluing the end of the floss in place. Then put the screw back in and tighten. The floss will make the screw wider so it fits properly in the hole.
Lift cookies in one piece
Baking tasty chocolate chip cookies is your favorite way to spend a Sunday — but not so much when they stick to the cookie sheet as you try to transfer them. To avoid cookie crumbles, slide a taut strand of unwaxed dental floss between the cookie bottoms and the baking sheet once the treats have partially cooled. The ultrathin string will gently loosen the cookies so the sweet treats come up in one piece. Yum!
Securely hang heavy items
The set of wind chimes you snagged at a garage sale will look fantastic on your porch, but the string it came with doesn’t seem sturdy enough to hold their weight. A better way: Use dental floss to hang the chimes. The strong, tightly woven fibers will support the weight of the chimes so you can simply enjoy the peaceful tones without worry.
Safely remove a tick from Fido
If you notice a dreaded black dot on your pup, remove it fast and effectively with this trick from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Grab a 3″ length of dental floss, tie it in a loop and place over the tick, aiming to tighten it right where the head comes into contact with your dog’s skin. Next, gently and steadily pull the floss straight back to remove the pest. Place the tick in a sealed baggie to take to the vet for inspection later (or flush it down the toilet). Whew!
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.