There’s no doubt about it: Duct tape has adhered itself to American hearts. Invented to help the war effort during World War II, duct tape originally went by the moniker “Duck Tape” because of its ability to repel water. Once the war was over, civilians started using the tape in construction. For a while it was used most commonly to hold metal air ducts together, earning the silver-gray adhesive its second (and current) name: duct tape. Pretty soon, consumers realized the tape was good for more than adhering ducts; it’s an incredibly versatile tool that has been used for anything from the Apollo 13 mission to making prom dresses. Turns out, the magical stuff also has some neat uses for the health- and fitness- inclined. Here, we've rounded up 15 of them.
1. Remove Warts
Apparently it’s not just an old wives’ tale. Studies of duct tape’s effectiveness have yielded mixed results, but some research does suggest regular gray duct tape can assist in wart treatment To freeze or not to freeze: a cost-effectiveness analysis of wart treatment. Keogh-Brown, MR, Fordham, RJ, Thomas, KS, et al. Department of Health Policy and Practice, School of Medicine, University of East Anglia, Norwich. British Journal of Dermatology, 2007 Apr;156(4):687-92. Epub 2007 Feb 27. Clinical inquiries. What nonpharmacological treatments are effective against common nongenital warts? Abernethy, H., Cho, C., DeLanoy, A., et al. Shenandoah Valley Family Practice Practice Residency, Department of Family Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University. The Journal of Family Practice, 2006 Sep;55(9):801-2.. To give it a whirl, cover up warts with duct tape every day for six days, then soak the warts in warm water on the seventh day and exfoliate them with an emery board or pumice stone. Repeat this process for as long as two months, and there’s a good chance your warts will be gone.
2. Prevent Blisters from Ruining a Workout
Avid runners, walkers, and hikers are likely familiar with this trick: When you first feel the symptoms of an impending blister (i.e., burning, friction, or irritation), apply duct tape over the irritated spot as smoothly as possible. If a blister has already developed, protect it from the duct tape’s glue by placing a circle of paper or gauze directly over the blister, and then apply the duct tape on top. Voila: Pain be gone!
3. Make an Emergency Bandage
If you’re nowhere near a first aid kit when someone develops a cut, apply some sterile, absorbent fabric to the wound (a bandana or strip of t-shirt will do in a pinch) and then wrap duct tape around the cut (applying firm, but not constrictive, pressure) to hold the fabric in place.
4. Make a DIY Mask for CPR
Needs to administer mouth-to-mouth don’t have a CPR mask handy? A strip of duct tape could help save a life. Fold big piece of duct tape over on itself (so that the sticky side isn’t exposed) and cut a quick slit to breathe through (important note: do this quickly).
5. Trap Bugs
No one wants flying insects buzzing around inside. Keep bugs at bay by hanging long strips of duct tape from the ceiling (like flypaper). If you’re looking to get a cardio workout out of your bug trapping, wrap a tennis racket in duct tape (sticky side out) and wave it around to trap the little critters.
6. Keep Socks from Slipping
Sliding around in your socks on tile floors is all fun and games until someone crashes and cracks a few bones. Skip the skid by attaching a strip of duct tape to the bottom of each sock in order to make a non-slip sole. (This one’s especially handy if you have kids.)
7. Make an Apron
Need to protect your clothes from getting messy while whipping up some healthy recipes? No problem—just make an apron from duct tape! Or, heck, just make a whole water-resistant outfit out of duct tape.
8. Make Garden Labels
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, keep your herb and produce beds organized with adorable garden labels made from aluminum duct tape.
10. Get Stronger Arms
This move is super simple, but if the Marine Corps Times recommends it, we’re going to assume it’s pretty legit. Just hold a large roll of duct tape out to your side, and keep holding it there until you no longer can. Then repeat with the other arm.
11. Repair Ripped Camping Gear
Duct tape is one of the best tools to have around when it comes to preventing a camp trip from going downhill. Use it as a temporary fix for a hole in an air mattress or a rip in a tent or sleeping bag.
12. Improve Punching Accuracy
If you train with a punching bag, challenge your accuracy by placing little squares of duct tape on the bag to use as targets during a workout.
13. Correct Ski Issues
While out on the slopes, use duct tape to (temporarily) fix a broken ski pole or to reduce snow build up on skis—if snow keeps sticking to the bottom of your skis, simply apply a layer of duct tape. The slick side of the tape will prevent snow from collecting.
14. Make a DIY Sandbag
All you need to create your own sandbag (a great full-body workout tool) is a canvas laundry bag, a few heavy-duty garbage bags, some zip ties, some pea gravel, and (of course) duct tape.
15. Make a DIY Foam Roller
Foam rolling is a great way to relieve muscle tension, increase your range of motion, prevent injuries, and help with recovery. It’s pretty easy (and cheap) to make your own foam roller—all thanks to the power of duct tape.