10 uses for zip ties that you probably didn’t know

zip tie is used as zipper pull

Since 1958, zip ties (also known as cable ties) have been assisting us in a wide variety of unexpected ways. In this day and age, they are commonly used to bind together loose computer cables and charger cords.

However, the plastic and nylon ties do a lot more than that. Plus, they are cheap (you can get a pack of 100 for around $8!), and you can use zip ties of different colors for different purposes.

So, there’s no reason not to carry around a stash of them — some in your purse, some at work, some in the glove compartment of your car. You’d be surprised how often they come in handy, as zip ties are the true definition of a multiple-purpose product.

1. Unclog a Drain

If your sink’s backing up and you’ve run out of those nifty drain “weasels,” you can actually unclog a drain using zip ties! You will want to use a long zip tie for this trick, or attach 2-3 together to make an extra-long one, and then cut diagonal notches into each side before putting it down the drain and snaking it like usual.

zip tie altered to snake drain

2. Child-Proof Your House

Want to keep small children (and the occasional clever cat) from getting into certain cabinets? Just secure zip ties around two cabinet knobs or other areas of the house that children should not get into.

zip tie secures cabinet handles

3. Hang Things Up

Whether you’re puttering around the house or exploring the great outdoors, zip ties are like hangers — you can hang anything from them. For example, hang a lantern from a tree branch for some overhead lighting outside. Or loop a zip tie through the end of your mops and brooms to hang them neatly from hooks.

zip tie attaches lantern to tree

4. DIY a Key Ring

If you need a quick and easy way to keep loose keys together, a zip tie makes a great makeshift key ring. Simply string the keys onto a zip tie and secure it in a loop shape and you’ll be jangling away in no time.

zip tie is used to make a key ring

5. Bind Together Flower Stems

The next time you bring flowers home, get out the zip ties. Zip ties can help keep the stems of a bouquet together so they make a tight little cluster for displaying in a vase. If you make table centerpieces from flowers, zip ties will become your new BFF then, too.

colorful bouquet of flowers in vase

6. Keep Plants Attached to Stakes

Speaking of flowers, zip ties also make a great accessory in the garden or with potted houseplants, helping plants stand up when attached to gardening stakes.

zip tie secures a plant to a stake

7. ‘Lock’ Your Suitcase Zippers With a Zip Tie

Don’t have a lock for your suitcase? No problem! Slip a zip tie through the interlocking loops in the zipper pulls (or thread it through each zipper pull) and tighten it up. This will keep your zippers from separating and opening the suitcase while in transit, and as an added bonus, you’ll be able to spot your luggage on the baggage carousel by the zip tie you chose.

Keep in mind that if you’re flying and lock your checked baggage this way, your zip tie might not be there when you arrive. If TSA wants to inspect your bag and finds your luggage isn’t secured with a TSA-recognized lock that opens with one of their master keys, they’ll pop the lock right off your luggage.

zip tie locks luggage zippers together

8. Replacement Shoelaces

When you’re off camping or otherwise far from a place where you can buy replacement shoelaces, use some zip ties instead.

woman ties shoelaces while camping

9. Attach Things to Your Bag or Backpack

Let’s say you’re camping and want to attach a flashlight to the outside of your bag. Enter the zip tie. With it, you can attach anything from that flashlight to your water bottle.

zip tie secures a flashlight to backpack

10. Zipper Pulls

If a zipper pull falls off of a bag or works its way off a hoodie in the dryer, you can always loop a zip tie through and create a brand-new zipper pull.

zip tie used as zipper pull

Home, Life, Life Hacks

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About the Author
Natalia Lusinski
In addition to Simplemost, Natalia is an ongoing writer for Bustle (sex, dating, relationships, and money), HelloGiggles (pop culture and news), The Delite (feel-good stories), and Don’t Waste Your Money (yep, money issues!). You can also find her writing in the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune's RedEye, xoJane, Elite Daily, Scary Mommy, Elephant Journal, and Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, among other publications. She has a Ph.D. in couch-surfing, having spent four years sleeping on over 200 L.A.-area love seats and sectionals, all in an effort to whittle down her student loan debt. She still loves couch-surfing in other cities, too (hint, hint).

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