Brushing and flossing are the cornerstones of good dental hygiene, so for most of us, they're a part of the daily routine. Dental floss itself is anything but routine, though. That unassuming spool of floss taking up a corner of your medicine cabinet is actually a surprisingly versatile resource. Floss is remarkably strong for its size, making it useful around the house in these ten unusual and unpredictable ways.
Cut Perfect Slices
Knives are usually the simplest way to cut anything, but sometimes floss is a better alternative. Professional cheesemongers use wire to cut cheeses, for example, and floss makes a great substitute. Just wrap a loop around the portion of cheese you want to cut, and pull it tight. For delicate cakes and pastries, stretch your floss tightly and either press it down through the baked good or slide it underneath and lift. Want perfect slices of boiled egg? Use floss. It's especially handy when you're traveling because floss is a lot easier to carry along, and you can take it places a knife would be frowned on.
Keep Your Glasses On
Those tiny screws that hold the arm of your glasses onto the frame will occasionally work loose, and sometimes your first warning is when your glasses come apart in your hand. If the screw falls to the ground, it can be hard to find (especially without your glasses!) and not everybody has spares just lying around the house. In this kind of vision emergency, floss can come to the rescue. Line up the arm and frame, then thread a small length of floss through the holes. Bring it up tight, tie a knot, and snip off the loose ends. It's not a permanent fix, but it'll keep the glasses on your face until you can get back to the shop for a replacement screw.
Add It to Your Emergency Sewing Kit
If you have floss, you don't need a whole lot else to make up an emergency sewing kit. Floss is nearly invisible for small repairs, like fixing a hem that's starting to come loose. It's a lot stronger than most conventional thread, so it's the ideal way to re-attach buttons that have come loose from heavy use. You can even use it to fix a weak zipper on a cherished pair of jeans. Tie the floss to make a loop, 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and push an end of the loop through the zipper's pull. Put the other end of the loop through that first end, to make a slip knot, then slide the big end of the loop over the button of your jeans.
Fix a Frayed Shoelace or Rope
Shoelaces occasionally lose the little plastic ends that keep them from unraveling. If you've ever replaced an otherwise good shoelace because you just couldn't get it through the hole, you'll be happy to know that floss is the answer. Just wrap it tightly around the end of the shoelace to gather up the ends, and then finish with a small knot or double-loop to hold it in place. The same technique works with ropes, if you're camping and have one that's starting to come apart. Pro tip: If your shoelace breaks, instead of unraveling, floss is strong enough to be an emergency shoelace in its own right.
If you have the misfortune to break a favorite necklace or bracelet, don't despair. Gather up all of the pieces, and make a beeline for the floss in your medicine cabinet. Thread a needle with a long piece of floss, and carefully string the components of your necklace or bracelet back together along its length. Unlike regular sewing thread, floss is strong enough that you can wear the necklace while you're waiting for a more permanent repair. You can also use floss in place of conventional cord to make your own jewelry as a crafting project.
Use It As a "Rain Chain" for Your Sink
If you like to watch home design shows, you may have seen homes that used decorative "rain chains" with their gutters, instead of downspouts. The water from the gutter clings to the chain as it runs down, arriving in relative silence at the bottom. You can use the same technique to keep a dripping faucet from making you crazy while you wait to get it fixed properly. Just tie a length of floss around the end of the tap, and run the the other end down to the sink drain. Water will flow down the floss, instead of dropping with that maddening "drip, drip, drip" sound.
Save Your Snacks
Nothing's more disappointing than reaching into the cupboard for your favorite munchies, only to discover that the bag has been left open and they're stale. If you should find that you've run out of your usual bag clips or twist ties, dental floss makes a great substitute. Just twist up the ends of the bag you need to close, wrap the floss around it, pull it tight and tie a bow. This works beautifully with everything from bags of chips to frozen vegetables. In fact, floss is so useful in the kitchen you might just want to keep some there permanently.
Start a Campfire
If you love camping, hunting and being outdoors, floss definitely deserves a place in your pocket or pack. Waxed floss wrapped around twigs makes a great fire starter, because the floss burns reliably even in wet conditions. You can use it to fix tears in tents or clothing, and you can improvise a quick shelter or windbreak by tying up a tarp or fly sheet. You can also use floss to tie branches together for a lean-to, either as-is or braided for extra strength. In a pinch, you can even use it as fishing line to catch yourself some dinner.
Hang Up Festive Decor
Plain dental floss is almost invisible against a wall, which makes it a great option for seasonal decorating. Use it in place of conventional string or twine when you're crafting homemade bunting — a fun and easy festive option for kids and adults alike. It's equally perfect for stringing your own garlands of popcorn or cranberries over the holidays, or of soft marshmallow-based candies at Halloween. You can even use loops of floss instead of hooks for hanging baubles and other decorations on your tree.