Duct Tape to the Rescue!

Duct tape really can fix anything! This household staple also works as an effective first aid tool and a whole lot more. Learn more!

It was called “duck tape” by the military when it was introduced during World War II because it repelled water. Later it became known as “duct tape” to those in construction using it to hold metal ducts together. Whatever you call it, you might want to move it from your toolbox to your first aid kit because this extra-tough, super-sticky tape can be a big help in a medical emergency.

Cure For Warts?

The best-known medical use of duct tape is as a cure for warts, and it has been proven to be more than an old wives tale. Doctors at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington had a group of patients apply duct tape patches to their warts every day. Warts disappeared in 85 percent of those treated, making the tape more effective than the standard practice of freezing warts with liquid nitrogen.

All you need to do is put duct tape over a wart for six days, then soak the area in water and rub the surface of the wart with a pumice stone or emery board. Repeat the process until the wart is gone. It may take six to eight weeks, but it’s cheaper than a doctor’s visit. How does duct tape cure warts? Warts are caused by a virus, and one theory is that by putting duct tape over them you suffocate the virus. Another possible explanation is that the irritation caused by the tape stimulates the immune system.

For First Aid

When using duct tape for first aid, keep two things in mind. First, while the tape is now available in a rainbow of colors and patterns, this is completely irrelevant to its effectiveness as a first-aid tool. Plain old gray works just as well as tie-dye purple. Second, duct tape is much more adhesive than first-aid tape, which can make removal painful if it is applied directly on a wound or on hair. Think pulling off band-aid times 100.

Your first choice when administering first aid should be regular medical tape, but if you run out, duct tape can be used for bandaging wounds. Tear off the length of tape needed and secure gauze or a clean cloth over the wound. For large wounds, wrap the tape all the way around the body part … arm, leg or torso. Duct tape adheres to itself really well and can hold a wound shut until medical help is available.

Duct tape can also be used to create a make-shift splint. Set the bone, secure it with a straight stick or rod and tape the stick and body part together as tightly as possible without cutting off circulation.

Of course, if you’ve already had your broken arm set by a medical professional, you can always use that tie-dye purple duct tape to decorate the cast.

Splinter Removal

Duct tape can also rescue your splinter woes! Forget the tweezers and needles, many have found that duct tape’s sticky surface is a remarkable splinter removal method. Keep in mind that it’s best suited for shallow splinters. All you need is a piece of tape large enough to cover the area, press it down, and peel in the opposite direction of where the splinter went in. Say goodbye to pesky splinters with this handy trick!

Take It Camping To:

  • Repair tears in the tent
  • Mend a broken pole
  • Use it as an emergency firestarter  – duct tape is very flammable and is a great tool to get a fire going.
  • Fix a leaky water bottle

Do you have any clever ways you use duct tape? The possibilities are endless!

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Judy Kneiszel

Judy Kneiszel is a freelance writer from De Pere, Wisconsin. She contributes to regional and national magazines and newsletters, writing on a wide variety of topics including food, farming, health, renewable energy, and running a small business.

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Using silver duct tape, I made a water bowl for my dog when we were stuck in the boonies.

Susan Higgins

Lady thanks for this info! Sounds very resourceful! A friend once made a wallet entirely out of duct tape (I think he still uses it!). Durable stuff!

Tashia Berman

When wart medicine or freezing it didn’t work, I used it on a plantar wart on the bottom of my foot. Even with surgery it is said they often return and that looked painful. After a few weeks of duct tape, it completely disappeared and never returned.

Curt Uden

The handymans secret weapon

Ronald Rager

Its good for tying people up.




In Vietnam we used duct tape to repair bullet holes in our helicopter blades so we could fly the aircraft back to our base. We called it hundred mile an hour tape.

Geri Legg

I am 58 and I have got quite a few of these hard brown spots that seem to grow over night..feels like a wart but more like age spots gone hard. I put duct tape on these spots and leave for 2 or 3 days remove air for a while and retape…around 2 or 3 weeks these spots are gone. Better than paying a Derm. money to remove them….So thanks duct tape.


I am never without this tape. It is getting thinner….and thus more difficult to handle. Nice posts!!!

Kim M.

I have used the duct tape for a plantars wart on my foot. It takes a little while (as in, days or weeks), but placing it on every day & soaking my foot worked. On the last day it completely removed the core of the wart. Boy was I happy!


Coincidentally, I have been wrapping the purple tye-dye duct tape around my finger to get rid of my wart for weeks…it does seem to be working, but it’s taking a while to get to the end result. Not nearly as painful as I’ve heard the freezing can be.

James Reynolds

Pffffft, where have you guys been?? duck tape has been in my first aid kit for the last 20 years!!!

There is not much of anything that this tape can not be used for…when I go hiking, I pack 2 full rolls; there are 2 rolls in the trunk of my car; a roll in my first aid kit; God only knows how many rolls I have laying about the house & workshop…It would not surprise me to find 8 to 10 rolls between the house & my car. Duck Tape is like a foreigner’s green card… don’t leave home without it!!!


Normally farmers almanac is right on the money, but this time they’re wrong:

Wrapping a limb completely in duct tape is dangerous if the limb continues to swell the tape becomes a tourniquet.

And unless you’re trained you should never ‘set a bone’.


Give my husband duck tape, wire and a screw gun and I am confident he could build a shuttle if they asked him to. He is amazing. I attribute it to his roots in the hills of Georgia.


I had to have surgery on my left leg after I broke it. Kinda had a LOL moment when you mentioned purple tye-died duck tape since that’s what I have on my crutches & on my cast. I have 3 days til I get a walking boot (aka walking cast). And I have gotten so many people ask me if I had them specially ordered. When I tell them it’s duck tape, their jaws drop & they pick up one of my crutches for closer inspection.
I have to credit my mom with the idea of decorating my crutches & cast with duck tape! She is so fashionable!

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