15 Surprising Survival Uses for Dental Floss

15 Surprising Survival Uses for Dental Floss

Sometimes looking at ordinary items through a survival lens reveals they can transform into unexpected heroes. Dental floss, for instance, has some handy and surprising survival uses. With dental floss, you can improvise gear, make repairs, and even start a fire.

It's an incredibly affordable item that hardly takes up any space, making it an easy addition to any survival kit. Plus, it's something everyone has on hand (or should if their dentist has anything to say about it).

Here are 15 surprising survival uses of dental floss that might just save the day when you least expect it.

  1. Emergency Fishing Line: If you find yourself near a body of water with no fishing gear, dental floss can come to your rescue. Simply unravel a length of floss, tie one end to a hook or a lure and the other end to a stick, and you're ready to catch some fish for supper.

  2. Trap Building: Besides helping you find food by acting as fishing line, dental floss can be used to make simple traps for catching small game. Combine it with sticks or branches to create snares or combine it with patience to construct a basic net for trapping animals.

  3. Dummy Cord:The last thing you want in a survival situation is to lose – or lose track of – essential pieces of gear. Dental floss, due to its compact size and strength, can be used as a dummy cord to secure items like a compass, small tools, or even a key to your backpack, belt loop, or gear. This way, you can ensure that these important items are always within reach and won't be easily dropped or misplaced while on the move. Loop it multiple times for the best results.

  4. Clothing Repair:With its strong thread-like nature, dental floss can act as emergency sewing thread. Use it to mend torn clothing or reattach a button.

  5. Gear Repair: Similarly, in case of damage to a tent or shelter, dental floss can act as a temporary fix. Use it to patch up small holes or tears by stitching the fabric together.

  6. Emergency Stitches:In dire situations where medical assistance is not available, dental floss can be used to suture wounds. Infection can be an issue, so sterilize the floss with alcohol before using it. Same goes for your needle. Then use it to stitch up minor cuts to promote healing. Obviously, dental floss is not a substitute for proper medical care, but in an emergency, it can help hold a wound together until you can receive proper treatment (hopefully).

  7. Other First Aid Applications:Dental floss can be used in various first aid situations. In addition to emergency sutures, it can secure bandages or splints, or even assist in dental emergencies like tooth extraction (The old doorknob and "string" method).

    Caution: dental floss should not be used as a makeshift tourniquet. According to True Rescue, "Hard materials like cord, string, dental floss, and wire can cause severe damage to the patient's skin and should be avoided."
  1. Makeshift Alarm System:In a survival scenario, dental floss can be used to create a simple early warning alarm system to detect and deter intruders or wildlife. Get a hold of some empty tin cans, poke a hole at the top of each one, and string clusters of them together with dental floss. Then tie these clusters strategically to lines of dental floss that circle the perimeter of your camp.

    As you string your makeshift alarm system between sticks, bushes, and other objects that surround your campsite, be sure to keep it low to the ground so it won't be noticed. Also try to place the clusters of cans out of view behind bushes, tall grass, tree trunks, or piles of leaves. This will help you catch intruders off guard.

    When they try to sneak in, they won't notice the floss, which will cause the cans to shake and wake you up, catching them in their tracks. The sound could also startle and scare away wildlife.
  1. DIY Tripwire: No cans necessary, but the same principle applies. By stringing floss around your campsite, you could trip unwanted visitors and hear the thump when they fall.

  2. Tie Off Individual Coffee Portions: If you’re a coffee drinker, a great way to save space in your bug out bag is to nix the box or bag the coffee came in and parcel out individual portions. Simply pour the coffee grounds into a coffee filter or loose-leaf tea bag, and once you have enough for a solo cup of coffee, twist the top of the filter or tea bag shut and tie it off with a piece of dental floss. Repeat as needed.

  3. Clothesline: Dental floss can be used as a makeshift clothesline to hang wet clothes for drying in a survival setting. String it between two sturdy objects and use clothespins, paper clips, or knots to secure the garments to it. You could also simply fold the clothes over the floss as well, remembering to flip them over so both sides get dry.

  4. Garden Support:Dental floss can be used in gardening to provide support for climbing plants. Use it to tie plants to stakes or trellises, helping them grow upright and preventing damage from wind or heavy rain.

  5. Shoelaces: If your shoelaces break, dental floss can serve as a temporary replacement to keep your shoes secured. While you won't be running any marathons like this, it'll be enough to keep your shoes or boots on your feet.

  6. Fire-starting: Dental floss can be a valuable resource when it comes to fire-starting. First, it can be unraveled and used as tinder to help ignite a fire. Waxed floss works best for this. Or you can use your floss to bundle together small sticks together for kindling. Last but not least, if you really want to put your bushcraft skills to the test, you can use floss as part of a bow drill setup.

  7. Craft a Spear: With some creativity and dental floss, you can create a makeshift spear for hunting or self-defense. Use it to bind a sharp object like a knife or shaft of broken glass (taking care for your fingers) to the end of a sturdy stick, creating an effective DIY weapon.

While it's important to use specialized survival tools or materials when they're available, it’s just as important to be resourceful, and emergency situations may call for some survival substitutes when options are limited.

Dental floss is a great backup item to toss in your survival kit, since it comes in a compact form and serves multiple purposes that'll help you in different situations. So next time you're stocking up on gear, don't forget to add some dental floss to your list. It may just come in handy and save the day (in addition to keeping you from having "apocalypse breath.")

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.