Dental floss does a lot more than help prevent gingivitis. Conveniently compact and incredibly affordable, you have every reason to stock up on it. And, there is no reason not to have at least one pack in your survival gear. Remember that one of the most important rules for packing a good go bag is to pack light. It's always a good idea to include multipurpose and ultralight items in your kit. Of course, dental floss should make it in your bag, too! With a little skill, this little white waxed string could help save lives! Get in the know with these 7 remarkable ways you can use dental floss for survival.
Dental Floss: A Useful Addition To Your Survival Kit
1. Make a Tripwire Alarm
When settling down in your camp for the night, you can never be too cautious. To keep intruders and critters in check you can easily set up an improvised alarm system by only using empty food or soda cans and dental floss! The material of floss can be a strong and reliable backup when you don't have any strings or ropes on hand.
Materials you need:
- 2-3 packs of dental floss
- 2 wooden sticks/triggers that have a carved notch in it
- Soda and beer cans (preferably with tabs in place)
- A Whippy tree branch
- Hammer one of the carved wooden sticks/triggers into the ground. Make sure it is close to a whippy tree branch.
- Using the dental floss, tie the other carved wooden triggers to the whippy tree branch. Then, connect the notches together.
- Prepare the cans (slightly crush them as this can create more noise).
- Tie the cans together through their tabs using the dental floss.
- With the cans tied together, connect them to where the sticks and the whippy branch meet.
- Once you have the cans connected to the main triggers, tie a new line of floss to something across you.
- Place the tripwire about 4 inches above the ground.
- You DIY tripwire alarm is now set and ready.
Keep your alarm system hidden behind a tree or with a layer of dry leaves.
Click the link for the full tutorial video on how to make a DIY Tripwire Alarm!
2. An Alternative Tinder
Dental floss is coated with a wax material which can burn easily making it a good substitute for tinder. This is one of the best survival things to do with floss. Follow these instructions and learn how to use floss in starting your fires :
- Cut off a few feet of dental floss.
- Group it into a sizeable bundle.
- Ignite it with sparks by using your Ferro rod and striker.
Take note that you can also use the floss to keep your fire stable and burning for longer periods of time.
3. Make an Improvised Snare Trap
Floss is made up of strong and sturdy materials which you can use to create snare traps. Floss makes an excellent substitute for ropes or paracords. It can also help you catch small to medium-sized critters, so you won't need to pack other supplies for making a snare. These supplies should include heavy wires and cords in your bug out bag. Below are the things you will need and steps to make a snare trap with dental floss.
Materials you need:
- 2-3 packs of dental floss
- Look for two medium-sized sticks and hammer them deep into the ground. They should be in at an angle where the other end of the sticks will cross each other.
- Tie the ends of the sticks together so they will cross completely. It should make an “X” shape.
- Put your hand in between them and try pulling them up to check if they are sturdy enough. The sticks shouldn't be popping out of the ground.
- Look for a fairly thin stick and hit it into the ground directly in line with the other sticks.
- Look for another stick that will serve as your bait stick and put it in between the crossed sticks. Keep inserting the stick forward until it meets the other stick that will hold it.
- Carve a notch wherever the two sticks meet. It will hold the bait stick until the prey pushes it down on it causing it to get out of the notch. This will make the snare go and eventually trap the prey.
- Look for a sapling or a tree with a thin trunk. It needs to be alive and fairly small.
- Choose the correct height depending on what prey or animal you want to catch. Make sure you strip it down until there are no more leaves or branches because this will affect how fast it will snap back.
- Cut a ring that will go all the way around the tree or sapling, then put your dental floss inside of it. You need to be sure the dental floss has the same length of the tree before you tie them up.
- About 6 inches down, tie your bait stick.
- At bottom, tie a snare depending on how big the prey you want to catch.
- Bend your sapling down and put the snare in front of the angled sticks.
- Put you bait stick in between the angled sticks. Make sure the side of the bait stick that you tie your floss to is facing the sapling.
- Barely hook it to the notch.
- Put the bait on the other end of the bait stick.
- Wait for the prey to eat your bait, and it will eventually be trapped in the snare.
Click the link to watch the full tutorial on how to make a snare trap.
4. Build Fishing Equipment
If you are in a survival situation that requires you to fish to stay alive, you can make a fishing net or a fishing line with a dental floss. This is a great alternative to a cord or string net in case you don't have one in your pack. Check out this link to watch the tutorial video on how to make a net.
If you don't want to go through all the trouble of making a fishing net, you can also make a fishing rod using dental floss as your fishing line. Here's how you can make your own DIY fishing rod using a stick and dental floss:
Materials you need:
- A long stick
- A pack of dental floss
- Tie the dental floss to the base of the stick using a simple slip knot or any fisherman's knot you prefer. Make sure you still have enough space to hold on to.
- Wind the floss up the stick and then tie another knot on the end of the stick.
- Tie a hook and put the bait on it.
Click the link for the full tutorial to understand how to make a fishing pole using a stick.
5. Make a Sturdy Clothesline
If you have wet clothes, you're probably at risk of hypothermia and frostbite. It's vital to keep your clothes dry as much as possible, especially during long hikes. Use the dental floss as your clothesline by tying some floss to tree branches, poles, or posts nearby, then hang your clothes to dry.
6. Use It as a Rope
How strong is dental floss? Braiding multiple strands of dental floss will create a strong rope or cordage which you can use for tying, pulling, lifting, and dragging. It is a sturdy alternative for a paracord, especially when you're in a survival situation. Below are the simple instructions to make a rope which is also a good dental floss strength test:
- Cut several pieces of floss to the desired length. Make sure it is long enough because it will get shorter as you twist the floss.
- Lay the threads together until they are all lined up and tie a knot on one end to keep them secured together.
- Divide the bunch into two even sections.
- Hold the two sections, one in each hand, and twist them in the same direction. It can be clockwise or counterclockwise as long as it is in the same direction. This motion will cause the two strands to wrap one another.
- If you still want to make the rope longer, splice an additional bunch of threads into the tail end before it runs out.
- Simply twist the new bunch right alongside the old bunch. You now have longer tails where you can continue spinning your rope.
- Once you have reached the desired length, tie a knot at the end of the rope to keep it from unraveling.
Learn how to make a rope by clicking the link.
7. A Great First Aid Tool
When you accidentally suffer an injury while outdoors, using dental floss can prevent further damage. Below are some of the first aid uses of a floss:
- Wrap a broken finger to the finger next to it, so that it serves as a splint that can provide a sturdy support.
- Secure a swath or a sling for arm or shoulder injuries.
- Use it for stitching cuts and hold gaping wounds together.
Click the link to watch the full tutorial video on how to suture, so you can sew yourself if you acquire a nasty cut!
Learn more dental floss hacks in this video from SensiblePepper:
These are just 7 ways to use dental floss in the wild, but there are endless possibilities. Being efficient in the wild is not a bad thing — you just have to use your imagination and get creative sometimes. By the way, dental floss can also be used as restraints or to replace a broken bowstring. If you're thinking of another valuable item to add to your survival kit, the obvious answer is dental floss!
Have you tried any of these dental floss hacks? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.