12 Surprising Ways to Use Zip Ties

Originally intended to corral cables and wires, zip ties are probably not the first product that comes to mind when you need to fix a broken zipper or pack for a trip. But these toothy plastic or nylon strips can do much more than contain cords. Read on to discover why you should add zip ties to your DIY arsenal to help you with storage, gardening, and other household tasks.

By Donna Boyle Schwartz | Updated Jul 31, 2023 06:38 PM

Quick Zip Fix

Zip Tie for Broken Zipper

Zip ties make convenient and effective solutions for a variety of apparel malfunctions. Strategically deployed zip ties can replace a missing zipper pull, temporarily hold a loose button in place, or serve as substitutes for broken straps on backpacks and book bags.

Related: 10 Toolbox Hacks for Your Next DIY Project

instructables.com via DamianTheGreat

Safety First

Zip Tie as Child Lock

Keep curious little children away from dangerous materials, such as cleaning supplies, medicines, or knives, by putting the hazardous items in a cabinet and securing the cabinet doors together with zip ties. The reusable ties are great for this purpose, because they allow you to access the necessary items and then easily “lock” the cabinet doors when children are present.

Related: 10 Safety Essentials That Most Homes Are Missing


Workstation Wonder

Use Zip Ties to Organize

Thread heavy-duty zip ties through a sheet of pegboard to hold containers that you can use to store tools, office supplies, or other DIY essentials. This customized organizational solution lets you keep all your must-haves off the floor but close at hand.

Related: 9 Ways to Get on Board with Pegboard

instructables.com via iGreeny

Garden Support

Use Zip Ties in the Garden

Use zip ties in the garden to give your plants some steady support. Small trees, tomatoes, cucumbers, roses, bougainvillea, and other “floppy” flowers can be gently secured to garden stakes or trellises with zip ties to maximize their growth. 

Related: 10 "Zero Dollar" Garden Hacks


Bathroom Boon

Unclog a Drain with Zip Ties

Keep a handful of zip ties in the bathroom to address a variety of issues, most notably clogged drains. The next time you need to clear a drain, use a wire cutter to snip diagonal slots into the sides of a long, wide zip tie or several shorter ones linked together. Cut about halfway through the strip, angling toward the bottom, and then bend the slits out to create a series of barbs. Remove the drain stopper, and carefully feed the zip ties down into the drain as far as they will go. Pull up slowly—the hair and other gunk will get stuck on the barbs, and then all you have to do is throw it away!

Related: No Plunger Needed—7 Easier Ways to Clear a Clog

instructables.com via jovino

Camping Companion

Use Zip Ties When Camping

Zip ties can be extremely handy on a camping trip. For example, you can “lock” your tent by threading a zip tie through the zipper, a precaution that should be enough to stymie unwanted forest friends like raccoons or snakes. You can also use zip ties to hang food packs or other necessities in trees to keep them away from bears, and to attach extra items to your backpack for transport. Secure zip ties around the bottoms of your pants legs to hold them closed, protecting against ticks, mosquitoes, and snakebites. 

Related: 7 Camping Favorites Destined for Your Home


Floral Fastener

Zip Ties to Secure Flowers

Zip ties can help you create professional-looking floral arrangements with ease. To make a bouquet for a vase, simply stand up all the flowers and loosely loop a couple of ties around the stems. Once you have the blossoms arranged in a pleasing manner, tighten the zip ties to keep them in place. (Be sure not to over-tighten. You don’t want the ties to cut into the stems.) Then just place the arrangement in a vase for the decorative finish.

Related: 12 Totally Unexpected Ways to DIY a Holiday Wreath


Packing Pal

Pack with Zip Ties

With most airlines charging extra for luggage these days, you probably want to pack as tightly as possible. Use zip ties to corral items compactly so they'll take up less space. Organize your wardrobe for the trip by snugly rolling together sets of clothes (shirt, pants, socks, and underwear) and securing with zip ties. 

Related: Organize Your Life with 12 Dollar-Store Buys


Car Control

Zip Ties to Secure Hub Caps

Never lose an expensive hubcap again! Securely attach each one to its wheel by placing clear zip ties at several key points around the hubcap. You can also use zip ties to hold down a trunk lid when transporting bulky or awkwardly shaped items, to affix cargo to a rooftop carrier, and to make a temporary repair on a loose battery strap.

Related: Make Room for the Car—7 Easy DIY Garage Organizers

flickr.com via TuRbO_J

Holiday Helper

Use Zip Ties to Hang Decorations

Zip ties can be invaluable when it's time to deck the halls for the holidays. Attach ties at regular intervals to hold decorations in place along a banister, roofline, or window frame, or even in trees or bushes. At the end of the season, arrange your lights in neat bundles and secure with zip ties so you don’t have a mess of unruly wires to untangle next year. And if you need a hook for your favorite tree ornament, use a zip tie as a makeshift hanger to display the bauble in just the right spot!

Related: 9 Tips and Tricks to Cut the Christmas Clutter


Everyday Organizer

Organize with Zip Ties

While their actual intended purpose is to put an end to cord chaos, zip ties are great organizational solutions for almost any room in the house, including the kitchen and workshop. Keep bags of bread or snacks fresh by twisting their wrappers and securing them with removable zip ties. Or, thread zip ties through wrench handles to ensure that you'll never have to scramble to find loose tools again.

Related: 8 Organizers You Need for Everyday Clutter


First-Rate Boat Mate

Use Zip Ties When Boating

Boaters use zip ties for myriad applications, including as depth markers for anchor chains. Measure the chain in 10-foot increments and affix the corresponding number of zip ties at those spots (two ties for 20 feet, three ties for 30 feet, etc.) You also can use zip ties to hold nonslip mats or rugs in place on the swim platform, and as a quick fix for broken zippers on canvas.

Related: 10 Space-Saving Ideas to Steal from Houseboats


Zip To It

Zip To It

These handy ties can solve a lot of problems around the house.


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