8 Fun and Handy Uses for Pipe Cleaners | Reader's Digest

8 Fun and Handy Uses for Pipe Cleaners

Here's a common craft item with tons of handy uses.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Decorate a ponytail
Need a fresh look for your hair? Tired of using plain old ribbons? Once you have your hair in a ponytail, twist a pipe cleaner around the hair band. Twist a couple together for an even brighter effect.

Safety pin holder
Safety pins come in so many sizes, it’s hard to keep them together and organized. Thread safety pins onto a pipe cleaner, through the bottom loop of each pin, for easy access.

Clean gas burners
Have you noticed that your stovetop burners are not firing on all their jets? Do you see an interrupted circle of blue when you turn a burner on? Poke a pipe cleaner through the little vents. This cleans the burner and allows it to work more efficiently. This works for pressure cooker safety valves, or pressure cookers’ too.

Make napkin rings
Colorful pipe cleaners are an easy and fast resource for making napkin rings. Just twist around the napkin and place on the table. If you want to get adventurous, use two, one for the napkin ring, attach the other pipe cleaner to it, shaped into a heart, shamrock, flower, curlicue, or something else.

Use as twist tie
You’re ready to close up that smelly bag of kitchen garbage when you discover you are out of twist ties. Grab a pipe cleaner instead.

Use as a travel toy
If you’re worried about having a bored, wiggly child on your hands during your next long car or plane ride, throw a bunch of pipe cleaners into your bag. Whip them out when the “Are we there yet?” questions start coming your way. Colorful pipe cleaners can be bent and shaped into fun figures, animals, flowers, or whatever. They even make cool temporary bracelets and necklaces.

Use as a mini-scrubber
Pipe cleaners are great for cleaning in tight spaces. Use one to remove dirt from the wheel of a can opener or to clean the bobbin area of a sewing machine.

Decorate a gift
To give a special touch to a birthday or holiday present, shape a pipe cleaner into a bow or a heart. Poke one end through a hole in the card, and that runs its length. Line the vase with a plastic bag before you fill it with water and add the bouquet, giving fresh life to a treasured heirloom.