23 Extraordinary Uses for Pantyhose

From buffing your shoes to cleaning your pool, pantyhose are an item with tons of helpful uses.

Find lost small objects
Have you ever spent hours on your hands and knees searching through a carpet for a lost gemstone, contact lens, or some other tiny, precious item? If not, count yourself among the lucky few. Should you ever be faced with this situation, try this: Cut a leg off an old pair of pantyhose, make sure the toe section is intact, and pull it up over the nozzle of your vacuum cleaner hose. (If you want additional security, you can even cut off the other leg and slip that over as well.) Secure the stocking in place with a tightly wound rubber band. Turn on the vacuum, carefully move the nozzle over the carpet, and you’ll soon find your lost valuable attached to the pantyhose filter.

Vacuum your fish tank
If you have a wet-dry shop vacuum, you can change the water in your fish tank without disturbing the gravel and tank accessories. (You’ll still have to relocate the fish, of course.) Just pull the foot of an old nylon stocking over the end of the vacuum’s nozzle, secure it with a rubber band, and you are ready to suck out the water.

Buff your shoes
Bring out the shine in your freshly polished shoes by buffing them with a medium-length strip of pantyhose. It works so well, you may retire that chamois cloth for good.

Keep your hairbrush clean
If you dread the prospect of cleaning your hairbrush, here’s a way to make the job much easier. Cut a 2-inch (5-centimeter) strip from the leg section of a pair of pantyhose, and stretch it over and around the bristles of your new (or newly cleaned) hairbrush. If necessary, use a bobby pin or a comb to push the hose down over the bristles. The next time your brush needs cleaning, simply lift up and remove the pantyhose layer — along with all the dead hair, lint, etc. on top — and replace it with a fresh strip.

Keep spray bottles clog-free
If you recycle your spray bottles to use with homemade cleaners or furniture polishes, you can prevent any potential clogs by covering the open end of the tube — the part that goes inside the bottle — with a small, square-cut piece of pantyhose held in place with a small rubber band. This works especially well for filtering garden sprays that are mixed from concentrates.

Substitute for stuffing
Is your kid’s teddy bear or doll losing its stuffing? Get out a needle and thread and prepare the patient for an emergency “stuffing transplant.” Replace the lost filler with narrow strips of clean, worn-out pantyhose (ball them up, if possible). Stitch the hole up well, and a complete recovery is guaranteed. This works well with throw pillows and seat cushions too.

Organize your suitcase
As any seasoned traveler knows, you can squeeze more of your belongings into any piece of luggage by rolling up your clothes. To keep your bulkier rolls from unwrapping, cover them in flexible nylon tubes. Simply cut the legs off a pair of old pantyhose, snip off the foot sections, and stretch the stockings over your rolled-up garments. Happy travels!

Hold mothballs or potpourri
Looking for an easy way to store mothballs in your closet or to make sachets of potpourri to keep in your dresser drawers? Pour either ingredient into the toe section of your recycled nylons. Knot off the contents, then cut off the remaining hose. If you plan to hang up the mothballs, leave several inches of material before cutting.

Bundle blankets for storage
For an effortless and foolproof way to keep blankets and quilts securely bundled before they go into temporary storage, wrap them up in large “rubber bands” made from the waistbands from your used pantyhose. You can reuse the bands year after year if needed.

Tie up boxes, newspapers, magazines
If you run out of twine (or need something stronger — say, for a large stack of glossy magazines), tie up your bundles of boxes, newspapers, and other types of recyclable paper goods using an old pair of pantyhose. Cut off the legs and waistband, and you’ll be able to get everything curbside without any snags.
Make a pot or dish scrubber

Clean those stains off your nonstick cookware by making a do-it-yourself scrub pad. Crumple up a pair of clean old pantyhose, moisten it with a bit of warm water, add a couple of drops of liquid dishwashing detergent, and you’re good to go. You can also make terrific scrubbers for dishes — as well as walls and other nonporous surfaces — by cutting off the foot or toe section, fitting it over a sponge, and knotting off the end.

Secure trash bags

How many times have you opened your kitchen trash can only to discover that the liner has slipped down (and that someone in your house has covered it over with fresh garbage anyway)? You can prevent such “accidents” by firmly securing the garbage bag or liner to your trash can with the elastic waistband from a recycled pair of pantyhose; tie a knot in the band to keep it tight. You can also use this method to keep garbage bags from slipping off the edge of your outdoor garbage bins.

Dust under the fridge

Having trouble catching those dust bunnies residing underneath and alongside your refrigerator? Round them up by balling up a pair of old pantyhose and attaching it with a rubber band to a coat hanger or yardstick. The dust and dirt will cling to the nylon, which can easily be washed off before being called back for dusting duty.

Store flower bulbs in winter

Pantyhose legs make terrific sacks for storing your flower bulbs over winter, since they let air freely circulate around the bulbs to prevent mold and rot. Simply cut a leg off a pair of pantyhose and place your bulbs inside, knot off the end, and place ID tags on each sack using a strip of masking tape. Hang them up in a cool, dry space, and they’ll be ready for planting in the spring.

Prevent soil erosion in houseplants

When moving a houseplant to a larger or better accommodation, put a piece of pantyhose at the bottom of the new pot. It will act as a liner that lets the excess water flow out without draining the soil along with it.

Support melons

Keep small melons such as cantaloupe and muskmelons off the ground — and free of pests and disease — by making protective sleeves for them from your old pantyhose. Cut the legs off the pantyhose. As your young melons start to develop, slide each one into the foot section, and tie the leg to a stake to suspend the melon above the ground. The nylon holders will stretch as the melons mature, while keeping them from touching the damp soil, where they would be susceptible to rot or invasion by hungry insects and other garden pests.

Keep deer out of your garden

If you’ve been catching Bambi and her friends nibbling on your crops, put up a “No Trespassing” sign they will easily understand. Simply fill the foot sections of some old pantyhose with human hair clippings collected from hairbrushes or your local barbershop — or, even better, use Rover’s fur after a good brushing. Tie up the ends, and hang up the nylon satchels where the deer tend to snack. They won’t be back for seconds. The hair or fur will lose its scent after a while, so replace every four or five days as needed.

Clean up after gardening

Here are two recycling tips in one: Save up your leftover slivers of soap, and place them in the foot section of an old nylon stocking. Knot it off, and hang it next to your outdoor faucet. Use the soap-filled stocking to quickly wash off your hands after gardening and other outdoor work without worrying about getting dirt on door handles or bathroom fixtures inside your house.

Cover a kids’ bug jar

What child doesn’t like to catch fireflies — and hopefully release them — on a warm summer night? When making a bug jar for your youngster, don’t bother using a hammer and nail to punch holes in the jar’s metal lid (in fact, save the lids for other projects). It’s much easier to just cut a 5- or 6-inch (15-centimeter) square from an old pair of pantyhose and affix it to the jar with a rubber band. The nylon cover lets plenty of air enter the jar, and makes it easier to get the bugs in and out.

Apply stain to wood crevices

Getting wood stain or varnish into the tight corners and crevices of that unfinished bookcase or table that you just bought can be a maddening task. Your brush just won’t fit into them and give them an even coating. But there’s really nothing to it once you know the secret. Just cut a strip from an old pair of pantyhose, fold it over a few times, and use a rubber band to affix it to the tip of a wooden Popsicle stick. Dip your homemade applicator into the stain or varnish, and you’ll have no trouble getting it into those hard-to-reach spots.

Test a sanded surface for snags

Think you did a pretty good job sanding down that woodworking project? Put it to the pantyhose test. Wrap a long piece of pantyhose around the palm of your hand and rub it over the wood. If the pantyhose snags onto any spots, sand them until you’re able to freely move the nylon over the surface without any catches.

Clean your pool

Want a more effective way to skim the debris off the surface of your pool water? Cut a leg off a pair of pantyhose and fit it over your pool’s skimmer basket. It will catch a lot of tiny dirt particles and hairs that would otherwise make their way into — and possibly clog — your pool’s filter unit.

Make a paint strainer

Strain your paint like the pros: Use a pantyhose filter to remove the lumps of paint from an old can of paint. First, cut a leg off a pair of old pantyhose, clip the foot off the leg, and make a cut along the leg’s length so that you have a flat piece of nylon. Then cut the leg into 12- to 14-inch (30- to 32-centimeter) sections to make the filters. Stretch the nylon over a clean bucket or other receptacle and hold it in place with a rubber band or perhaps even the waistband from that pair of pantyhose. Now slowly pour the paint into the bucket.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest