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17 Totally Unexpected Ways to Use Bubble Wrap

It's not just for popping and cushioning packages. Consider the glorious versatility of bubble wrap.

Full Frame Shot Of Plastic Bubble Wrap
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Unexpected uses

There are countless ways to use bubble wrap beyond packaging. From preventing pain in long car rides to supporting young trees, the uses for bubble wrap seem endless. If you’re looking for other innovative uses for household objects, here are 26 genius ways to use cotton balls that have nothing to do with nail polish.

frozen food bubble wrap
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Keep frozen foods cool

Grocery shopping, that is. Particularly in summer, keep some bubble wrap in the trunk of your car so you can wrap up frozen foods to keep them from thawing out on the trip home. Even ice cream stays firm with an insulating layer of bubbles around it. Here’s how to avoid germs while grocery shopping, according to Consumer Reports.

pants bubble wrap
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Prevent wrinkled pants

Keep unwanted creases from imprinting themselves on the slacks you hang in your closet by wrapping the hangers in bubble wrap. Roll a layer of bubble wrap around the hanger bar, making sure that the smooth side of the wrap faces the pants and the bubbles face the bar. Keep the wrap in place with duct tape.

kids bubble wrap
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Let kids go crazy

Young kids like nothing better than to move and shake and make lots of noise. Fulfill all their wishes: Hold a dance party on bubble wrap. Tape several sheets of bubble wrap together until you form a large square or rectangle, and make sure that the bubbles face up (so that the dancers will pop them as they boogie). You may want to duct tape the dance floor to your floor so that it doesn’t move with the dancers. Freeze dancing is particularly fun on bubble wrap. Don’t miss these other easy DIY crafts you can make with your kids at home for even more fun.

shoes bubble wrap
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Help shoes last longer

Place a small piece of rolled-up bubble wrap in each of your shoes to help them maintain their shape and roll up longer pieces to keep the calves of your boots standing upright. Here are 10 small steps for keeping your shoes stink-free.

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Prevent pain in long car rides

Your car seat may be comfortable for short trips, but what about long ones? Make it dreamy by covering the seat and the back in a double layer of bubble wrap (with the bubbles facing out). The bubble wrap will support your body and provide a comfy ride over the long haul. Don’t miss these household items you had no idea were reusable.

tent camping bubble wrap uses
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Take it camping

Take a six-foot piece of bubble wrap with you the next time you go camping. Place it under your sleeping bag before you retire for the night. The bubble wrap will provide a cushion for your body and act as a tarp to keep your sleeping bag dry. If you’re new to camping, make sure you know these 13 camping mistakes most first-timers make.

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Support young trees

Whether you mow your lawn or your lawn service mows for you, you’ll want to protect small, fragile trees and tree seedlings. How? Wrap bubble wrap around their thin trunks. Keep the bubble wrap in place with masking tape. You can easily remove the bubble wrap when the lawn is done.

dog house bubble wrap
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Keep your doghouse cozy

Bubble wrap is a safe, non-toxic option for insulating a doghouse to keep your pooch toasty in winter. And, unlike with fiberglass, if your pet gnaws at it, he’ll merely get a surprise if a bubble pops! Before letting your dog outside, make sure to clear your yard of these shockingly common pet dangers.

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Prepare for a picnic

Heading out for a picnic? Wrap items you want to stay cold—cans of soft drinks, egg salad sandwiches, popsicles, and so on—in bubble wrap. Your picnic will be much more appetizing when you arrive at your destination. Check out these other extraordinary uses for household staples you already own.

tools bubble wrap
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Keep tools in good condition

Protect your tools from each other and from the toolbox by lining the toolbox with bubble wrap. Hold the wrap in place with duct tape. The cushioning will help your tools last longer. See these reusable versions of things you use every day.

sleeping bag bubble wrap
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Rest easy

Pillows and camping don’t mix, unless you make a pillow out of bubble wrap. Simply fold the bubble wrap a few times and place it inside a pillowcase. The bubble wrap won’t get dirty and will provide a gentle cushion for your head. If you’re looking for a portable option, these are the 13 travel pillows that experts swear by.

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Keep your fridge clean

Measure and cut pieces of bubble wrap so they perfectly line produce drawers, serving as a liner to keep the space clean. This will also add extra insulation to keep the produce chilled and prevent them from bruising. When the wrap gets too dirty, just replace it without having to clean out your fridge.

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Prevent scratches on dishes

When dishes, pots, and pans are stacked, they scrape easily when they are constantly being dragged in and out of cabinets. This affects the functioning and lifespan of the products. Use squares of bubble wrap to place between dishes creating a barrier that will limit the number of scratches. If you’re looking for a new recipe, you can try one of these 35 recipes you should know before you turn 35.

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Remove window drafts

Instead of buying a plastic window covering for the winter months, attach bubble wrap to your windows with double-sided tape that will shed dollars off your heating bill. Don’t miss these home repairs just about anyone can do.

dusty furniture bubble wrap
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Shield furniture from dust

If you’re about to head out on an extended vacation or maybe just storing some extra pieces of furniture in the basement, prevent dust from accumulating by covering the furniture with bubble wrap. As you prep your home for vacation, here are 10 places you’re not vacuuming—but should be.

curly hair bubble wrap
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Curl your hair

Cut and roll small pieces of bubble wrap into tubes to wrap your hair around. Skip the heat products and speed up your morning routine with these DIY rollers. As you style your hair, know the 12 hairstyle mistakes that age your face.

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Create a countdown calendar

If you have little kids bugging you about the last day of school or wondering out loud how many days until you leave for vacation, create your own countdown calendar with bubble wrap. Cut out the exact number of bubbles and mount on cardboard, popping one bubble for each passing day. Next, check out these incredible uses for cardboard tubes.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Emma Taubenfeld
Emma Taubenfeld is a former assistant editor for Reader’s Digest who writes about digital lifestyle topics such as memes, social media captions, pickup lines and cute pets. When she’s not working, you can find Emma reading corny young adult novels, creating carefully curated playlists and figuring out how to spice up boxed mac and cheese.