Besides the intended use, which is to clean your smoking pipes or other small bores there are other uses for pipe cleaners in a survival and in other situations. They are inexpensive, come in various colors and sizes and they take up little room and add no significant weight to your survival packs or pockets. You may want to consider carrying a dozen or so in your EDC pack, and keep some in the car and always have some around the home and shop.
1.) Use to secure tarps together by twisting together through the grommet on each tarp. Use to secure a tarp or other shelter material to small tree limbs. You can extend the length of the cleaners by twisting several together to make a longer cleaner for securing shelter material.
2.) Use as emergency shoelaces. You can use several pipe cleaners to close up the lace holes on your shoes or boots. The cleaners will not tighten as well as the traditional laces would, but if you needed to use your laces as emergency cordage, then a few pipe cleaners can fill in for the time being.
3.) Use a pipe cleaner as you would bag ties by twisting around the top of storage bags to seal the contents. Use as you would cable ties to secure and bundle small objects together.
4.) Use as candle wicks that will sit on top of the wax. This method allows you to add as many as you need. This works well if your candle wax is encased in a metal container that allows for a flat surface. Twist the bottom of the pipe cleaner so it makes a support base. Dip the entire cleaner in wax, let cool and dip again and repeat several more times to ensure it has a good coating of wax. Now all you have to do is set the wick on top of the wax and light. Use as many as you need, and when done snuff out the flame and let cool and use again. You can use the same wick a number of times.
5.) You can use the emergency wicks for oil lamps and lamps made from pine resin as well. We haven’t tried the ad hoc wicks with full tuna fish cans or sardine tins but it may a great experiment for some of you to try when you get the chance.
6.) Use to put your hair up in a ponytail to keep it away from the fire or moving objects.
7.) Twist several together (to make a thicker bore cleaner) and use as a bore cleaner for your pistols. You can wrap several around a bore rod if you don’t have a bore brush or swabs. Use to clean hard to reach areas on your firearm. Put some gun oil on the tip of a fresh pipe cleaner to lubricate hard to reach areas on firearms and other equipment.
8.) Broken knife handle, then wrap as many pipe cleaners as needed around the handle portion for gripping. Use the cleaners to enhance the grip on other tools and equipment as well.
9.) Dip a cleaner in melted wax to apply to tent seams, boot/shoe laces and along the seams of shoes and boots for water resistance.
10.) Use to secure blankets or tarps around your body. Simply wrap the material and then find the spot that you want to secure and punch a hole in the material on both sides and thread a cleaner through the holes to secure the material. You can make emergency body coverings, and head gear using blankets and other insulating materials.
11.) Use the cleaners to bore out the flame vents on propane and other fuel stoves to keep them operating efficiently.
12.) Thread a cleaner through a zipper so you can grab it easier.
13.) Use pipe cleaners to secure items to the outside of your pack or to repair your pack and other gear.
14.) Use the cleaners to clean your hydration packs, making sure you have an ample supply so any contaminated ones are not reused.
15.) Use as key rings, or to loop through rings and other jewelry to keep your valuables in one place in your packs.
You can purchase pipe cleaners that are designed for crafters, which can be up to 20 inches long, while the traditional pipe cleaner is usually 6 to 7 inches long. You can buy them in various colors as well to mark trails, or to identify bug-out- bags and other packs used by family or group members.