Introduction: Things to Do With PANTYHOSE - TIGHTS - SOCKS Besides Wear Them

Picture of Things to Do With PANTYHOSE - TIGHTS - SOCKS Besides Wear Them

I consider pantyhose to be right up there with duct tape as a tool kit

essential. A friend with two daughters saves them for me.

Have a spool of nylon fish line that keeps getting loose? Got a box that you're tired of re-taping? Lost the straw thing on your WD-40... again? Pantyhose do it all and more! And they come in colors!! Even better, discarded pairs are FREE!

Step 1: What You Need

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A. Pantyhose, stockings, knee highs, tights, socks... holes or not, all have a potential future.
Some version is usually available free from parents of little girls or big girls.  In a pinch one could (shudder) purchase  new pantyhose at any grocery or drug store.

B. Sharp scissors suitable for cutting cloth.  If you don't have a pair of sewing scissors designated for "cloth only!''  this is a good reason to get a pair  - and label them.

Step 2: Using Pantyhose Whole

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There are a few uses for pantyhose in their original whole state. 

You can actually bundle a bunch of packing boxes with one pair.

You can use them to keep foam pads on a camp cot. One leg over, one leg under, ignore the body. Because they are soft and stretchy, there's no hard ridge of cord to keep you awake.

They are big enough and strong enough to tie up queen sized memory foam or just about any other bedding.

Step 3: Cutting Pantyhose Into Basic Parts - 1 Body + 2 Legs

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TIE FIRST!   Tie off the legs before cutting them from the body.  This allows the knots to be very close to the 'body'.

THEN snip off the legs.   I usually keep a 'body' full of 'bodies'  on hand along with a 'leg' full of legs. 

Step 4: Things to Do With Whole Legs

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Legs are just the right size to go around Styrofoam coolers.  Stretch the leg around the cooler and tie a knot.  One leg at each end works well.  You can usually remove and replace the legs without untying them.

This size is also handy for keeping sleeping bags, foam camping pads, or tarps rolled.

Step 5: Pre-filter Your Shop Vac

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'Bodies' make good pre-filters for shop vacs.  They keep the big stuff from blocking the filter pores.  This is especially handy when using a wet vac for dusty situations.

I put a quart of water in the bottom of the tank before I begin. The body is on the filter.  When I'm done cleaning, I peel the body off the filter.  ( It's turning inside out in the process. ) The big stuff is inside the body  'sack' now.  I hang/stretch the 'sac' across the top of an old plastic pitcher so the big stuff is cupped in the body.  Then  I can pour the cruddy water from the tank through the body... catching the medium and small stuff.  The  muddy water  in the bottom of the pitcher is then free enough of debris to go down the drain. The drained  'body'  (full of crud) goes into the garbage.

Step 6: Easy Disposable Strainers

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'stockings' or 'hose' have been used as strainers for generations.

You can, of course, strain paint. with a single layer piece of a body or leg.

You can drain alfalfa or other small seeds after soaking them. ( Later in their development,  changing to something with a courser mesh will let the hulls drain out. )

Step 7: Let Air Circulate in Boots or Gloves But Keep Critters Out

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OK, I'm phobic about the idea of venomous things hanging out  in boots and gloves  that have been stored in basements or garages.  

Use 'thighs' for this. Start with a whole pantyhose and tie the standard knots between the legs and the body. Then tie a second set of knots about an inch below  the first set.    Cut between the double knots on each leg.    You now have the body tied off and  two legs with knots at the top and toes at the bottom.   Cut each leg about 9 inches below the knot.  Put the resulting little 'hat' on each boot.    Air can circulate, and the boots can dry,  but critters will have to make an  effort  to set up house in the toes.

For gloves,  put the whole glove inside a closed leg section and tie off the end.

Step 8: Stuff Can Be Stored in Sections of Legs

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Lengths of legs with a knot at one end make great storage for weirdly shaped things that might normally go into a plastic bag.  But plastic bags are bulky, and noisy,  and don't breathe well.  Keeping stuff in lengths of legs (depending on your style of pantyhose) lets you  see  what's inside, and they expand or contract to fit the shape of whatever they hold.

Easily snagged things like silk scarves are more safely stored this way.   

Step 9: Make 'super Bands' (or Instant Hair Scrunchies)

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Cut strips across the legs of  pantyhose, stockings, tights, or even some socks.  The wider the strip, the  thicker the loop will be and the less far it will stretch. 
Stretch the resulting loops.  They will curl up into 'super bands'.  

I think they're super because indoors they won't rot like rubber, they come in almost infinite sizes,  they each have a definite maximum size.... and the band is still STRONG at that maximum size...well,  I could go on, but you get the idea. I love 'em. 

They may remind some of you of the potholder loopers of the '50's.  (And just think of all the things you did with those!)

Step 10: Close Boxes

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Almost any box can be closed with pantyhose.  Because they are still strong at maximum stretch, they are good for boxes of sockets, or colored pencils, or other boxes that require strength. 

If you have something like a fan box and need a super huge band, cut a band from a 'body'.

Step 11: Keep Straws With Spray Cans

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This works best with bands made from sock ribbing or kiddie tights.
Folding a  piece of tape around the straw will keep it from slipping through.

Step 12: Stretchy Ties for Almost Anything

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Stretched bands that have been cut work well as ties in many applications.

In the garden, they're gentle on the plants and easy to handle. They don't hold moisture or provide homes for pests the way strips of rag or some twines do. They tend to rot in a season of sunshine, and can usually be broken or torn from supports when cleaning up the garden.

Step 13: Bands As Bike Clips

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A pantyhose or sock bands  (knotted to fit you if it's too large)  work well as soft bike clips. They fit quietly in pockets or can  be comfortably worn  under pant-legs when not riding.   It isn't necessary to take your shoes off to put the bands on,  I just wasn't wearing shoes when I took the picture.

Step 14: Unstretched Slices of Leg Can Keep Things Wound Up

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If you cut wide strips and don't stretch them to the point of curling, you have a nifty way to keep string, fishing line, parachute cord, yarn  etc. from coming unwound.  While balls of yarn can't be used while wrapped, anything on a spool can be pulled off without removing the strip.

Step 15: Hang Things From Doorknobs # I

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There are two easy ways to do this. The first is a  band with a knot in the middle. One side of the now double loop goes around whatever you want to hang and the other goes over the doorknob.

Step 16: Hang Things From Doorknobs # 2

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This uses either the toe or a knotted  length of leg.

Step 17: Stretchy Super Strong 'yarn' - the Possibilities for This Stuff Are Endless!

Picture of Stretchy Super Strong 'yarn' - the Possibilities for This Stuff Are Endless!

Non-run or non-laddered legs are best for this. Snags are OK.

Figure out how thick you want the 'yarn' to by by trying different widths of bands.  You will want to cut the strip wider than the band because you will be cutting on a diagonal.  Stretch what you've cut.  This is incredible stuff!

This 'yarn' can be knit or  crocheted into amazingly strong stuff.   It can be used as mild elastic to keep a sweater neckline from being baggy.  It can be braided into a stretchy cord. (key bracelet?) 

Step 18: Defeat Chaos in Your Duffel!

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Because they have virtually no bulk or weight, leg sections and 'bodies' can organize travel bags.
I finally tried this when packing to live out of a duffel at a five day workshop/camp.  I'll never pack without legs and bodies again!  Pants, shirts, etc fit at least partially into bodies. Socks, underwear, or other small items fit into legs.  No new wrinkles get added (once stuffed, things tend not to move), and everything is easy to find - even at day four.  Add a laundry bag for dirty clothes, and you're set to go.

Step 19: Ladder Socks

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Removable, washable  booties for you ladders... that don't fall off.     Useful when the ladder needs to be in the bathtub, or anywhere else you want to keep clean and unscratched.  (Because they can slide on smooth surfaces, be careful to keep your  weight OVER the ladder... Don't over reach.)

Step 20: Instant Knee Pads in a Pinch

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'instant' kneepads:  part of a leg with an opened  piece of pipe insulation (or cut garden kneeling pad) tucked inside.

Step 21: Tame the Thermometer Probe Lead

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Pop a toe over coiled probe lead to simplify storage in a drawer (with other stuff that could tangle with it).

Step 22: Ribbing for Cuffs

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Sock tops make great ribbing for cuffs when sleeve lengths need to be altered...or when old ribbing wears out. I saw this years ago in a book called Kid Kutz.

Step 23: Breathable, Washable Wrist Gaiters for the Garden.

Picture of Breathable, Washable Wrist Gaiters for the Garden.

Keep dislodged bugs from falling into your sleeves when picking overhead fruit, and keep surprised predators outside your clothes when reaching into weeds. Put  sock tops over your gloves and pull the 'heel' edges over your sleeves. The top edge of the sock works best at the wrist. Try  to pull the 'heel' edge up over the sleeve vent .  If sliding over gloves is difficult,  you can put your hand in the sock top and then peel the 'heel'  end over it (turning the sock inside out in the process). 

Step 24: Greenhouse Rescue

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Prop up floppy plants in 'rose pots' by putting chopsticks in the corners and sliding 'super bands'  (cut from pantyhose) up from the bottom.  Being less springy than rubber bands, they don't rip the skewers out of the pots.

Step 25: Keep Rolls of Paper or Fabric Tidy

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Slip a closed section of leg onto either end of the roll.  This also keeps critters from making homes inside the roll.

Step 26: Keep Change Sorted Until You Have Coin Rolls

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Socks and pantyhose are strong enough to keep change  sorted when you've run out of coin sleeves... so you don't have to sort it all again when you get the paper sleeves. 


mary.parry (author)2016-12-02

Great ideas. I hate throwing out old pantyhose or socks which are almost wearable. I knew there was something better for them than the landfill!

mole1 (author)mary.parry2016-12-02

Thank you, mary.parry. The landfill issue is becoming larger for all of us. I hadn't thought about the positive spin possibilities of recycling as a means of delaying or avoiding landfill... We're not just saving money and resources for ourselves, we're helping the environment that we all share. Same action - different slant. Thanks for mentioning it.

fluffy owl (author)2016-08-02

So many more uses for those old tights and socks; thank you!

I have made decorative butterflies out of coloured tights' legs over a wire frame, stored onions and garlic in old tights and used towelling socks as mitts to dust the shelves and ledges with, as well made sock toys from various socks. One could also slip a loop of old tights leg over a book to keep it closed while travelling or as a bookmark inside it.

mole1 (author)fluffy owl2016-08-02

Thanks again, fluffy owl! And thanks for sharing your ideas. I totally forgot the toy aspect, and you're the first to mention it. What are your favorite sock toys to make?

jjo3 (author)2014-09-14

Knee hi stockings and pantyhose are also great for protecting young tomatoes/cucumbers/ on the vine. Keeps (most) critters out and the air/sun in for ripening. Squirrels/raccoons LOVE my veggies but they won't work too hard to get to them....

mole1 (author)jjo32014-09-15

Thanks for sharing that! (There are six raccoons in the tree behind us.) Never thought of repelling them your way. I haven't tried covering veggies, but had spiderless grape bunches the year I covered them when they were green, tiny and hard. Some people use them to cover apples to discourage apple maggots and codling moths. I tried it with quince, but all the covered ones died. Maybe I broke the stems when putting the pantyhose on. Hope you're having a great harvest!

iceng (author)2014-01-14

Great ible !

You must have used a collection of several years of old hose for this .

mole1 (author)iceng2014-01-14

True! Thanks!

lowky (author)2013-09-17

two we always used pantyhose/stockings for were onion storage and lint traps. We had a garden and grew onions as one of the crops. We would put the onions in with knots in between, so we could essentially cut the bottom one off each time we needed an onion. Kept them so they could breath and not get moldy, while keeping the skins from falling everywhere. for the lint trap take the foot portion and attach to the drain hose on the washing machine. We usually used hose clamps to hold them on, so a simple screwdriver to loosen or attach.

mole1 (author)lowky2013-09-17

Thanks , lowky, for sharing your uses! I really like the onion legs... air circulation would be perfect with no contact between them. I'm going to try a hose clamp to replace the twist tie I've been using. Much better! Again, I pass on what my plumber said... have a drain strainer that the lint trap can't get past in case it ever gets loose.

nastypuppy (author)2013-04-14

now this is just inspired!

mole1 (author)nastypuppy2013-04-15

Thanks, nastypuppy! You might want to cut the boot covers longer, so the whole thing wouldn't go in if a mouse jumped on it. [Hadn't even thought about mice before. If there had been pantyhose back then, my mom could have used a 'body' on the toaster... ummm don't think too hard about that]

nastypuppy (author)2013-04-14

wow! great idea. u are NOT phobic for sure. i put my foot inside a big rainboot after it had been stored (inside my closet) & felt something lumpy. so i turned it upside down & there was a dead mouse inside. guess he jumped in & no way out. YUCK! i always save my old pantyhose anyway. after the mouse incident, i put my boots inside trash bags, etc. but this is a way better idea. u can still see the boot. thanks a bunch.

vanwazltoff (author)2012-11-05

a lot of the others are obvious but this i had not thought of, i will be using this

mole1 (author)vanwazltoff2012-11-05

Thanks for your comment, vanwazltoff, I'm glad you found it useful.

sunshiine (author)2011-06-24

What clever ideas! Thanks for sharing your hard work!

mole1 (author)sunshiine2011-06-24

Thanks! Glad you like them.

inkerbel (author)2011-06-02

I have nylons used for tying things up, but putting the body around a large box or using over skeins of yarn to keep from unravelling is genius. I also love the idea of using them in place of plastic bags so things can breath, and using them to keep straws with spray cans instead of rubber bands that eventually rot & fall off.
Thanks for sharing all of your ideas, they're great.
We use an old knee-hi to filter the rinse water from the washer. They are also great for:
-buffing old pillar or taper candles that have gotten dull or scratched.
-putting over the end of the vaccuum hose to suck up small items (change, jewelry, etc.) from a place you cannot reach without sucking them *into* the vaccum.
-stretching over a wire hanger that has been made into a loop to make a minnow net.

mole1 (author)inkerbel2011-06-02

Thanks, inkerbel! I'm glad there were some new uses for you. Like you, I filter the washer rinse water to keep the drain from getting full of lint. The guy who installed my washer said NOT to do it because if a knee high (or section of leg) ever gets loose, it can go right down the drain = major plumbing bills. So now I always keep a wire mesh strainer in that drain to catch any escapees.

The candle buffing idea is a new to me... mine are all dull, so I'll give it a try.

I don't have any fish to catch, but I wonder how your minnow net made with sheer nylons would work to round up small flying insects. Going to have to wait for fruit fly season.

deltasierra (author)2011-04-17

Oh wow, that yarn idea is great! I sometimes get the skeins with patterns on the inside of the labels, but when you take the label off, sometimes the skein is more likely to unravel. What a great idea for keeping it together! :)

mole1 (author)deltasierra2011-04-17

Thanks, deltasierra! I didn't even think to try it with new skeins.

harlyquin (author)2010-12-26

Another fantastic use: buffing shoes. I've seen a few people do a finishing buff on their leather boots for a really nice shine.

mole1 (author)harlyquin2010-12-26

Using them to buff or rub something is a totally new facet for me. I'm looking forward to trying it. Thanks!

Goodhart (author)mole12011-01-27

Hose are especially good for this. :-)

Thinkenstein (author)2011-01-11

Cool ideas. A very nice instructible.

mole1 (author)Thinkenstein2011-01-11

Thanks! That means a lot. I'm awed by what you do.

paintchick (author)2010-12-11

A good collection of uses! It's nice to see someone else sorts their myriad of pencil crayons into color groups. I might want to rethink my pencil storage after seeing your solution.

I use a toe piece as a pre-filter over the intake of the pump on my wet saw. When cutting tiles the residue is very fine and clogs the pump quickly. I routinely rinse out the stocking piece and I don't have to replace the pump as often.

mole1 (author)paintchick2010-12-12

Thanks, paintchick!

The pencils were a recent solution. It takes too long to find the right pencil in the whole bunch, and I KNOW I'm not meticulous enough to put each one back after each use into it's very own slot in a pencil roll. ( Brrrr! Just thinking about it makes me twitchy. ) This seems to be a workable compromise... portable, easy to put away, and if one wants to work with the pencils upright, the partially open trays can lean against something without the pencils falling out.

Would you post a picture of your pre-filter arrangement? I think many of us would be interested in seeing how you set it up. Your use of pantyhose makes even buying them new a bargain!

paintchick (author)mole12010-12-19

I use aquarium pumps with suction cup feet and the power cord and hose outlet coming out the top of the pump. It is simple to cut the toe of the stocking off 4-5 inches long into a bag shape. I then put the pump into the bag and use a plastic twist tie to secure it around the hose and power cord. I realize this prevents the suction feet from attaching to the base of the water tray but with so much gunk that accumulates from sawing tile the pump starts to slide around anyway. The pump fits neatly under the bracket for the sliding tile tray and stays in place that way. I hope this solution works for others.

mole1 (author)paintchick2010-12-19

Thanks! That's much simpler than what I was trying to picture, and would give more filtering surface area than just covering an intake. Smart!

SiderAnne (author)2010-12-09

My family puts a bar of soap in the toe and hangs it over the faucet of the utility sink (in the laundry room or garage). The soap will lather up through the nylon and when it starts to get small, you can just add another bar on top. You never lose it down the big drain hole. We've even used this while camping when running water comes from a gallon jug, not a faucet.

mole1 (author)SiderAnne2010-12-09

Wow! That's even easier than making lace envelopes for the ends of soap! So do you tie the soap in, or is it always connected to the wall?

SiderAnne (author)mole12010-12-10

To use your parlance: we take one leg, put a bar of soap inside it all the way down to the toe, tie the top of the leg to the faucet.
This could be done with the knee high variety of nylons too.

nanosec12 (author)2010-12-09

Love this instructible!!!

Another use that I have found for used hose is for my fish tank. I have an external filter, and use the feet of old hose (or sections of the legs) to fill with activated charcoal in the filter. I save a decent amount of money by not purchasing the 'pre-made' filter cartridges and making my own.

with the charcoal/hose combo you will need to make sure and rinse the home made filters under running water for a bit before using in your tank to avoid the black cloud of charcoal dust getting into the tank.


mole1 (author)nanosec122010-12-09

Great idea! I'd love to see it - could you add a picture?

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