No. 1 Use - To Help Teach The Meaning of "Irony"
The tape was renamed as such because it was often used to seal (you guessed it!) ducts. However, upon extensive research, it was found that duct tape, though frequently used to seal ductwork, should never be used to seal ... ductwork. Duct tape is actually an extremely unsafe substance to rely on for such a project...

The Many Uses Of Duct Tape:

Photo by Foggy Pond
Duct tape has so many uses that it should be mandatory in all homes, lol.

Duct tape is commonly used in situations that requires a strong, flexible, very sticky tape. Some have a long-lasting adhesive and resistance to weathering.

A more specialized product, commonly known as gaffer tape, is preferred by gaffers, as it does not leave a sticky residue when removed. It comes in matte black, and is more easily torn into thin strips for precise application.

Duct tape, in its guise as "racer's tape", has been used in motorsports for more than 40 years to repair fiberglass bodywork. Racer's tape comes in a wide range of colors to help match it to common paint colors. In the UK, it is usually referred to as "tank tape" in motorsports use.

Duct tape is not intended to be used for sealing ductwork. Building codes usually require a special fire resistant product, often with a foil backing and long lasting adhesive.

Improvised wheel fender
extension via duct tape, Apollo 17
Usage in spaceflight
NASA engineers and astronauts have used duct tape in the course of their work, including in some emergency situations. One such usage occurred in 1970, when the square carbon dioxide filters from Apollo 13's failed command module had to be modified to fit round receptacles in the lunar module, which was being used as a lifeboat after an explosion en route to the moon. A workaround used duct tape and other items on board Apollo 13, with the ground crew relaying instructions to the flight crew. The lunar module's CO2 scrubbers started working again, saving the lives of the three astronauts on board.

Ed Smylie, who designed the scrubber modification in just two days, said later that he knew the problem was solvable when it was confirmed that duct tape was on the spacecraft: "I felt like we were home free", he said in 2005. "One thing a Southern boy will never say is, 'I don't think duct tape will fix it.'"

Duct tape was also used aboard Apollo 17 to improvise a repair to a damaged fender on the lunar rover, preventing possible damage from the roostertails of lunar dust as they drove.

Usage on ductworkTo provide lab data about which sealants and tapes last, and which are likely to fail, research was conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Environmental Energy Technologies Division. Their major conclusion was that one should not use duct tape to seal ducts (specialty tapes are available for this purpose). (They defined duct tape as any fabric-based tape with rubber adhesive.) The testing done shows that under challenging but realistic conditions, duct tapes become brittle and may fail. Commonly duct tape carries no safety certifications such as UL or Proposition 65, which means the tape may burn violently, producing toxic smoke; it may cause ingestion and contact toxicity; it can have irregular mechanical strength; and its adhesive may have low life expectancy. Its use in ducts has been prohibited by the state of California and by building codes in most other places in the U.S. However, metalized and aluminum tapes used by professionals are still often called "duck/duct tapes".

Usage in Military
In military circles, there is a variant known as "shooters tape", typically olive-green, known for its resistance to oils and greases. In the US Submarine fleet, it is called "EB Green," as the duct tape used by Electric Boat was green. It is also called "duck tape", "riggers' tape", "hurricane tape", or "100-mph tape"—a name that comes from the use of a specific variety of duct tape that was supposed to hold up to 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) winds. The tape is named so because it was used during the Vietnam War to repair helicopter rotor blades, thus earning the name 100-MPH tape.

During the week prior to the traditional
USC-UCL, A rivalry American football game,
the Tommy Trojan statue is covered
in duct tape to prevent the spray-painting of
rival UCLA's colors on the statue
Duct tape's widespread popularity and multitude of uses has earned it a strong place in popular culture, and has inspired a vast number of creative and imaginative applications.

Temporarily hem your pants
You’ve found a terrific pair of jeans, but the length isn’t right. You expect a little shrinkage anyway, so why spend time hemming? Besides, thick denim jeans are difficult to sew through. Fake the hem with duct tape. The new hem will last through a few washes too.

Remove lint on clothing

You’re all set to go out for the night and suddenly you notice pet hairs on your outfit. Wrap your hand with a length of duct tape, sticky side out. Then roll the sticky tape against your clothing in a rocking motion until every last hair has been picked up.

Make a bandage in a pinch

You’ve gotten a bad scrape. Here’s how to protect it until you get a proper bandage. Fold tissue paper or paper towel to cover the wound and cover this with duct tape. It may not be attractive, but it works in a jam.

Reseal bags of chips

Tired of stale potato chips? To keep a half-finished bag fresh, fold up the top and seal it tight with a piece of duct tape.

Keep a secret car key

You’ll never get locked out of your car again if you affix an extra key to the undercarriage with duct tape.

Catch pesky flies

You’ve just checked into a rustic cabin on the lake and you’re ready to start your vacation. Everything would be perfect if only the flying insects were not part of the deal. Grab your roll of duct tape and roll off a few foot-long strips. Hang them from the rafters as flypaper. Soon you’ll be rid of the bugs and you can roll up the tape to toss it in the trash.

Repair a vacuum hose

Has your vacuum hose cracked and developed a leak? It doesn’t spell the end of your vacuum. Repair the broken hose with duct tape. Your vacuum will last until the motor gives out.

Reinforce book binding

Duct tape is perfect for repairing a broken book binding. Using a nice-colored tape, run the tape down the length of the spine and cut shorter pieces to run perpendicular to that if you need extra reinforcement.

Cover a book

Use duct tape in an interesting color to create a durable book cover for a school textbook or a paperback that you carry to the beach. Make a pattern for the cover on a sheet of newspaper; fit the pattern to your book, then cover the pattern, one row at a time, with duct tape, overlapping the rows. The resulting removable cover will be waterproof and sturdy.

Repair a photo frame

Sometimes the foldout leg that holds a frame upright pulls away from the back of the frame and your photo won’t stand up properly. Don’t despair! Just use duct tape to reattach the broken leg to the frame back.

Hang Christmas lights

Festive holiday lights are fun in season, but a real chore when it’s time for them to come down. Use duct tape to hang your lights and the removal job will be much easier. Tear duct tape into thin strips. At intervals, wrap strips around the wire and then tape the strand to the gutter or wherever you hang your lights.

Wrap holiday presents

Here’s a novel way to wrap a special gift. Don’t bother with the paper. Go straight for the tape. Press duct tape directly on the gift box. Make designs or cover in stripes and then add decorative touches by cutting shapes, letters, and motifs from tape to attach to the “wrapped” surface.

Make Halloween costumes

Want to be the Tin Man for Halloween? How about a robot? These are just two ideas that work naturally with the classic silver duct tape. Make a basic costume from brown paper grocery bags, with openings in the back so the child can easily put on and take off the costume. Cover this pattern with rows of duct tape. For the legs, cover over an old pair of pants, again giving your little robot or Tin Man an easy way to remove the outfit for bathroom breaks. Duct tape comes in an array of colors, so let your imagination lead your creativity.

Make a toy sword

Got a couple of would-be swashbucklers around the house? Make toy swords by sketching a kid-size sword on a piece of cardboard. Use two pieces if you haven’t got one thick enough. Be sure to make a handle the child’s hand can fit around comfortably once it’s been increased in thickness by several layers of duct tape. Wrap the entire blade shape in silver duct tape. Wrap the handle in black tape.

Make hand puppets

Duct tape is great for puppet making. Use a small paper lunch bag as the base for the body of your puppet. Cover the bag with overlapping rows of duct tape. Make armholes through which your fingers will poke out. Create a head from a tape-covered ball of wadded paper and affix buttons or beads for eyes and mouth.

Make bicycle streamers

Add snazzy streamers to your kids’ handlebars. Make them using duct tape in various colors. Cut the tape into strips about 1/2-inch (1.2-centimeter) wide by 10 inches (25 centimeters) long. Fold each strip in half, sticky sides together. Once you have about half a dozen for each side, stick them into the end of the handlebar and secure them with wraps of duct tape. Be sure your child will still have a good grip on the handlebar.

Repair a taillight
Someone just backed into your car and smashed the taillight! Here’s a quick repair that will last until you have time to get to the repair shop. Depending on where the cracks lie, use yellow or red duct tape to hold the remaining parts together. In some states this repair will even pass inspection.

Short-term auto hose fix
Until you can get to your mechanic, duct tape makes a strong and dependable temporary fix for broken water hoses on your automobile. But don’t wait too long. Duct tape can only withstand temperatures up to 200°F (93°C). Also, don’t use it to repair a leak in your car’s gas line — the gasoline dissolves the adhesive.

Make a temporary roof shingle
If you’ve lost a wooden roof shingle, make a temporary replacement by wrapping duct tape in strips across a piece of 1/4-inch (6-millimeter) plywood you’ve cut to size. Wedge the makeshift shingle in place to fill the space. It will close the gap and repel water until you can repair the roof.

Fix a hole in your siding
Stormy weather damaged your vinyl siding? A broken tree limb tossed by the storm, hailstones, or even an errant baseball can rip your siding. Patch tears in vinyl siding with duct tape. Choose tape in a color that matches your siding and apply it when the surface is dry. Smooth your repair by hand or with a rolling pin. The patch should last at least a season or two.

Replace lawn chair webbing
Summertime is here, and you go to the shed to fetch your lawn furniture, only to discover the webbing on your favorite backyard chair has worn through. Don’t throw it out. Colorful duct tape makes a great, sturdy replacement webbing. Cut strips twice as long as you need. Double the tape, putting sticky sides together, so that you have backing facing out on both sides. Then screw it in place with the screws on the chair.

Tape a broken window
Before removing broken window glass, crisscross the broken pane with duct tape to hold it all together. This will ensure a shard doesn’t fall out and cut you.

Repair outdoor cushions
Don’t let a little rip in the cushions for your outdoor furniture bother you. Repair the tear with a closely matched duct tape and it will hold up for several seasons.

Repair a trash can
Plastic trash cans often split or crack along the sides. But don’t toss out the can with the trash. Repair the tear with duct tape. It’s strong enough to withstand the abuses a trash can takes, and easy to manipulate on the curved or ridged surface of your can. Put tape over the crack both outside and inside the can.

Mend a screen
Have the bugs found the tear in your window or door screen? Thwart their entrance until you make a permanent fix by covering the hole with duct tape.

Tighten shin guards
Hockey players need a little extra protection. Use duct tape to attach shin guards firmly in place. Put on all your equipment, including socks. Now split the duct tape to the width appropriate for your size — children might need narrower strips than adults — and start wrapping around your shin guard to keep it tight to your leg.

Add life to a hockey stick
Street hockey sticks take a beating. If yours is showing its age, breathe a little more life into it by wrapping the bottom of the stick with duct tape. Replace the tape as often as needed.

Extend the life of skateboard shoes
Kids who perform fantastic feats on their skate-boards find their shoes wear out very quickly because a lot of the jumps involve sliding the toe or side of the foot along the board. They wear holes in new shoes fast. Protect their feet and prolong the life of their shoes by putting a layer or two of duct tape on the area that scrapes along the board.

Repair your ski gloves
Ski glove seams tearing open? Duct tape is the perfect solution to ripped ski gloves because it’s waterproof, incredibly adhesive, strong, and can easily be torn into strips of any width. Make your repair lengthwise or around the fingers and set out on the slopes again.

Repair a tent
You open your tent at the campsite and oops — a little tear. No problem as long as you’ve brought your duct tape along. Cover the hole with a patch; for double protection mirror the patch inside the tent. You’ll keep insects and weather where they belong.

Extra insulation
Make your winter boots a little bit warmer by taping the insoles with duct tape, silver side up. The shiny tape will reflect the warmth of your feet back into your boots.

Pool patch
Duct tape will repair a hole in your swimming pool liner well enough to stand up to water for at least a season. Be sure to cover the area thoroughly.

Protect your gas grill hose
For some reason, mice and squirrels love to chew on rubber, and one of their favorite snacks is often the rubber hose that connects the propane tank to your gas grill. Protect the hose by wrapping it in duct tape.

Repair your ski pants
Oh no, you ripped your ski pants and the wind is whipping into the nylon outer layer. No need to pay inflated lodge shop prices for a new pair if you have a roll of duct tape in the car. Just slip a piece of tape inside the rip, sticky side out, and carefully press both sides of the rip together. The repair will be barely detectable.

For removing warts
Duct tape occlusion therapy (DTOT): is a method for treating warts by keeping them covered with duct tape for an extended period. The putative mechanism is not well understood and is likely a result of stimulation of the host immune system.

Litt reported that adhesive tape left in place for 6½ days and then removed for 12 hours before the cycle was repeated was successful in treating periungual and subungual warts.

  1. Place a piece of duct tape on the lesion.
  2. Leave the tape in place for 6½ days (156 hrs), replacing any duct tape that falls off with a new piece as soon as possible.
  3. After 6½ days, remove tape. Gently debride the lesions with a pumice stone or emery board.
  4. Leave off for 12 hrs, then apply a new piece of duct tape to begin another 6½ day cycle for up to two months or until the wart is gone.
Duct tape occlusion therapy is not yet proven to be effective, with some studies showing some effectiveness, and others finding no significant efficacy. One study by Focht et al. found that the duct tape method was 85% effective, compared to a 60% success rate in the study's cryotherapy group.

Invention of the Duct Tape

Adhesive tape (specifically masking tape) was invented in the 1920's by Richard Drew of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, Co. (3M). Duct tape (the WWII military version) was first created and manufactured in 1942 (approximate date) by the Johnson and Johnson Permacel Division. Its closest predecessor was medical tape.
The original use was to keep moisture out of the ammunition cases. Because it was waterproof, people referred to the tape as "Duck Tape." Also, the tape was made using cotton duck - similar to what was used in their cloth medical tapes. Military personnel quickly discovered that the tape was very versatile and used it to fix their guns, jeeps, aircraft, etc. After the war, the tape was used in the booming housing industry to connect heating and air conditioning duct work together.  

Soon, the color was changed from Army green to silver to match the ductwork and people started to refer to duck tape as "Duct Tape." Things changed during the 1970s, when the partners at Manco, Inc. placed rolls of duct tape in shrink wrap, making it easier for retailers to stack the sticky rolls. Different grades and colors of duct tape weren´t far behind. Soon, duct tape became the most versatile tool in the household. 

How It's Made

Duct tape is a strong tape that is composed of three layers. The top layer (1) is a resilient plastic (Polyethelyne). The bottom layer (3) is a rubber-based adhesive. The middle layer (2) is a fabric mesh. Duct tape was manufactured by pressing these three layers together. Now, some manufacturers have created a process that makes the same strong, three layer tape in just one step. While there are stronger tapes (like filament tape), duct tape, when doubled over onto itself can pull a 2000 lb. car out of a ditch, and has the distinct benefit of not requiring any other tools to cut it - you just rip it with your bare hands.

Bonus Tidbits:
  • Leading manufacturer Henkel sold 873 million yards of its brand of duct tape in 2005. That's enough to stretch the length of the Great Wall of China 119 times.
  • The Johnson and Johnson product earned the nickname "duck tape" because it was waterproof. It was good for repairing all kinds of things, including connecting ducts, so people started calling it duct tape.
  • It was proven the most effective fix to Apple's iPhone 4 dropped call issue, even over Apple's own rubber case.
  • Duck brand Duct Tape have been organizing the “Stuck at Prom” competition for 10 straight years, challenging students to create original prom costumes using as much duct tape as possible. Competitors’ costumes are judged according to the following criteria: workmanship, originality, use of color, accessories and amount of duct tape used. (See Gallery below)




  1. Nice Blog!! Great Post !! Like your Blog and your ideas and i think its benificial for us and i keep to visit your blog regularly because i got lot of information through you blog

    Plastic Ducting

  2. Why thank-you Rakesh, for those kind words!

  3. I replaced the wheel on my carry-on bag with duct tape: http://johnfixesstuff.blogspot.com/2013/10/how-to-fix-luggage-wheel-with-duct-tape.html

  4. I agree! Duct tape method worked for me after trying many other methods. I was able to remove my skin tags by using this.