Pool Noodle Hacks That Will Improve Your Life
Those colorful foam pool toys come in handy all around the house, garage and yard. And with a little ingenuity, they can be even more fun in the water.
JOSETTE TAYLOR/GETTY IMAGES
Even in a world of floating basketball hoops and donut-shaped rafts, the pool noodle is still the most ubiquitous pool toy of all. But this humble piece of foam is more than a symbol of summer fun — it’s a DIY workhorse.
What Are Pool Noodles Made Of?
Polyethylene. It’s a closed-cell foam made from millions of tiny bubbles pressed together. That’s why it’s such a great pool toy — water can’t penetrate the foam cells, and it’s light enough to float. The material bends but bounces back from compression and retains its shape.
You’ve probably seen polyethylene in packing materials. If you’ve ever done any plumbing work, you might have noticed foam pipe insulation and pool noodles are the same thing.
Polyethylene foam can be difficult to recycle. Fortunately there are lots of non-pool uses for pool noodles, so you can reuse them all over the garage and throughout the house.
They’re so handy it’s worth keeping a few pool noodles around the workshop. And if you can’t find a pool noodle, you can always grab some pipe insulation at the hardware store.
You’ll find some of our favorite pool noodle hacks in the list below.
Pool Noodle Water Hose
If you need to fill up a bucket that won’t fit under the faucet in your sink, bust out a pool noodle. Set the bucket on the floor, slip the noodle over the faucet and run it down to the bucket.
Pool Noodle Wrist Rest
Prevent wrist fatigue during a long day in the home office by making this pool noodle wrist rest.
First, mark where you want to cut the noodle. For the wrist rest shown, we made the height slightly less than half the full noodle diameter. You could cut the noodle exactly in half and make two equally-sized wrist rests.
Pool Noodle Door Bumper
A door banging into a wall is annoying. Worse, it can knock a hole in your drywall or dent your trim. But that’s easy to prevent with a little help from one of these foam miracles. Simply cut a slit lengthwise in a short section of pool noodle and slip it onto the edge of a door, cupboard or gate.
Stay-Put Drawer Organizer
Drawer organizers are handy, but they tend to move around every time you open or close a drawer. Easily solve that problem with a pool noodle.
Measure the distance from the back of the organizer to the back of the drawer. Then cut the noodle to size with a utility knife. The pool noodle should fit snuggly in place so the organizer stays put. You could also cut the pool noodle in half lengthwise to reduce the amount of space it takes up.
Super-Fast Floor Squeegee
Here’s a classic handy hint for rounding up water on your garage or basement floor. Assemble this simple squeegee by slipping a piece of foam pipe insulation over the tines of a rake. Then just push the water to the drain or out the door. — Art Rooze
Floating Beverage Barge
This cheap, easy DIY pool accessory keeps your drinks cool in the pool and close at hand.
Cut short lengths of pool noodles to fit a plastic bin. (A bin with a lip keeps the noodles in place.) Thread a bungee cord through the center of the noodles to keep them snug against the sides. For a handle, tie a length of rope or cord onto the bungee. Add a small circle of pool noodle as a float to make the handle easy to grab.
Luggage Rack Protector
I needed to pick up a ladder from a friend. To keep the luggage rack on my new SUV from getting scratched, I covered the bars with pool noodles. I just slit the pool noodles down the side with a utility knife and taped them on. The cushion of foam also kept the ladder from rattling. Don’t forget to strap down your cargo before you go! – Gerald Ruppert.
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Prevent Car Door Dings!
I noticed several dings in my car door from opening and banging it against the garage wall. My grandkids had outgrown their pool noodles and I was about to throw them away, but then I thought, “Whoa, this could be the solution!”
I cut the pool noodle in half, the long way, with a utility knife and fit it onto the studs in my garage. The pool noodle should stay put on its own. For a more permanent solution, adhere the pool noodle to the studs with construction cement or a couple of nails. Voilá, no more door dings. — John Greene.
Fishing Rod Organizer
I got sick and tired of my fishing rods getting tangled, so I came up with this easy fishing rod organizer. All you need is a length of 3-in.-dia. PVC pipe and a pool noodle.
Drill 1-in. holes spaced every four inches in the PVC pipe. With a utility knife, cut slits in the noodle four inches apart. Line up the noodle on the wall so that at least two of the slits sit over studs.
Pull those slits apart, slide in a fender washer and screw the noodle to the wall with 2-in. screws. Then screw the PVC pipe to the wall beneath it at a comfortable height and insert your fishing rods. Look Ma, no more tangles! — Brian Jones.
No-Pinch Trampoline Springs
Here’s a simple way to cover trampoline springs to guard against pinched fingers. Cut a pool noodle into short sections, slice lengthwise and slide them over the springs.
Lift Gate Protection
When you open the lift gate of your van or SUV, it’s easy to hit a cross brace of the garage door and chip the paint on the gate. Protect it by using a pool noodle as a cushion. Just slit the noodle with a utility knife and slip it over the brace. You can also use pre-slit foam pipe insulation. If it slips off, use double-face tape to hold it in place. – Mary Sprang.
Crafty Water Raft
Ahoy there, mateys! Just tie these pool noodles together for a fun pool float that won’t deflate! You’ll need five large noodles (4-1/2-in.-dia.), two medium-sized noodles (2-1/4-in.-dia.), six feet of 1/2-in. PVC pipe and 36 feet of nylon cord.
To begin, lash the five large noodles together with a double half-hitch knot. Next, lace the cord in between and around each of the noodles, securing them together into a raft. When you get to the noodle on the end, turn around and lace them again back to the beginning. End with another double half-hitch. Cut the cord close to the knot.
Now cut the smaller noodles to get three lengths equal to the width of the raft. Thread three PVC pipes through the holes in the three smaller noodles, then thread the cord through the PVC and use nylon cord to attach each short noodle to the large noodles. Tie one noodle at each end and one in the middle to make the raft more rigid and stable.
High-Visibility Boundary Marker
Each year I mark the boundaries of my yard so the snowplow driver doesn’t damage my lawn. For years I used rebar along the perimeter, but the driver couldn’t see it at night. Even with reflectors on the rebar, it would still get hit, bent or broken.
Now I’ve found a better solution. I slip a brightly colored swim noodle over the rebar. You can’t miss the markers now. – Bill Remia.
Simple Pool Noodle Storage Hack
What’s simpler than a five-gallon bucket? It sure beats pool noodles rolling all over the garage or pool house. Concrete form tubes work well, too!
I spend a lot of time on my ladder, and leaning against the rungs all day was taking a toll on my shins and thighs. Then I got smart and slit pieces of my kids’ pool noodles lengthwise and wrapped them around the front of the rungs. Instant relief!
The cushions are easy to move as you work. Just make sure you never stand on the pool noodles and always place them higher than you’ll step. They can create an uneven step or fall off if you step on them. — Dave Switzer.
Pool Noodle Boot Storage Hack
Shoe organizers can look messy when they’re full of tall boots. No more floppy ankles if you use pool noodles to keep boots upright. Also great for drying mukluks!
Floating Flower Tea Lights
Use a zip-tie to fasten pieces of pool noodle together and stick candles in the holes to make a floating pool lantern. Plastic food wrap keeps the batteries from getting wet. You’re set for dreamy backyard pool time!
I recently installed new gutters. When it came time to clean them out, I didn’t want my metal ladder to dent or scratch them, so I made ladder protectors out of an old swim noodle. (Foam pipe insulation would work, too.)
I cut 2-ft. sections of the noodle, slit them with a razor knife and stuck them on the sides of the ladder. They were the perfect cushions! If the noodle doesn’t stay put, tape it on. – David Gugliuzza.
Make a Wreath
Use a pool noddle for a DIY wreath form.
Fasten the noodle with duct tape, then wrap it with fabric, ribbon or string. Wrap wire around the stems of fabric flowers and poke it through the fabric to anchor it into the noodle. Hang the wreath with wire or a picture hook.
No-Roll Mini Work Light
Cut a small section of foam pipe insulation or a pool noodle and wrap it around a small LED flashlight. Wedge the foam into any crack, crevice or corner. – Costas Stavrou.
Here’s a closet storage hack you won’t want to miss. Keep your dress pants, shawls or scarves crease-free the cheap and easy way by covering a clothes hanger with a section from a pool noodle.
Cut the noodle to the length of the lower hanger rod. Then cut a slit the length of the noodle to make it easy to slip it onto the hanger.
More Comfortable Mowing
I don’t mind mowing my lawn, but the vibration from my lawn mower handle aggravated the arthritis in my hands. Then I taped a piece of a pool noodle over the handle. Mowing the grass is much more comfortable, and my hands don’t ache when I’m done. – Phillip E. Oinonen.
Nifty Paintbrush Holder
Keep your watercolor paintbrushes dry and handy! Cut a short section of pool noodle, slice it part of the way through and insert brushes.
How to Slice a Noodle
Use a sharp serrated kitchen knife to cut a pool noodle into sections.
How to Slit a Noodle
Use a utility knife to cut a slit in a noodle lengthwise. The shorter blade cuts only the top side.