Try This Zip Tie Hack In A Pinch If Your Toolbox Is Missing A Wrench

There are certain tools every homeowner should have, whether you are a newbie in the DIY world or a seasoned pro, and a wrench is absolutely one of them. The wrench is a toolbox staple used to tighten or loosen various types of nuts and bolts with hexagon-shaped faceted sides. The wrench has an adjustable head to accommodate various sizes of fasteners, so it is usually a one-stop-shop tool for this type of job.

But what happens if you have a nut or bolt to remove but can't locate your wrench? Perhaps you lent it to a neighbor or the wrench has mysteriously grown legs and walked away (anyone else's belongings do this all the time?). Don't panic, because there is a simple household item you can use in a pinch, regardless of where your wrench wandered off to: zip ties. Paul Pyro's YouTube tutorial demonstrates how easy it is to put a zip tie to work loosening and removing even the most stubborn nuts and bolts of any size.

The hows and whys of the zip tie wrench hack

If you need to remove a nut or bolt without a wrench, grab your nearest pack of zip ties. As the video shows, secure the zip tie around the bolt and tighten it as much as possible. Remembering your favorite childhood mantra, "righty tighty, lefty loosey," pull the tail of the zip tie counter-clockwise to turn and loosen the bolt, spinning the tail around to fully remove it.

Why does this simple yet surprising zip tie trick actually work? It all boils down to basic physics. A wrench has two parts: The head grips the nut while the handle acts like a lever to place force on the nut. This twisting force is called torque, which ultimately tightens or loosens the nut, depending on which direction you are applying force. The zip tie hack works in the same way — the part of the zip tie secured around the nut provides the grip, while the tail acts as the source of leverage for applying torque. The longer the wrench handle or zip tie tail, the more leverage you can put on a rusty or stubborn nut. Science is pretty cool, huh? 

With so many versatile, genius hacks like hanging up a picture frame or cleaning your shower drain using zip ties (and everything in between), these little plastic MacGyvers are a toolbox essential in their own right, so keep them stocked for the next time your friend borrows your wrench.