74 Bandana Uses That Will Blow Your Mind

One of the things I like about prepping is that you get to use and play with survival items that have more than one use. There are in fact, many items with multiple uses, such as bleach, duct tape, tarps, Paracord, and even tin cans.

One of these items is the bandana and that’s the topic of today’s article, which is why I’m going to give you dozens of survival-specific uses. In time, I’ll probably add more but feel free to add more yourself if you notice it’s missing by leaving a comment at the end.

Let’s get on with these useful (and sometimes weird) bandana uses:

1. …absorb sweat off your forehead and eyes (while working, bugging out, or doing other exhausting survival activities).

2. As a breathing mask in dusty and dirty environments. During certain events such as sandstorms, house fires, wildfires, or riots, you’re gonna need something to filter the air you’re breathing. When rioters are fighting law enforcement, the latter won’t care if they spray tear gas in your direction. To them, you’re just another bad guy in the crowd who needs to be put in his place.

Of course, the moment you put that bandana on your face, you’ll start looking like a bad guy however, protecting yourself from poisonous gas is more important.

If it’s tear gas you’re trying to protect yourself from, try soaking the bandana in lemon juice or apple cider vinegar before wearing, it helps.

3. To protect your neck or the top of your head from the sun. Since the bandana is more compact and lightweight than a hat, it’s a much better choice for your EDC kit, your get home bag, or bug out bag. In fact, I suggest you stock up on them because your loved ones may need a few as well.

4. To camouflage your face. You may need more than one on hand, though. Plus, you can take strategy one step further and consider which colors will help you better blend in the environment.

5. To tie things together. There’s no shortage of knots out there, is there?

6. To wipe dirt and sweat from your face and neck. Better you use a bandana than your palm.

7. To blow your nose. It sounds funny, I know. But when you’re in a critical situation (such as bugging out), clearing your nose will make you more focused on the situation at hand. Of course, you should still stockpile on disposable tissues (which make better tinder for starting a fire, anyway).

8. As a rag.

9. To hold small objects. Make a bag by tying opposite corners together to carry all sorts of things such as change, tinder, gravel for a water filter, etc.

10. Use as a first stage water filter by pouring water through the bandana to filter out large debris. You still need to boil before drinking.

11. To mark a trail. Sometimes you may need to retrace your way steps. Leaving bandana strips along the trail or tying them to trees as you’re hiking or bugging out could prove to be a lifesaver.

12. To clean things you find in the dirt. Well, in a survival situation, even the smallest nail on the side of the road may save your life. A bandana will help you quickly clean found objects.

13. To remove hot pots from open fire. You need something that can hold heat long enough to effectively move hot plates, pots, and other hot materials with no hassle. You may have packed surgical or work gloves but those are useless against high temperatures.

14. As a sling (to secure that broken arm, for example). Pack safety pins, too.

15. As a weapon. Just fill with rocks, then tie into a bundle and hit your enemies hard.

16. As a towel. Bandanas are thin and easy to rinse. You never know when you might end up into the water and then have only have a few minutes to dry yourself up and get moving.

17. As temporary wound dressing.

18. Use it for a better grip on objects. Not only is a bandana perfect for pot holders, it also works extremely well as an extra grip for materials (i.e. wood, dirty tools, wet plastics, and glass, etc.).

19. As kindling to start a fire. Obviously, your bandana needs to be dry, otherwise you’re gonna have to try other ways to start a fire.

20. To blindfold yourself. An ideal necessity when catching a noontime nap. Additionally, it keeps annoying pieces of debris and those nasty insects out of sensitive areas around the eyes. By the way, you can also use the bandana against snow blindness.

21. As a tourniquet. You’re also gonna need a stick, but this is something a little more advanced and you should probably only do it if you have the proper medical training.

22. As a salad spinner to remove extra water from salad leaves. Make sure your bandana is clean and then put your salad inside and spin it round and round. Fair warning, you might get a little wet.

23. As handcuffs. In fact, bandanas can be tightened around the wrists within one minute flat.

24. As a bib. Easily unfold a bandana to protect your clothing. Simply tuck a portion of the bandana inside your shirt or top.

25. As a coffee filter. Who won’t enjoy a cup of coffee post-collapse? Along with alcohol and tobacco, it is going to be one of the most sought-after comfort items.

26. Small pillow (fill it with leaves). This will make it more comfortable for you to sleep into the woods.

27. To gag someone. A bandana (or any a rag, for that matter) is an effective tool to keep someone silent.

28. As an eye patch. If you haven’t stored eye patch bandages, a simple bandana can help you secure a regular bandage over your eyeball.

29. To signal for help. Since bandanas are available in pretty much any color, the brighter the color, the bigger your chances of being discovered.

30. Toilet paper. Yes, some preppers think of using it post-collapse, when toilet paper will be impossible to manufacture. There are other alternatives, of course, and a bandana is one of them.

31. To write stuff on. You will need to use a permanent marker.

32. Napkin. A bandana is a simple tool to use when cleaning hands and lips, as well as for quick wiping of surfaces.

33. Hatband. Bandanas are great for fastening to a hat to catch sweat, before it ruins the fabric or to cover already stained fabric.

34. Tie together for a belt. Fancy and effective. Take several bandanas in stimulating colors and tied them together to enjoy certain factors and unique support for your trousers and shorts.

35. To check wind direction–simply, hold out a bandana and watch it blow to determine wind direction. This type of exercise is fantastic, when dealing with campfires and setting up camping, during both summer and winter months.

36. Key chain. Loop keys onto a bandana strip. Then, tie the end of the bandana together to form a loop. This technique is ideal for attaching to most anything so you don’t misplace valuable keys.

37. To wrap a sprained ankle or wrist.

38. Replacement gas cap. Contrary to belief, a bandana is useful as a temporary gas cap on a vehicle; although not recommended for gas cans. Simply super stuff the outermost outlet of the vehicle’s gas tank until you can purchase a replacement. This assists in preventing detrimental levels of flammable vapor to get out into the atmosphere.

39. Disguise your voice on the phone. This particular technique works more effectively than a noisy napkin or piece of paper to disguise your voice for fun. Simply place the bandana over the phone’s receiver.

40. Dog collar. As a simple and unique method of fashion, wrapping a bandana around your doggie’s neck is a sure sign of ownership. And it looks great too!

41. To wipe off fruit/vegetables. This is valuable to remember. Fruits and veggies have a natural coating that must be sanitized before consumption. Make sure to allocate a clean source of water to sanitize food especially before eating raw or cooking.

42. To open a stuck jar lid.

43. Clean glasses. Easily wipe your glasses. Although a bandana is not a soft tissue, in emergencies bandanas can do wonders on a dirty lens or two.

44. As an ice pack. As a quick fix, pack a couple of handful of ice for easy transferring from one container to another. A larger bandana can hold over three cups of ice at a time.

45. An attention getting flag. Tie a bandana to a tree branch, a pole, or any tall object to attract attention of rescuers when you’re lost.

46. To keep hair out of your face or tie up a ponytail.

47. To cover food. Plastic bags may be one of the things very hard to procure post-collapse so why not use a bandana to keep your leftovers?

48. Hang flashlight from tent ceiling. This will spread the light uniformly over the entire place.

49. As a dog muzzle. Yep, it works if you don’t have a real one. Just keep an eye out for on your dog to make sure it doesn’t get irritated or even out of breath.

50. As a bookmark. I hope you stocked up on printed survival books. 🙂

51. As a lampshade.

52. To keep your (sun)glasses safe. Easily cover your glasses or contact lens without fear of scratching the lens.

53. To wear as a disguise. This is tricky since it will make you look like a bandit and attract a lot of attention. Nevertheless, you should practice wearing it this way, one day you might have to.

54. Like a sponge.

55. As a toothbrush. Press the finger into it and begin scrubbing and rubbing the teeth and gums. You can also add a teeth cleaning solution, such as toothpaste or baking soda.

56. Footwear insole. Fold and position two bandanas inside each shoe to avoid blisters as you’re hiking or bugging out.

57. Shoelaces. You’re gonna have to cut it into long strips first, of course. However, if you’ve run out of shoelaces in a survival situation, I suggest you use Paracord instead.

58. As a tea bag. Place your favorite tea leaves inside a bandana, give it a twist, then drop it inside a cup of hot water. Mint, Peppermint, Spearmint, and Chamomile are great choices.

59. As bikini (women only!).

60. As a knife sheath. Place a piece of cardboard or a bunch of leaves into a bandana and watch as it simply molds around the dangerous blade for easy carrying and storage.

61. As ear muffs. For when it is cold and windy, wrap a bandana around your sensitive ears. Surprisingly, this method works nicely to protect the outer and inner ear from damaging winds and extreme temperatures.

62. To wear it on your heat wet to keep cool. Dampen the bandana and place it on your head to lower your body’s temperature.

63. As an insect repellant. It only works manually. 🙂

64. To make smoke signals. First, wet the bandana, then, use it to effectively move pockets of air from the ‘smoke stack’. Cover the source of smoke and then remove the bandana from the direct path of smoke stack. This can be a lot of fun, too.

65. As an “occupied” signal outside a toilet. Simply, tie a quick-knot on the outside door knob and hope people will get the message.

66. To polish shoes.

67. As a chew toy or for playing “tug-of-war” with your dog.

68. As a dog leash. You’re gonna need to tie several of them together, of course.

69. To check wind direction. This is a neat little trick to teach your kids while camping.

70. Wrap leftover pancakes, biscuits, etc. Moisten a bandana and simply wrap leftover breads to prevent them from going stale.

71. To remove oil and grease from bacon, burgers, or fried food after cooking in oil or grease. This may not necessarily be useful in a survival situation because you’ll need to consume every ounce of food. Saturated fats may not be considered healthy today (compared with other types of fat) but they’re jam-packed with calories and you’re gonna need a lot of them post-collapse.

72. As a knee pad. Fold a larger bandana to fit around each knee area. Ensure to comfortably tighten them, by utilizing an effective knot. You will be surprised by the comfort along with the exotic look of bandana knee pads.

73. As an apron. Since bandannas don’t have a very large surface, you can just tie them around with Paracord or simply tuck them inside your pants.

74. To mark your territory. Simply cut it into pieces, urinate on each of them and place them around your campsite in all directions. Although not guaranteed, this will keep some wild animals away.

Ok, those were it. Go ahead and give some of these a try now. It will be fun and will help you remember them later when you really need to use them for something. Head on over to Amazon’s website and get an assortment of 100% cotton bandanas (cotton is great as a fabric because it allows your skin to breathe).

One more thing, can you remember a time when you used you bandana in an unconventional way? Let me know in a comment below.

About Contributing Author



  1. Avatar

    You provide a lot of good information, but there are a huge number of spelling and other errors in your articles. Do you not have anyone proofreading what you write? It would be very helpful and make your writing look more professional.

    • Avatar

      Actually, we do have someone who started proofreading them. Right now, with the holidays, we’re all on a little break but we’ll continue fixing those mistakes after New Year’s.

  2. Avatar

    Be sure to get the oversized bandana. It’s 27″ x27″ vs the standard 21×21 ones. The larger ones are much more versatile.

  3. Avatar

    The larger 42″ x 42″ shemaugh – hobo hanky size is even more useful. It still compacts down to virtually the same sizes as the above. I was dubious at first, but I finally tried it and became a convert. Not that the smaller are useless, the larger just gives you more.

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