27 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.

Arm On Swimming Pool Noodles In Rainbow ColoursJOSETTE 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.

1 / 27

Pool Noodle Planter Hack Via @PennyJo8 TikTok
Via @PennyJo8/TikTok

Keep Your Plants Cool

For plants in pots, you can use pool noodles standing vertically to fill the container to about 3/4 of the height of the container. That way you won’t need as much soil in your largest containers, and it’ll help with drainage, keeping the soil from getting over saturated.

2 / 27

woman using a pool noodle to fill a bucket on the floor from the kitchen sink
Family Handyman

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.

3 / 27
pool noodle keyboard rest for wrists
Family Handyman

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.


4 / 27
Dinky Door Bumper pool noodle
Family Handyman

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.

5 / 27
pool noodle inside drawer
Family Handyman

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.

6 / 27

woman using a rack with a pool noodle attached to clean water on garage floor
Family handyman

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

7 / 27
Pool Noodle Drink Holder
Family Handyman

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.

8 / 27
Luggage Rack Protector pool noodles
Family Handyman

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.

Want more great hacks and tips from Family Handyman delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our DIY Tips & Hints newsletter

9 / 27
pool noodle handy hint door ding
Family Handyman

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.

10 / 27

Trunk Bumpers with pool noodle when hauling things that stick out of your trunk
Family Handyman

Trunk Bumpers

Keep a couple of sections of pipe insulation or pool noodles in your trunk to protect the paint and your oversized cargo.
11 / 27
fishing poles placed in a blue a pool noodle with slits cut in it, hanging on a wooden garage wall

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.

12 / 27
No Pinch Trampoline Springs parent tip
Family Handyman

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.

13 / 27
a man with groceries in his hands opening a car hatch door in a garage. The garage door with an orange pool noodle to protect the car's trunk door
Family Handyman

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.

14 / 27
Pet Water Raft Fh18djf 583 08 500 Mledit
Family Handyman

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.

15 / 27
High-Visibility Boundary Marker pool noodle
Family Handyman

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.

16 / 27
a green 5 gallon bucket filled with colorful pool noodles
Family Handyman

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!

17 / 27
a man standing on a ladder with pink pool noodles on each rung of the ladder
Family Handyman

Ladder Padding

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.

18 / 27
Keep Your Boots at Attention pool noodles
Family Handyman

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!

19 / 27
Floating Flower Tea Lights pool noodles
Family Handyman

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!

20 / 27
the top of a ladder near the gutters of a house with pool noodles at the top of the ladder to protect the part of the house it is leaning against
Family Handyman

Ladder Guards

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.

21 / 27
Make a Wreath pool noodle
Family Handyman

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.

22 / 27
No Roll Pool Noodle Flashlight Trick
Family Handyman

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.

23 / 27
No More Creases! hanger closet pool noodle pants
Family Handyman

Hanging Clothes

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.

24 / 27
a man holding a lawn mower handle that has a blue pool noodle on it for comfort
Family Handyman

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.

25 / 27
small paint brushes resting in a slits in a green pool noodle that has been placed on the edge of a plastic container that holds paint rinse water
Family Handyman

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.

26 / 27
using a knife to cut a section off of a pink pool noodle
Family Handyman

How to Slice a Noodle

Use a sharp serrated kitchen knife to cut a pool noodle into sections.

27 / 27
using a box cutter to cut a slit down the center of a small pink pool noodle
Family Handyman

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.