Thursday, January 10, 2013

Single Serving Ointment Tubes

This is a fabulous idea that I wish I could take credit for.  It's a bit different than most of my how to's, but it's such a good idea with so many applications, and easily done inside of five minutes, that I felt I had to share it.  I literally went around my house and had everything I needed within about two minutes.

Because this was spur-of-the-moment, I only had a red straw.  It would have been significantly easier if it had been a plain clear straw.


Ointment of choice (I used triple antibiotic ointment)
Plastic Straw (clear works best)
Needle Nose Pliers (if you have two pairs, that's even better, but not necessary)

Simple, right?


At one end of the straw, squeeze in a portion of ointment.  You will probably end up wasting a bit, so put a little more than you want in your final tube.  I used a little under an inch's worth of straw length.  This is one way in which a clear straw would make things easier; judging how much ointment you are using.

Carefully pinch down the end of the straw to squish the ointment upwards, until you have enough empty space at the bottom for the width of your pliers plus a few millimeters.

Grip tightly with the pliers with the extra extending past them.  Make sure there is no excess ointment below the pliers, as this will interfere with the sealing process.

Using the lighter, carefully heat the end of the straw extending past the pliers until it melts together.  If you have a second pair of pliers, it can be helpful to pinch the melted strip while still hot to form a better seal.

Repeat at other end, either making a 'flat' or 'triangle' tube.  This is the other instance when having a clear straw would make things much easier, as you try to judge where to grip the straw on the other end.

That's it!

I can think of so many uses for these!  Throw a half dozen or so in your first aid kit instead of a full tube, to reduce bulk.  A hiking or car emergency kit.  Keep one or two in your purse or wallet for minor emergencies.  And that's just with the antibiotic ointment!

You can use the same process for sealing honey straws, which makes a fabulous single-serving to add to drinks or just enjoy for a sweet snack.  Single-use packets of lotion.  Bad Hair Day emergency hair gel.  Any fairly thick liquid, ointment, gel, etc. that you use a small portion of at a time is a perfect candidate for this method.  Just remember that if you use this for more than one type of product . . .  write on it what's in the tube!