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Monday, February 27, 2012

The Boat Galley: Sticky Solutions

The Boat Galley author Carolyn Shearlock shares her secret for making band-aids stick, even when they're wet, which usually happens on a boat...

Guest blog by Carolyn Shearlock
Carolyn Shearlock, author of The Boat Galley, appears weekly on the Daily Boater with tips for getting the most out of your boat's kitchen, (which, BTW, is where many boaters keep their first aid kit.)


Around the water and with all the activity of boating, it can be hard to keep Band-Aids on – yet also necessary to keep cuts clean.

What’s a boater to do?

How To Keep Band-Aids On
Photo: Carolyn Shearlock, The Boat Galley

Shortly after we moved aboard Que Tal, a chance discussion with a cruising doctor at a dock party gave me the answer: tincture of benzoin!

It’s what they use in surgery before applying steri-strips, to make them stick better. Sometimes it’s used in the ER with butterfly bandages, too. It’s a liquid that you just swab on before putting any sort of adhesive bandage on - Band-Aids, steri-strips, butterflies, moleskin, adhesive tape, anything!

Tincture of benzoin works wonders. I have no idea why it's not widely known, but I'm doing my part to spread the word.  Seems to me that it should be in everyone's first aid kit - shore dwellers as well as boaters!

It's simple to use. I found a Q-Tip to be the best applicator if the bottle doesn't come with one, and just dipped it in the bottle then wiped it where the bandage should stick. Let it dry just a few seconds - about as long as it takes to pick up the Band-Aid and take it out of its wrapper - and then put the bandage on.

Photo: Carolyn Shearlock, The Boat Galley
Now, before putting the cap back on, wipe the threads well. If you leave some of the liquid on the threads, it will do just as good a job of keeping the cap on as you want it to do with the Band-Aid. I've had to use pliers to get the cap off when I neglected this step!

A bottle will last for several years - I think we had our original bottle for 7 years! And then, I only replaced it because I couldn't get all the dried gunk off the threads and it was really hard to open the bottle.

While bandages stick much better, it's not like you're applying them with the medical equivalent of 5200 - it won't be a problem to get them off when you need to.

Many U.S. pharmacies carry tincture of benzoin, but you often have to ask for it. I got the bottle in the photo at our local Walmart pharmacy about a year ago, and a bottle typically costs $10 to $12. Note, though, that tincture of benzoin (also called compound tincture of benzoin) is NOT the same thing as Betadine™, tincture of iodine or other antiseptics.

Be sure to check out The Boat Galley’s section on problem solving for easy fixes for other minor irritations – and make your boating even more fun!

Carolyn Shearlock is author of The Boat Galley, with over 250 FREE articles to get the most out of your boat kitchen with galley tips, insights & equipment recommendations. A few recipes, too – plus an active Facebook community to ask questions and share tips with other readers!

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