I recently purchased a 50 metre Ethernet cable to run from the modem downstairs to the bedroom upstairs (along the walls as I’m currently in a renting situation), but I can’t straighten the cord to be able to sit flat along the walls.

I’m currently using wall safe double sided type tape that normally works well, but no matter what I try, the cord just comes off the wall due to it being curled.

Any help would be greatly appreciated?

I have attached pictures below of what the cord looks like!

enter image description hereenter image description here

  • 4
    See if you can tuck the cable under the molding. There should be a gap there. A plastic putty knife is a good tool for this.
    – Matthew
    Commented May 27 at 4:04
  • Similar question: diy.stackexchange.com/q/204894/18078
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 27 at 13:01
  • Per @Fe2O3 comment, (that should be an answer) instead of a full wrap around the driver you can do half a wrap and apply pressure with your thumb as you pull it across. I do that for short lengths. For 50m wear a glove.
    – jay613
    Commented May 27 at 15:45
  • 3
    The coiling inside a box of ethernet cable is, in fact, designed so that when you pull it out, it's not twisted. Heaven help you if it gets messed up in there (I've had it happen, when working a low-budget school job where simply throwing out the box and getting a new one was not an option.) The last 180 feet from that box were a miserable tangle...
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 27 at 18:21
  • In a renting situation, the landlord might be amenable to you running the cable through the walls and providing wall sockets at both ends (run two cables at the same time if you can) if you tell them you will do it at no cost to them. Commented May 28 at 18:07

5 Answers 5


You're uncoiling the cord wrong, and twisting it as a result.

Treat it as a spool. Roll the coil to pull wire off it, don't just pull it off the side. Either roll the coil between the two points, or put a hub/stick through the center and pull the wire straight out in the same plane as the coil, not from the side, letting the coil rotate as you do so.

Spooling is how it was packed, spooling is how it wants to be unpacked. Otherwise you will be twisting it, with the results you've seen.

(Digression into flipcoiling, which would allow pulling it straight out, deferred as tangential. Cable is never sold as flip-coiled; spooling is far cheaper and easier to automate, and isn't a problem if you unpack it properly.)

Addendum: Having made the mistake, you need to either stack it back into a coil and unroll it properly, or twist it umpteen times in the correct direction to flatten it out, working the counter-twist down the cable while trying not to get the part you have un-twisted twisted again in the opposite direction. Easier to demonstrate than describe.

  • This applies to NM cable. I've never seen anybody unrolling ethernet patch cord on a spool, never done it myself, and never had a problem. Also, bulk ethernet cable comes in boxes that you pull out from the middle without opening the box and it's not spooling out.
    – jay613
    Commented May 27 at 15:49
  • 8
    @jay613 This applies to all cables. All cables will get twisted if you twist them. The fact that you can pull bulk Ethernet cable out of the box without it getting twisted doesn't seem to be relevant here, since the cable in the question clearly did get twisted. Commented May 27 at 17:19
  • 3
    When you pull Ethernet cable out of the box, you are pulling it from a spool and it unrolls correctly. That is not what was done here.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 27 at 21:26
  • 5
    Some boxes of UTP ethernet cable have an internal spool, a drum that turns on an axle inside the box. The cheaper brands (dynamix) have a "figure 8" layering inside the box so as you pull cable it takes a loop from each side in turn and this cancels out the desire to twist. Open a box and confirm if you ever get the opportunity.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 28 at 0:46
  • 4
    The figure 8 is a "poor man's" version of flipcoiling; it works but it's bulkier. Either if these options results in alternating twist one way or the other, balancing out so the cable can be pulled out straight from any angle. A spool is consistently rolled one way, but if you unroll it properly that takes the twist out as you go.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 28 at 1:38

The answer by Keshlam is the correct answer if you didn't unroll it like this, but as you already have (and assuming you can't roll it back):

  • Grab an (old) towel.
  • Fold it twice (once over each axis; you should now have a ¼ version).
  • Get the cord as unfolded as reasonably possible
  • Pull the cable through the towel while keeping a firm grip.

The goal of the firm grip is to create friction to warm up the cable. The tension of pulling combined with the heat will pull things straight. The goal of the towel folding is not to burn yourself.

Tip: This trick is common practice in (at least) theatres :) This works for most cables, so if you have a laptop adapter cable, or a power cable this works very well too.

  • But don't overdo it! Excessive tension or excessive pressure/heat can partially untwist the wire pairs inside, ruining signal quality (especially if this is a long run).
    – TooTea
    Commented May 27 at 18:46
  • 6
    Uhm... I would instead gather it back into a coil and pay it out properly, or untwist it end to end to achieve that, rather than using force and heat. But I'm used to working with audio cables, which must survive much more abuse in their lifetimes
    – keshlam
    Commented May 27 at 21:29
  • I agree, so I've added a small "assuming you cant roll it back" to my answer :)
    – Martijn
    Commented May 28 at 7:36
  • 1
    "The tension of pulling combined with the heat will [work harden it the other way, making] things straight." - It's not the heat, you're work hardening it, and if you pull really hard you'll actually start drawing the wires which will degrade the cable. "The goal of the firm grip is to create" a roller : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_(metalworking) to bend it over that, not draw it. Unless you can get the copper back up to the recrystal temp, drawing is bad for it. Towel or glove: so you don't rip your hand open on rocks in the cable because it got stepped on.
    – Mazura
    Commented May 28 at 17:54
  • Pull the cable through the towel while keeping a firm grip, +1. (that will suffice; you'd have to actually try really hard to pull it straight out from your other hand; you'll "roll" it by default)
    – Mazura
    Commented May 28 at 18:01

In addition to the towels/screwdriver techniques suggested, sticky screwy mounted cable ties are great for wrangling stubborn cables. The cable and the ties can be pulled tight enough that it stays straight.


You could use cable trunking that attaches to the wall with double-sided tape. These are long plastic conduits that you tape to the wall, put the cable inside, then close with a plastic cover. I used one for an extension cord and it looked nice. The only downside was when I went to remove it to renovate the room, the tape was so strong it pulled off the wall paint with it.

enter image description here

  • 1
    It's normally called "cable trunking" and is available without the sticky backing that doesn't hold yet still damages walls, so maybe the OP could get the kind with a rounded outer face, for appearance, and their wall-safe tape would work with it. Hint: use a mallet and something soft between to clip the face on - it works much better and with less pain than trying to use a hand. Commented May 27 at 18:52
  • @keshlam They want it to sit flat against the wall, this works great for that, and it looks better too versus having a wire sitting on the baseboard.
    – rtaft
    Commented May 28 at 12:47
  • I know these as "conduits".
    – detly
    Commented May 29 at 23:26
  • That's raceway in the US, and trunking in the UK. ... Conduit, aka tubing, doesn't 'open' on either side of the pond. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_conduit
    – Mazura
    Commented May 31 at 1:24

Coax cable staples. You get them at big box hardware stores. They look like a little plastic "u" with a nail in one side. Just nail thru the carpet into the subfloor. When you move they'll pull right back up and your landlord will never know.

  • 2
    OP clearly doesn't want to put holes in their base molding.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 29 at 13:57

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